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Open Letter to CAMS clubs

Shane Rogers, a former CAMS employee, has written a letter to all CAMS affiliated clubs regarding the state of affairs within CAMS. Shane has allowed Conrod to reproduce the letter here as well as speaking to us to explain the reason behind his actions.

Michael Shaw: Why have you written this letter to all of the CAMS affiliated clubs?

Shane Rogers: This is not something one does for ideal amusement. I wouldn't have done this if I didn't believe this is an issue that is worth of consideration for all CAMS club, competitors and officials.

MS: What was the trigger for the writing of the letter?

SR: Any administration accountable to a large group of members should be efficient and more importantly, transparent. Unfortunately the situation that is happening now is when performance decreases the administration hides the problems, rather than making a concious decision address the problem.

MS: Does this mean you think CAMS, as a whole, is going the wrong way?

SR: I think, in general, CAMS is heading in the right direction consitiutionally. My concern is they're not holding onto staff right now, and they are losing are the good ones; the ones with the experience to pull off the restructure.

The Board should be disgusted that the administration is not only performing badly, but also not being transparent in its dealings with the membership. I'm hoping this will prompt some sort of action from the Board, but it will require the state councils to take action.

MS: You used to work at CAMS...

SR: I'm aware that this could come off as a disgruntled ex-employee bitching because he's not there anymore. I don't think i'd volunteer my time on a national committee if I was a disgruntled ex-employee, and I frankly don't think CAMS would have allowed the appointment if they thought that either.

MS: What's wrong with centralising permits?

SR: The key problem with nationalising functions in Melbourne is they always try cash in the people saving straight away. If it takes five people to run it being managed from 6 locations, it's still going to take 5 people to run it in one location, unless you improve processes or technology. They've done neither, and that's why it hasn't worked.

MS: Where do you think CAMS should go from here?

SR: I don't think any organisation, which isn't expanding or contracting, should be in a position where they need to hire 20% of their staff at once. Restructure or no restructure, it's bad man management. The sad part is we're hiring good people a majority of the time, they just get in the building, get frustruated with management and leave. They have no direction there at the moment, there's no sign of any direction, and unless the board implores the CEO to give the administration better direction with more detailed position descriptions and better processes, it's not going to get any better.


Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to you regarding an issue that is of fundamental importance to the future of Australian motor sport at all levels, in all categories.

Unfortunately for Australian motor sport, the governing body CAMS, is presently being managed to within an inch of its administrative life, by elements of senior management that have no understanding of the disastrous consequences of doing so.

During their respective tenures, the current CEO, Mr Graham Fountain, and CAMS Finance Manager, Ms Sandra Lordanic, have with the complicity of elements of the Board, led CAMS into the administrative decline in the past two years, with that decline accelerating gravely in the past ten months.

Evidence of that decline is manifest throughout the entire organisation:

  • This year to date, the Member Services (Licensing) department have failed to meet their acceptable service targets every month. In the first three months, it was less than 70% when compared to the benchmark 95%. In April, it was 35%. This is because the department has been starved of resources and technology to the point where they are not equipped to process the number of licences required in the most critical time of the year for new competitors. The alarming 35% figure was due to the Finance Manager electing not to replace a key staff member on leave. The response to the issue was to avoid accountability by suppressing the publication of service results on the CAMS website.
  • A centralisation of the Event Permit application process to the National Office this year has been so badly project managed that CAMS had to resort to a media communication on the 15th of April to placate valid concerns of event organisers.
  • A CEO-led restructure of the CAMS communication department has facilitated the decline in quality of CAMS’ public communications to the point where the incredibly vague sentence:
    "The feedback from those that have already had the opportunity to see the proposal is that, it makes a lot of sense; is nothing that wasn’t expected from such a review; and it is obvious the Board have put a lot of thought into it."
    is apparently acceptable in a communication about the governance restructure; one of the most important communications to the membership in recent history.
  • There have been no significant computer system upgrades that contribute to productivity improvement since 2006, due to an apparent cost driven strategic outsourcing strategy. While key licensing systems that were previously stable crash daily, the IT consultants are still getting paid. An IT strategic plan developed over 12 months ago, has made no apparent progress.
  • A strategic planning process underway announced no administrative initiatives other than the proposed governance restructure. Consequently, no significant objectives have been achieved. The contrast in progress to the last strategic plan at the same stage is stark.
  • Key staff members with significant accumulated experience and specialist ability have been lost, frustrated by a lack of resources and support from the CEO. Less than a third of the staff that worked at the CAMS national office two years ago remain today, a significant loss of corporate memory. Their replacements are largely unfamiliar with the industry and ill-equipped to do the job they were hired to do.

    Nine vacancies were advertised on the CAMS website at the same time earlier this year, 18% of the current staff. And that does not include three managers (two senior) who have left since, leaving further critical roles vacant.

CAMS is in the process of an organisational review which for the first time focuses on issues of governance, organisational design/restructure and consultation with members. In the big picture, this is a much needed restructure. My concern is that there may not be any people of sufficient skill left within the CAMS administration to manage the process once the restructure is complete.

CAMS has approached a critical time in its 54 year history. A time, which if not handled correctly, will impact on the viability and operation of motor sport in this country for many years to come.

CAMS desperately needs strong, effective administrative leadership to guide it through these tumultuous times. Unfortunately all that the current leadership is delivering is an administration so ill-equipped to achieve its objectives, that before too long, not even a newly restructured Board will be able to repair the damage being caused.

One of the responsibilities required of a board is responsible stewardship: If the CAMS Board wish to fulfil this responsibility effectively then they must take immediate action and address the complete failure of the CEO and Finance Manager to manage the CAMS administration and halt the downward spiral.

The time to fix this is now, and the responsibility lies with the current CAMS Board, to ensure the future of Australian motor sport.

Yours faithfully

Shane Rogers
Member – CAMS National Track Safety Committee
CAMS Information Technology Manager, 2003-2005