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OpenLetterDirk

Page history last edited by Tom van Bodegraven 11 years, 9 months ago

26/11/2009

Open Letter to Petanque New Zealand Members

 

Hi All,

The purpose of this letter is to get some feedback regarding my position on the PNZ executive. Currently I am finding that every decision that is being made is being blocked or overturned in some way.

 

When I first put my hand up (links inserted by the NZPW editor) for PNZ I genuinely wanted to help to move our sport forward and give the players a greater voice in the running of our organisation. Since coming on the Board I have been unable to achieve either of these goals.

 

When I was elected I was told by a Technical Director that we should leave the Technical Directors alone for 5 years and allow them to implement their vision.

 

As a Board we invited the Technical Directors to a meeting to talk about that vision and the way that the Board could work alongside them. We thought this meeting was relatively successful. We had a glitch when we were given a report about the implementation of the selection process. Several players involved in the process had given feedback which hadn't been included in the report. This feedback was critical of some aspects of the process. When the Board sought the opportunity to seek independent feedback we were told it would undermine the TD's. We were threatened with being taken to Sparc because we were not acting in the interests of the game.

We buckled to this pressure.

 

We have made some decisions regarding having a selection panel rather than one person. We will see if this comes to pass.

 

A little after this the President of the PNZ informed me that the Technical Directors believed I had a hidden agenda. I communicated with all three TD's to find out what my hidden agenda might be and the silence of the reply has been deafening. One of them communicated with the President that they didn't want to get into a battle of words. It appeared to be fine to accuse me of something without having the balls to back it up.

 

All appeared to be going along smoothly until we had the debacle of the Skills Testing. It has been acknowledged that several regions deviated from the process. We are told that it was spelt out clearly to the Regional Coaches about the consequences of deviating from the process.  I am an educational professional, if I teach something and 80% of my audience does not understand my intended message then I need to question my delivery.

 

Much of the furore revolves around my score of 96 in the shooting (although it's not personal). Last year 96 would have put me in 9th place. This year our president is told I would have won the World Champs.

 

For a process that is so data driven a glaring anomaly appears to have been overlooked. Not one Wellington player has scored more than 100 in the pointing. 23 players excluding open men have all scored over 100. I do not believe that Wellington does not have 1 pointer whose pointing puts them in the top 10 of any division.

 

There was some irregularity in the pointing set up. Are Wellington players being asked to redo their pointing? No. Given that the skills form such a large percentage of the selection process would one not question these results? Apparently not. It must suit some players for Wellingtonians to have a low pointing score.

 

The Board made a decision not to retest and informed the Technical Directors. The Technical Directors then went directly to the players and issued a statement saying that it would be done or the score would be invalid. No effort was made to try and solve this by communicating with the Board. I believe this action was inflammatory and bullying.

 

Naturally many players fearing retribution through non selection have complied with the wishes of the TD's, after all it is they that have the power in the game.

 

The forum of course gave many the opportunity to have a say and while I don't agree with all of it it still gives players a voice. One word that keeps cropping up in regard to the selection process is transparency. Let's not kid ourselves that this system is transparent and as a selector in the Wellington Region transparency is not always possible as a number of factors come into play, not only results.

 

For instance I was the top millieur at the selection camps in Herne Bay, I have the figures to prove it, yet I was in the 'b' team. The same goes for the Womens World Champs Team, 2 of the top female performers at the Trans Tasman were left out of the team. I am not saying whether the decisions were right or wrong but I am saying they were not transparent.

 

I have distributed to as many players as I can a proposal for a national inter regional competition, based on a successful competition created by John Targett and Graeme Morris. I have received many favourable responses, some with suggestions on how the concept could be enhanced. It is interesting to note that the TD's have not responded and believe it is another area that the Board should not meddle. They have another idea, which I am sure will be far superior. It appears that if the idea does not originate from the TD's it has no merit.

 

We have now reached a situation where the President of New Zealand Petanque is going against a democratic decision of the PNZ Board by supplying PNZ equipment to be used to retest the skills, even though we have opposed this action.

