Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:44 pm

The complainant was Bob Kane and the incident occurred via e-mail during the British Championships.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:46 pm

Michael Flatt wrote: Para 3.5 has not been performed satisfactorily since the complainant retains anonymity, which cannot be correct.
Alex McF seems to pretty much name a couple of suspects. What is it about becoming an official or director of the ECF and getting involved in petty squabbles?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Sep 02, 2015 4:51 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:The complainant was Bob Kane and the incident occurred via e-mail during the British Championships.
Surely a more rational code of conduct would say that rows between fellow directors remained private, if at all possible? That, in part, was behind the ECF ban on posting here and other external sites, that you avoid the risk of directors having public rows. It was one of the issues about CJ's Presidency that he took what could have remained a dispute internal to the ECF, to the National Press.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:03 pm

It could quite easily have remained private but perhaps not after Bob Kane made the formal complaint.

It seems that the Marketing Director thinks it is OK to use "Americanism" such as "Pi**ed off" but not phrases of a more historically British nature.

I cannot see how both Alex H and Bob Kane can continue to work on the same Board in the future. I know which one I hope the AGM will select and which one will lose to none of the above if there is not another candidate. The CEO must also have put his future in doubt. Knocking some heads together before it came to this might have been a better strategy.

Angus French
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Angus French » Wed Sep 02, 2015 5:33 pm

For what it's worth and from my reading of the Complaints Procedure, as the complaint was against a Director it will have been heard by the Chief Executive.
ECF Complaints Procedure wrote:2.3.3. If the complaint concerns a member of the ECF Board (apart from the Chief Executive), it should be addressed to the Chief Executive;
... and the the appeal will be heard by a Non-executive Director.
ECF Complaints Procedure wrote:4.2. The appeal should be addressed to the next official in the sequence as set out in paragraph 2.2. [sic]
ECF Complaints Procedure wrote:2.3.4. If the complaint concerns the Chief Executive, it should be addressed to one of the Non-Executive Directors. ...
I think Christopher Kreuzer asked a good question earlier in the thread: Who acts in place of the Home Director of Chess during his suspension?

Also, is it right that Alex should be penalised while an appeal decision is pending? What if he ends up serving a large part (or all) of the suspension and is then acquitted?

Paul Dargan
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Paul Dargan » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:06 pm

Omnishambles springs to mind - having said that I've seen plenty of organisations mess-up disciplinary cases, suspensions, etc... the whole area is a minefield. And of course there's the "why would you volunteer in this working atmosphere" question, or 'back me or sack me mentality' - cant see how making such a complaint in a manner that it must become public is in the interests of the ECF

Paul

Michael Flatt
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Michael Flatt » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:36 pm

The Chairman of the Governance working party, Gareth Pearce, did comment in his live video Q&A session at the British that a dispute between Board members is a question for the particular individuals to sort out themselves.

If a Director a makes a complaint against a fellow Director in this manner you have to wonder whether he is too thin-skinned to hold such a responsible position.

There remains one week before the nominations for the elections close and should the post of Director of Home Chess be contested by an as yet unannounced candidate, who just happens to be waiting in the wings, one has to seriously question his or her reasons for standing against a most capable incumbent.

My thought is "Better the devil you know".

Neville Belinfante
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Neville Belinfante » Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:44 pm

The suspension was effective from 25th August, which may explain why Alex has not responded to an email I wrote to him on Monday.

Does someone know, was the email that caused this issue just from Alex to Bob, or was it copied to others?

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:01 pm

It was just from Alex to Bob.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:05 pm

Neville Belinfante wrote: Does someone know, was the email that caused this issue just from Alex to Bob, or was it copied to others?
IM Jack Rudd wrote:It was just from Alex to Bob.

Well somebody else must have got to hear about it because on the 11th August we (the S&B Blog) received an anonymous comment that made reference to it. We didn’t the publish the comment of course (see my own comment here: http://www.streathambrixtonchess.blogsp ... pions.html).


The comment mentioned Alex either by name or by position (i.e director of home chess). There was a reference to what he was supposed to have said in this email ("F - of" iirc, but I stand to be corrected on that) but not who he was supposed to have said it to. There was no mention of a formal complaint being made at that stage.

Obviously I have no way of knowing who sent us the comment on our blog but the information itself can only have originated from within the ECF (assuming, that is, that this supposed email was sent between directors and not to non-ECF folk).

I do remember thinking at the time that it was odd that the sender of the supposed offensive email was named but not the receiver.

Make what you will of that lot.


As for the outcome of the complaints procedure, I’m rather uncomfortable (to say the least) that Alex has been publicly found guilty but the details of the situation have not been made public. It seems to me a matter of natural justice that they should be.

Michael Flatt
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Michael Flatt » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:09 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:It was just from Alex to Bob.
Jack, we are all indebted to you for filling in the missing details which should have been included in the Official announcement on the ECF website.

I note that on the other channel The CEO, himself, earlier today had complementary words regarding your postings of the forums.

Keep up the good work.
Last edited by Michael Flatt on Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Mike Truran
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Mike Truran » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:14 pm

I am afraid that Jack is in serious error in what he says. I have no particular wish to comment, but (whatever the rights or wrongs of the situation) I can't allow a blatant inaccuracy to stand without correction.

Michael Flatt
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Michael Flatt » Wed Sep 02, 2015 7:20 pm

Mike Truran wrote:I am afraid that Jack is in serious error in what he says. I have no particular wish to comment, but (whatever the rights or wrongs of the situation) I can't allow a blatant inaccuracy to stand without correction.
I think that we should take heed of Mike Truran's comment.

It is unacceptable for the ECF Board to post notice of a suspension without providing sufficient justification. It merely fuels idle speculation - perhaps that is the intent in hiding the name of the complainant and the alleged deed.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:15 pm

Leaving aside the current controversy, there is a problem we mustn't lose sight of. The whole Code of Conduct debate arose after a controversy involving a former President who famously took a perceived grievance to the press, with some aftershocks that were damaging not only to the ECF but several directors and officials. It was noted at the time (and this arose again during the Mureck controversy) that the ECF did not have any formal procedures for resolving disputes.

With regard to the issue with the past President, even under the current code he could have continued to post and brief on unofficial channels and defy calls to resign on the grounds that only Council had the authority to oust him (and it shouldn't be forgotten that he won re-election and survived a de facto confidence motion). Unfortunately you run the risk of ending up with a code that is either toothless or open to abuse.
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Roger Lancaster
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Re: Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:23 am

It appears that this concerns an incident where one ECF personage told another to f**k off. This doesn't tell the complete story because it omits the context, frivolous or otherwise, in which the remark was made. But, and I say this with experience of larger organisations, it is not the type of incident which most would wish brought into the public domain. The normal remedy would, as someone has already indicated, be for someone (in this case, the CEO) to bang heads together. The fact that this did not happen, or that it failed to resolve matters, reflects poorly on one or more of the three parties - Alex, Bob and Phil - mentioned. Personally, I have had no dealings with Bob and prefer not to comment on Phil but I have found Alex (admittedly, in his 4NCL role) excellent.

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