The arbiter nexus

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Andrew Zigmond
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Oct 20, 2015 11:54 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote: By my interpretation of what those who coined the phrase were suggesting, it also included not just Congress organisers, but also those who represent Leagues and Counties, who if not arbiters, are often organisers and very definitely people with the patience to attend tedious meetings, whether ECF or otherwise.

I consider a weakness of current ECF governance that Congress organisers are not subject, even in theory, to any local oversight.
So under that interpretation anybody who gets involved with chess organisation suddenly becomes part of this shadowy nexus? That's really going to encourage volunteers to come forward (to be fair I suspect that wasn't entirely what the author of the original comment meant).
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:05 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
So under that interpretation anybody who gets involved with chess organisation suddenly becomes part of this shadowy nexus?
That seemed to be John Foley's interpretation when he accused all the organisations who nominated Alex as being part of a shadowy nexus. The number of nominations was somewhat unprecedented and obviously a result of lobbying, as candidates for election usually content themselves with a handful of nominations.

I'm not sure I agree with my county being part of the nomination nexus, but I absolutely support the County Secretary in outing the secret campaign to add John Foley to the Home Director list. That's not that he didn't have a right to challenge, but doing it in secrecy could have left the non-Exec election with two choices of candidate, one of whom the voters were prepared to support and the other one they weren't. In a two horse race, it's easy enough to vote for just one candidate, but difficult to vote for "not the other one".

Martin Regan

Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by Martin Regan » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:17 am

13009, Jesus still wrong

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:31 am

Martin Regan wrote:13009, Jesus still wrong
As someone who has hardly played a single game of graded chess since you threw the toys out of the ECF pram, how could you possibly know?

John Foley
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by John Foley » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:44 am

"Nexus" describes the social network of those involved in controlling or arbiting chess events. A perceived threat to the status quo will be resisted as manifested in the ECF elections. Council demonstrated a tribal response to one of their group being challenged. We now have a Board comprising six Executive Directors (including the President) of which three are Arbiters. In principle this should not be a problem but in practice it puts existing funding in jeopardy and makes future funding very unlikely.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 21, 2015 12:56 am

John Foley wrote: In principle this should not be a problem but in practice it puts existing funding in jeopardy and makes future funding very unlikely.
Do you mean funding or sponsorship? ECF funding, or most of it, comes from demanding annual "membership" fees from players to participate in chess as a sport.

Michael Flatt
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by Michael Flatt » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:12 am

John Foley wrote:"Nexus" describes the social network of those involved in controlling or arbiting chess events. A perceived threat to the status quo will be resisted as manifested in the ECF elections. Council demonstrated a tribal response to one of their group being challenged. We now have a Board comprising six Executive Directors (including the President) of which three are Arbiters. In principle this should not be a problem but in practice it puts existing funding in jeopardy and makes future funding very unlikely.
John, I think that your description of the 'Nexus' perfectly matches the ECF's role in promoting and administering the game of Chess in England. If you don't see yourself as part of it then it is just as well that you stepped down from the position of Non Executive Director.

Had you stood for reelection you could have continued to serve as a member of the Board as it was unlikely that anyone would have stood against you. It was your own choice to contest the post of Home Director and your campaign failed through not understanding the membership's distaste for the various disputes within the Board that had been brought to their attention and for the CEO's inability resolve them.

After originally stating that you would stand for reelection your decision not to do so late in the day seemed rather too calculated. I was not impressed at your own nominee for the vacant post and it was unfair to leave so short a time for others to submit their candidature. Fortunately Julie Denning stepped forward and succeeded to the great benefit to the Board and the ECF.

John McKenna
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by John McKenna » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:55 am

Just to pick up on the posts by Martin Regan and John McKenna...
As is usually the case, I appreciate Andrew Z's sensibly measured responses, above. Though, at times, I find myself not in agreement with some of his arguments and conclusions.

I am relieved to hear he's not a card-carrying Conservative. (Despite admitting he has frequented a Conservative club for a quiz challenge.)

I suppose, however, he may have attended a few univesity drinking challenges (mini-Hagueathons?) in his student days as many of us did.

Thanks for his contributions to the forum(s), his efforts in support of the ECF in general and for trying to advance its cause in country that's somewhat indifferent to the ECF, which makes him something of rarity - a supranationalist Yorkshireman.

Hope that'll do, as it's all I can say at present.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Mick Norris
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by Mick Norris » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:05 am

John Foley wrote: We now have a Board comprising six Executive Directors (including the President) of which three are Arbiters. In principle this should not be a problem but in practice it puts existing funding in jeopardy and makes future funding very unlikely.
Funding is in jeopardy because 3 board members are Arbiters or is that not what you mean? Please elucidate
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

Richard Bates
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by Richard Bates » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:06 am

John Foley wrote:"Nexus" describes the social network of those involved in controlling or arbiting chess events. A perceived threat to the status quo will be resisted as manifested in the ECF elections. Council demonstrated a tribal response to one of their group being challenged. We now have a Board comprising six Executive Directors (including the President) of which three are Arbiters. In principle this should not be a problem but in practice it puts existing funding in jeopardy and makes future funding very unlikely.
Whilst it is of course your right to make negative predictions about the consequences of the outcome of this election, one would assume that you would nevertheless wish the new elected individuals well, as well as whoever is co-opted to fill any gaps which might need filling in the next few weeks. And also hope that you will continue to act as though you wish the best for English chess, and consider whether making public statements about conspiracy theories and 'stitch-ups' are necessary for that pursuit.