We have been accused of interfering with the operational arm of Petanque New Zealand. We don't have the luxury of having an operational arm. The so called operational arm is a group of self appointed (these positions have never been advertised) Technical Directors with self interest in the processes that they are implementing, creating a conflict of interest. How does one create a system, appoint the people to assist in implementing the system, and then become available to be selected through the system.

 

The Board was told that there is no conflict of interest. A great Tui Ad

Returning to the original purpose of this letter, I am seeking your comments on what course of action I should take. The Vice President has already resigned and I am contemplating a similar coure of action. I find it difficult to operate in an environment where every decision is undermined and one ideology is promoted with little regard for the thoughts of others. The PNZ Board has flip flopped its way through the past eight months without achieving a great deal due to the obstacles placed in the way by the Technical Directors.

 

If my actions are impeding the progress of Petanque I will resign forthwith. My dilemma is that if I resign it leaves the way open for an even greater of bullying from the Technical Directors to bulldoze their ideas through regardless of the wishes of the Petanque players of New Zealand.

 

Please respond directly to me ASAP so I can inform the Board of my decision. Please pass this email to anybody who you think may be interested or want to make a comment.

 

Regards,

Dirk

Director of Sport Development.

 

Editor note: You can read some earlier comments on the retesting on this PAGE.

 

17 Comments:

At 4:48 PMAnonymous Anonymous said...

What a bloody mess!

Dirk has my full support with his comments and he MUST NOT resign. The usual story too, no comment from PNZ and the usual apathy from the membership.

If we cannot even get the assessment process right, how the hell can we expect to get the best teams together?

I know a lot of people had great hope with the change of leadership at the last AGM - I didn't, as I was very suspicious of the appalling behaviour at the AGM of 2years ago and the subsequent refusal to allow people to speak to the matter at this years AGM (which in actual fact was wrong according to meeting rules) and now we have a situation that needs strong and fair leadership and we don't seem to be getting it.

We reap what we sow!!

Graeme Burnard

 
At 6:02 PMAnonymous Anonymous said...

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6:14 PMBlogger NZPC Editor (Tom) said...

I have removed the above comment. Can I make it very clear that unlike PNZ this blog does not allow anonymous contribution. I am a champion of free speech, but just like any print publication you must provide your name. If you live in so much fear that you can not tell us who you are, don’t bother wasting your time here.

 
At 6:31 PMBlogger NZPC Editor (Tom) said...

I also do not want Dirk to resign and leave our game. We must retain people with good brains, who are willing to speak out against wrongs.

What we do not want is for this present situation to be left to fester on by our “leadership” hoping it will just go away as long as we all stay silent.

It is high time these TD's open the books and publish their spreadsheets. We all have a right to know. Why do they not communicate and answer any of the question asked of them. All we get is the feeble “ we do not want to enter into a war of words” - what a convenient and silly copout.

Who is running our organization? what is the role our president plays in all this? Who are the puppets and who are the puppeteers?

All we ask for is honesty and fairness to all. Surely this is not asking for much. This is your chance to put your weight behind a new beginning. You must speak out!

The players who are part of this selection and skills process should ask themselves if being part of such a system is good for them and good for our wider petanque community. They should demand openness or get out. You should make your way based on your skills as a player - not keep silent in fear of retribution.

 

At 10:11 PMAnonymous Anonymous said...

Tom stop the shit stirring, I'm sick of it. Unlike Dirk, the petanque community would be better off if you took up another sport. I didn't see you at the Chch forum where you either didn't have the guts or couldn't be arsed asking your millions of important questions.

You are not a champion of free speech, you are a mouse who is too gutless to express his opinion in person - just roars behind his keyboard - pathetic.

People can't be bothered with your blog - anything you disagree with you twist (so go ahead, take your best shot). I'm sick of your constant negative behaviour. Do us a favour and piss off.

Please don't email me again, I'd rather get spam.

Mau

PS. I support the TD's and the Board, I am a coach who is proud of our results and efforts in the past 18 months. I answer to the TD Coaching who answers to the board and neither I nor the TD's have to answer to a shit like you - we answer to the Board, that is why it is there.

 
At 6:08 AMBlogger NZPC Editor (Tom) said...

Please chill out Mau. You are roaring from behind your keyboard. For your information I was at work but I did express my opinions in person during the tournament in Christchurch.

