I write to make a formal complaint about the ECF Board with regard to its treatment of the Director for Home Chess, Mr Alex Holowczak in that there was a clear case of maladministration, as covered by section 1.2 of the ECF Complaints Procedure, in the handling of a complaint made against him. Assuming that the correct protocol (in so far as this is set out in the very inadequare Code of Conduct) was followed I assume that the matter was personally and individually handled by the Chief Executive, Mr Phil Ehr and therefore the complaint is specifically about his behaviour. The Code of Practice specifies that complaints made against the Chief Executive should in the first instance be directed to the Non Executive officers.
In accordance with the Code of Practice the decision against Mr Holowczak has been published on the ECF website and reads as follows:
The relevant sections of the Standard of Conduct referred to above are these:Temporary suspension from duty
Director of Home Chess Alex Holowczak was given a two week suspension from duty effective 25 August 2015 following a complaint made in accordance with the ECF Complaints Procedure. The investigation found that Mr Holowczak breached the Standards of Conduct for ECF Officials, specifically Regulation 4 paragraphs 2.1 and 2.6. Mr Holowczak is appealing.
The complaint was reviewed according to Regulatiuon 5 of the ECF (The Complaints Prodedure).2. Standards of Conduct
2.1 All officials of the ECF are representatives of the organisation and must ensure that
their actions do not:
· cause gratuitous offence;
· injure the ECF, its officials or its events, directly or indirectly;
· bring the game of chess or the ECF into disrepute.
This includes, among other things, ensuring that the views, rights, values and dignity
of others are treated with sensitivity and respect. As ambassadors for the game and
for the ECF, officials must ensure that their actions reflect such personal qualities as
honesty, empathy, responsibility and good sportsmanship.
2.6 When representing the ECF at an official event or function, officials must ensure that
their actions do not directly or indirectly damage events or discourage sponsors,
volunteers and other parties. Standards of dress appropriate to the occasion should
be maintained, including compliance with any applicable dress code. Official events
or functions are not to be used for the promotion of a non-chess related organisation,
business or cause without the prior agreement of the ECF Board
I draw attention to the section of this document that clearly defines the scope for this procedure as follows:
This clearly indicates that the Complaints Procedure can ONLY be used for issues of maladministration, yet the statement on the website indicates that the complaint was SPECIFICALLY for an alleged breach of 2.1 and 2.6 of the Standard of Conduct. Neither of these sections concern themselves with any matter of administration but are concerned with personal conduct. It is clear, therefore, that the complaint made was outside the scope of Regulation No 5 and this regulation could not be used to bring disciplinary action in this case. That disciplinary action occurred, leading to an improper suspension of a director from his duties in despite of his election by the ECF Council, has resulted in a haitus in the proper management of Home Chess, uncertainty and bad publicity for the English Chess Federation and, in addition, this action being taken when the holder of the office was submitting himself for re-election, was highly prejudicial to him, and could well be construed as a deliberate attempt to discredit him to an electorate. That this is not an idle possibility is strengthened by the use of the Chief Executive of his election address in the 2014 election to specifically influence the electorate in their choice by using his official position to promote particular candidates.REGULATION NO. 5 ECF COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE
Made by the Board of English Chess Federation (ECF) on 16th February 2015 pursuant to
Article 82 of the Articles of Association of English Chess Federation
1.2. Under this procedure complaints should only be brought where there is an alleged serious case of maladministration