Monday, October 25, 2010

Executive Committee Appointments

I'll repost this without comment for now:

Popularis Ltd

I confirm I have received nominations for the following candidates:

No

Forename

Surname

Nominated by

Email

1

John Christopher

Clifford

Aberdeen Unitarian Congregation

Clifford@universalist.ednet.co.uk

2

Alison

Thursfield

Oxford and MUA

ajthursfield@tiscali.co.uk

3

Rev'd Martin Norman

Whitell

John Pounds Memorial Unitarian Church, Portsmouth

revdmart@aol.com

The number of candidates (3) does not exceed the number of vacancies (4), and an election is not therefore required.

The Electoral Panel agreed that the three candidates above are therefore deemed ELECTED UNOPPOSED to the Executive Committee.

There is therefore one vacancy remaining for a member of the Executive Committee.

Certified by:

Anne Hock

Anne Hock

Managing Director

Popularis Ltd

21st October 2010


Electoral Panel Statement

The Electoral Panel are left disappointed and dismayed following their call for nominees for the Executive Committee. (EC)

As Unitarians and Free Christians we pride ourselves that we stand for democracy, but our own democratic process has failed! There will be no election this year. We announced in the call for nominations that if four or fewer members were nominated they would be deemed elected, in order that the EC would be able to fully function from April 2011. Only three members put their names forward. Therefore they are elected unopposed. This means that the EC will start its work next year with seven members instead of the eight required by the constitution.

It is only six or seven years ago since we had heated debates at the GA annual meetings about how our governance could be made more democratic, effective and efficient. We ultimately agreed that election to our governing body was preferable to appointment or representation. What has happened to those dreams?

The Electoral Panel will be recommending to the EC that they bring alterations to the constitution to the annual meetings 2011, to clarify election procedure for future elections. The motion should include what will happen if there are insufficient nominees and how any remaining vacancies will be filled. The EC does have the power to co-opt members at present, if 'casual vacancies' arise. But, having insufficient nominees for an election cannot be construed as 'casual vacancies'.

The underlying issues resulting in this dearth of nominees are much more serious. We believe that the situation demands a response from the Unitarian community as it strikes at the heart of our democratic principles. The Electoral Panel would welcome your views. Responses should be sent in writing to: The Electoral Panel, c/o Essex Hall, Essex Street, London WC2R 3HY or by email to: dawnbuckle@ymail.com.


Dawn Buckle on behalf of Mike Tomlin, Eileen Wield, the Electoral Panel.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Angela @ liveunitarianly.com said...

Meh. The job is quite involved - there is only a relatively small list of potential candidates. And, wasn't there an election to EC (with several candidates) fairly recently?

I didn't stand because I'm not sure I could make that kind of commitment, and I didn't think someone outside of London or Manchester stood much of a chance.

What about you?

(I also think that lack of applicants might be indicative that the last big generation of Unitarian activists is retiring from the main stage. Just putting it out there.)

6:04 pm  
Blogger Stephen Lingwood said...

Meh indeed.

Yes, as they changed the constitution there is now an election every other year. Which may be a bit much. To expect, say, ten candidates for four places every other year might be a bit much.

I think all your points are valid ones. I think there is a generation of activists retiring, and few people prepared to take their place.

Me? I suppose I think I can make more of a difference concentrating on my congregation than sitting on a national committee. If growth is the aim (it shouldn't be the only one, but it is one) I think I'm more likely to create growth in Bolton than trying to do things nationally. I'm not sure we need national schemes, I think we need grassroots people doing effective things and sharing good practice.

8:42 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you've said it all in your last paragraph, Stephen ; there is a large number of 'causes' just about 'keeping the show on the road'- for them the EC is largely irrelevant.For those congregations that are still 'live',their key personnel are fully committed in the local situation and haven't the time for national activity.

2:51 pm  
Anonymous Tim Moore said...

I too didn't stand, not only because I don't have the 3 years' experience of the Unitarian movement recommended of nominees, but also because I felt that I couldn't honour the expected commitment to serving on the National Executive Committee while working full time in secular employment: at least I don't work shifts or have children! It might be an interesting opportunity for the future, but I don't have the time at the moment. Sadly, it appears that there are very few in the movement who do and haven't served already: even fewer who are of working age.

I too feel that the most difference can be made through involvement in my local congregation, although I accept this may not be the feeling at other Unitarian churches.

Angela and Stephen have both raised points which lead to important questions:

With the generation that runs much of the UK Unitarian movement entering "retirement", or becoming less able to take on commitments beyond the local congregation, do we have enough active members in a declining movement to take over?

Also, with a movement with a current maximum of 4000 members, due to experience net decline for more years to come, is our organisation with its congregational autonomy, topped up by districts, the national executive, myriad commissions, panels and paid staff team at National HQ a little top heavy? Does the movement really want to go back and debate its governance structure all over again, distracting from more pressing matters of mission, ministry and the other strategic priorities set by the outgoing NEC?

I feel the discussion of how our movement is led is not over yet.

11:15 pm  

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