Agenda for incompetence

21st April 2006 at 01:00
I write in response to your article, "SSBA feuds again", on the proceedings at the annual conference of the Scottish School Board Association (March 24).

While the report given is factually correct from an observer's perspective, the background information was not aired at the conference as it was ruled that the candidates could not speak in support of their nominations. The assembled membership was, therefore, unaware of the motivation behind the challenge to the leadership.

The reason for a nomination from the floor, apart from what was said by the mover, was that the SSBA's executive board nomination for president was not a competent endorsement.It had been obtained against the articles of association and standing orders, which are legal documents governing the conduct of executive board business.

The agenda for the March 4 executive did not list nomination of the president-elect as business for that meeting. It listed at Item 15 "office bearers elections" which, at my objection prior to the meeting, was ruled incompetent as the articles state this can only happen after the AGM.

The president then introduced the nomination of president-elect under this agenda heading and proceeded with the election, which has to be considered incompetent as it was not an agenda item and was not introduced and agreed upon as "other business".

The vote was only carried by five directors, one of whom was the president Caroline Vass herself. So the result is not, as is implied, the clear and constitutional will of the executive board. Neither was I part of the process, as is also implied in the article, since I was not present at the meeting.

The executive board at that time consisted of 15 directors who were eligible to vote on this matter. Only 11 were present at this meeting and some were excused by the president prior to this item being raised and were unaware a president-elect was to be voted on. Out of a possible 15, only eight actually took part in the vote.

The most damning point of this whole issue is that the president allowed directors to leave the meeting before this item on the agenda was reached.

Their votes on the nomination of president, had they known it was to be discussed and decided upon, would have altered the outcome.

I publicly stated after the election that I accepted the will of the membership. I congratulated the president on her election and stated I would continue to support the aims of SSBA.

I just believe that the membership should be acquainted with the background facts, so that those reading your article who were not present at the AGM have a balanced view of what occurred. If SSBA had had a legal adviser present at the AGM, then perhaps the meeting would have flowed more smoothly and indeed this was suggested from the floor.

As to my attendance at meetings, on checking with the office manager, my attendance on behalf of SSBA totals 17 meetings between AGMs and not one, as claimed in your article.

Gordon Fairweather Vice-president, Scottish School Board Association

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