BASS Coast Ratepayers and Residents Association President, Kevin Griffin, its founding figure and driving force, has resigned.
Still reeling from the shock announcement at the weekend, the group is yet to appoint a new president.
A heated exchange of correspondence between Mr Griffin and members of the Bass Coast Council, including Cr Pam Rothfield and Cr Geoff Ellis, precipitated his departure.
But it has been claimed by Mr Griffin that treachery, from within the group itself, sealed the decision.
“The committee acted unilaterally and without prior consultation with me and you can’t do that as a committee. It undermines me.”
Mr Griffin acknowledged it was an exchange of letters between Cr Rothfield and himself, writing as a private individual, that caused the trouble.
“I wrote privately to Pam to rebut what she said, point by point, and I felt I did that fairly clearly.
“I sent a copy of the letter to the other councillors so they would know what had transpired and I left it up to Pam to decide if she wanted to make the letter public.”
But Mr Griffin claims one of councillors got back to the committee members without his knowledge and spoke to the group.
He claims the committee disassociated itself from what he had said in a private email but failed to contact him about it.
“I felt it undermined me and I’ve decided to give it away,” he told the Sentinel-Times.
His resignation comes at a crucial time with the quadrennial council elections being staged in a months’ time and candidate nominations opening this Wednesday.
But a spokesperson for the BCRRA, Andrew Marston, says the work of the group will go on.
“At the end of the day, we’re extremely grateful. He’s done a lot of great work and the BCRRA would not exist without him. He got it off the ground in 2016 and it has made some important gains for the community,” said Mr Marston said.
But the work of the group will go ahead.
“We’re finalising our questionnaire for candidates and we’ll have it out to them as soon as we have a full list of those running.”
Mr Marston said the responses and the candidates’ statements would be published on the association’s website for the community to read, but there would not be voting recommendations posted.
Asked why he thought Mr Griffin had resigned, Mr Marston said “no comment”.
But he acknowledged that the former president’s statements, as a private citizen, may have blurred the lines between the agreed position of the association and Mr Griffin’s own opinion.
“We’re grateful for the tremendous amount of work he has put in and the work of the association will continue.”
Cr Rothfield has been asked to comment, however in a recent response, the former mayor said this:
“We came to learn that if one didn’t acquiesce to Mr Griffin’s demands or calls, one would be the recipient of a barrage of emails, letters and social media postings containing baseless allegations, in the name of his ratepayer group.
“It seems that he overlooked the fact that Councillors are democratically elected individuals with individual thoughts and opinions, and not a mouthpiece for any organisation or group.”