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Thread: Proposed GAGB Constitution

  1. #16
    paul.blitz Guest

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    11. Section 7, para 5 is unconstitutional. You cannot appeal to the same committee that votes to expel a member. The idea is correct but the wording is bad. eg there is a reference to 'him', what about 'her'.
    It is very constitutional, and again comes from the WHR constitution:

    The Executive Committee shall have power, after proper investigation (a) to reject any application for membership of Winchester Radio, and (B) after proper enquiry to expel any member acting to the detriment of Winchester Radio after giving such member written notice of the intention to expel him or her from Winchester Radio, which notice shall state that the member has a right to appear before the Executive Committee and to be heard in his or her own defence after giving not less than 28 days notice in writing to the Chairman of his or her intention to do so. The decision of the Executive Committee as to the rejection of the applications for membership or the expulsion of members shall be final, save that no expulsion shall be valid unless it complies in all respects with the provisions of this Clause.

    (The WHR constitution includes the para "All references to any one Gender should be considered as referring to both", but the sexual equality act means it automatically includes "her" without any need to say so)

    I think you will find it is quite normal for a committee to have the power (on behalf of its membership) to decide who may / may not be members. Its interesting to note that membership of WHR requires acceptance by the committee, whilst with GAGB, that is not the case.

    12. Section 7, para 6 is again badly worded and some stuff missing. eg How members are contacted and with what notice. As it stands 3 members can agree to have a meeting without even contacting the others.
    That doesn't need to be in the constitution (and its not in the WHR one either, where we DO have meetings). I agree that something needs to go into the Standing Orders though.

    I specifically left out the requirement for notice for a meeting, as there WILL be times (eg New Forest meeting) when a meeting HAS to be held at short notice... but then covered the potential problems by requiring ratification later on.

    At WHR, as Chief Engineer, I may need to do something that affects the organisation at very short notice. In such a case, I would probably speak with "a representive selection" of the rest of the committee (on the phone) and take action, but would then ask for full ratification at the next committee meeting.

    13. Section 8b, last sentance, I would suggest - Any expenditure must have prior approval of at least three members of the Executive Committee.
    Yes, good idea, much more workable.

    14. Section 8e, should read - A independantly audited statement of accounts for the previous financial year shall be submitted by the Chairman to the members annually in January.
    WHR just changed its constitution to remove the word "audited", and replaced it with "examined", and turns over about £8k per year. A legal "audit" would probably cost as much as the funds themselves! So there's no way I can support the inclusion of the word "audited".

    I think any accounts will be sufficiently simple that all members will be able to "independantly examine" them!

    When turnover reaches say £1k pa, then maybe external / independant examination is more relevant.

    15. Section 9, Chair - these are too restrictive. What happens if the Chair is unavailable there is no option for replacement. My suggestion is to remove this bit completely.
    The reaason for having a "job description" there is (a) so that potential chairmen know what is expected; (B) lets you see if a current chairman is doing the job!

    Also, if you don't define what specific roles that person has, then why HAVE that role? That's indeed the reason that, at the moment, there are "5 other committee members", rather than web-master, secretary, treasurer etc.....

    So what ARE the chairman's specific responsibilities? All suggestions welcome! (I can say that coz I'm NOT chairman :-) )


    16. Section 11 - It would be better to restrict changes to constitution to 'once a year', as you would when having an AGM.
    Why? it's a needless restriction, and could actually cause problems. For example, we change the constitution, to discover that something we just did was not legal... oops!

    At WHR (mainly for convenience) changes are *usually* made at the AGM, but I know that last year we did one part-way through the year, as we wanted to reduce the size of the committee, and wanted the changes in place for the annual elections at the AGM.

  2. #17
    paul.blitz Guest

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    17. Section 11, last para - I'm sorry but you can't have this. GAGB is a democratic organisation and 'the majority rules'. If the majority want to change something it must be....that is democracy.
    Not true. The members CAN change the aims, but only as long as they don't cause a major change of direction.

    OK, silly example: "I propose that GAGB should fight for the banning of all caches in the UK, should ask members to remove / trash existing caches, and should lobby parliament to make geocaching illegal". That would make GAGB do a complete u-turn.

