Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Barge Association 'U' turn in chairmanship wrangle

The DBA (The Barge Association) has sailed into stormy waters in the last couple of weeks following a row that prompted Chairman Andy Soper to resign to prevent a faction on the board forcing radical changes to the running of the organisation

After Soper's resignation there was an outcry from DBA members with many calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting to resolve the problem and some considering whether they would remain in an organisation that allowed the board to make fundamental changes to the organisation without taking account of the members' wishes.

After Soper stood down Penny Rickard was elected as Chairman, but she made no contact with the membership until more than a week after being elected when she emailed her CV to the members  and said that she would be having a hand-over meeting with Andy Soper.

The Board then announced that Penny Rickard only took over the chair for that one meeting because no one else was willing to do so and they say that after considering carefully the many thoughts expressed by members during the past two weeks, the board has concluded that the expense of an EGM is not justified, nor would an EGM serve any useful purpose at this stage.


Soper returns to take the helm 
DBA Chairman, Andy Soper
Picture by Bob Naylor©
The bemused membership of the DBA have been informed that Andy Soper has returned as Chairman and he will continue in the post until the AGM when a change of Articles will be proposed that will require the Board to elect a new Chairman at its first meeting after every AGM...  and it has been agreed that even if that motion is not passed Andy Soper will still stand for re-election — 'in the spirit of the proposed change'. 

The Board have also decided not to propose a resolution limiting the length of time a board member can serve but the subject will be on the agenda for discussion by the members. There will, however, be a vote on a motion to increase the number of directors from eight to nine with no change to the current voting powers  which gives the chairman a casting vote but not an ordinary vote at Board meetings. 

Paul Whitehouse, the DBA Treasurer said: "The Board recognises that tensions between its members have led to the present difficulties. Whilst there is a perception that on occasions the board is divided into two camps, there is a general recognition on the Board that the Directors, all of whom are independently minded, should, as is their usual inclination, follow and vote according to their own conclusions".

He said that board members are looking forward in a positive spirit towards resolving their differences and concluded by saying: "The Board is not paralysed,  a great deal of effective work has and is being done and it does not believe that a rehashing of recent difficulties and the reasons for them would serve any useful purpose."

In a new turn in the saga the Vice Chairman, Guy Toye has contacted members to say that because a suggestion made at the board meeting that all directors stand down at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and seek re-election  as 'the only way to clear the air in the current circumstances' was not accepted he said: "We reluctantly conclude that the only way to get all directors to do the honourable thing is to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting."

And because of the additional cost that can be incurred by an EGM he suggests that an EGM is held immediately before the next AGM to give members the opportunity decide on the suggestion.

The DBA constitution says that a call for an EGM must be supported by at least 10% of members and Guy Toye is calling on members to email the company secretary supporting the call.

Read:  Shock resignation of Barge Association chairman at:      htttp://kacanaltimes.blogspot.com/2011/09/shock-resignation-of-barge-association.html

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