The Port Kembla RSL Sub-Branch executive has been sacked without explanation by the NSW RSL.
President Jim Lyon, senior vice-president Terry Wetherall, vice-president Bevan Fermor, trustee Peter Devonshire and honorary secretary-treasurer Peter Edwards all received letters in the mail on Monday stating the state council had resolved ‘‘that the executive committee of the Port Kembla RSL Sub-Branch be stood down and an administrator be appointed’’.
The letter did not explain why the executive had been sacked but said all members would receive letters explaining the reasons for the action.
‘‘I was absolutely disgusted,’’ Mr Fermor said of the decision.
‘‘I will now just be an ordinary member of the sub-branch and I mightn’t even be that for much longer. It depends on the attitude of the state branch.’’
Mr Fermor said all five members received the letters – sent by registered mail – at the same time on Monday, ‘‘so it was pretty well stage-managed’’.
The state council also appointed Wollongong RSL Sub-Branch honorary secretary Joseph Davidson as administrator. Mr Davidson and Wollongong RSL president Peter Poulton were also appointed as signatories to the Port Kembla sub-branch accounts.
Mr Wetherall has written a letter to RSL NSW calling on the body to explain its actions.
‘‘The action to stand down members of an executive usually arises from actions of misconduct,’’ Mr Wetherall’s letter said.
‘‘If that is the case can advice be provided as to what the claims are? If this assumption is incorrect can you please advise the reasons for your actions?’’
He also asked why NSW RSL did not confront the executive before the action and give them a chance to explain, if any explanation was necessary.
It also suggests that the sacking ‘‘arises from events resulting from the closure of the club premises and the intention to provide for a new tenancy’’ and that RSL NSW had been kept informed of the process.
‘‘We have at all times attempted to resolve this matter in the best interests of the club sub-branch,’’ Mr Wetherall’s letter said.
‘‘However your actions suggest otherwise.’’
Mr Fermor said the executive was at the stage of having a lease drawn up for Soundwave Entertainment to take over the troubled club, which has been closed since May.
Mr Fermor also believed that the efforts to lease the club were at the heart of the reason for the executive’s sacking.
‘‘We as a sub-branch have been attempting to find other tenants to take it over,’’ he said.
‘‘All we want to do is have our office, maintain our memorabilia and have some RSL services there.
‘‘We were almost successful in getting this lease drawn up, but state branch, their agenda’s different to ours. I believe it’s their intention, they want it closed up so they can sell off the assets and the assets go to the state branch.’’
RSL NSW president Don Rowe rejected the claim.
‘‘No, that’s certainly not the case,’’ Mr Rowe said.
He confirmed that the sub-branch had been put into administration and the executive had been stood down.
However, he declined to offer a reason for the actions of the state council.
‘‘That’s between state branch and the sub-branch and we will deal with that later,’’ Mr Rowe said. ‘‘It’s not a media issue, it’s a sub-branch and a state branch issue, to be quite honest. We will be talking to our sub-branch members; obviously they need to be informed about what’s happening.
‘‘We’ve got a courtesy to inform them.’’