BHETA has hit back at Charles Harrison’s description of its financial performance as “appalling” by accusing Harrison himself of knocking the association off course.
Harrison, who is standing for role of BHETA president, told HousewaresLive.net last week that “members have not been receiving best value, the assets are dwindling away and the situation is not sustainable”.
However, in an exclusive statement made to HousewaresLive.net, the BHETA board says that Harrison has caused damaging “disruption and distractions”, and is also partly to blame for the dwindling membership.
The statement says: “The board has recognised for some time that the association had to reduce costs at all levels and this is one of the major drivers for a merge with the British Jewellery, Gift and Finishing Federation.
“This strategy was on course until Charles Harrison called for an EGM which was followed by a period of disruption, distractions of senior staff who should have been attending to members’ needs and expensive legal costs to prevent the integrity of the association being put in jeopardy.
“This and all of the negative publicity over BHETA are one of the key contributing factors to membership revenue declining.”
It goes on: “A full set of revised projections was presented to members at the BHETA Open Forum on January 14 2010 at Federation House in an open and transparent way with a question and answer session at the end. These were also available at the Open House during the Spring Fair at the NEC.”
The statement emphasises that the board still believes that retaining a long-term relationship with the BJGFF would result in returning BHETA’s finances to surplus and at the same time meet members’ expectations.
“Because of this,” it goes on, “the board is keen that members cast their vote in the forthcoming election so that a new team can draw a line under the current situation with a clear mandate to move the association forward and let it get on with the business of delivering member benefits.”
The board also responded to Harrison’s reaction to BHETA’s earlier statement that sector directors Will Jones and Peter Stone would be advising members on the way to vote at the AGM on June 3.
Harrison said it was “outrageous [to seek] to use paid executive directors…to make recommendations to members on how to vote”.
However, according to the BHETA statement: “The sector directors’ role is very clear in the process, in that they will only make recommendations to members in the event that members request their input, and this was clearly stated in details sent out to members this week.”
John Newcomb is also standing for BHETA president.