Development Officer appointment

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
TimWall
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Development Officer appointment

Post by TimWall » Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:13 pm

A document of some concern has appeared this week on the ECF website, in which Carl Portman announces his appointment as Development Officer.
The document, titled 'Credo',
https://www.englishchess.org.uk/wp-cont ... -CREDO.pdf
is dated September 13, 2019, the day his and my job interviews took place in Birmingham - a full two weeks before the Board was asked to approve the appointment.
In light of this, I have made a formal complaint about the appointment to Robert Stern, Chair of the Governance Committee, as follows:

"To: Robert Stern
Chair of the ECF Governance Committee

Dear Robert,

After waiting for 11 months for the Development Officer interviews to take place on September 13, I was naturally disappointed when I received an email from the convenor of the interview panel, ECF Non-Executive Director Stephen Woodhouse, on September 29, announcing the board's “majority decision” to appoint Carl.

Believing everything to be above board, I immediately congratulated Carl on the appointment and wished him all the best in the role.

However, yesterday (October 9) I noticed on the ECF website’s “Board and Officers” page what appears to be an official ECF document, titled “Credo” and written by Carl Portman, dated September 13, 2019 – the same day as the job interviews took place in Birmingham - in which he states: “I am delighted to have taken up the post of the Development Officer for the English Chess Federation.”

(I am attaching a copy of the “Credo” document, along with a copy of the September 29 email I received from the interview panel).

Was it possible that the Board of Directors received the panel’s recommendation, and approved Carl’s appointment – all in time for him the same day to write his “Credo” announcement for the Board and ECF members? It seems rather far-fetched, doesn’t it?

Members of the Board of Directors have subsequently informed me that they were only asked to approve the interview panel’s recommendation in an email on September 29. The “Credo” document indicates that someone, presumably CEO Mike Truran, had approved the appointment before submitting it to the Board for its approval.

Giving some support to this possibility was the Board of Directors annual report, published on the ECF website on September 18, which stated, under “Achievements”: “Appointed a new Development Officer…” – again, apparently, indicating that an appointment had already been approved. I have read Mike Truran's comments on the English Chess Forum that this could be taken to signify the future situation at the October 12 AGM, but legally it actually reads that the Board had approved an appointment before September 18.

In the June 7, 2019, ECF Board minutes, it clearly states that the interview panel would have to report its recommendations to the Board before an appointment was made:

“SW [Stephen Woodhouse] will oversee the interview and selection process with an interview panel comprising SW, RS [Robert Stern] and JD [Julie Denning]. Interviews are currently planned for July with a recommendation from the panel to the Board to follow.”

The clear evidence of the "Credo" document on the ECF website shows that a decision was taken on an appointment in an improper manner, before the approval of the Board was sought.

I would like to formally request that, as Chair of the Governance Committee, you look into this complaint.

Yours sincerely,
Tim Wall"
Last edited by TimWall on Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Allan Hodgkinson
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by Allan Hodgkinson » Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:39 pm

In his letter Carl states:

31. Trust. Maybe I am naïve, but I expect as a default position that people will do their best and make decisions that are good for the organisation and good for chess. Life can be tough I know, but if things go wrong, I do not intend to hide them.
Openness and trust are key to building a great team and a brighter future. The ECF needs this – we need to raise our profile, increase our membership and look at more
4
ways to be attractive to current and potential members. I will challenge, and I will expect to be challenged but my stance in life is clear. No-one has to earn my trust – they have it already. People earn ‘distrust’.
ENVOI
32. I have put no privacy marking on this document. People can feel free to disseminate it as they wish. I stand by it. The key point is that people should know my thoughts and views in this new role.
33. Those who know me will know that I have a motto in life, and it is one that I should like to bring to this particular role. I believe it was an old Chinese proverb and it said:
“Don’t complain about the dark, light a few candles”
If an ECF manager or member has not moaned about the darkness, and tried to light a candle then they will not have done wrong.

So, Tim, you should have no problem in getting clarification.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:51 pm

Allan Hodgkinson wrote:
Thu Oct 10, 2019 5:39 pm
I believe it was an old Chinese proverb and it said:
“Don’t complain about the dark, light a few candles”
I'll believe that when I see a reference to the quote that isn't Carl Portman citing it.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

TimWall
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by TimWall » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:52 pm

Carl Portman Credo ECF website 091019 screenshot 1.png
Carl Portman Credo ECF website 091019 screenshot 1.png (273.99 KiB) Viewed 806 times
How is that Carl Portman was ready with his 'Oscar acceptance speech' hours after the interview?
Who told Carl that he had been appointed on 13th September - 16 days before the Board was asked their opinion?
These are questions that need answering.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Oct 10, 2019 6:55 pm

Set yourself on fire with enthusiasm they say and people will come from miles around to watch you burn
Good Lord, does this guy communicate entirely in inspirational quotes?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

David Robertson
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by David Robertson » Thu Oct 10, 2019 8:06 pm

Carl Portman wrote:CREDO (peroration)
To all Arbiters, Board members, players and termites, I say:

"Build a bigger ECF.
As a Roman writer once said: exire atque multiplicet!

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Carl Portman
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by Carl Portman » Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:39 am

I will caveat this post by saying that I speak for myself and not on behalf of the ECF.

Further It is NOT my intention to use this forum as the official communication platform for the ECF Development Officer.

