Raymond W L Powell

Document Archive 2014-2015


Name of document - Rebuttal E-mail to Executive Re:Honorary Treasurer's Objections

Format of original document - Text saved in MS Word 2000/ME

Date of document - 12/06/15

Return to Quainton First Page

RWLP Election Address to AGM 2014

Copy of Address by Vice President Mr A Bratton to AGM 2014


Business Report to Executive Committee June 2015

Honorary Treasurer's objections to Business Report

Catering e-mails to Officers of QRS
June 2nd
June 4th

Audit trail of e-mails regarding Commercial Manager's refusal to acknowledge seniority of Trustees
May 2015
March 2015
June 2014

David Aplin's interventions
May 2015


This document was circulated by e-mail to all Executive members on the evening of 12 June 2015 and verbally presented to the Executive Committee by the Hon. Secretary on Saturday 13 June.

To All Members of the Executive,

Agenda item 5; Replacement of Catering Manager

I am afraid I have to take issue with David Aplin's remarks and and conclusion detailed in his Agenda item 5 summary and refute them entirely.

Throughout my dealings with the matter of replacing Tina our Catering Manager Laura has been at the forefront of my considerations. I have been in almost continuous contact with her by telephone, text and personal conversation. David says I did not speak with Laura on the 10th June before we had a meeting with a prospective new catering manager. This is untrue as I talked to Laura immediately on arrival at the Centre to assure myself that she was still not wanting the job as Catering Manager. I explained to her I was asking her because of the long e-mail that John Hatton had sent around a few days previously. Her reply to me was that she did not know what she wanted and I reassured her that she would have my support in any way she required even if she was interested in the longer term to take a greater interest in the engineering at Quainton. I also re-affirmed to her that should she change he mind later about wanting to become our Catering Manager any arrangement that might be entered into with others will be the subject of a review later in the year. Laura had been reassured by me in this regard the previous Wednesday 3rd June when I had extensive conversation with her about the possibilities of our using for a period an outside labour facility. I am beginning to wonder if people are putting words into Laura's mouth or if she is saying to other what she thinks they each want to hear.

Throughout my whole consideration of this matter emanating from the date of Peter's E-mail of May 31st that I quoted within my report I have studiously kept the Officers informed of my activities step by step. I have e-mail records to show should anyone wish to peruse them though I don't doubt that Peter and Brian will verify. It is not my practice to inundate all Trustees with ongoing Business matters. At no time did any of the Officers advise me that my actions were unacceptable.

It is true that initially I broadly supported David's view of the uplifting of Laura's role to Temporary Catering Manager but this was heavily caveated in terms of her qualifications and lacking management experience or training. I suggested this should be the responsibility for QRS to provide in order to elevate Laura's confidence and self esteem which at present I believe is an issue we should consider. Again, David chooses not to mention these details although in the event it was not an issue for me in the light of Laura's quite unequivocal statement to me during an early telephone conversation which I quoted in my report. (&ldots; she did not wish to be lumbered with the job of Catering Manager.) You will also not be aware that I defended her against reservations that Peter expressed in an e-mail to fellow officers regarding the cleanliness of the toilets. May I say again that at every opportunity I have included Laura in any conversation I have had with others in connection with this business.

I have already stated that at no time did I receive any indication from the Officers that my actions were questionable. I do not recognise the details bulleted in David's agenda Item 5 resume as I have never received them.

David continues to assert various untruths in his paragraph regarding the meeting on the afternoon of June 10th. I was initially pleased that both David and Brian made the time to attend this meeting at which Mrs Eaton had been invited to present her proposals having visited us the week before and met with Laura who by and large explained what we do a Quainton in terms of the current catering. I was concerned that David, within minutes of the meeting being in progress, interrupted me and attempted to take control of the proceedings including by way of rubbishing my knowledge of the catering operation. The meeting became difficult from that point on as David continued to assert himself and discomfort Mrs Eaton. At no time did he ask if she was qualified to cook food. Furthermore, as I attempted to close the meeting by gaining some form of quotation from Mrs Eaton it was David who suggested that she was not in a position to provide these details as she had insufficient knowledge of our catering requirements. It was at this point that Mrs Eaton offered to carry out the catering on the 21st of June in order to assuage David's doubts. SHE DID NOT STATE THAT SHE WAS NOT YET IN A POSITION TO GIVE COSTS AND BENEFITS OR EVEN COMMIT HERSELF AND HER COMPANY TO DOING THIS. In this regard David was the one who declined to have this information in direct opposition to me. I don't think the lady knew which way to turn at this point while she wished to please everyone.

I am dismayed and profoundly disappointed with David's assertion that I was not aware of our catering operations sufficient to pursue this matter. It was not relevant to the matter in hand as I am quite sure any person taking over the Catering Management would soon adapt to these arrangements and in Mrs Eaton's case better them. Neither was I was dismissive of the important contribution of John Hatton at this meeting nor at any other time. Indeed I was making it clear that all takings would continue to pass through our cashier John Hatton manning the Point of Sale as I have made clear in my report. I am shocked that a man of the cloth can make these things up although he may be confused by the fact that our new point of sale not yet commissioned is designed partly to reduce some errors that are well known to be perpetrated by John in charging visitors different amounts for the same meals. (He has done this to me several times!)

David then goes on to state he corrected my “Hunch” and then something about “corrected the situation by stating that the decision would be made by the Exec when sufficient information was available”. I really don't know what this is about or relate it to the content of the meeting. Maybe it relates to an earlier statement where David claims it was obvious throughout the meeting that I had decided to appoint Cheryl Eaton as Catering Manager. First I had made it clear it was not within my gift to make such appointments and that any appointment would be made by the Executive Committee. The fact that I made a positive stance towards Mrs Eaton should not be confused with my indicating this is not a done deal which I made clear in my report. It is and was my opinion a viable option for the Executive Committee to consider and in the absence of any other option I would suggest that the Executive take up the offer. I have also made it clear in my report there may be a danger the arrangements will fail but I think it disingenuous for David to suggest Mrs Eaton represents an unprofessional personage even if he favours directly employing someone else.

David compounds his disingenuous remarks by insinuation Mrs Eaton is only a sandwich maker possibly in the genre of old BR fare whereas the screen shot from the Barnies web site clearly contradict these remarks and I can vouch for the cooked food items that Mrs Eaton brought to the meeting as samples of her products at Barnies. As it happens I believe there is a significant degree of synergy to be gained by making an arrangement with Mrs Eaton as I have detailed in my report. I can see no points of our respective interests being compromised as it is true that Mrs Eaton core business is centred on a small fleet of sandwich vans taking food to commercial premises in and around Aylesbury during weekdays. She has a small team of regular staff and backed up by a “bank” of other who frequently are employed on a casual but regular basis.

I have to say in conclusion I am seriously discomforted by David's intervention in this business so much so I am inclined to advise Mrs Eaton not to pursue the matter. In fact this is not the first occasion when I have felt that David is intervening in almost every aspect of the running of our Society and many of you may have noticed this for yourselves. I have to say I find David's attitude to me rather negative and I did not join the QRS as a volunteer to be treated as recalcitrant employee as I come from a moderately successful business background whereas I doubt that David has ever had to have several tens of thousands of pounds at risk while in the employment of the Royal Mail. I have better things to do than write tedious refutations such as this document.

Raymond Powell
(Business Portfolio Trustee - QRS Ltd)