ECF AGM 17/10/20

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Mick Norris
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Mick Norris » Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:55 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:12 am
John Swain wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 10:01 am
The candidates have been announced:
A contested election for Director of Home Chess, Nigel Towers v Tim Wall
The MCF AGM last night decided to vote for Nigel
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:55 pm

Ian Thompson wrote:
Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:26 pm
the Governance Committee's thoughts on the proposal.
There's precedent in the American constitution. Presidents are limited to two terms in office and that's been in place since Roosevelt. However if a Vice President becomes President as happened to Johnson in 1963 and Ford in 1975, they would be allowed to stand two more times for President in their own name. So LBJ was re-elected in 1964 and was intending to stand in 1968 until anti-Vietnam activists in his own party caused him to stand down.

David Gilbert
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by David Gilbert » Wed Sep 30, 2020 2:42 pm

The Silver Reps have now issued their consultation email. John and Tim describe the NCCU proposal as "tidying up". Really? They should understand that this is a wrecking amendment that will cause fundamental damage. I hope the NCCU will withdraw the proposal before the AGM and, as Ian Thompson has highlighted, allow time for the Governance Committee to work with the Chair of Council, in discussion with Members, with a view to putting a proposal to Finance Council in April 2021. That sounds sensible to me. I hope Silver members will put their views to John & Tim.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:11 pm

David Gilbert wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 2:42 pm
allow time for the Governance Committee to work with the Chair of Council, in discussion with Members, with a view to putting a proposal to Finance Council in April 2021.
It was Gerry Walsh who as President of the BCF and then BCF appeared to regard both that position and that of FIDE Delegate as lifetime appointments and had to be prised from office, at the second attempt in the case of FIDE Delegate. Prior to that it appeared to have been a possibly unwritten rule starting from around the 1940s that being President of the BCF was only a three or four year stint.

Some rule is desirable, it's not so clear what length of time should be the maximum.

Mick Norris
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Mick Norris » Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:17 pm

The Bronze reps also have:
The resolutions likely to prompt some debate are:

1) Term Limits for Directors

It’s proposed that ECF directors should retire after serving two terms in office (unless the AGM doesn’t elect a replacement). If the post is unfilled at the AGM, the Board of Directors would be able to reappoint the outgoing director.

Our view: This seems sensible, as it helps to encourage new and talented people to stand for the Board.

2) Direct Member Representatives

The resolution states that Direct Member representatives should only be members of the category they are representing.

Our view: These posts have been difficult to fill in past years, so it is not clear that this is a helpful restriction.

3) Working Group to assess Covid-safety of chess events

There is a proposal that a Working Group be formed to offer advice to organisers of clubs, congresses and other events on preparing Risk Assessment documents and getting safely restarted.

Our view: This is a very helpful idea in the current crisis and should be supported.
And just in case you weren't clear what's going on:
The Director of Home Chess election is between Tim Wall, a well-known coach for the ECF Academy and organiser of the Northumbria Masters, and Nigel Towers, who is secretary to the Board of Directors and has been ECF Manager of Online Chess over the last few months.

Our view: While both are excellent candidates, we think that Tim Wall’s initiative and vision for reviving chess mean that he is the best person to lead the Home Chess directorate, and to grow the game at a national and local level going forward. We would very much like to see Tim and Nigel working together, with Nigel continuing to play a key role organising the ECF Online Events.
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:47 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:55 pm
Ian Thompson wrote:
Tue Sep 29, 2020 10:26 pm
the Governance Committee's thoughts on the proposal.
There's precedent in the American constitution. Presidents are limited to two terms in office and that's been in place since Roosevelt. However if a Vice President becomes President as happened to Johnson in 1963 and Ford in 1975, they would be allowed to stand two more times for President in their own name. So LBJ was re-elected in 1964 and was intending to stand in 1968 until anti-Vietnam activists in his own party caused him to stand down.
Specifically: if a VP has become president and served less than half a term. So Johnson was eligible to serve a third term, but Ford wouldn't have been.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Chris Goodall » Wed Sep 30, 2020 4:58 pm

"The term limits introduced at the 2020 AGM notwithstanding, [Director X] is standing again unopposed."

That's what we'll get if we bring in term limits. If people don't want to stop doing what they're doing, they won't. They are another tool with which the people who understand the bureaucracy will keep themselves in power indefinitely and kick all their opponents out.

"Board renewal" strikes me (a 34-year-old) as a polite term for "ageism". I fear self-appointed dinosaur hunters more than I fear dinosaurs, who at least have experience on their side.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. Northumbria League hand-cranker; ECF Grader for Bernicia and the NCCU.
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Angus French
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Angus French » Wed Sep 30, 2020 5:19 pm

Mick Norris wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:17 pm
The Bronze reps also have:
The resolutions likely to prompt some debate are:

1) Term Limits for Directors

It’s proposed that ECF directors should retire after serving two terms in office (unless the AGM doesn’t elect a replacement). If the post is unfilled at the AGM, the Board of Directors would be able to reappoint the outgoing director.