    No, if a group of members want SUBSTANTIAL changes to the aims, then the correct thing to do is to set up a DIFFERENT organisation.

    18. There is no section that allows members to make proposals. Perhaps it should need a required number of members before a proposal is accepted?
    Section 6, para 2 covers it, doesn't it?

    "Any formal discussions and voting which might normally be carried out at AGM’s, EGM’s etc will be carried out online. Formal proposals will require a minimum of 6 days notice, and require a simple majority of those members voting to be carried. Voting will last for at least 4 days, and no more than 14 days."

    Details of "how is a vote held" etc would go into Standing Orders.

    MANY thanks for all those comments. I'm not disagreeing in places just to be contentious, but because that's just the way *I* see things. If others also think I'm wrong, please speak up and change my mind!!


    Paul

  3. #18
    paul.blitz Guest

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    Originally posted by Bill D (wwh)@Jan 10 2004, 10:15 PM
    Section 7 para 1 implies that the committee must always consist of Chair and five other members. Thus if a member or the Chair resigns, there is no legal committee to appoint a replacement. Perhaps this should be reworded a little?
    Here's the original WHR words:

    The Executive Committee shall be responsible for the conduct of Winchester Radio and shall consist of a Chairman, Vice Chairman, Treasurer, Chief Engineer, Station Manager, Programme Controller and Fundraising Manager. One representative of the Health Authorities in the catchment area of Winchester Radio shall also have the right to attend meetings the Executive Committee.

    I think that is quite "normal" wording... given that the above is acceptable to the Charity Commision, I'm sure it will be ok for us!

    You happy with that?


    (I'm working on simple principles re the constitution:

    - the more like the WHR constitution it is then the more likely it is to be legal / reasonable
    - keep the constitution simple where you can
    - you don't need lots of minute details in there, when they could better go in another document (eg standing orders)
    )

    For example, WHR has a set of "station rules". They are actually set by the committee (as per section 7 of the WHR constitution!&#33, without any vote by the membership.... but at the end of the day, a group of members are welcome to take over on the committee, and change the rules if they don't like them (we keep hoping that will happen, but it never does!!!!&#33


    paul

  4. #19
    BugznElm'r Guest

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    Originally posted by paul.blitz@Jan 11 2004, 04:48 PM
    16. Section 11 - It would be better to restrict changes to constitution to 'once a year', as you would when having an AGM.
    Why? it's a needless restriction, and could actually cause problems. For example, we change the constitution, to discover that something we just did was not legal... oops!
    A good reason is to allow the association to move forward as opposed to being caught up in its own red tape. Something unlawful aside, it focuses the association on caching instead of internal aims. I think Wood smoke's suggestion has merit still.

  5. #20
    BugznElm'r Guest

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    Originally posted by paul.blitz@Jan 11 2004, 04:48 PM
    17. Section 11, last para - I'm sorry but you can't have this. GAGB is a democratic organisation and 'the majority rules'. If the majority want to change something it must be....that is democracy.
    Not true. The members CAN change the aims, but only as long as they don't cause a major change of direction.
    Who then decides if any proposed change is a major chance of direction or not then Paul? Another vote? That's the problem with democracy but you cannot go half way. I don't like this. Again I have to side with Woodsmoke that with a democratic org, the majority rules. Otherwise, who does? Muddy areas like this only lead to conflict between members and entrenched committee representatives.

    Sorry if I'm coming across as picky but this needs to be right!

  6. #21
    Wood Smoke Guest

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    8. Section 7, para 2 - This is not standard voting procedure as detailed in the 'Rules of Chairmanship'. The Chair should be entitled to a vote on all items and a casting vote in the event of a tie.
    I've been on committees where chairman has (a) vote plus casting vote; (B) just casting vote. Advantages of a chairman without a vote: - can stay more impartial during discussions; - with 5 committee, a 6th vote plus casting vote would lead to the chairman being in a position to "swing a vote". (Had there been 6 committee, I would have gone for the vote plus casting vote)

    I would be very interested to see the "Rules of Chairmanship"... do you have a URL or a copy you could forward, please?
    The book that is classed as the bible for Chairmanship is ABC of Chairmanship. I am not aware of an online version and I can’t find mine.

