Wilderness Society Executive Director Resigns
16 September 2010 at 10:21 am
The Executive Director of the Wilderness Society, a national conservation organisation in Australia, has resigned after a bitter internal battle with a new management committee.
A statement by the Wilderness Society says Alec Marr has resigned as Executive Director of the Wilderness Society Inc after more than a decade during which time the organisation has experienced significant growth and success.
However, Marr has told ABC News that he left before a new management committee could go ahead with plans to sack him and he was not leaving quietly.
He told the ABC the reason he decided to put in his notice of resignation was that he could longer stand by and watch this new management committee undo years of work by many good people, accusing the new committee of cronyism and threatening the Wilderness Society's tax deductible status.
A less heated statement from the Society says Alec Marr helped to build the Wilderness Society into a successful organisation with a reputation for being politically non-partisan and uncompromising. He was centrally involved in successfully defending the organisation against a $3.5 million lawsuit launched by woodchipping giant Gunns Ltd in 2004 at the height of the campaign to protect Tasmania’s ancient forests. The controversial lawsuit ran for five years before Gunns Ltd eventually dropped the case.
The internal battle came to a head in April, 2010 when the Tasmanian Supreme Court ruled that the Society's existing National Management Committee was illegitimate.
The Supreme Court ruled that the National Management Committee was improperly elected at an Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November 2009 at which only 14 people were present.
Infighting had plagued the organisation since a controversial AGM last November, which Campaign Centres and society members were not informed of and it was only advertised in a small newspaper in northern Tasmania.
The "Save TWS" campaign said at the time that the ruling was an unequivocal victory for Campaign Centres, for staff and members which had argued about the lack of legitimacy of the previous Management Committee, and their Executive Director, Alec Marr who had engaged in gross misconduct by organising the secret AGM to hang on to power.
Alec Marr has told the ABC he is considering suing the Wilderness Society.