Our view: This seems sensible, as it helps to encourage new and talented people to stand for the Board.

2) Direct Member Representatives

The resolution states that Direct Member representatives should only be members of the category they are representing.

Our view: These posts have been difficult to fill in past years, so it is not clear that this is a helpful restriction.

3) Working Group to assess Covid-safety of chess events

There is a proposal that a Working Group be formed to offer advice to organisers of clubs, congresses and other events on preparing Risk Assessment documents and getting safely restarted.

Our view: This is a very helpful idea in the current crisis and should be supported.
And just in case you weren't clear what's going on:
The Director of Home Chess election is between Tim Wall, a well-known coach for the ECF Academy and organiser of the Northumbria Masters, and Nigel Towers, who is secretary to the Board of Directors and has been ECF Manager of Online Chess over the last few months.

Our view: While both are excellent candidates, we think that Tim Wall’s initiative and vision for reviving chess mean that he is the best person to lead the Home Chess directorate, and to grow the game at a national and local level going forward. We would very much like to see Tim and Nigel working together, with Nigel continuing to play a key role organising the ECF Online Events.
That all looks not dissimilar to the Gold reps' statement. Did the Bronze reps refer to the Governance Committee's comments? Did they link to the Council papers webpage where the documents for the meeting can be found - or to this forum?

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:00 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:11 pm
David Gilbert wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 2:42 pm
allow time for the Governance Committee to work with the Chair of Council, in discussion with Members, with a view to putting a proposal to Finance Council in April 2021.
It was Gerry Walsh who as President of the BCF and then BCF appeared to regard both that position and that of FIDE Delegate as lifetime appointments and had to be prised from office, at the second attempt in the case of FIDE Delegate. Prior to that it appeared to have been a possibly unwritten rule starting from around the 1940s that being President of the BCF was only a three or four year stint.

Some rule is desirable, it's not so clear what length of time should be the maximum.
If memory serves that's not quite correct. Gerry Walsh held both posts and eventually (in the face of intense criticism) agreed to voluntary relinquish the Presidency. He sought to remain as FIDE delegate but was defeated by Nigel Short who I think he'd seen off a previous challenge from.

In terms of US Presidential terms, I don't think anybody has mentioned Truman yet. Under the current rules he would have been ineligible to seek a further term in 1952 but as the two term amendment had been passed during his Presidency the rule didn't apply to him and he would have been free to run for the Presidency as many times as he wished (in the event he chose not to stand).
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All views expressed entirely my own

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:11 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:00 pm
If memory serves that's not quite correct. Gerry Walsh held both posts and eventually (in the face of intense criticism) agreed to voluntary relinquish the Presidency. He sought to remain as FIDE delegate but was defeated by Nigel Short who I think he'd seen off a previous challenge from.
Gerry had also fought off a previous challenge to his position as President from Martin Regan's mate.

http://www.sccu-chess.com/archive/0607/bcf.htm

ECF COUNCIL MEETING 21.10.06 in Bristol
...
(3) Elections.
....
President. Gerry Walsh 145 votes, Brian Driscoll 79, None of the Above 7
...
FIDE Delegate. Gerry Walsh 121, Nigel Short 81, None of the Above 5.
...

Mick Norris
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Mick Norris » Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:10 pm

Angus French wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 5:19 pm
Mick Norris wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 3:17 pm
The Bronze reps also have:
The resolutions likely to prompt some debate are:

1) Term Limits for Directors

It’s proposed that ECF directors should retire after serving two terms in office (unless the AGM doesn’t elect a replacement). If the post is unfilled at the AGM, the Board of Directors would be able to reappoint the outgoing director.

Our view: This seems sensible, as it helps to encourage new and talented people to stand for the Board.

2) Direct Member Representatives

The resolution states that Direct Member representatives should only be members of the category they are representing.

Our view: These posts have been difficult to fill in past years, so it is not clear that this is a helpful restriction.

3) Working Group to assess Covid-safety of chess events

There is a proposal that a Working Group be formed to offer advice to organisers of clubs, congresses and other events on preparing Risk Assessment documents and getting safely restarted.

Our view: This is a very helpful idea in the current crisis and should be supported.
And just in case you weren't clear what's going on:
The Director of Home Chess election is between Tim Wall, a well-known coach for the ECF Academy and organiser of the Northumbria Masters, and Nigel Towers, who is secretary to the Board of Directors and has been ECF Manager of Online Chess over the last few months.

