Monday, September 19, 2011

Shock resignation of Barge Association chairman

The behind the scenes wrangles at the BDA (The Barge Association) came to a head at the weekend and led to the resignation of Chairman, Andy Soper.

Andy Soper, right, with Vice Chairman Guy Toye when 
they spoke on behalf of the DBA at a conference run 
by the VNF (The French navigation authority) at Decize
on the Canal du Nivernais in Burgundy this summer.  
Picture by Bob Naylor©
In an email to members he explained that four newer members of the board did not agree with the way he has been running the board and he said:  "During the meeting two proposals to change our Articles were tabled that would limit Directors' terms of office to six years and thus remove half of the existing Board. These would have been passed if I had not stood down as Chairman and regained my Director's vote (The Chair has only a casting vote in the event of a tie)".

He also said that he is sure that the four newer members will use their majority on the Board to push through their policies.

Andy will continue as a Board Director and he said: "Sadly and with a heavy heart I am standing down as Chairman of the Association — and of this meeting now — but I will continue to support the needs of barging members."

The board elected Penny Rickard as the new Chairman.

Members shocked
On the  Association forum a member said: "I was shocked, surprised and confused when I saw Andy's post. I must admit that, probably like most DBA members, I have no idea what is going on behind the scenes." 

Another member called for the ordinary members to hear from each board member about their vision of the DBA and its future.  This view was expressed by another member who also said: "I think it is a tragedy that Andy should feel it necessary to take this step. I don't recall the newest (or any) Board members being elected on a mandate to fundamentally change the way the Association is run."

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