Oct elections - Candidate statements

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Alex Holowczak
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:32 pm

John Philpott wrote: The BCF Management Board was a much larger body than the ECF Board, and normally had 19 or 20 members. There were no elected NEDs as such, but seats were reserved for representatives of the seven Constituent Units (the five Unions plus Manchester and the London League) plus the two largest payers of Game Fee (the Birmingham and Bristol Leagues if I remember correctly). As these nine members of the Board were not elected by Council, I have excluded them from the following figures.

There were more Executive Directors than there are currently. Posts elected between 2000 and 2004 included the Director of Congress Chess, the Director of Women's Chess, the Director of Coaching and the Director of Grading (or Game Fee and Grading or Strategic Planning and Grading - the title varied). The 2001 AGM agenda included an election for the post of Director of Internet Chess, but no candidate was forthcoming. Previously there had been a Director of Management Services.
This would explain why the BDCL Management Committee meetings still have "ECF Board" in their agenda when referring to the report of their ECF delegate. I assumed that the person compiling the agenda had just confused Board and Council, but now I see that there was actually a reason for it!

In the BCF then, it seems to me that the seven constituent units had far more power than they do now. Under the ECF composition, their votes are often fewer than some leagues and congresses. This would explain why the unions have the perception of only running their zone of the County Championship.

The Directors of Coaching, Grading, Women's Chess and Congress Chess are now Managers, but appointed by the Board instead, to report to a particular Director. So the roles still exist, and the jobs are still getting done. They just aren't on the Board!

Neil Graham
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Neil Graham » Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:01 pm

John Philpott wrote:John Philpott wrote
It will take longer to factor in the last 15 years of the BCF, but I can now report the statistics for the first five years of the ECF (2005 - 2009). The Articles prescribed a maximum of nine directors to begin with, increased to ten in 2008. Primarily because of posts for which there was no candidate, the number of directors elected at these five AGMs totalled 42. There were 10 unsuccesful candidates (Andrew Leadbetter and Brian Smith as NEDs in 2006, Brian Driscoll as President, Roy Heppinstall as Chief Executive, Andrew Moore as Junior Director and Cyril Johnson as Marketing Director in 2007, Peter Wilson as International Director in 2008, John Paines as President, Cyril Johnson as Home Director and Sean Hewitt as NED in 2009), suggesting that at least for the ECF era the proportion of contested elections is somewhat higher than the 10% postulated by Neil Graham.
I have now look at the last 5 years of the BCF, which was an interesting (and in some ways nostalgic) exercise, although I doubt whether I will summon up the enthusiasm to go back a further 10 years any time soon.

The BCF Management Board was a much larger body than the ECF Board, and normally had 19 or 20 members. There were no elected NEDs as such, but seats were reserved for representatives of the seven Constituent Units (the five Unions plus Manchester and the London League) plus the two largest payers of Game Fee (the Birmingham and Bristol Leagues if I remember correctly). As these nine members of the Board were not elected by Council, I have excluded them from the following figures.

There were more Executive Directors than there are currently. Posts elected between 2000 and 2004 included the Director of Congress Chess, the Director of Women's Chess, the Director of Coaching and the Director of Grading (or Game Fee and Grading or Strategic Planning and Grading - the title varied). The 2001 AGM agenda included an election for the post of Director of Internet Chess, but no candidate was forthcoming. Previously there had been a Director of Management Services.

I calculate the total number of Directors elected by the BCF Council at the 2000 to 2004 AGMs as 50. In this five year period there were only two contested elections: Stewart Reuben defeated Nigel Johnson for International Director in 2001 and Alan Ruffle defeated Pauline Foster and Scott Kenyon for Junior Director in 2004. If the analysis were to be extended back to 1990, I am almost certain that Neil Graham's perception that less than 10% of the elections had been contested would be justified. However, it does appear that contested elections have become somewhat more common since the shift from the BCF to the ECF. As to whether there will be any contested elections in 2010, we will all just have to wait and see what nominations are made by the 8 September deadline.
Thank you for the interesting statistics John, I won't bother you with asking for any more delving in the archives.

What this amounts to is that prior to the formation of the ECF, the chances of actually having an election were virtually zero. It was a shoo-in so if you stood you were elected. Even since the formation of the ECF when, apparently, elections have been more common, the chance of having a contested election is no more than 1 in 4. The ECF is subjected to substantial criticism here and elsewhere; however no-one is prepared to stand for election as a Director. I suggest that the candidates don't bother with statements unless there is an election. As for those people who think the ECF is a clique, remember that no one wants the jobs in the first place.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:00 am

Neil Graham wrote:As for those people who think the ECF is a clique, remember that no one wants the jobs in the first place.
Except that when an outsider stands, there is an "establishment" candidate put up against them.

Why did the ECF need elections last year for President and Home Director?

John Philpott

Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by John Philpott » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:55 am

Roger de Coverly wrote
Except that when an outsider stands, there is an "establishment" candidate put up against them.

Why did the ECF need elections last year for President and Home Director?
A slightly odd question in the case of Home Chess as the defeated candidate was the incumbent standing for re-election.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:43 am

John Philpott wrote:A slightly odd question in the case of Home Chess as the defeated candidate was the incumbent standing for re-election.
Not an odd question. A new candidate not previously much involved with the ECF with an impressive CV - why not simply stand aside? The incumbent was an emergency appointment in the wake of the Regan walk-out.

