The fall of BEST: Board waited months to replace CEO

BEST Community Development had more than $10 million in assets when long-standing chief executive Ron Stone retired in 2011, but the board waited six months to advertise his vacant position.

Mr Stone, who retired in November 2011, said he was “extremely disappointed” to hear of “the winding up of what had been one of Australia’s leading community organisations”.

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“Although BEST CD’s main income generator, Best Employment, was no longer providing the income that was essential to sustain numerous community programs, the organisation had assets in excess of $10 million when I retired,” he said.

He added he could “not understand why the board had taken more than six months to advertise the vacant CEO position”, but that was a question that would need to be put to the board chairman Erich Sinkis.

“BEST CD was renowned for its development and implementation of some outstanding programs,” Mr Stone said.

“It had been a privilege to work with an outstanding group of staff members who were committed to the organisation’s mission.”

The Courier has repeatedly attempted to contact Mr Sinkis, but calls have not been returned.

"The organisation had assets in excess of $10 million when I retired"

Romanis Cant, an accountancy firm in Melbourne which provides liquidation and insolvency services, yesterday indicated that a media statement would be released on Monday.

BEST’s Maryborough office is now operating as Skills Plus and the building was listed for sale for offers above $245,000 with leaseback.

Skills Plus has moved into 2 East Street South, the former home of the employment arm of BEST, which the co-operative once bought on the open market and redeveloped.

Moves to transfer BEST’s Victoria Street headquarters to Skills Plus been complicated by an “onerous contract”.

BEST’s Interclub program is still running from its long-term address at 4 Havelock Street after being transferred to BRACE Education and Training.

The former Golden Point Primary School on the corner of English and Dunn streets is also “proposed to remain” available to community groups.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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