However, since Mr Wall has seen fit to traduce my name, (and by association ECF personnel) then I must defend myself. I am not so much disappointed in Mr Wall's confusion about my Credo (that's perfectly fine) - but that he did not see fit to speak to me or the ECF personally first. To simply post this supposition on social media without giving me the opportunity to respond first is the mark of moral cowardice, it's a simple as that. People can question my work and my methods anytime, that's fine. But when my integrity is questioned, that is stepping on the tail of a tiger and I will bite back.

There's no story here. Relax. The explanation is perfectly simple and there was no agreement with anyone at the ECF about my getting the job beforehand. No fait accompli. No underhand dealings. No story. I am sure the ECF will put out a statement but at the moment I am looking at my options.

I am very happy to respond to questions about my CREDO or any other of my chess communications. I will be at the AGM tomorrow, and if folks want to meet me then I would welcome that. I refuse to get bogged down in petty playground politics. Some would want me to take my eye off my role and waste time arguing. I won't. I love chess and I am determined to 'sell' it AND the ECF to organisations and individuals in the coming months. I can only do this with other people, I cannot do it alone. This for me is fun, it is my passion.

As for my CREDO (A document of some concern? Really Tim. It is an OPEN document) As for communication - if you don't do it, people complain. If you do it, people complain. That is life. I will communicate when, how and where I see fit if I think it helps chess and the ECF. It is meant to be more helpful than harmful and to tell people what I am doing and how I will operate. Simple as that. We all desire the same thing (I assume) which is the promotion of the game, to bring chess to a much wider audience here in England and get people out there playing more LIVE chess. That's what I will concentrate on. If people want to snipe from the wings I say this. Get in the ring. What are you doing to promote our game? It is so easy to criticise. It takes no skill, and very little effort.

I am far from perfect but then aren't we all? However, I try always to be open and honest with no agendas. I would rather be stabbed in the front. I know who the smiling assassins are and I am ready for you, but I also know who the genuine folks are and yes, many participate on this Forum! Give me a chance folks. I have not even started the job yet and already I find myself having to defend myself against opprobrious social media posts from people who don't even know me. I am not the enemy, I am a chess player! I am accountable for what I do or don't do all of the time - but then so are all of you.

See you at the AGM. I have no idea if I will be asked to speak but I will be very happy to do so. I have no agenda, and nothing to hide.

Gens una sumus.

Carl Portman

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:24 am

Questions relating to the appointment process (and what happened when) should, in my opinion, be directed at the ECF officials who oversaw that process, not at those who applied for the position. Questions about Carl's document should be directed to him (there is quite a lot in there to digest and take in, but maybe it will be easier to ask questions in a year's time after it becomes clearer what has been done in the role).

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JustinHorton
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:33 am

Carl Portman wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:39 am
The explanation is perfectly simple
And it is....
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:40 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:24 am
Questions relating to the appointment process (and what happened when) should, in my opinion, be directed at the ECF officials who oversaw that process, not at those who applied for the position.
There would be fewer questions if the "Credo" document had been dated (or redated) to coincide with or follow the appointment announcement. For that matter the ECF Directors report could have used a form of words to the effect that an announcement about the Development Officer would be made before the AGM instead of implying at the time of its mid-September publication that someone had already been appointed. The interpretation being implied by Tim Wall that the mid September interviews were a sham is a possible version of the observed facts.

I agree that we can see after a year what has been done, but I would ask whether the likely focus is on getting players already on the grading database to become ECF members, or getting new or returning names into organised OTB chess. Something I noted in the newsletter about the recent English Blitz qualifiers, was the suggestion that it had attracted some previously online only Blitz players. Were there any financial penalties for entrants to the Blitz who weren't ECF members?

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:45 am

JustinHorton wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:33 am
Carl Portman wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:39 am
The explanation is perfectly simple
And it is....
Justin, may I suggest you ask those who oversaw the appointment process about the dates. Putting pressure on Carl himself is not going to help matters here. The implication I think is that the ECF will at some point explain this, but that it is not Carl's place to provide this explanation. If Carl tries to explain things, it may make matters worse.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:49 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:45 am
Justin, may I suggest you ask those who oversaw the appointment process about the dates.
You may, but my counter-suggestion would be that if somebody says "the explanation is perfectly simple", the simplest thing would be to give that explanation, rather than write more than six hundred words of waffle leaving us no better informed than before.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:56 am

JustinHorton wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:49 am
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:45 am
Justin, may I suggest you ask those who oversaw the appointment process about the dates.
You may, but my counter-suggestion would be that if somebody says "the explanation is perfectly simple", the simplest thing would be to give that explanation, rather than write more than six hundred words of waffle leaving us no better informed than before.
I agree with you about too many words being used. This is why I suggest asking someone who: (a) actually knows how the appointment process worked; and (b) is likely to give a more useful answer. I genuinely don't know why you would expect one of the applicants for a position to know exactly how the application process worked. If you or I took part in a job interview, we wouldn't be expected to respond to the sort of questions you are asking.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:59 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Fri Oct 11, 2019 11:56 am

I agree with you about too many words being used. This is why I suggest asking someone who: (a) actually knows how the appointment process worked; and (b) is likely to give a more useful answer.
Right, but here the answer to (b) appears to be "the guy who says there's a simple explanation".
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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JustinHorton
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Re: Development Officer appointment

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Oct 11, 2019 12:01 pm

I don't, by the way, have a view on the rights and wrongs of this affair. I do however have a view on postings like Carl's above.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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