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Chris Durant

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  1. The email below has today been sent to MYA Club Secretaries with the approval of 7 MYA VIce Presidents. ''Dear MYA Club Secretary You will be aware that MYA Council has requested that at an Extraordinary General Meeting to be held on 25th January 2020 the membership approves a New Constitution. We the undersigned MYA Vice Presidents would be very grateful if your club committee and members would take the time to compare both old and new Constitutions including the numerous appendices to the new version. They should also look on the MYA Forum under ‘MYA Chat – Proposed New Constitution’ where there are several experienced ex-Council members’ observations on both the manner of the introduction of this New Constitution and the defects that exist in its component sections. Despite the long time that Council has said that it has spent on preparing the document, it is in an unfinished state. Henry Farley, well known to MYA members for his skill over many years in MYA detail matters, has compared the new constitution with the current one and noted a significant number of issues and raised relevant queries in regard to both content and requirements, tabulating them for ease of comparison. This table is attached and on the forum. It notes only those matters discovered initially and they are probably not exhaustive. Roger Stollery and Guildford Model Yacht Club have also analysed the New Constitution and a précis of the club’s letter is also on the forum, with the letter itself as an attachment. You will see that there are a number of significant drafting errors where the meaning of certain terms and references is ambiguous, which will inevitably cause difficulties in the future. There are also several crucial areas of constitutional significance where it has always been up to the full membership to agree a change of course, whereas this Council has decided to remove those choices. There are areas of uncertainty, poor drafting, and purely Council’s opinions, which will place members at a disadvantage. Therefore the ‘New Constitution’ and its numerous appendices as it now stands can only ever be considered as a draft for members’ discussion. We believe that in support of Council the solution might be to form an experienced drafting committee both from within Council and from the membership itself, to achieve an acceptable Constitution with valid reasons for all changes and ready in good time for the 2020 AGM. We therefore urge your Club to consider carefully how to cast your vote when you submit your voting form (by 18th January 2020) and/or when attending the 25th January meeting. There are no arrangements for amendments to a motion at an EGM. Thus the sensible option is to vote against the proposed motion in order that a refined Constitution can be put before the members at the 2020 AGM. Yours sincerely Mike Clifton, Chris Durant, Henry Farley, Robert Hobbs, Steve Poole, Russell Potts, Roger Stollery MYA Vice Presidents''
  2. Well said David! At the November 2019 AGM the Chairman advised those present that as the new constitution was such a significant change from the old one that it had taken Council two years of activity to get to a stage where it had concluded it was ready to be presented in ‘final’ form and that it would publish it to the membership in December 2019, also then setting a date in January 2020 for an Extraordinary General Meeting for its approval. I suggested to him that since it had taken Council two years to reach the conclusion that the document is what it wants, that it would be far more courteous to the membership and a truly democratic exercise if Council were to permit the membership at least two, or far better three or four months, to consider the proposal at its leisure, properly consider the detail of any amendments that it considered appropriate and recommend them to Council for inclusion, and then Council could propose to an EGM to be held in say April 2020 a version that would be acceptable to all, rather than having to vote on a mass of potentially conflicting amendments at a meeting. Council has clearly considered this reasonable suggestion as undesirable and has forged ahead with notice of an EGM in January 2020. So we now have the idiotic situation of a notice dated 11th December 2019 being published on the website on 12th, together with the new constitution and appendices and a requirement that all ‘suggestions for necessary adjustments’ be made by members through their club’s management and then such detail changes be submitted by club secretaries to StC by 8th January 2020 – a mere 27 days including the holiday period! With Christmas and New Year occurring in the intervening period which will naturally be at the forefront of most people’s thoughts at this time this really is an unreasonable decision by Council and will inevitably not enable proper examination of and any appropriate challenge to the 23 pages of documents presented to the membership. I can only personally conclude that if Council are unwilling to delay the EGM by several months the only sensible course of action by clubs now is to vote a firm AGAINST to the motion at the forthcoming EGM so that all the documents can be considered and discussed in proper order over the coming months and a thoroughly considered proposal brought to the next AGM. Chris Durant
