Thursday, January 05, 2012

Barge Association argy-bargy continues

Recent disputes among the leadership of the Barge Association (DBA) seemed to have been resolved with Andy Soper back in post as Chairman following his dramatic resignation... but now two key board members have resigned putting the association in turmoil yet again.

Barging in calmer waters: Picture by Bob Naylor©
The interpretation of the Association's rules by a 'faction' within the board is the reason given for his resignation by Paul Whitehouse, the Hon Secretary and Treasurer who has been on the board of the DBA for 10 years. He  has announced that he will stand down this month to give the association time to find a replacement before its next board meeting.  

The DBA IT Director, David Beaumont has also resigned saying: "Having been on the board for coming up to 12 years I have found the last two easily the most unproductive and antagonistic of all that time."

He went on to describe fundamental disagreements between those who have been on the board a long time and those who joined in 2010 — and he said: "Factionalism is a very poor method of operation in an association. It does not make for pleasant or productive meetings —most of meeting time recently has been spent on discussing 'Processes & Procedures' and 'Articles & Aims' — rather than barge or member related things. It could work — but it cannot work when one faction keeps coming up with damaging or frankly loony ideas and trying to push them through."

The resignation speech of Penny Rickards, who was Chair briefly for the period between Andy Soper's resignation and his recent re-election is described by Beaumaont as 'having a lot of innacuracies and a classic example of factionalism'. 

The board have resisted calls for an EGM to sort out the wrangles because fewer than 100 members have so far put their name to the request — and under the association's rules more than 160 are required. 

Members are angry because as one said: "Of the limited number of members that actually know about the destructive infighting, the overwhelming majority are calling for an EGM to clear the air so that we can get on with being a boat club again."

The next AGM promises to be a lively affair when, as David Beaumant calls them,'two refuseniks of the reformist tendancy', say that unlike the rest of the board they will refuse to face election — interpreting the DBA rules to mean that if someone is co-opted onto the board then they are never required to be elected by the members. In the words of the Penny Rickards... once co-opted they are 'eternally co-opted'.  

This coupled with rules that deprive the Chairman of a vote — other than a casting vote in the event of a tie seem to be at the heart of much of this latest round of infighting within the association.

Related stories: 
➠➠Shock resignation of Barge Association chairman 
➠➠Barge Association 'U' turn in chairmanship wrangle

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