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Adam Raoof » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:14 am

Neil Graham wrote:What this amounts to is that prior to the formation of the ECF, the chances of actually having an election were virtually zero. It was a shoo-in so if you stood you were elected. Even since the formation of the ECF when, apparently, elections have been more common, the chance of having a contested election is no more than 1 in 4. The ECF is subjected to substantial criticism here and elsewhere; however no-one is prepared to stand for election as a Director. I suggest that the candidates don't bother with statements unless there is an election. As for those people who think the ECF is a clique, remember that no one wants the jobs in the first place.
Just to put this into perspective, there is hardly a stampede of people to stand for positions at County level or even club level. It's hard enough to find a club captain for a new team, even when you have more than enough players to field one! If there is a problem, it's not unique to the ECF, and accusations of it being a clique are a little wide of the mark.

I think that it's healthy to have contested elections. It would be great to see critics of the Junior Director put up a candidate with new ideas and have a chance to talk about some very important issues. But until someone steps forward who has as much experience, energy and enthusiasm as the incumbent, that isn't going to happen.

Cyril Johnson stepped in to take the helm once more this season, and I am grateful for his experienced management of the Counties Championship.
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Alex Holowczak
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:34 am

This is the problem with you British people. (Switching nationality briefly because it suits my argument. :wink: )

If ever anyone volunteers for something, you are met with questions like "Why do you bother doing that?" or "And you're not getting paid for it?"

I think part of the problem is that British people tend to have a can't-do mentality. They'd much rather sit on the side and moan, rather than do anything about it.

Fortunately, there are some exceptions to the rule!

Andrew Farthing
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Andrew Farthing » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:33 am

I don't entirely buy the references to a "clique" and the "establishment" in some of the earlier comments. I'd agree that the perception of a clique is widespread - one of the reasons I didn't apply for the post of Strategic Planning Manager when it was first advertised was that I shared the perception - but I didn't experience any barriers once I decided to respond to the second advert for the role in late 2008.

Maybe I've become "establishment", because I've worked for the ECF for 20 months and the Board is supportive of my candidature for CEO, but it doesn't feel that way to me. No one has ever put pressure on me to keep things as they are; in fact, Chris Majer has always encouraged me to suggest changes and improvements.

Apart from being a direct member, I had no tie to the ECF before I volunteered for my current role. I may be naive, but based on my experience, it is possible for any willing volunteer to come on board (no guarantees, of course - particularly if posts or directorships are contested). The main questions are: What do you have to contribute and are you willing to try? The only other requirement that I'd suggest is that you have to be prepared to work with the people around you and respect their experience and their views, even if you don't always agree with them.

I accept that some people will think that revolution is preferable to evolution, but I've always believed that big changes can be made without having to go to war.

All of this is just a longwinded way of agreeing with Alex et al. Don't let yourself be put off by talk of cliques and the establishment. If you see something you want to change and you're willing to have a go at doing it, volunteer!

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Adam Raoof » Tue Aug 24, 2010 10:50 am

Andrew Farthing wrote:Apart from being a direct member, I had no tie to the ECF before I volunteered for my current role.
Me neither. May I suggest that this may be an advantage?

Part of the problem with any organisation is that you need new ideas and initiatives to challenge assumptions, but you also have to balance that against change for change's sake. I think if we carry on making decisions on the basis of 'will it provide a better service for players?' then we can't go far wrong.
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:10 pm

Adam Raoof wrote:I think if we carry on making decisions on the basis of 'will it provide a better service for players?' then we can't go far wrong.
Absolutely right. Makes a change from "how can we get more money out of players?"

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Adam Raoof
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Adam Raoof » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:17 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Adam Raoof wrote:I think if we carry on making decisions on the basis of 'will it provide a better service for players?' then we can't go far wrong.
Absolutely right. Makes a change from "how can we get more money out of players?"
Is 'how can we get more money out of players by providing a better service?' acceptable?
Adam Raoof IA, IO
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:33 pm

Adam Raoof wrote: Is 'how can we get more money out of players by providing a better service?' acceptable?
If you mean "How can we offer players better value for money" then yes. That would be a combination of new value added services, and ceasing non-value activities.

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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Angus French » Tue Aug 24, 2010 1:30 pm

Adam Raoof wrote: Part of the problem with any organisation is that you need new ideas and initiatives to challenge assumptions, but you also have to balance that against change for change's sake. I think if we carry on making decisions on the basis of 'will it provide a better service for players?' then we can't go far wrong.
I think it should also be ncumbent on new Directors/Officers to familiarise themselves with the relevant issues before rushing to suggest new ideas and initiatives.

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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Aug 24, 2010 8:29 pm

Leonard Barden wrote:I'll do as you and Adam suggest, but it will take some time. I'll try to post at the weekend.
Did I miss this post?

Neil Graham
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Re: Oct elections - Candidate statements

Post by Neil Graham » Tue Aug 24, 2010 11:15 pm

I fell about when I saw Roger's post - I must have missed this chess equivalent of the Long Parliament desperately clinging onto power. Facts are as I stated that elected competition for BCF posts was unheard of and for ECF posts almost just as unusual. Ernie's post about volunteers strikes a chord - the Federation has voted in several unsuitable people in the past into positions where there were no other candidates; sometimes a volunteer isn't worth ten pressed men. Adam's post was highly refreshing.

However when nominees are declared in September, I will be very surprised to see contested elections.

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