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Roger Lancaster
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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:41 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Thu Oct 17, 2019 1:31 pm
Chris G is a faster reader than me. I was about to say the same thing. Let me quote from Tim's document:
Immediately after the October 2018 AGM closed, Mike Truran assured me there and then at the Ibis Hotel in Birmingham that he wished to proceed quickly to the appointment of the Development Officer, that he wished me to stand for the post and hinted that he would support my candidacy.

[...]

the documents posted by Carl Portman on the ECF website – whether we view them as careless, hubristic, or worse – clearly indicate that he was given to understand by someone in the know that he had the job sewn up before the interviews took place.
Is there not a contradiction there?

Logically, if your allegations are true, the conclusion to this is resignations galore and new people being appointed or elected to most of the roles mentioned here. That wouldn't be ideal, would it?
I had awaited, with some interest, any response from Tim to these two posts. There's no obligation to respond but the suggestion was that Tim was not unhappy when - in his perception, and I include this caveat because Mike Truran might have a different recollection of that October conversation - he felt that he had been accorded preferential status but considered that someone else being accorded this status was grounds for complaint.

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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:48 pm

I read today the article in CHESS by Tim Wall about the history of the Northumbria Masters. It is a good article. Made me think it would be nice if chess organisers could all get along a bit more, though that may be a naive attitude. :(

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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by John Upham » Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:51 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:48 pm
I read today the article in CHESS by Tim Wall about the history of the Northumbria Masters. It is a good article. Made me think it would be nice if chess organisers could all get along a bit more, though that may be a naive attitude. :(
Most chess organisers get on very well.

Some don't.

The chances of there being a post entitled : Chess Organisers cooperate and get on well

is unlikely since it isn't news.
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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Oct 31, 2019 1:05 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:48 pm
I read today the article in CHESS by Tim Wall about the history of the Northumbria Masters. It is a good article. Made me think it would be nice if chess organisers could all get along a bit more, though that may be a naive attitude. :(
I think, by and large, most people here - who include a fairish number of organisers - get along reasonably well. There's plenty of scope for disagreement, sometimes strong disagreement, but most people manage to keep their criticisms civilised. Where I think chess organisers are poor is in failure to co-operate - I know Rob Willmoth has this on his agenda in another thread - with the most conspicuous examples being where nearby congresses/tournaments clash on dates.

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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Chris Goodall » Thu Oct 31, 2019 5:37 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Thu Oct 31, 2019 12:48 pm
I read today the article in CHESS by Tim Wall about the history of the Northumbria Masters. It is a good article. Made me think it would be nice if chess organisers could all get along a bit more, though that may be a naive attitude. :(
No man ever needs to be convinced, either of the need for everyone to get along more, or of his own above-average talent for getting along :)
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Adam Ashton
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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Adam Ashton » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:12 am

TimWall wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:30 am
I have received a reply from Non-Executive Chairman Julian Clissold today. It is breathtaking in its blatant misrepresentation of my complaint, and the way he ignores the Elephant in the Boardroom: That the directors who consider the complaint (or appoint a complaints panel) should not be the same ones who have already voted to uphold the flawed appointment of Carl Portman as Development Officer. It is a clear conflict of interest, and it frankly astounds me that Julian cannot see this.

Julian wrote to me today (1/11/19):

‘As regards your comments relating to the Board decision to appoint the panel, it is clearly necessary to read your complaint of 17th October as a whole and not selectively. On this basis, the Board has quite properly concluded that it was appropriate for all Directors apart from Mike Truran to participate in the decision.’

Really? Then why have the minutes of the October 12 Board meeting been redacted to hide what Julian and his colleagues were discussing? The Elephant in this case is the missing Item No.5:

https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... n-V1-0.pdf

Here is my reply:

1/11/19

Dear Julian,

With the greatest respect, I would simply point out that this is my complaint, not yours, and you are fundamentally (I can only assume deliberately) misrepresenting the nature of my complaint.

I have pointed out that you and the other Directors who voted at the October 12 Board meeting to uphold the flawed appointment of Carl Portman as Development Officer (these are limited to yourself, David Eustace, Adrian Elwin, David Thomas, Julie Denning and Stephen Woodhouse, as the directors who attended the meeting), are ineligible to consider the complaint (or appoint a complaints panel) as you are conflicted by already having made a ruling on the issue.

How you can ignore this Elephant in the Boardroom is beyond me, as the point of governance I have been patiently trying to explain would be easily grasped by a Sixth Form government and politics student.

Namely, officials who are the subject of a complaint cannot, by definition, consider that complaint without a clear conflict of interest.

I should also note that you have conveniently redacted the said Elephant (Item No. 5) from the Board minutes.

