Supplier cheesed off

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Supplier cheesed off

Ready to fight: Allambee South dairy farmer Irene Walker wants to hold the MG board to account after recent revelations that the former managing director

A MURRAY Goulburn supplier believes the dairy co-operative needs to “bring justice” back after newspaper reports the former managing director’s wife was paid an exorbitant sum for her work.
The board-approved deal was kept secret for 12 years, until the company’s recent disclosure of its financial records to the Australian Securities and Investment Commission.
Murray Goulburn Co-operative Ltd managing director Stephen O’Rourke resigned last Friday and will leave in July 2011, following a troubled two weeks for the dairy co-operative. Mr O’Rourke announced his plan to end his 12-year tenure in a personal letter to suppliers.
Allambee South dairy farmer, Irene Walker, said it has crossed her mind to go to another supplier.
“But I’m not about to walk until we’ve had a good cleanout there, because I believe in the co-operative. I think all the co-operative’s members need to hold them accountable,”
Mrs Walker believes “the co-operative, built by dairy farmers, has lost credibility because of this affair. Our management needs to have a clear understanding of this fact.”
Mrs Walker has vowed to fight for the company’s future, and has urged other suppliers to do the same.
She said she had no problem with Mrs O’Rourke receiving a wage, but believes the board was motivated by greed in approving such an exorbitant payment.
“I blame greed and manipulation at the highest level of management. For, every financial move made with greed is a loss not just to MG suppliers but to the greater dairy industry,” she said.
Other MG suppliers, like Hallston’s Frank Dekker and Mountain View’s Grant Olsen, also expressed “disappointment” in Mrs O’Rourke’s exorbitant wage and the apparent secrecy surrounding it.
“The main thing for me is just feeling a bit disappointed. It’s going to take a long time to earn my respect back,” Mr Olsen said.
He admitted to being tired, even as a “young farmer” at 44.
“I could easily give it away. It wouldn’t take too much for me to say, ‘stuff it’. And then there’s another farmer gone. It’s not taking much to push a lot of us out of the industry,” he said.
But former MG chairman Ian MacAulay believes the controversy surrounding the payments is unwarranted.
“I’m surprised at the magnitude of the press response. It’s been way out of hand,” he said.
“Most people are pretty supportive of Stephen O’Rourke and relatively accepting of Michelle being paid. They would have liked to have known, is mainly the comment.
“But they haven’t been critical of the package Stephen O’Rourke received. People realise that’s the sort of pay people get in those sorts of jobs.”
Mrs O’Rourke was employed in a “supporting role to the MD” including “customer relations, which she was really quite good at”.
Mr MacAulay said he “certainly hoped” the affair did not tarnish the reputation of the company.
“The performance of the company has been very strong. The job’s been done very well. So hopefully people realise it’s a relatively minor issue, not affecting the performance of the company,” he said.
“The company’s done the right thing disclosing (its financial records). It hasn’t been hidden. I think in the end this will pass into history.”
Mr MacAulay said the board had reviewed Mrs O’Rourke’s salary annually, and “it increased over the years”.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=275

Posted by SiteAdmin on Nov 16 2010. Filed under Business. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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