Yesterday I received my Guild Newsletter. (Can't we think of a better title for that, by the way? Knitting Knatter, or Knitting Matters, or something, anything.) In it was featured a letter from the President with so much misunderstanding of the role of the returning Officer, the NSW rules for voluntary organistations, and simply good procedural practice, that it is gobsmacking that she thought it was a suitable thing to put before her members. Here are the last two paragraphs:
Personalities and appeals to members to pressure the Executive Committee are an inappropriate way for any organisation to make and carry out decisions. The Executive made a majority decision and carried that decision impartially across the board.
It would be grossly improper for the Executive to manipulate decisions based on popularity, to apply one rule to one person and not another, and overturn majority decisions based on the clamour of its members. It would create a very bad precedent.
What the President, and presumably some members of the executive, don't seem to have realised yet is that it was the vote that was taken by the executive - the 'majority decision' - on a matter over which they had no jurisdiction - a matter which should have been ruled on by the Returning Officer - that was grossly improper. It has nothing to do with 'appeals to members' or 'popularity' or 'personalities' or 'the clamour of its members'. It has to do with the proper way to conduct an election, which is laid down in the NSW Rules for model organisations. Every event that has occurred in this election that is not covered by the Guild constitution is covered by the NSW model rules, which are meant to be used where the constitution is contradictory or silent.
There is little or nothing that can be done at this point. We have a new committee, and it will be given the chance to show us that it understands its responsibilities. But now two elections in a row have been run incompetently - another thing that members may not know is that the members who normally receive their newsletters by email (about 15% of the total) didn't receive their election papers. Luckily the Secretary realised what had happened when, at the last minute, it was pointed out there was a pattern to the people who were wondering where their papers were, and she sent their papers out by email. If she hadn't the AGM would have had to be psotponed.