A shortfall in income has forced the AIPP Board to resign, close the National Office, and down-scale all planned activities. Lenscape 2018 has been cancelled.
AIPP president, Vittorio Natoli, e-mailed members to explain that unprecedented levels of backlash from disgruntled members have resulted in an immediate drop in membership renewal payments and event bookings.
The backlash exploded onto social media at the beginning of the year, with an alarming number of former and current members expressing concern regarding the AIPP’s strategy and direction.
The catalyst was the departure of long-standing AIPP awards team contributors, Tony Hewitt and Peter Eastway. The incident led to the revelation of other grievances by long-term members of the AIPP.
Complaints voiced varied from the increasing operating costs of National Office and consecutive deficits; centralisation to the National Board and diminishing State Council influence; poor communication to members; opening membership up, and catering more to ‘non-professional’ and part-time members, rather than full-time practitioners; and the accreditation process.
Vittorio says that after several meetings, resulting in hours of deliberation, and ‘attacks endured both personally and as directors’, the Board cannot take the AIPP forward and has resigned, making all positions vacant. Nominations will open on March 2.
The AIPP Board consisted of Vittorio, David Glazebrook, Kylie Lyons, Louise Bagger, Melinda Comerford, Nick Ghionis, John Swainston, and Paul Atkins.
Louise, Melinda, Nick, and John will remain in caretaker positions – making no decisions, but serving to approve payments, oversee elections, assist in communication and to form the quorum. The other four – Vittorio, Kylie, David andPaul – have resigned, effective immediately.
‘As a Board we are collectively no longer prepared to subject ourselves to the unpleasant, careless and hateful words that have consequences well-beyond some people’s imaginings,’ Vittorio wrote. ‘We wish to thank wholeheartedly those members who have been supportive of this Board and previous Boards as they sought to address the changing face of our industry, the Profession and the Institute.
‘Our priority has been to conserve as much cash for a future AIPP Board as possible, and to recognise our obligations to our sponsors who make much of what we enjoy in the AIPP possible. This major destruction of value is a direct consequence of the actions of members, past Board decisions and decisions of today’s Board.
‘Despite perceptions to the contrary, our management simply carry out the directions issued by the Board.’
AIPP membership payments are received monthly. Since the online backlash, a significant portion of members didn’t renew payments – enough for the AIPP to notice and take action.
‘The cash position of the Institute has dropped sharply over a six-week period, mostly in the last four weeks. Consequently, we have had to reassess how we view our financial position and take into account contingent liabilities that a business or association does not normally bring to account. The consequence of member non-renewal has changed a financially strong organisation with some recent deficits in to one where another view must be taken. Is the AIPP a going concern in a legal sense?
‘Shortfall in income and bringing to account contingent liability exposure has adversely changed the financial position of the Institute by nearly $400,000 from the cash flow projections of just six weeks ago.’
AIPP Admin and Staff Costs increased over $100,000 from 2016 to 2017, to equal over $1 million – $721,500 in employee benefits and training, plus $333,554 in administrative costs.
The AIPP Board has resolved to close the National Office to significantly reduce these operating costs.
Peter Myers, AIPP executive officer and company secretary, along with the National Office team of six employees have been made redundant. All have opted to work through their four-week notice period to help prepare the AIPP for the looming changes.
Peter will work out his three-month notice period and oversee election of a new Board in his role of returning officer.ome members are showing support by changing their Facebook profile pictures to the APP logo.
State Awards, APPA, and events
The Lenscape 2018 conference, held at SeaWorld on the Gold Coast, has been cancelled. Tickets will be refunded, and non-refundable flights and accommodation will be covered by the AIPP.
The AIPP State Awards will continue, falling back under the control of State Councils from March 31, obviously without assistance and infrastructure of National Office.
This will be welcome news to current and former members who felt the AIPP operated better with more influence from State Councils.
With the National Office folding, control will likely be decentralised back to State Councils, presenting an opportunity for state-run events and initiatives to emerge.
The 2018 Queensland State Awards will be the first to run, from March 24 – 25.
‘Today is a very difficult and emotional for all our National Office and our Board of Directors. But here in Queensland, we hold onto the love and belief in our institute, our volunteers and our community,’ wrote AIPP Queensland Council. ‘The 2018 Queensland State Awards will go ahead as planned, on the 24th and 25th of March, with our presentation night on Monday March 26th 2018. Now, more than ever, we need your patronage, your attendance and your support. We cannot do this without our community.’
As for the Australian Professional Photography Awards, Vittorio says that’s up to the new Board and renewed interest from sponsors.
– More to come.