Softball NZ board promises new direction

TONY SMITH
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2012
Black Sox
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ
DOWN TO LAST OUT: The Black Sox men's softball team face an uncertain future after March's world championship in Auckland, with the international governing bodies of softball and baseball merging.

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No heads rolled but the Softball New Zealand board has promised to conduct a comprehensive review of the sport after a special general meeting yesterday.

Ten associations called the meeting after expressing widespread concern at SNZ's governance and management.

SNZ acting chairwoman Nicky Sherriff said the meeting ended with "a commitment to work on a series of initiatives" aimed at building stronger connections between SNZ and its membership.

"We had a robust and constructive discussion around many of the issues facing softball and how we can address them," she said.

"The board has committed to the feedback and taking the agreed actions forward into a new long-term strategic plan which we are about to begin work on.

"This is very much the start of a process and we have committed - at all levels of the sport - to support it and make positive changes."

Sherriff said the meeting agreed several "action items", including a "review of the whole of softball and how it is delivered, greater engagement with the associations and greater transparency and communication".

The associations issued a document, Rebuilding Our Foundations, which called for a new five-year vision for softball and the appointment of a "high-energy change manager" to lead SNZ.

A vote of no confidence was not called for at the meeting and no motions were presented about personnel issues, said a meeting attendee, who told The Press the board and management had got the message loud and clear.

"It was a very positive meeting. Everyone is prepared to let the board get on with [the review]. Nicky Sherriff stood up and said ‘the board have heard you'."

SNZ general manager Dane Dougan is to prepare a series of timelines for the review process.

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