  3. Good morning all I have just seen the recent posting by Mike Kemp relating to the Motion 1 Amendment. 'On the 'amendment'. It strikes me as being an attempt to stir up a debate on something that, for one reason or another, the Executive seems to feel doesn't need discussing. A composite proposal like the 'amendment' is doomed because it would be impossible to take a vote on one part until the other part has been debated and decided. If one wants to get things accepted, then the chairman must be able to ask the meeting for a yes, no, or abstention on one item.’’ At first sight this seems, reading it exactly as it is written, like yet another attempt within this Forum by someone on Council to rubbish a view on a matter genuinely held by members not within Council and to pre-empt and dissuade full discussion and voting throughout the membership, which is very sad, and I do hope not the case, as it would infer the dreadful situation that Council sadly believes itself omnipotent, something that has never happened before either in my experience as both an ex Council member and now an ordinary member. --------------------------------------------- Let me relate for members the very simple procedural situation in the matter of motions and motion amendments which should happen this AGM . An amendment motion (or indeed motions) must always be considered first, and voting for or against such amendment is always taken first in the exact terms of the motion. If the amendment motion succeeds, with more votes for it than against it, then it is passed, and then the original motion automatically fails and is set aside. If the amendment motion fails, with more votes against it than for it, then at that time, and ONLY at that time, can the original motion then be considered and voted upon, and once again it is necessary for more votes to be cast in favour of it than against it in order for it to succeed. The original motion can never be simply ‘passed’ by a simple assumption of the proposer that the motion is acceptable. This is the way in which the amendment motion and motion itself must be presented by Council to the membership at the appropriate date and well in time for paper and email voting replies to be received by StC 7 days before the AGM. --------------------------------- Let me give an example if proper process is not followed and give members a case study: Council has indicated that it intends to present to the membership for its consideration a ‘new constitution’ that it has been working on, and with the implication is that it is significantly different to the existing one. It will clearly need a draft copy to be first presented to the membership for their perusal and comment – rather like a parliamentary White Paper. The membership will then consider this document at its leisure and indicate in due course to Council through its club’s officers’ variations and changes that it considers necessary, and [probably numerous] discussions then take place with the Council delegated officers and other members experienced in such matters to agree a version satisfactory to all. This process will undoubtedly/usually take some months for that group to consider (major constitution changes always do!) although luck may prevail and little may eventually need to be changed. At the end of that period, however long it may be, a document agreed to be satisfactory to all clubs will be submitted to a General Meeting with the assurance and reasonable belief that no changes are necessary – and will get properly voted through with no dissent. The worrying alternative if this process is not followed? Council submits a motion to a General Meeting proposing a document, which whilst such document is satisfactory to Council, may be totally unsatisfactory in many ways to the membership, and potentially numerous motion amendments are quite validly submitted by some or all of the 100 MYA clubs. The meeting considering all these then goes mad trying to consider these numerous amendments, all of which may be on different points, or similar points but with different alternatives, and nothing can be concluded because the simple expedient of full consultation with the rank and file membership has been ignored. As members will hopefully appreciate, my simple point is that consultation is always vital on major matters affecting the membership and its relationship with MYA to enable member confidence and support, rather than an assumption that it will simply accept the Council’s proposal. Regards to all Chris Durant
  4. Dear Tiggy Cat Perhaps I can answer your question factually? We need to go back a bit – so - prior to the 2018 AGM Council submitted two motions to the membership for AGM voting, one concerning subscriptions for junior members - raised under Constitution para 11.1, and one raised under Constitution para 12a(b) wishing to reduce the Council voting quorum (Constitution para 10d) to (in reality) very few council officers rather than the existing Constitution number (of 50% of 15) – or if you want the (frightening) motion precisely –‘’A majority of the Executive Officers plus any Officers with entitlement to vote and in attendance at a scheduled (physical or electronic) meeting shall constitute a quorum". Three clubs including my own (Gosport) submitted within the requisite time frame a valid and carefully constructed motion amendment to these motions. Whereupon Council immediately (a) refused to accept and (as it is required to do) publish to the membership this motion amendment properly submitted under Constitution 12c, and (b) withdrew its own original motion in breach of Constitution para 12.5(b). The three clubs were in reality powerless other than to protest orally at the AGM and when the AGM finally arrived members at the meeting then spent fruitless time discussing the matter (with Council Officers defending the indefensible) to the extent that all present lost the will to live and nothing was concluded. ------------------------------ Now to 2019: Council again proposed for AGM consideration a motion under 11.1 wishing to reduce the junior membership rate to nil. A valid amendment motion under 11.1 and 12.a(c) was submitted by 5 clubs to Secretary to MYA Council within the required time frame and which motion reads as follows:- ‘’Amendment to AGM motion 1 Submitted on behalf of 5 clubs in accordance with Constitution 12.a(c). "The junior membership subscription shall be half the affiliated membership subscription, which for 2020 shall be reduced from £14 to £10." Reason: Junior membership will be paid for by parents, who are unlikely to mind paying subscriptions on this fair principle, often used by many clubs. The reduction is proposed to prevent further build up* of MYA funds at a time when Council’s future spending proposals have not yet been made clear to the membership. *End of year MYA bank balances from MYA treasurer annual reports 2015 £9731 2016 £11,527 2017 £18,321 2018 £19,304 2019 £24,795 - this figure is as the treasurer’s 1st September report, with little change expected by the end of year to 30th September. Roger Stollery, on behalf of Guildford, Gosport, Lee Valley, Frensham Pond Sailing Club - MYG and Abington Park model yacht clubs.’’ ---------------------------------------- Again, information was promptly received back from Council via StC that the wording in this motion amendment was unacceptable to it in that format, although its text and meaning seems very clear to the full Committees of the 5 clubs involved but apparently not to Council members. It is hoped that common sense may prevail and that Council will not once again be in breach of the Constitution so that the membership may discuss this subject in full detail and a proper conclusion reached. I would perhaps make the point that it is not a matter whether the affiliated membership fee be £10 (or indeed £5 or £25 or £14). What matters is that the membership as a whole has confidence that whatever subscriptions, levies or other fees that the membership contributes to MYA are being used properly, wisely and for the benefit of the membership as a whole. Whilst Council needs to have sufficient funds for its programme of which members need to approve, the income must be appropriate to the plan and not over budgeted to simply build up or bolster the MYA’s bank balance unnecessarily. Next, and as a retired Chartered Accountant, I am horrified by what he reports and must draw members’ attention to Phil’s words in his recent posting: ‘’With regards to next years budget plan…..the budget is being prepared by our treasurer David Rose and when completed will be discussed by council as a whole and then made available to the wider membership.’’ How the rates of membership for 2020 can be demanded / set and published to the membership – effectively as a fait accompli - in September without the near final result for 2019 and a comprehensive budget for the relevant year being fully discussed in detail and agreed by Council well prior to that time is a mystery to me. This is surely a case of the cart being put many miles before the horse? I note too that Phil in his post indicates the membership now stands in excess of 1,800. Members may be interested to know that the membership of MYA stood at 1,800 back in 2015 and indeed 1,798 way back in 2012! Regards Chris Durant MYA Vice President
  5. Hi Paul Might I suggest that if you end up with 'too many' on any 'club' day (and I leave it to your club to decide who too many is - but remember that as HMS allows for a start line containing (I think) 20 boats that you might not get away with many less for an Open Event !) that you do what we do and that is to ensure for each 'oversubscribed' club event that those (numerically, not personally!) who are deemed to be one of 'the too many' - be that one or more skippers - act for a particular race during the session as Race Officer and or Observer(s). This has the effect of ensuring that all competitors of the day understand and have a crack at the implications and pitfalls of actually doing those jobs at club race level, ensures that all competitors are aware that they are under the scrutiny of observers and remedy any breaches of which they might be 'guilty' other than just hoping that no-one notices, and learn that if an open event occurs at their club and they are asked to help it's not quite so terrifying as they imagine and ultimately the poor old event organiser does not go mad trying to find a team to support him or her. Yes - you might have to run an extra race or two to get the number of discards that you wish, and someone will have to work out on the day a simple rota so that each competitor during the morning or day has a turn off doing the officiating but it's manageable and everyone will still get their full crack at the number of races they wish. Hope that this is all understandable, and you may be indeed doing it already in some form or another, but it works for us! Cheers Chris Durant
