Pool trustee future in doubt

MEMBERS of Portishead Pool Community Trust will be asked to vote on the future of one of the pool’s biggest campaigners as a trustee, at the organisation’s AGM on Monday.

Businessman Roger Whitfield was instrumental in the battle to save the pool from closure in 2007 but has now been asked to resign by his fellow directors.

However, he has refused, saying he would be worried about the success of the pool’s business plan if he were to leave.

A row first broke out after Roger contacted the Charities Commission to clarify if one of the practices adopted by the board was within guidelines.

He questioned whether it was correct for the husband of a director to be paid by the trust for legal costs without obtaining other quotes. The commission advised the trust had done nothing wrong.

After that, the directors said trust has been lost between Roger and the remaining seven directors and they felt Roger was no longer working with them as part of a team.

In a letter to trust members, the board says it has “become increasingly frustrated by Roger’s apparent wish to unilaterally take decisions and actions affecting the trust.”

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For these reasons the directors have concluded the board will not be able to operate successfully while Roger continues as a trustee. They have acknowledged all the hard work and effort he has put in and say they welcome his continued support and input, but not as a trustee.

Trustees have put forward a resolution to the pool AGM where members will be asked to vote on whether Roger should remain a trustee.

Roger has issued a statement to members against the resolution in which he says he has become frustrated with the attitude of board members towards forward planning and structure.

He said: “I have argued for the board to define a structure that will allow for growth, but no decision has been made. I have argued for financial limits to be put in place and again no progress has been made, and I have argued for openness and transparency, yet still the board cling to secrecy.”

He now awaits the outcome of a members vote.

Portishead Pool Community Trust chairman David Coombes said: “Roger’s statement will form part of the documentation submitted to members ahead of the AGM.”

Mr Coombes has posted a document on the pool website regarding the situation, but refused to say any more on the matter. He said: “It is inappropriate to comment any further as it is a matter for members.”

The AGM takes place on Monday at Clarence House at 7.30pm. It is open to members only.