The elections for the new board of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne Victoria (GOCMV) seem to be in limbo as a result of imminent resignations from the electoral committee that will be supervising the upcoming GOCMV elections and a new petition by 120 members calling for a Extraordinary and Annual General Meeting (EGM).
Over the weekend Dennis Patisteas resigned from the GOCMV Electoral Committee, citing concerns about way the elections were proceeding.
“I accepted the invitation to be part of the electoral committee so that I could offer my knowledge and experience and to contribute to the orderly conduct of the elections,” Mr Patisteas said. “However recent development have upset me so I decided to resign. I do not forsee the election proceeding in an orderly manner and I don’t want to get caught up in any of the rumoured court actions.”
Mr Patisteas is one of three people who joined the Electoral Committee following the agreement arising from the court action in December between the opposing factions in the GOCMV.
Sources have also suggested that the another three people who were appointed to the Electoral Committee following the agreement will resign tonight at a scheduled meeting of the Electoral Committee.
The weekend also saw six members of the GOCMV executive release a public statement accusing GOCMV president Bill Papastergiadis of dragging his feet in organising a Board meeting to discuss the petition submitted by 120 members.
The petition calls for a repeat of the EGM and AGM that was held on 22 November as they believe that the Constitution of the organisation was breached during those meetings.
Their petition was sent to the General Secretary the President and members of the GOCMV Board last Monday.
GOCMV Executive members George Fountas, Eugenia Grammatikakis, Con Dikeos, John Lioupas, Christos Tsirkas and Zisis Pouros criticized Mr Papastergiadis for scheduling a meeting on 14 January, two days before the elections, and for stating that the petition will need to be dealt with by the new GOCMV Board after the elections.
They also hold Mr Papastergiadis personally responsible for any legal action that may arise from his decision to defer consideration of the petition until after the elections.
Mr Papastergiadis responded strongly and emphasised the action he was taking was legal and in accordance with the constitution.
He pointed out that the meeting on the 14 January was in line with the constitutional requirement for giving 7 days notice.
The GOCMV President also highlighted that the upcoming elections cannot be postponed or deferred as members have already been notified.
Mr Papastergiadis was not aware of any resignations from the electoral committee and indicated that any resignations would not disrupt the proceeding of the elections as anybody who chose to resign would be replaced by the runner ups in the vote held for the election to the electoral committee.
The latest round of infighting began on Monday when 120 members of the GOCMV submitted the petition.
In their letter outlining their arguments, the undersigned members dispute the constitutionality of the settlement between Mr Papastergiadis and Mr Paikopoulos claiming that it is not serving the best interest of the Community’s members.
“Further, we believe that the agreement/settlement signed by the President to
alter the composition of the members of the election Committee and to hold
elections for a new Board….during the summer vacation period while many
members and their families are away to be in breach of the constitution…,” the
undersigned members state in an excerpt from the covering letter.
As part of
that compromise the two sides agreed to reconstitute the electoral committee in
a bipartisan way.
A core claim of the plaintiffs was that unconstitutional irregularities occurred during the November meetings during which the Election Committee was elected.
Neos Kosmos English Edition (NKEE) understands that this new petition has been largely organised and spearheaded by the former President of the GOCMV George Fountas who has consistently called for a repeat of the November meetings refusing to compromise with anything less.
To complicate things even more sources close to the Community who are speaking to NKEE on the condition of anonymity, say that the opposition to Mr Papastergiadis’ faction is divided and that if the elections go ahead as planned there could be a possibility of an open split in the Opposition ticket.
It has come to NKEE’s attention that members of the opposition led by Treasurer
Con Dikeos disagree with the new petition and, at least unofficially, are
expressing angst about the effects of this latest Community squabble.