Two key personalities of the Filipino Community Council of Victoria Inc. (FCCVI), Norma Serrano, FCCVI Centre Manager, and Perla Luetic, FCCVI Chairperson, have developed friendships in the past paving the way for an efficient management of the umbrella body of all Filipino organisations in Victoria. However, for some reasons this friendship has turned sour the past few months. Sadly, the animosity is in a way having an impact on the operations of FCCVI and its funding body, the Philippine Australia Foundation Inc. (PAFI) causing discomfort not only to staff members but to the volunteers as well.
Meeting the service standard
While an internal conflict is happening, Luetic is proud to announce that FCCVI recently garnered a perfect score of 18/18 for service delivery when assessed by the Australian government. “We should maintain the credibility of the organisation. Whatever is personal, put it aside. Envy and jealousy will pull us down,” she said.
Issues of concern
In a special meeting held last 5 June 2015, issues such as leadership and management problems, lack of communication, blurred boundaries of employer-employee relationships, money matters and roles of officers were discussed.
Melba Marginson, Executive Director of the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women’s Coalition, who served as mediator gave both sides time to explain their sides. “How did it become so big that there are now two factions?” she asked, urging everyone to protect the larger group, the Filipino community. Representatives from member organisations of FCCVI and PAFI also shared their thoughts about the brewing factionalism and suggested ways to improve the system.
Marginson enumerated immediate actions to take. A staff meeting should be scheduled immediately to further discuss the governance issues while the two leaders sit down together to talk and hopefully make amends. The executive committee should also perform a proper process of performance review for all the staff. There should also be a strategic planning session that should be conducted as soon as possible.
While it may appear that the meeting has ended in a positive note, some say this is not so. The meeting, they believe, did not discuss in detail major items of concern such as eligibility requirements of a paid staff, bullying, issues about the constitution or attempts to discredit leadership.
In 2006, the FCCVI and PAFI were in crisis leading to a court case and formation of a caretaker committee.