Our view: While both are excellent candidates, we think that Tim Wall’s initiative and vision for reviving chess mean that he is the best person to lead the Home Chess directorate, and to grow the game at a national and local level going forward. We would very much like to see Tim and Nigel working together, with Nigel continuing to play a key role organising the ECF Online Events.
That all looks not dissimilar to the Gold reps' statement. Did the Bronze reps refer to the Governance Committee's comments? Did they link to the Council papers webpage where the documents for the meeting can be found - or to this forum?
No
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

John Reyes
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by John Reyes » Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:39 pm

Here the Silver members report


From Tim Wall and John Reyes (Silver Member Representatives)

Dear ECF Silver Members, This is one of the most difficult times English chess has faced in many years: We’re facing a continuing Coronavirus crisis, affecting every aspect of our lives – including health, economic and mental wellbeing. It threatens to decimate chess as we know it, or at least over-the-board (OTB) chess at clubs, congresses, in schools and at other venues, for an extended period of time.

Many of us are struggling with frequently changing Covid restrictions, and club and congress organisers are facing the difficult dilemma whether we should be playing purely online, dreaming of some form of OTB chess (highly unlikely for now) or trying a form of hybrid (online under arbiter and/or webcam supervision) when it becomes possible. With little or no OTB chess happening, ECF membership numbers for 2020-21 are projected to fall to 45% of those for 2019-20. That number could easily halve again if organised OTB or hybrid chess doesn’t take place over the next year, plunging the ECF into an extended financial crisis. New directors Amid this difficult backdrop, there is some good news: To fill vacancies left by retiring directors, the AGM will be able to approve some talented new people coming on to the ECF Board, who are standing unopposed.

Membership Director - Rob Willmoth. Working closely together with retiring Membership Director Dave Thomas, Rob’s vital task will be not just to retain members, but also recruit new online players as ECF Supporters and Members.

Finance Director - Adam Ashton. A FIDE Master with a background in accountancy, Adam is already working with outgoing director David Eustace to ensure a smooth transition.

Non-Executive Director - Natasha Regan. A WIM, England Women’s Team player, renowned chess author and actuary. She will be an excellent addition to the Board.

For Director of Home Chess, there are two candidates: Tim Wall, a coach at the ECF Academy and the organiser of the Northumbria Masters, and Nigel Towers, secretary to the Board of Directors and ECF Manager of Online Chess. As one of these candidates is one of us, and this is not the forum for electioneering, we simply recommend Silver Members to read the candidates’ election addresses. (As a current Silver Members rep, Tim has pledged that if he becomes Director of Home Chess, he will step down as a Direct Member representative.)

Other (uncontested) elections are: FIDE Delegate Malcolm Pein and Chairman of Council Michael Farthing are standing unopposed, as are Ray Clark and David Eustace for the Finance Committee, and Michael Farthing and Steven Greep for the Governance Committee.

Zoom meetings, ECF democracy & a chess ‘SAGE’ There are three resolutions that could cause some debate at the AGM (they can be read in the Agenda here). Two are aimed at improving, or at least fine-tuning ECF democracy. The 1st resolution advocates ECF directors serving a maximum of two terms, but with the option for the Board to reappoint a serving director if no one is elected at the AGM. We see this as a tidying up of the governance rules brought in four years ago. As a constitutional change, it would require 75% of votes to pass. The Governance Committee has asked for the motion to be put aside, so that they are able to put their own proposal after due consideration at next April’s Finance Council.

The 2nd resolution is proposed by Stewart Reuben and seconded by John Reyes, and calls for Direct Member reps to come from the membership category they are representing. We support this resolution as there are plenty of good candidates now coming forward in each membership category to be Direct Member reps, so the situation a few years ago (where it was feared no one would stand for these posts) no longer seems to be an issue.

The 3rd resolution is about reviving chess safely amid the Covid crisis, and recommends the setting up of a SAGE-like Working Group to advise organisers on completing Risk Assessments and dealing with the challenges of getting OTB and hybrid chess back into venues.

The group would include experienced organisers and arbiters, and also medical professionals and health & safety experts. We feel that forming such an advisory group would be a positive step.

Your views welcome We would of course welcome your views on all of these issues. To write to us about the 2020 AGM, please email: dnr-silver@englishchess.org.uk

If you wish to write to us individually on any issue, you can write to: Tim Wall at: dnr-silver-01-englishchess.org.uk John Reyes at: dnr-silver-02-englishchess.org.uk
Any postings on here represent my personal views only

Roger de Coverly
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:06 pm

John Reyes wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:39 pm
Tim Wall and John Reyes (Silver Member Representatives)
The 2nd resolution is proposed by Stewart Reuben and seconded by John Reyes, and calls for Direct Member reps to come from the membership category they are representing. We support this resolution as there are plenty of good candidates now coming forward in each membership category to be Direct Member reps, so the situation a few years ago (where it was feared no one would stand for these posts) no longer seems to be an issue.
Had this resolution been in place currently, it would not have been possible for Tim Wall to stand as a Silver Representative.

