Two board members of the Magic netball franchise have
resigned over the dumping of successful chief executive
Dawson had to reapply for the top job after a new governing
body, the Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty Zone, was
established. She has been involved with the Magic since 2002.
The crucial role she played in guiding the franchise to
become the first New Zealand team to win the transtasman ANZ
Championship was rewarded with the Tauranga Excellence in
Business Leadership Award for 2012. But she failed to make
the final shortlist for the new role.
Board members Shirley Baker and Paula Thompson found it
impossible to continue on after Dawson missed out to
43-year-old Aucklander Tim Hamilton.
"We don't understand how they came to this decision," Baker
"We just don't get it. The reaction we have got from all the
netball centres of Harbourside, Rotorua, Whakatane, Katikati,
Te Puke, Opotiki and Kawerau has been one of disbelief. And
tears, everyone has shed tears over it.
"They feel vulnerable and are definitely worried about their
futures. The ones I have talked to are struggling to express
their feelings and are dumbfounded."
Thompson was also not happy with how the selection process
"I believe the selection was manifestly unfair. In my view
Sheryl, given her competencies and attributes and experience,
should have been in the final cut for the shortlist. For her
to miss out was very unkind and that is the reason for my
"Netball NZ ran a recruitment process on behalf of the zone.
Five people were shortlisted and interviewed by the zone
board and we were told we had to fill in a sheet with our
preferred candidates to go forward to the final shortlist.
Sheryl was not in that cut. I found that extraordinary.
"I have worked with Sheryl extensively over the years and
over that time have grown to have immense respect and
admiration for her many qualities and she has an incredible
passion for netball."
Board chairman John Wiltshire, a Hamilton-based sports
lawyer, is disappointed that they have resigned over this
"The process at board level was always clear and everyone
understood and accepted how the process was going to be
developed," he said.
"So their choosing to resign has been very disappointing
indeed for me personally and I wish they hadn't."
Wiltshire made the final decision with Netball NZ chief
executive Raelene Castle and Sport New Zealand's
Auckland-based relationship manager, whose name Wiltshire was
unable to recall.
"I can't really comment on why [Dawson] was passed over in
terms of employment and privacy, but the board had a focus
and a new sort of job description that Netball NZ had
indicated that they wanted us to start out with.
"It was a clean slate and there were a number of very good
candidates but we can only pick one really."
Dawson was overseas and unavailable for comment.
- By Peter White of the Bay of Plenty Times