Full Version: Eligibility Votes - March 2022
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(08-04-2022, 02:52 PM)David Deary Wrote: [ -> ]I actually think this current vote is a breach of the constitution. The constitution cannot be amended outwith an AGM or SGM. To propose otherwise is Executive overreach in my opinion.

The statement above is actually wrong.

There are no mandatory conditions that state the Constitution cannot be amended out with an AGM or SGM.

Constitution extracts
  • AGM
  • 12.9.    Any motion amending the constitution at an Annual General Meeting shall be carried if and only if two thirds or more of the total votes cast assent thereto. Only those motions detailed in the relevant requisition, or minor amendments thereto, shall be discussed and voted upon at the AGM.
The Constitution states Any motion amending the constitution at an Annual General Meeting... 
Importantly, however, if does not say specifically state ALL, or for that matter ONLY, such a motion can or cannot amend the constitution. Nor can I find any such a mandatory statement where it states where the Constitution restricts constitutional changes, additions or removals.
  • SGM
  • 13.2.    A Special General Meeting may be called for the purpose of amending this Constitution, or removing from office and replacing any Council member, on receipt by the Executive Director or President of a requisition detailing the objects of the meeting and the motion(s) to be voted upon.
In this instance the constitution clearly states A Special General Meeting may be called for the purpose of amending this Constitution. The emphasis here is in the word MAY. That constitutes an option of choice rather than MUST which then becomes mandatory.

Both the motions, however still require a 2/3 majority vote.
Strictly speaking
·       ‘Must’ always suggests an absolute obligation.
·       Needless to say, ‘may’ suggests discretion
I just deleted this post as David expressed my concerns so much better below
Are we governing by omission now? By the twisted logic you are applying, why not a Council meeting to amend the Constitution? Or even a Management Committee? The reason it is an AGM is to allow the full membership to have an input. Moreover, the membership can also amend a motion at an AGM or SGM. It strikes me that in order to ram through this proposal with no risk of amendment this contrivance has been created to subvert the intention of the Constitution. Your role is to safeguard the Constitution and play by the rules not invent discretion that was never intended nor exists.

Even if I accept your interpretation, there is custom and practice and the setting of a precedence. Every constitutional amendment up to now has gone to a General Meeting. The 'new' Constitution went to one. The precedent is that Constitutional amendments go to a General meeting. The President cannot overrule precedent however well intentioned.

I think you have got this badly wrong. I suggest rather than doubling down you reconsider as you are in real danger of making an egregious error here. It's not too late to call a General meeting and avoid the ill will this will inevitably generate. It really isn't worth it.
Are we going to get a clarification on David and Jim's posts? It seems rather an important point. Or are we going to be discussing Matthew's eligibility again sometime in the future when someone successfully challenges the constitutionality of the votes?

I don't think that's fair on anyone, particularly Matthew who has done nothing to deserve stretching out an already 11 year spell in limbo (quite the opposite). Sorry Willie you will be reading me and Walter's posts on 2016 motions again in 2024 (they're really not that long Smile )

David and Walter's logic on this seems completely correct to me - if you followed Jim's logic there would be no need to hold a vote at all, you could change the constitution by any mechanism you liked, without even a vote. Clearly there is no way this is a reasonable interpretation of the constitution, and therefore the only valid ways to amend it are AGMs and SGMs.

I suggest Chess Scotland consider withdrawing the motions, apologising for getting the interpretation of the constitution wrong, and then consulting much more widely on these proposals .
Mistakes happen, everyone involved is a volunteer who I am grateful to for the work they have selflessly put in for chess in Scotland and I have great respect for them all.

After the consultation (perhaps in a month or two from now), an improved motion could be put to the membership at an online AGM/SGM. If there are technical challenges that seem prohibitive then I'm sure there are people within the membership with experience at hosting large video calls who can help - this happens every day in every company these days.

Consulting widely will allow all these objections to be sorted out, and for consensus to be built.
There are much neater ways to propose Matthew's eligibility without singling him out as a special case.

Ironically, if people believe Matthew should be eligible then I think the neatest solution would be to propose the version of the motion that Alex McFarlane was told had been passed at the 2016 AGM (and that may have been for all we know):
  • Rule that everyone with SCO code is eligible and don't have any other eligibility criteria whatsoever.
  • Rule that everyone who currently has SCO code already keeps it  and is now eligible for as long as they don't change federations.
  • Establish a set of criteria that must be followed for future SCO code registrations with no exceptions other than those who already have SCO.
And then please write all of it down Smile

No special cases, no singling out one individual, no embedding a rule in the constitution then immediately proposing another rule for one individual that contradicts that constitution!

The alternative option which members should be able to choose instead would be the status quo, which would mean CS publicly clarifying the final wording of the 2016 motion and a brief statement explaining what all the current (pre-motion 1) criteria are.

The consultation could come up with other suggestions that may be better than my proposal above but I think this is clearly already a big improvement that deals with a lot of the objections that have come up in this forum, and gives the membership a genuine choice.