But what would happen when a Bronze or Silver member needs to upgrade their membership in order to take part in an event?

Reg Clucas
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by Reg Clucas » Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:35 pm

John Reyes wrote:
Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:39 pm
Here the Silver members report

From Tim Wall and John Reyes (Silver Member Representatives)
.
.
Thanks for posting that here, John. It's a lot easier to read than the version I received via email!

TimWall
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Re: ECF AGM 17/10/20

Post by TimWall » Thu Oct 01, 2020 5:01 pm

There seems to be some misreading or misinterpreting of the NCCU resolution on Term Limits for Directors, which I would like to clear up.
First of all, why did the resolution come about? Quite simply, because of ambiguities in the Articles and Regulations left unresolved from the Pearce Governance Report. These were unclear enough to lead two sitting Directors (David Eustace & Julie Denning) to conclude that they should not be standing for a third consecutive term, while another sitting Director (David Thomas) read the rules in a different way, so that he felt he was entitled to stand for a third consecutive term.
Let’s look at the proposed new Articles 59 & 60:
"59. In the interests of Board renewal, all Directors are eligible to serve a maximum of two consecutive terms in the same board position. At each Annual General Meeting, Directors shall retire in accordance with the Board Rota.
60. Any Director who retires at an Annual General Meeting pursuant to Article 59 shall not be eligible for re-election at such Annual General Meeting, but if the post is not filled at that Annual General Meeting then that retiring Director may consequently be appointed by the Board to fill the vacancy in accordance with Article 57."
What the NCCU is proposing is that after serving two terms, a sitting Director's name should not be on the ballot paper at the AGM. If you read the proposed new Article 60, it's clear that - if Council decides not to fill the vacancy with a new person - then the Board is free at its next meeting to appoint the existing director to fill the vacancy for the remainder of that term.
This gives the Council the chance to decide if they want a new director or not, and it gives the Board the chance to keep the existing director if Council decides not to fill the vacancy from new candidates. The choice would be crystal clear for Council, and also for the Board. Everyone would know what they are voting on, and candidates for Director would know what they were signing up for.
To clear up another misreading of the resolution, there is no intention (or indeed, no automatic mechanism) to force out any Director who has served two terms. To repeat, Council would have the choice of not replacing the director with someone else, and the Board would have the choice to fill the vacancy with the outgoing Director.
Thus no one would be "ousted." But it would require the consent of Council AND the Board to reappoint a sitting Director after they had served two consecutive terms.
That, to us, is a stronger guarantee. There would have to be good reason to retain a Director after they had served two consecutive terms – not simply that a Director wished to carry on.
Some people have raised the idea that the phrase "two terms" would unnecessarily shorten some of the current Directors' time in office, comparing that situation to when a Director takes over mid-term from someone else. But these are two different things.
Directors who were elected for an initial term (of 1, 2 or 3 years) as part of the Pearce reforms were still elected for a full term - just one specified as being of 1, 2 or 3 years.
In contrast, any Director who takes over mid-term from someone else (for example, when Adrian Elwin took over mid-term from Alex Holowczak as Home Chess Director in 2018) is not serving a "shorter term" of less than 3 years. According to the Board Rota, they are serving a part-term – filling the vacancy until the post becomes eligible for re-election. Thus their two terms would begin after the end of their part-term.
A Director who is appointed by the Board in its next meeting after an AGM is being appointed for a part-term, not a full term. (A Director appointed in this way after serving two terms would also not be serving a third term, but a part-term.)
The NCCU resolution seeks to clear up the confusion so that two terms becomes the maximum before someone else has the chance to stand for the post without facing the inbuilt handicap of standing against an incumbent – which potentially works against Board Renewal.
There is a different question about whether 4 or 5 years is enough for a Director to do a good job, and to leave a positive legacy for their successor to carry on. The answer to this is definitely yes. That is clear by comparing the quality of decision-making by the Board now compared to pre-Pearce days. Over the last few years, the Board (with the stability that was envisioned under the Pearce reforms) has clearly improved governance and instituted long-term strategic planning.
This is the ideal situation to do succession planning – and we can see that is already working well with the handover from Dave Thomas to Rob Willmoth as Membership Director, and from David Eustace to Adam Ashton as Finance Director.
There is thus nothing to be alarmed about: There is still the opporunity for Council and the Board to agree to retain a Director after two terms if no suitable successor can be found, and two terms in office are clearly enough for a Director to leave a positive legacy and enable sound succession planning.

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