    9. Section 7, para 3 should read - In the event of a member of the EC resigning, the EC may appoint a caretaker to fill the post until the next annual election.
    (note: that para stolen almost verbating from WHR constit.)

    Are you wanting the rest of that para deleting too? Or were you just wanting the "new" member specifically called a "caretaker"?

    I'm just thinking along the lines that if there were a requirement to call another election to fill the vacancy, then that member is indeed a caretaker. But if they stay for the rest of the term, until the next scheduled election, then they are hardly a "caretaker". In any case, the reason for bringing that person onboard is to act as a full member of the committee, so they have to have responsibility, and a vote.
    ‘Caretaker’ in this context is a recognised term for the position. Yes remove all the rest.

    10. Section 7, para 4 should read - The EC may co-opt such additional members as it may require.
    Again, you meaning that as a complete replacement for the para, of just the first bit?
    Yes remove all the rest, why complicate things?

    WoodSmoke

  7. #22
    Wood Smoke Guest

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    16. Section 11 - It would be better to restrict changes to constitution to 'once a year', as you would when having an AGM.
    Why? it's a needless restriction, and could actually cause problems. For example, we change the constitution, to discover that something we just did was not legal... oops!
    Ok look at this example which is not as far fetched as it seems…..

    A group wishes to take over GAGB (why, I’ve no idea, but assume).

    First, every week/month/etc they put forward a proposal to change the constitution.

    All the members get fed up of voting on petty constitutional changes, so stop voting.

    Elections come around, the only people left voting are the people wanting to take over.

    One of the main reasons why you have an AGM only once a year, and it takes a number of members to call an EGM, is to get the members caring only once a year, that way they show they care.


    18. There is no section that allows members to make proposals. Perhaps it should need a required number of members before a proposal is accepted?
    Section 6, para 2 covers it, doesn't it?

    "Any formal discussions and voting which might normally be carried out at AGM’s, EGM’s etc will be carried out online. Formal proposals will require a minimum of 6 days notice, and require a simple majority of those members voting to be carried. Voting will last for at least 4 days, and no more than 14 days."
    But it still doesn’t say how a member makes a proposal?

    Eg. Does it just need a proposer and seconder, or does it have to have the backing of say, five other members?

    WoodSmoke

  8. #23
    MCL Guest

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    One thing I noticed was the bit that says what constitues a quorum at an EC meeting. I think it should be just more than half the commitee for one very simple reason:

    It is concievable in the future that a committee might be split over a particular issue and therefore possible for two separate meetings to take place each with three of the six members and come to opposing decisions. If this happens, which one is the "legal" decision? Each one can claim validity under the constitution.

    I have seen this happen in reality, just once, but once is enough to demostrate it is a possibility. Better to set the quorate number at 4, which removes this possibility completely OR make it a stipulation that the chairman must be present, which is actually a rather awkward one to live with.

  9. #24
    NattyBooshka Guest

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    Originally posted by MCL@Jan 12 2004, 01:56 AM
    One thing I noticed was the bit that says what constitues a quorum at an EC meeting. I think it should be just more than half the commitee for one very simple reason:

    It is concievable in the future that a committee might be split over a particular issue and therefore possible for two separate meetings to take place each with three of the six members and come to opposing decisions. If this happens, which one is the "legal" decision? Each one can claim validity under the constitution.

    I have seen this happen in reality, just once, but once is enough to demostrate it is a possibility. Better to set the quorate number at 4, which removes this possibility completely OR make it a stipulation that the chairman must be present, which is actually a rather awkward one to live with.
    In principal I agree, but as the chairman is non-voting (except for casting vote) we effectivly have a voting committee of 5.... so 3 would be above half. I would, though, be more comfortable with 4 being deemed as a quorum.