Instead of making a comment on the Open Letter written by Dirk you launch (from behind your keyboard) into a personal attack on me. Well, that's free speech. It is interesting that Dirk raises some very serious issues / questions regarding the accountability process you say you adhere to, so instead of commenting on the issues raised by Dirk, you call me a "shit".

 

At 9:58 AMAnonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dirk

A quick response:

1) Skills testing should be the same for all.

This is only possible when it is done on one terrain during a week-end.

This could be costly for some.

 

OR

Appoint an independent person(s) to oversee all first skill tests done regionally and at final players camps.

 

2) Technical Directors should be independent.

This is only possible when Technical Directors are not allowed to be selected themselves as a player

to avoid any conflict of interest.

 

3) Primary and Final Selection should be open and transparent.

This is only possible when all results are public and selection is done by a selection panel of 3 persons.

 

4) Technical Directors and Selection Panel report to PNZ Board.

As part of keeping it all transparent and to improve selection process.

But Selection Panel should keep the final say about the players selection for the current year.

 

5) Appoint a players representative.

To improve communication between players and Technical Directors and PNZ Board.

 

Of course there is heaps more to say.

But I hope for the interest of our sport that nobody feels the need to resign and that we all will give it one more shot to get it right.

Do not give up yet!

Cheers

Clem

 

At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I congratulate Dirk on a clear, intelligent and insightful open letter. I have replied to him, as he has asked us to.

 

The skills retest as ordered by the TDC/R directly affects the personal score of the TDC in the skills test. David is pissed that (apparently) only Dirk got a higher shooting score than him, so he went looking for a problem in the testing. This seems the only way to interpret what's happened. The other TD's - Murray, Trevor and Lorraine and the rest of the board have been pulled into this personal dispute.

 

If my facts or judgement is wrong on this then I apologise. But it doesn’t change the problem facing the selection pathway. As Dirk says in his letter, there is a clear conflict of interest when one person (David) creates a system, .. and then becomes available to be selected through the system. Clem in his post, also supports this position when he say’s TD’s should not be allowed to be selected themselves as a player to avoid any conflict of interest. I support this opinion and believe the majority of players also agree with this.

 

As I've said on the pnz forum, it would be nice if those players who care about the game demand the 3 TD's and the Board reach a satisfactory solution. At the moment the board are saying the TD's are refusing to discuss any of this with them. As Mau say's, the TD's answer to the Board - which they're not. So what to do? What do you suggest Mau?

Michael E

 

At 11:15 PMAnonymous Anonymous said...

Micheal, I suggest that writing anything on this blog is unhelpful and not going to make one bit of difference. Tom (I'm to busy to attend the forum - yeah right) and his ego however, are going to be delighted.

This is the last time I intend to write on this little rag, period.

Signing off.

Mau

 

At 8:03 AMAnonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there Dirk,

DO NOT RESIGN MATE ??

I got some of the point that I don't understand it at all.

Who is the TDR & TDC?

i thing the P.N.Z should nominate at least three People for the SELECTION process. An Observer and Selectors (2) for the players on the assessment day and, this is not counting the board members the TDR or TDC. When finish the three get the result from the day of the assessment approach the board and nominate the players that came out on top of the entire region from north island to the South island. get your 12 player then down to 6 players for the Trans Tasman then the 4 for the Worlds. 

 

From there you get them together then you can separate the player on they position they when into before the skill assessment as they position like who ever put themselves as Milieu, Shooter or Pointer. And this is were the real training starts and from there you can divide you players as they entered they position on skill assessment day as they are or event swap them around and make it work. 

 

1) We should not do the re-test of the skill assessment.

 

2) We cannot have one Selector. 

 

3) To me is once the skill assessment is completed, it is done; you can not go back and change the rules? Event if you are the TDR or TDC or whatever or who you are you just can't do that.

 

4) Now the '' Shooting mat '' that I do totally disagree with it or how it's done.It's got to go period !!

 

- You are shooting the boule right, you don't hit the boule but you still gaining points. What's that about ?

- You have got four square around on the mat were the ''boules '' is place right into the centre of it, and all around it you got numbers. Example 12,15,9,6,5,8,7,11 etc.....! That to me personally it's sending the wrong message to our players. 

