It's nice to see a trustee put their head above the parapet:-)
I think it goes further than this.
With respect at your first meeting you have to choose the chairman.
Do we really want a chairman who exercises such poor judgement when
the problem was pointed out to him before the vote?
As the matter was obviously not discussed by the Trustees prior to
the notice of AGM being sent to members, I can only assume it was
determined by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Chairman
and probably vice-chairman. Without seeing the chairman's rationale
for choosing the candidates, I can only assume that it was that the
trustee not re-elected was at odds with the views of the chairman.
At the 2009 AGM, I was the only one who voted against the new
Articles of Association - there was no opportunity for debate and
there were a number of points that I was and still are unhappy about.
When I was vice-chairman of the Guild of One-Name Studies, we changed
the constitution of GOONS by an SGM purely for that purpose. Boring
I know, but every changed clause was voted on individually after
discussion. It certainly produced a much more robust and democratic
constitution which was agreed at an SGM in 1996 and apart form some
very minor tinkering in 2006 has stood the test of time - Seems to me
that ours has fallen at the first hurdle...
I think we need a constitutional working party setup that consists of
trustees (not the chairman and vice-chairman), members of staff and
ordinary members such that a balance is achieved to give the
trustees power to set policy, the CEO to be allowed to manage the day
to day operation without interference and protect any abuse of
members rights and to somehow put right this current wrong without
too much expense to the Society.
At 22:01 01/07/2011, you wrote:
I was shocked, as were many others (certainly those whom I spoke to
the meeting) by the proxy vote and its repercussions. I, a newish trustee,
was caught totally unawares.
Among the effects of the Chairman's choice of candidates to vote for are:-
a)* the loss of a dynamic chairman of the Society's education
committee*whom I believe all members of the committee respect in his
chairman. (The chairman of the committee has to be a trustee.) During the
last year of the Education committee one of the major achievements was the
launching of the online SoG/Pharos intermediate certificate course in Family
History, a forward looking project that is already viewed as successful.
The chairman of the education committee did much to bring this to fruition.
He also fought vigorously to introduce new blood to the committee.
b) *the raising of the average age of trustees* by losing the youngest and
only trustee in his 30s. The chairman of SoG made a statement relating to
gender representation following the discussion at last year's AGM but, while
gender representation is very important so also is having as wide an age
representation as possible. At 66 I am below the median age of the
trustees; this can't be healthy. About half the trustees are in their
eighth decade and now none is below their fifth decade!
c) *possibly cowing trustees of a different viewpoint to the chairman*.
When I come up for re-election by rotation in 2 years time and if I have
been of a different viewpoint on issues to the chairman it is possible that
I might not gain his/her exercised proxy votes. The chairman over a few
years could substantially mould the trustees.
I vote in other organisations (charities like SoG) and often assign my proxy
vote for business matters to the chairman. I do not assign my proxy vote
for candidates for positions because I am given the opportunity to vote by
post and/or online having had circulated to me the candidates' statements.
This is not SoG practice for the proxy form sent to us only gives an option
to appoint a named proxy or the chairman as proxy. Voters at the AGM have a
short statement from each candidate to consider; this could easily have gone
to members with the other AGM papers.
Clearly this issue will come up at the next trustees' meeting.
On 1 July 2011 16:35, Tim Powys-Lybbe <tim(a)powys.org> wrote:
> On 30 Jun at 14:59, J F Wilby <wilbyres(a)ntlworld.com> wrote:
> > Hi Tim
> > it does seem a bit of an odd arrangement
> > when I get voting papers from other organisations they usually give
> > you a choice of
> > listing who you want to vote for
> > OR
> > allowing the Chairman to vote as they see fit
> > but the voter has the choice
> > would something similar be suitable do you think ?
> The problem is that of the block vote. I do not think anyone should
> have the right to decide the votes of more than one person, thereby
> exercising a block vote. Carte blanche choice by a nominee is
> undemocratic in a member based social organisation where each memebr has
> the same amount of votes.
> Note that the nominee at SoG AGMs does not have to be the Chairman of
> Trustees, it can, I understand, be anyone and this is what happened, to
> a small extent, at the AGM.
> Tim Powys-Lybbe tim(a)powys.org
> for a miscellany of bygones: http://powys.org/
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