This complaint has been utterly mishandled from the start and I repeat my request that the eligible directors - Dominic Lawson, Malcolm Pein, Chris Fegan and Alex Holowczak - be urgently appointed instead to consider the complaint.

Yours sincerely,
Tim Wall
I wish you applied this level of scrutiny to your own tournaments rules and regulations. I'm still waiting for the grounds on which you refused to refund my wife the difference in entry fee when she changed from the open to the lower section at Northumberland, since you did not inform her of any such penalty at the time (quite the opposite you said it was no problem).

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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Angus French » Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:32 am

TimWall wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:30 am
Dear Julian... I have pointed out that you and the other Directors who voted at the October 12 Board meeting to uphold the flawed appointment of Carl Portman as Development Officer...
Tim, possibly I've missed something but can I ask: how do you know the Board discussed Carl's appointment at its 12 October meeting? Also, why do you refer (in several of your letters) to the Board upholding the appointment? Was the appointment in question? If yes, who questioned it?

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Adam Ashton
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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Adam Ashton » Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:27 pm

TimWall wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 2:06 pm
Adam Ashton wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:12 am
I wish you applied this level of scrutiny to your own tournaments rules and regulations. I'm still waiting for the grounds on which you refused to refund my wife the difference in entry fee when she changed from the open to the lower section at Northumberland, since you did not inform her of any such penalty at the time (quite the opposite you said it was no problem).
Hi Adam,
I did consider Yaoyao's complaint very carefully, but found that there was no refund due - a decision that was supported by all the arbiters who had to deal with the various inconveniences before Round 1. I explained this to Yaoyao in person at the English Women's Championship in Hull a few days after the Northumbria Masters, but sadly she did not accept my explanation. I am therefore stating the facts for the record.

I explained to Yaoyao that she and two friends:
a) entered late, and were therefore due to pay a late entry fee of £10 each;
b) entered the wrong tournaments, but we accommodated them so they could enter a different tournament at the last moment;
c) accepted one of the players, who did not have a FIDE ID code and had not checked with his national federation before entering (as was required on the online entry form and website). We took time out to arrange for this player to play under English affiliation after the start of Round 2, so that they could play in the tournament.
d) Allowed the player without a national or FIDE rating to enter a rating limited tournament. The player then won one of the main prizes.
e) Accommodated all three players by giving them half-point byes in Round 1 due to transport delays, even though the confirmation that they would not get to the venue in time came after the time designated for the publication of the first round draw.
Hi Tim,

a) Except you stated at the time there would be no late entry fee, only to change your mind later when you were trying to think of an excuse not to give a refund.
b) Yes they moved tournaments, and if you had stated at that time they would be charged for doing so you may have a point. You didn't.
c) I have absolutely no idea why you consider this relevant.
d) Or this.
e) Or this.

I would add that your initial reaction to Yaoyao bringing this up (before upon further reflection you came up with the mostly irrelevant list above) was that you would have to "check whether you have made a profit first". Given that response, it is hard not to think that this charge was not fairly and correctly applied but you simply thought you 'deserved' it. Tbh I don't really care about the refund, I'm always happy to support chess and I consider it a donation to the tournament. I just think criticism from yourself about not following proper procedure etc is a bit hard to take seriously.

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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:37 pm

TimWall wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 2:06 pm
Adam Ashton wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 11:12 am
I wish you applied this level of scrutiny to your own tournaments rules and regulations. I'm still waiting for the grounds on which you refused to refund my wife the difference in entry fee when she changed from the open to the lower section at Northumberland, since you did not inform her of any such penalty at the time (quite the opposite you said it was no problem).
Hi Adam,
I did consider Yaoyao's complaint very carefully, but found that there was no refund due - a decision that was supported by all the arbiters who had to deal with the various inconveniences before Round 1. I explained this to Yaoyao in person at the English Women's Championship in Hull a few days after the Northumbria Masters, but sadly she did not accept my explanation. I am therefore stating the facts for the record.

I explained to Yaoyao that she and two friends:
a) entered late, and were therefore due to pay a late entry fee of £10 each;
b) entered the wrong tournaments, but we accommodated them so they could enter a different tournament at the last moment;
c) accepted one of the players, who did not have a FIDE ID code and had not checked with his national federation before entering (as was required on the online entry form and website). We took time out to arrange for this player to play under English affiliation after the start of Round 2, so that they could play in the tournament.
d) Allowed the player without a national or FIDE rating to enter a rating limited tournament. The player then won one of the main prizes.
e) Accommodated all three players by giving them half-point byes in Round 1 due to transport delays, even though the confirmation that they would not get to the venue in time came after the time designated for the publication of the first round draw.
I realise the topic of conversation is drifting away from the subject (and I see Adam said much the same but got in first), but...

a) would seem to reduce the refund request by £10.
b) would seem to increase the refund request by the amount of the difference in entry fee between the two sections.
c) to e) would appear to have nothing to do with the entry fee and its potential to be refunded whatsoever.