After the consultation we would then need to have an AGM or SGM - clearly the constitution has no other mechanisms for changing it.

Potentially an amendment to the constitution could be made at the AGM/SGM to allow online standalone votes like this. I would only vote for this if it included a public consultation mechanism that had to be followed, so that there would be the same level of debate and discussion (and possibility for amendments or even new motions from the floor) as at an AGM.
I agree that much wider consultation amongst CS members is needed. 

 I feel that ideally an online survey should be conducted, as the first part of a consultation process, to seek CS members' opinions regarding the various criteria that exist and/or are proposed for eligibility.
Am I right in thinking that from the constitutional point of view, the criticisms that have been expressed in the last few posts have mainly concerned Motion 1?

Motion 2 doesn't affect the constitution (though perhaps doesn't show it in a great light). Motion 2 is like a general election in the UK - the voting was probably fair but parties in power broke a few er, rules before the vote.
With Motion 2 we are where we are...

MT's 'eligibility' seems to have been an unofficial campaign by senior officials since 2011, going by actions

in 2011 (AGM proposal brought under AOCB),
2014 (Council tried to implement grandparent rule),
2015 (eligibility vote similar to Motions 1 and 2 combined, was heading for defeat and pulled from the Constitution),
and after 2016 (not the Muir-Neave motion itself, but it's mistreatment by not recording the amended motion, not writing the minutes, not writing the motion into the rules, mislaying the rules, then misinterpreting the motion, defending the misinterpretation until blue in the face.
This misinterpretation, which was never even written down, was repeated so much by that Alex believed it and didn't think it even needed checking in 2019, and what happened then was - oh wait, I think we all know. (When is the playoff? Definitely only joking... Big Grin ).

The essence of the 2015 eligibility proposal was saved from defeat in the constitutional meeting, removed from view by two or three hand picked committees, and reappeared in 2022 as a fait accompli in Motion 1 - which is "a motion Jim, but NOT as we know it".

Rather than unifinished projects that pay scant regard for the constitution and rules, surely Management's priority should have been the AGM which is overdue, required under the constitution and which could be arranged now. Had there been an AGM or SGM competing proposals could have been brought by members - most certainly on Motion 1 anyway.

Having said all that, we are where we are on Motion 2. The members have been asked and they will have spoken. Is there a constitutional objection to the vote on Motion 2 itself?

It's true that Motion 2 is not 'neat' - motions with people's names on them as exceptions (though brought about because Matt is an exceptional player). Ugh! But I think that's preferable to creating fake criteria like grandparent rules, that would only be there to give Matt eligibility and will lead to more players becoming eligible in the future. In fact anyone could even claim it as it's not very checkable.

But Motion 1, as noted by David, does seem to be a clear breach of the constitution and also sets a very bad precedent whereby if something isn't EXPLICITLY in the constitution management can say there's no rule against it.

Good luck and welcome to Matt if Motion 2 succeeds. If it fails I would echo Willie's hope that we should be done with the issue. Management have said this is to settle this matter of MT's eligibility (Motion 2) once and for all - I hope they will honour that and give a clear reassurance that they accept this vote, and won't be plaguing us with grandparent votes or "SCO code should be enough to give eligibility" or "one tier systems" and other such variants.

Cheers all
Hi All,

I would like to draw your attention to a statement on Motion 1 from the Eligibility Working Party:

Quote:EWP 12 April 2022, 11.30am: In view of doubts on the legitimacy of the Motion 1 online vote to make a constitutional adjustment the EWP will no longer consider a 2/3rds majority as supporting such a change. The terms of the EWP proposals will be enacted but not embedded in the Constitution and thereby can be adjusted by any future 50% majority.

Motion 2 will proceed as advised since not a constitutional issue.

Common sense has prevailed here. 

I'd like to place on record my personal thanks to Dougie Bryson who responded to concerns proactively and sought opinion on the constitutionality of EWP Motion 1. Also to Ian Brownlee who engaged with me last night and this morning. Both demonstrated a willingness to listen and take the legitimate concerns raised by members forward and that spirit of collaboration should be encouraged. At its core, Chess Scotland is a members association run by elected members for members and the approach taken to amend the constitution was divisive and not in that spirit. 


I am more confused than ever. I have voted on motion 1 on the basis that it was to embed eligibility criteria into the constitution. Under this new situation, I may (and thinking about it probably would) have voted differently.

Also by the logic expressed previously on this thread, a vote for, or against, motion 1 would amount to exactly the same result.
I'm in the lab today so a little confused myself. All will probably come to light when I can access my mail later on
The problematic part of Motion 1 has been removed. Credit to those involved in that decision.

Unfortunately as Matt says, the votes already cast on Motion 1 won't make any difference now; but the issue is now open to change by the membership, which I think is good and democratic.

Is there any info on the method of the online voting itself. Is it an off the shelf package, or does Andy go out every day for more Creme Eggs Smile . Who is overseeing it. I presume proxy votes don't exist. Questions, questions...
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