  10. #25
    paul.blitz Guest

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    The book that is classed as the bible for Chairmanship is ABC of Chairmanship. I am not aware of an online version and I can’t find mine.
    Thanks... I'll have a look down the library later in the week... and if I can't find THAT book, I'm sure I'll find others.

    9. Section 7, para 3 should read - In the event of a member of the EC resigning, the EC may appoint a caretaker to fill the post until the next annual election.
    (note: that para stolen almost verbating from WHR constit.)

    Are you wanting the rest of that para deleting too? Or were you just wanting the "new" member specifically called a "caretaker"?
    ‘Caretaker’ in this context is a recognised term for the position. Yes remove all the rest.
    Would that still imply that the caretaker DOES have all the rights & responsibilities of the original post-holder? Or should that be spelt out (like the current version does?)

    10. Section 7, para 4 should read - The EC may co-opt such additional members as it may require.
    Again, you meaning that as a complete replacement for the para, of just the first bit?
    Yes remove all the rest, why complicate things?
    (as well as it being a straight copy of the WHR constitution) you don't feel we need to make clear "who can do what (eg vote)" as far as co-optees is concerned?

  11. #26
    paul.blitz Guest

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    Originally posted by Wood Smoke@Jan 11 2004, 08:11 PM
    But it still doesn’t say how a member makes a proposal?
    Ah, something like that would definitely be a candidate for the Standing Orders!

    paul

  12. #27
    paul.blitz Guest

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    Originally posted by MCL@Jan 12 2004, 01:56 AM
    One thing I noticed was the bit that says what constitues a quorum at an EC meeting. I think it should be just more than half the commitee for one very simple reason:

    It is concievable in the future that a committee might be split over a particular issue and therefore possible for two separate meetings to take place each with three of the six members and come to opposing decisions. If this happens, which one is the "legal" decision? Each one can claim validity under the constitution.

    I have seen this happen in reality, just once, but once is enough to demostrate it is a possibility. Better to set the quorate number at 4, which removes this possibility completely OR make it a stipulation that the chairman must be present, which is actually a rather awkward one to live with.
    Valid point....we had a brief discussion on this in the committee: I just looked back, and find that we never actually reached a conclusion!

    One suggestion was that you could define the quorum in a different way, requiring 3 votes to pass a motion. That would work fine if the chairman has ONLY a casting vote, as a meeting of chairman + 2 others would only ever manage 2 votes in favour!!

    I think I was shying away from 4 so that (on a practical level) when people were busy / away, and we were missing members (like now), it would be possible to organise meetings fairly easily.

    Insisting that the chairman is there would make life very difficuly (and impossible right now!!&#33

    So, if people would feel happier with 4, I'll make it 4!


    Paul

  13. #28
    BugznElm'r Guest

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    I'd be happier with 4 after what MCL said!

  14. #29

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    Originally posted by paul.blitz@Jan 12 2004, 12:18 PM

    .........I think I was shying away from 4 so that (on a practical level) when people were busy / away, and we were missing members (like now), it would be possible to organise meetings fairly easily.

    Insisting that the chairman is there would make life very difficuly (and impossible right now!!&#33

    So, if people would feel happier with 4, I'll make it 4!


    Paul
    I was also thinking about the practicality of meetings, but would be happy to settle for a quorum of 4 in light of the concerns raised.

  15. #30
    paul.blitz Guest

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    Originally posted by The Wombles+Jan 12 2004, 08:24 PM--></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (The Wombles @ Jan 12 2004, 08:24 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin--paul.blitz@Jan 12 2004, 12:18 PM

    .........I think I was shying away from 4 so that (on a practical level) when people were busy / away, and we were missing members (like now), it would be possible to organise meetings fairly easily.

    Insisting that the chairman is there would make life very difficuly (and impossible right now&#33;&#33;&#33

    So, if people would feel happier with 4, I&#39;ll make it 4&#33;


    Paul
    I was also thinking about the practicality of meetings, but would be happy to settle for a quorum of 4 in light of the concerns raised. [/b][/quote]
    Ok, no probs, 4 it will be&#33; I&#39;ll post an updated copy tomorrow (whoops, later today&#33


    Paul

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