I've had to wear a sling for my jaw, it dropped so far on reading 'riba News - Lifting Staff Morale' (aj 23.3.00). You quoted the director general as announcing 'new plans' to offer riba staff permanent contracts and a pension plan - they enjoyed these advantages until his arrival in the mid-1990s, but one wonders if this reversion to decent employment practice from the middle of the last century is not too radical a step. Will there also be a change from the situation whereby staff's futures are at the mercy of one individual's impulses - here today, gone tomorrow (and back the next day, if you're Roula Konzotis)?
However, as you indicate, 'Reid said staff morale had been damaged by the terms', and the aim is to cut turnover and attract better candidates for jobs. The implication is that turnover is too high, candidates for jobs are not good enough (bad news for recent appointees!) and morale is unsatisfactory - a tasty menu for the next director general.
But your report concluded with something even more bizarre: the reserves are now £127,000 in the black, not much of an achievement with the size of the budget, but never mind that it accompanies the mind-boggling claim that the institute had a £2.5 million deficit in 1994. This was the year Reid took over from Lord Rodgers as director general, Frank Duffy, who appointed him, was president, Alan Willis was the highly regarded honorary treasurer and the current director, finance, was finance officer. The implication must be that they - and the then council - allowed, and did not admit to, a deficit that represented a large proportion of the riba's annual income at the time.
I cannot remember the shock, horror, dismissals and resignations normally attendant upon such a calamity - some mistake or what? Whose fantasy world are we living in?
Peter Gibbs-Kennet, Bisley, Gloucestershire