  6. Dear Member A growing number of people have been asking me, Roger Stollery and Henry Farley what the 2018 MYA AGM Motion amendments actually were that had been submitted to MYA Council by the Gosport, Guildford and Lee Valley model yacht clubs on 29th October 2018. So, in very brief summary, here they are:- Firstly, Subscriptions: Examination of past financial records has shown that the MYA's surplus has grown from £7,326 in 2011 up to £20,116 in 2018 when membership numbers remain fairly static (1,716 in 2011; 1,731 in 2018). Why is such a high level of standing funds necessary? The simple answer can only be that it simply is not. The most obvious way to reduce it is to return some of the funds directly to members by lowering the subscriptions. Apart from anything else this might encourage more people to join or re-affiliate (the current levels of non re-affiliation appear to be very high). Once the funds have been reduced to a more modest and appropriate level future subscriptions could then be adjusted to match expected expenditure and a case made for this in a future AGM motion. To achieve this, an amendment supported by detailed reasoning, financial analysis and a forecast for 2018 (now proved to be remarkably accurate) and 2019, was proposed to amend Council's subscription motion as follows:- "The 2019 annual adult subscription rate becomes £10 and the junior subscription rate becomes £5." Then, re the Council Quorum The Council motion re the quorum required at a Council meeting made no sense, as a quorum is defined as the number that must be present for the decisions reached to be valid. Clearly one cannot base it on the numbers that are present as the Council motion required. It is important to note that ‘Council’ is inclusive and consists both of the Executive Officers and, equally importantly, the District Councillors. However the current constitution permits Class Captains to vote on issues directly affecting their class but there is no provision for them to be considered for a quorum. Thus to deal with both the above situations the amendment, which improves the existing Constitution clause read as follows: "Half, rounded up, of the Council plus when appropriate Class Captains as 10.4 ©, shall constitute a quorum, which may as a consequence vary for each decision to be taken." There were, accompanying these motions, very detailed supporting documents that gave the full case for these motion amendments together with some very interesting financial analyses of the relative costs of MYA activities since 2011. If interested members wish to have a copy of the full submission to Council just let me know at c.durant@ntlworld.com and I will be happy to forward them to you. With kind regards Chris Durant MYA Vice President, Commodore Gosport Model Yacht and Boat Club past MYA Secretary to Council
  7. Of the motions to the 2016 AGM we, the committee of GMYBC, refer to those that read:- 1) Propose that the fee for personal sail numbers to be abolished (cost being out of proportion with the work required). 2) Propose that a fee of £10 be introduced for a yacht’s first registration of ownership from new. 3) Propose that a fee of £5 be introduced for change of boat ownership. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have been advised by the Secretary to Council that these three motions were proposed, not by Council itself, but by a club. I was also persuaded by StC that it would not have been helpful to propose a counter motion but rather to draw members’ attention to the reality of the motions in another way, which is why I am doing it within the Forum. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Motion (1) – We believe that it is irrelevant in the context of MYA income how much ‘work’ is involved and very little of this relates to MYA effort anyway as it is undertaken by the Personal Sail Number Registrar, and as this is a ‘non-standard’ activity it should continue to be identified as such, relating to a purely personal decision and should be regarded as very much an ‘extra’ unrelated to the essentials of the sport. Thus the Committee of GMYBC recommends that the existing personal sail number fee be retained and that members should vote NO to motion (1). Motions (2) and (3) - The purpose of seeking that yachts are properly registered with MYA is to encourage members to identify with MYA aims and purposes and ensure that the yacht that they are racing can (a) be properly identified by a unique sail number, (b) be noted as having been measured, as a registration certificate will not be issued by MYA unless the yacht has been measured by an MYA Measurer and found legal, and © ensure that when that yacht is racing against others that its competitors can be assured that the yacht against which they are competing complies with the measurement criteria for that class at the time that it was measured, and finally (d) ensure that MYA records are complete and up to date. The Committee of GMYBC thus recommends the continuation of the present situation in that no fee is charged for first registration of ownership of a yacht from new, nor that any fee should be charged for change of yacht ownership either and thus members should vote NO to both motions (2) and (3). One cannot believe that MYA is so short of cash that the income derived is of any significant relevance, and the additional administrative burden on the yacht ownership Registrars and MYA Treasurer must surely be unwelcome. Chris Durant, Commodore, and the Committee of Gosport Model Yacht and Boat Club
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