John Foley
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by John Foley » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:19 am

Michael Flatt wrote:. It was your own choice to contest the post of Home Director and your campaign failed through not understanding the membership's distaste for the various disputes within the Board that had been brought to their attention and for the CEO's inability resolve them.
The Home Director openly stated at his AGM election address that he invited me to contest the election against me. There had been no Board member dispute - it was the only way that I as Non-Executive Director was allowed to ask policy questions. By standing I brought it to the attention of the membership that there is a serious issue about the organisation of the Home Directorate. Of course I did not expect to win the election because of engineered opposition from the Nexus. However, this was not my purpose because I represent the subscription paying members of the Federation, not the proxy voters from Council. ECF members are no doubt aware that their Federation does not operate efficiently but they will be dismayed to learn that nothing can be done about it.

I would have posted this on the official forum but I have learned that its days are numbered. Bill Phillips, ex local Councillor, charity trustee, league controller, entrepreneur and now ex ECF forum moderator has just resigned. He is the sort of person ECF can ill afford to lose but the organisation appears to be in meltdown.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:36 am

John Foley wrote:However, this was not my purpose because I represent the subscription paying members of the Federation, not the proxy voters from Council.
I've never really known what the non-Executive Directors were supposed to do, but it's the first I've heard that you somehow represent individuals. If so, I don't think your performance was particularly impressive, as I don't recall any endorsement of public demands for the Board meeting minutes during the long period of silence earlier this year.

As far as alerting the general membership to problems in the Home Directorate, it's a somewhat long winded approach to first declare your intention to seek re-election and then to secretly stand against the Home Director. Conspiracy theorists will suggest it was an attempt to parachute the CEO's chosen candidate as non-Exec.

There should not have been a problem in writing a personal and dissenting non-Executive's report. You may recall that Sean Hewitt resigned mid way through last year and gave a verbal report at last year's AGM as to why.

It's a message though for any future candidate for ECF Office. If they don't regard themselves as part of a controller, arbiter, organisers and players social group, they will have to be prepared to work with them. If there's a vision that chess is only about teaching under 10s and organising events for super GMs, that isn't one shared by those taking part in organised chess as a sporting and social event.

NickFaulks
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by NickFaulks » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:47 am

John Foley wrote: Of course I did not expect to win the election because of engineered opposition from the Nexus.
Apologies for bluntness, that might explain why you lost but not why you lost by 247 votes to 49. It's time for you recognise that Alex was re-elected because he is considered by most people with any knowledge of English chess to be hard working, competent and generally a breath of fresh air ( notwithstanding a few highly publicised slip-ups which have occurred within his vast portfolio ). If you are unable to do that, then at least stop insisting ad nauseam that the ECF is on the road to Hell and all is lost. How can that be helpful?

Alex McFarlane
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by Alex McFarlane » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:54 am

John Foley wrote:I did not expect to win the election because of engineered opposition from the Nexus
I had intended to let these claims go but John continues to make these claims.
John, please supply proof of these accusations or stop making them. I contacted a total of two other arbiters about the ECF elections. Both of these are Northumberland officials who I consulted along with everyone else involved in organising the local chess scene on how to use the votes.

One of the others was Alex H who contacted me regarding his nomination. The fourth was the CAA representative.

The CAA website did not contain any reference to the elections, neither did the Newsletter Arbiting Matters Too. If the Secretary sent out any info on the matter then it did not reach me or my partner.

As far as I am aware, with the exception of the CAA rep, every arbiter came to their own opinion. That opinion may, of course, have been affected by your allegations of their lack of integrity.

It may also have escaped your notice but Alex H is not even a member of the CAA!

It is to be hoped that you will apologise to all arbiters/controllers for your false accusations.

John Foley
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Re: The arbiter nexus

Post by John Foley » Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:57 am

Roger de Coverly wrote: I've never really known what the non-Executive Directors were supposed to do, but it's the first I've heard that you somehow represent individuals.

This is the job description for NED:
Bring their business, chess playing and organisational skills and experience to bear on the Board’s decision-making processes, acting at all times in the interests of the ECF as a whole.
I stated at the AGM where I was elected that I would represent the views of members.
Roger de Coverly wrote: I don't recall any endorsement of public demands for the Board meeting minutes during the long period of silence earlier this year.
The Board meeting minutes delay related to the period prior to my arrival. Following my arrival the problem was resolved. The Board was grappling with a serious legal issue the nature of which must remain confidential.

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