Tuesday, 15 October 2013

John Wickham reports on the ECF AGM

From EACU Chairman, John Wickham

Saturday's meeting in London was well attended meeting and for once it had a Chairman who was prepared to be firm and restrict the time people had to speak.   That did not stop some pursuing their own agendas or the new people to the meeting who wanted to take over in order to impress (but failing in both!).   Mike Gunn, the Chairman, was standing down so it will be interesting as to how future meetings are controlled.

We started an hour early and just managed to finish on time.   Quite an achievement.

Firstly, the NCCU proposal regarding the County Championships was considered.   You may recall that I attended a Skype meeting that the NCCU did not attend and in which all the other Unions were against the proposals.   At the AGM we first went through the process of amending and then further amending the proposals until it went to vote and was defeated.   So it is back to the status quo and a waste of everybody's time.

The ECF is still seeking Charitable status and intends to appoint someone to ensure it is properly considered and implemented.   This may be a paid position in view of the importance of the issue.   With the Permanent Invested Fund Trust coming up for renewal next year there is a need to have something in place at that time so that the ECF's investments are properly targeted.

Also, having disposed of the role of Non Executive Chairman, the ECF wants to appoint a Commercial Director.   The ides of this is to generate some funds and to remove the Marketing position which has never succeeded.   If you are interested the position is due to be advertised.

The Elections were treated as hustings and we had one vote on all the candidates at the end.   This meant I could use my total of 11 votes.   Andrew Paulson had gone on a charm offensive leading up to the meeting (including spending over an hour on the phone with me - still not sure what it was we talked about for so long!) and held a session in the bar at the venue prior to the meeting.   In the voting for ECF President he managed to defeat Roger Edwards.   While Roger is a nice man he does not have the dynamism of Andrew.   It remains to be seen if Andrew becomes frustrated with the ECF bureaucracy and leaves after a year.

For the CEO post Phil Ehr was elected overwhelmingly.   I think that Andrew Moore decided that he was going to lose as he did not turn up for the meeting.

The Non-Executive positions had two new candidates.   They both spoke but seemed to think that their role was to confront the Board rather than work with them.   I had intended voting for Jack Rudd but he performed badly when speaking and justifying what he had done.   Jack does have health problems and it seemed he was suffering on the day.   Sadly he polled the lowest number of votes and Sean Hewitt and Julian Clissold were elected.   I hope that ECF does find another role for Jack as he is keen to remain involved.

The other Directors elected were:

Home Chess - Alex Holowczak
Junior - Lawrence Cooper
International - David Openshaw
Membership - David Thomas
FIDE Delegate - Nigel Short

There was an issue regarding the Women's team for the European Team Championships which has been was withdrawn due to lack of funds.   The Director had a difficult decision to make but hopes in future to have more funds in place.

When the ECF awards were announced I did raise that the ECF had not publicised the awards which led to only the President's Award receiving nominations.   They claimed not to have been aware of the other awards despite my sending in a briefing paper after standing down last year.   I think they got the point that it is a poor organisation that does not recognise the achievements of its members.

Finally, the ECF will be looking at the 'one member one vote' issue (though I doubt most members will welcome it) and a Board decision requiring membership in the Schools' Championship run by ECF was overturned.

The next ECF meeting is on 12 April 2014.

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