Speaking as a fellow organiser of events of a variety of statures, including those of the stature of the Northumbria Masters, I think it's very poor to keep hold of money in excess to what should have been paid just because they caused you some organisational problems and extra work. In a typical tournament, 98% of the players have no issues, and some of these things might happen in 2% of the cases. The job of the orgnaiser is to help/sort out these cases, not to decide to charge more money for it. For one thing, it's very poor PR and that can be worth more than the cost of the money you refund.

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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Chris Goodall » Fri Nov 01, 2019 4:38 pm

TimWall wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:30 am
I have received a reply from Non-Executive Chairman Julian Clissold today. It is breathtaking in its blatant misrepresentation of my complaint, and the way he ignores the Elephant in the Boardroom: That the directors who consider the complaint (or appoint a complaints panel) should not be the same ones who have already voted to uphold the flawed appointment of Carl Portman as Development Officer. It is a clear conflict of interest, and it frankly astounds me that Julian cannot see this.
Julian has my full support - this is the second stupidest argument I have ever seen as a chess organiser (after "calculating VAT = slavery").

A decision taken by a quorum is binding upon the whole body. Appeals against such decisions are made to a higher body. If there is no higher body, the decision is final. If the decision was within the body's competence to make, there is no right of appeal to the exact same body on the grounds that "you made the wrong decision, try again". There is certainly no right of appeal to a group consisting of only those members of the whole body who through happenstance were not at a particular meeting and would have been outvoted if they were.

Can I, as an ECF member, make a counter-complaint? My counter-complaint is that we pay membership fees to the ECF so they can promote chess in England, not so they can adjudicate questions of interpersonal politics that are in any case incapable of being remedied without a) creating an actual, legally enforceable claim against the ECF for unfair dismissal, and b) completely hamstringing the Board as a decision-making body by setting a precedent that decisions are provisional until they are ratified by every individual member of the Board.

We have a right to expect that the officials whom we elect actually have the decision-making powers granted to them by the ECF's constitution, which include the ability to make decisions by the majority vote of a quorum. If they do not, then they are not in a position to decide how our membership fees are spent, and we would be justified in withdrawing them and giving them to a governing body that is.

My suggested remedy is the summary dismissal of the earlier complaint.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. Northumbria League hand-cranker; ECF Grader for Bernicia and the NCCU.
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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Roger Lancaster » Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:55 pm

TimWall wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 10:30 am

I have pointed out that you and the other Directors who voted at the October 12 Board meeting to uphold the flawed appointment of Carl Portman as Development Officer (these are limited to yourself, David Eustace, Adrian Elwin, David Thomas, Julie Denning and Stephen Woodhouse, as the directors who attended the meeting), are ineligible to consider the complaint (or appoint a complaints panel) as you are conflicted by already having made a ruling on the issue.

How you can ignore this Elephant in the Boardroom is beyond me, as the point of governance I have been patiently trying to explain would be easily grasped by a Sixth Form government and politics student.

If Tim's argument here were sound then the corollary would seem to be that, if a Board [whether of the ECF or of any other organisation] unanimously reached a decision on a particular subject, then all members of that Board would be disqualified either from either considering, or appointing others to consider, a complaint about that decision. In that case, even if there were some automatic mechanism for dealing with complaints which self-activated without any Board action, those considering the complaint would necessarily be either more junior members of that organisation or outsiders with no connection to it. Neither of these seem to me remotely satisfactory, for reasons that most sixth-formers should be able to understand and which presumably don't need spelling out here.

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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:05 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 6:55 pm

If Tim's argument here were sound then the corollary would seem to be that, if a Board [whether of the ECF or of any other organisation] unanimously reached a decision on a particular subject, then all members of that Board would be disqualified either from either considering, or appointing others to consider, a complaint about that decision. In that case, even if there were some automatic mechanism for dealing with complaints which self-activated without any Board action, those considering the complaint would necessarily be either more junior members of that organisation or outsiders with no connection to it. Neither of these seem to me remotely satisfactory
For what it's worth, and again I have no view on the dispute itself, isn't this why you have such things as independent panels to consider complaints, which do precisely involve outsiders?
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Re: Complaint to ECF Board about CEO Mike Truran re. Development Officer appointment

Post by Roger Lancaster » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:24 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:05 pm
For what it's worth, and again I have no view on the dispute itself, isn't this why you have such things as independent panels to consider complaints, which do precisely involve outsiders?
Justin, I think the short answer is that - at some point - the independent panel would have been appointed by the Board and its independence could be challenged [and different people will have different views on the validity of such challenges] on exactly those grounds.

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