Softball New Zealand forced to cut jobs
Softball New Zealand has been forced to cut five staff positions in a "cost-slashing" exercise after losing almost half its charity gaming trust funding.
SNZ general manager Dane Dougan would not reveal the exact amount involved but The Press understands it was a significant six-figure sum.
Its annual accounts for 2011-2012 did not have a specific line item for charity gaming income but SNZ, which had a total revenue of around $2m, received $990,490 in "sponsorship and support".
Dougan said yesterday SNZ's main funders were Sport New Zealand and High Performance Sport New Zealand, charity gaming trusts and player and associations levies. He said gaming trust grants "aren't ours of right" but it was still a big blow to lose "almost half" of last year's allocation.
SNZ, based in Lower Hutt, was forced to review its operations after learning of the funding cut. A review led to the 12.5 full-time equivalent staff roles being reduced to 7.5, Dougan said.
The only positions retained were general manager and finance director. "All other roles were made redundant."
The surplus roles included SNZ's entire high performance division - high performance manager, national coaching director and national pitching adviser.
Those roles were held respectively by Nick Cowan - better known as double Olympic Games shot put gold medallist Valerie Adams' manager - White Sox national women's head coach Naomi Shaw and White Sox assistant-coach and former world champion pitcher Debbie Mygind. Cowan had been in his role only since January.
Dougan said the four regional game development officer (RGDO) positions were also made redundant, along with the association and tournament's officer and business development roles.
"It certainly wasn't a performance issue by any stretch of the imagination. In a perfect world, we wouldn't be changing . . . but we have to cut our cloth to suit.
"It hasn't been a cost-cutting exercise, it's been a cost-slashing exercise."
Dougan said the redundant roles would be replaced by five "generalist rather than specialist" positions - softball manager, tournament and events co-ordinator and three softball officers with responsibility for "softball development, national development and organisational development".
The softball manager will take over responsibility for the national coaching programme. Staff members whose roles were made redundant are eligible to apply for the new jobs. Dougan hopes the appointees will start by November 1.
The lack of specialist, dedicated high performance personnel will be of concern to the softball fraternity, especially with pitching being such a fundamental part of softball success.
Dougan agreed "it's not ideal" but said the situation had been discussed with Shaw, as White Sox coach and Eddie Kohlhase, head coach of the Black Sox men's team.
Kohlhase was given an assurance the Black Sox would continue to receive maximum support through to the men's world championships in Auckland in March.
Dougan said the timing was tough "with the softball season about to start" and the White Sox and Junior Black soon to embark on overseas assignments and the Black Sox due to tour internally next month.
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