Gem-A’s board of trustees has defined next week’s council election as a referendum on whether they acted correctly in the treatment of former CEO James Riley and his subsequent dismissal for gross misconduct.
A letter to members dated August 17, and signed by all remaining trustees, says: “We consider this election to be a referendum on whether we have acted properly in the interests of Gem-A in dismissing James Riley. Those members who think his conduct was acceptable and that the council should not have dismissed him for his gross misconduct will surely vote against us.”
Mr Riley was dismissed last month following an investigation by the charity that found that he had used a company credit card to pay for sexual services from two licensed sex establishments whilst on a business trip to Melbourne in July 2014.
Mr Riley claims he visited the establishments for massages to treat a long term problem with his back and is appealing against his dismissal.
Voting in Gem-A’s council elections concludes on August 24, with the result announced on August 26.
Two camps are vying for control of the educational institution.
Current chair Nigel Israel, vice-chair Miranda Wells and trustee Jessica Cadzow-Collins head a continuity ticket that wants the current board and a list of recommended candidates to be elected.
Mr Israel, Ms Wells and Mary Burland do not have to contest their positions on the board.
Cred Jewellery’s Greg Valerio and Michael Hoare, former chief executive of the NAG, formed a team of international gemmological experts to stand as a group, although they have since made the decision to run independently of each other.
Click here to download the list of candidates: Gem-A council election nomination table.
Mr Israel has not replied to requests from Professional Jeweller for an interview ahead of the Gem-A council elections, but the board has given a detailed rebuttal to allegations being made on social media and online forums in the August 17 letter to members.
“It is possible that those supporting James Riley genuinely believe he did not use his Gem-A credit card for the purposes for which the council has found he used it. They may even believe that he did use if for those purposes but consider that this was a minor misdemeanour that did not warrant disciplinary action. We could not disagree more,” the letter states.
Click here to download the August 17 letter from Gem-A’s board to its members: Gem-A Trustee’s letter to members.