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Support for NZAF boss, but changes afoot

Fri 7 Sep 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

The board of the NZ AIDS Foundation is standing firmly behind the embattled Executive Director following an investigation into issues that culminated in a letter of no confidence targeting the organisation's boss, signed by a number of staff and passed to the Board. It was revealed today that Rachael Le Mesurier has the continued backing of the Board and her position seems secure, but there are indications that some changes in management practises are to be instituted. Against a background of restructuring, a number of resignations and rumours of employment-related clashes, indications surfaced several weeks ago that a number of staff members - the Foundation will not confirm the actual number - had signed a letter to the NZAF's Board of Trustees citing "no confidence in the executive director... to manage the organisation and the staff with integrity and in a professional, structured, reasonable and humane manner." A copy of the letter, posted anonymously on's message board Forum, indicates it stopped short of demanding Le Mesurier's resignation but did ask the Board of Trustees as Le Mesurier's employer to acknowledge "our serious concerns" and act promptly. The Board says its investigation of the issue followed "the prescribed personal grievance process outlined in the NZAF Collective Employment Agreement which enabled all parties to be heard." In a statement issued today, following two 'no comment' days in which the Board is understood to have been reporting its findings to staff, chair Hoani Jeremy Lambert says a Board investigation of the complaints have resulted in "continued confidence" in Le Mesurier, and that"on the basis of information supplied, no further formal action is required." But the Board has signaled that the staff concerns were not entirely without basis. "As a result of some specific matters raised, the Board has identified and agreed with Rachael Le Mesurier a number of changes that will enhance NZAF's ability to effectively fulfil its mission. These changes will be communicated and implemented at the appropriate time by Rachael Le Mesurier." The nature of the changes is currently unclear, though Le Mesurier herself describes them as "a small number of procedural and policy-based updates and amendments to reflect current practice." She is reluctant to go public with more details such as when the changes will be rolled out. "As these are internal operational matters, details such as timeframes will be communicated directly to staff in the coming weeks," she says. Le Mesurier, the first woman to head the NZAF and only the forth Executive Director in its 22-year history, was previously with NZ Family Planning and had experience with HIV and AIDS organisations in the UK. She has recently been overseeing a structural changes and a re-tooling of the Foundation, described as the biggest such change in the NZAF in almost a decade, against the background of a four year-long surge in new HIV infections amongst men who have sex with men in New Zealand.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Friday, 7th September 2007 - 10:00pm

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