Jacaranda Committee reeling as President and two more resign
THE Jacaranda Festival's executive committee has been thrown into turmoil with the shock resignation of the president, secretary and a third executive member, all within a few days.
Phil Johnston announced his resignation last Friday, and secretary Ron Bell followed suit by formally notifying the committee of his decision on Sunday.
While he declined to make comment on the reason for his decision, Mr Johnston indicated that he had visions for the festival that perhaps weren't shared by other members.
"I enjoyed my time there for a period," he said.
"There are some very good people on the committee and I think the world of them.
"The committee needs to look forward to change, to develop and become more professional, and I think that's going to be a slow process, but I just didn't see it at this point in time.
"I certainly had some vision but that doesn't mean others have the same vision. They'll work it out and I'm sure it will be successful and continue on as it always has done."
Local business owner and Jacaranda committee member Jeff Smith said the exit of the executive members was a big surprise to many, including him.
Mr Smith ran against Mr Johnston for the role of committee president at the annual general meeting, but said he left AGM feeling highly positive about the direction of the festival under the chosen leadership.
"It was a shock and a bit disappointing," he said.
"It all seemed to be humming along so well, and it is a loss of a couple of highly talented people with time - that's a rare commodity.
"But it's a bloody big job and a massive effort to get different opinions and passions all working towards the common good."
Following a third member stepping down on Tuesday night due to outside commitments and another being on maternity leave, Mr Smith said the executive had essentially been whittled down from nine to five functioning members.
One of the remaining five is also believed to be absent due to illness.
Whether the committee will continue to function as is with the help of the 50-60 strong wider committee or aim to replace the members is not yet known.
Vice president Trevor Green stood in to host a committee meeting on Tuesday night but refused to comment on the situation.
With the Jacaranda Festival just five months away there is not much time to decide.
"Ultimately we all want the same thing; an awesome festival," Mr Smith said.
"In the end we'll all knuckle down and come up with something good."