Melbourne South Yarra Residents’ Group President, Michael Butcher, continues to bring South Yarra residents and it members into disrepute resulting in calls for his resignation
Mr Butcher who had first called for the replacement of the Group’s Treasurer, Pam Dethridge, because he could not communicate with her, (Pam is death) was criticised for his autocratic and non democratic style of management.
Mr Butcher had also refused to distribute information about the residents association to apartments as he felt that flat dwellers were not interested in community issues or worthy of attention.
Criticism of Mr Butchers style of management came to the forefront in the lead up to the 2016 City of Melbourne Elections following a serious of personal attacks and abuse against the Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle.
Residents were also concerned at the decision of the association to to issue a how to vote card during the election. Many residents felt that the association should not have issued an endorsed ticket and that instead should have organised a ‘Meet the Candidates’ meeting so that local issues confronting South Yarra could have been discussed.
Anthony van der Craats, Local Resident, former member of the MSYRG committee and candidate for last years Lord Mayor election said that Mr Butcher’s style of managements is not in the best interest of the groups members and continues to bring teh association into disrepute. He has refused to raise or pursue a number of issues raised including the proposed Road tunnel under Punt Road, Local amenity and planning issues along St Kilda Road, the lack of Community facilities and heritage concerns in relation to the Goodrest development. ‘If Micheal Butcher was not interested in the issue nothing happens. An example of this was his refusal to support the holding of a public meeting to allow residents to meet the candidates for the state seat of Prahran. The organisation of this event had to be done by others
“Michael Butcher was reluctant to hold any public meetings to engage residents and the groups members. He consistently ignored the rules to the association and only pursues his own agenda which is centered around proposed apartment development at 91 Millswyn Street”
Due to the lack of community facilities the groups’ Committee meetings are held at Mr Butcher’s house in Millswyn Street, making that much more difficult to criticise or oppose Mr Butchers style of management.
Mr van der Craats has said there was a need for an alternative, more democratic and inclusive organisation to represents the community.
The recent decision to increase the MSRG’s membership fees to $45 is another example of the degree of elitism that has been imposed on the association making it one of the most expensive resident groups in Melbourne The organsiation which has around 150 members receives a subsidy of $3,000 by the City of Melbourne. The administrative costs of the association are far less than the fee’s being charged. Most other resident’s associations membership fees are around $10 to $25 a year.
Mr van der Craats says he expects a further decline in membership as a result of Michael Butcher’s ongoing policies of exclusion.