You know it surprise me the people on the skill assessment reach's the hundreds point marked in the shooting comp, you take the mat away and let see who will reach the hundreds points I can tell you now ......NO ones will.

The point in the game of Petanque is you have to shoot the boule not the Mat. Example when you go into the circle to shoot the boules (holding point )in a game right, you not going to gained points on that when you miss you get nothing : why because there is NO MAT there people.

 

Ideas, communication it's the way to go forward '' listening '' take it on board work towards it from whoever or whatever it maybe, the players require answer or event ask question to the board, P.N.Z, TDC & TDR it really does mean something to the players maybe not to the board but you got to listen people.

Every player in NZ make the P.N.Z board and I thing they should listen!! 

 

Personal issue leave it behind? I tell you what if we don't get how act together now, we will never move forward.

why because its personal.

 

DIrk don't you bloody resign you ear me bbbbboooooooyyyyyy ????????/

Regards, 

Georgio Vakauta.

 

At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a shame we are now seeing personal and uncalled for comments on this blog. The topic that is being discussed is very important and serious and everyone has a right to their opinion but personal attacks as seen in recent times by our former CEO and now our current national singles champion are very disappointing. Yes, I agree if you make comments on this blog you open yourself up to criticism but some the comments such as we have seen over the last few days are totally uncalled for and not what we would expect from senior members ofd this sport.

Graeme Burnard

 
At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not going to comment on the matters that Dirk has raised in his email. There are indeed very few facts for me to comment on. But, putting all these matters aside, I wonder what Dirk wants to achieve by airing all of this dirty washing for the world to see. I would ask all of you to consider what a person thinking about taking up the sport of petanque in NZ, or more importantly what a young person like Jarrod or Nico or Jamie, will think of this unseemly public spectacle of so-called mature petanque players bickering over some pretty minor matters in the wider scheme of things. This is not a place to make sport like a Roman Circus, and this is not the face of my chosen sport that I want to show the world.

Rather than solve anything, Dirk’s Open Letter has provided an opportunity for some of the disaffected people in our sport to climb on his bandwagon. We now have those who are accusing David Lippard of purposely ordering the re-testing of the shooting skills because Dirk scored more points than he did! Dirk himself has made this accusation, which has been taken up by others. Can you imagine how childish that sounds to us on the outside? Can you imagine how this looks to all the regional coaches and their assistants, half the Board, and all the candidates for selection – bar one - who supported re-testing. Can’t you see that it would be impossible for David to swing this one, and convince all of these independently minded people to carry out this “injustice”, particularly in the last few weeks when he was out of the country? In any case, why would David want to do this, when the chances are that both he and Dirk would make the final 12 for the selection camps anyway? I guess this muck raking works on the principle that if you throw enough shit some of it is bound to stick.

Then there is the silly accusation that David and others should be barred from standing for selection because they have a vested interest in the outcome, and therefore cannot be objective. In a tiny sport like ours, this is a complete nonsense. How many takers do you think you will have for the jobs of the Technical Directors if this rule was to be applied? Everyone who had even the remotest chance of making the final 12 players in the Open, Women’s or Senior’s teams would not touch these jobs with a barge pole!! In our sport that is the top echelon of our players with enough experience to have a chance of running the selection process efficiently. So how about using a little bit of common sense? The proper solution to this issue is to make the selection process as transparent as possible, with enough checks and balances to prevent nepotism by the administrators of the process.

No matter what the rights and wrongs of the matters that Dirk is upset about, nothing will be gained by him for the rest of us by this attempt to persuade us that he has all the right answers, and the rest of the Board and the TDs have all the wrong answers. By his own admission he has failed to persuade the other Board members to see things his way, and he has not been able to build a working relationship with the Technical Directors to achieve what he wants to achieve in their portfolios. Now please don’t try and tell me that they are all united against him in some deep, dark conspiracy!! This would be pushing credibility too far.

In the face of all this, I would have thought that his future actions were pretty obvious, and he did not need feedback or advice from any of us. It is a great pity that it has come to this, but I cannot see that seeking popular support against the Board and the TDs with this Open Letter is the way for Dirk to solve the problems – if that was his motivation in writing it.

Cheers,

Bryan Wells

 
At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bryan

It seems that many of us do not trust the present players selection procedure.

Mainly, because there is only one selector and the procedure is not open and transparent.

I think it could be quite easy to find 2 more selectors (non players) to form a selection panel.

Why have a system in place so many of us do not trust at the moment?

Better for us not to stick our heads in the sand, it only needs a few adaptations to get it fixed. (see my last email) and we really should do this ASAP.

To appoint 2 extra selectors for this years selection might already resolve most of the mistrust.

Plus make the process more open and transparent by publishing all decisions or non decisions straight away, so we all know what is happening.

I personally appreciate all the time and effort the TD's and PNZ board members give to our sport and I hope they will continue to do so.

Resigning or saying there is no problem is not gonna help - Stick together, put any personal issues aside, and fix it!

Cheers

Clem

 
At 11:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bryan is quite incorrect to say we could not find an `independent' selection panel. I agree with Clem's proposals.

Murray as TDR is independent, he is not available for selection, nor does he have any other conflict of interest. He's also a past national champion and rep. So we've got one `independent' at least.

The conflict comes with David who as TDC has influence over a number of aspects of the selection process.

There has been development of the coaches in NZ under David, and it's important to separate out his role as a coaching director from his role in the selection process.

If the TDC had no influence over the selection path, then there would be no conflict of interest for David. But the TDC administers the skills testing and has some role in preparation for and analysis of data from the camps. So there is a perceived or real conflict of interest.

If the selection panel was 3 independent's like Murray and there was no chance the TDC could have any effect or influence on the selection process, then there would be no conflict of interest.

Supporting what others have said, I hope for a solution that keeps the elected Board in place and the TD's in place. Addressing the conflict of interest in the role of the TDC would seem to be a very good starting point. Even the TD's must now admit that this needs addressing with some urgency.

Michael E

 
At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Michael

did you say '' some urgency ''the Emergency is Now ?

Georgio

 
At 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Georgio

you're right of course. I was just trying to be polite, in my reserved English way,

Michael

 

At 2:34 PMAnonymous Anonymous said...

 

It has been interesting talking to people around the country to hear the level of dissatisfaction with the current management of PNZ and the fiasco that has gone on regarding the assessments. It is a shame these people don't make their thoughts known because the more that express their concerns the more likely something will be done. There seems to be a great mistrust within the organisation and disappointments in the behaviour of some of our prominent players. As I have said earlier the personal abuse from our former CEO and our current national singles champion towards people who were simply expressing their opinions was totally uncalled for.

The lack of response from those at the top regarding peoples concerns is also an issue that many people have but as usual they are unwilling to say so. As a result of all the crap that has been going on I have decided I do not want to be involved in this sport anymore and I have tended my resignation from the Masterton club of which I am a foundation member. I shall look at my local, regional and national trophies with pride and think back to a day when the sport was fun and honest. I played three times in the national triples for 2 thirds and a win in the plate and numerous regional trophies. I am sad I did not ever win the club singles having been runner up the last two years but I have wins in the triples and doubles to brag about in my dotage.

I just hope that one day a system will be found that seems fair to everyone and that the organisation will find strong leadership that will promote the sport for the right reasons. When I applied for the CEO job a few years ago I made it clear that my priority would be to raise the grass roots level of the game and put less emphasis on the huge amount of money and time that was being put into the elite part of the game, where all the problems seem to arise.

I have made some wonderful friends within the sport and I am sure those friendships will endure. There are a few open tournaments around that I may play in on occasion if anyone will have me.

I realise my "stand" will have no effect whatsoever on the organisation but I just do not want to be part of anything that I do not respect or trust.

Over and out!!

Graeme Burnard

For Graeme Burnard honesty and the democratic process has always been paramount. He spoke out on things he believed in and his style was clear - no reading between the lines required whenever he wrote his thoughts on our game. This was greatly appreciated by all including the editor of our PNZ magazine. Murray Porter published "RULES, RULES, BLOODY RULES" in the Autumn (April 2006) issue of the PNZ magazine. -Tom. 

 

 

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