ECF Delegate Report (Delegate for Coventry & DCL, and Leamington & DCL)
Finance Reports - The ECF seems to be doing better financially than initially projected, 45% renewals, compared to the same point as last year. I raised a question on how the ECF sought to create more value to members? The £10 Supporters Fees - in my view - whilst a reasonable thing to do, to raise money and give people online ECF grades, it did seem to be a barrier. I expressed that both Leagues that I am involved are running online events that are not ECF-graded. The requirement to pay the supporters fees is an extra barrier to online chess, especially given how most clubs struggle to encourage any chess, at all.
Elections - I voted in favour for all the candidates for all the positions with no competition, I have no particular objection to any candidate, in any case, given the pandemic, having someone there is better than nobody there! Interestingly conflict-of-interest, was raised regarding a candidate being also a Members' representative, and whether the Chair of Council should also be the Voting Registration Officer. The latter, an administrative role is basically fine. The candidate running for Director, and also being a representative, would be analogous to an MP being made a Minister, which is normally seen as fitting and normal. Outcome: All noncompetitive positions due elected.
The only competitive election, was the Home Directorship, Nigel Towers, vs Tim Wall. I know both of them personally, and in the end opted to split my votes between both candidates, as a recognition that they were both good candidates. Outcome: Nigel won.
Amendment of Online Meetings - I queried the cost of a normal meeting at a hotel with refreshments, versus Online meeting. The former was £1-£1,500 for a room, and online was £12 per month (with the License available for other ECF bodies to use). Clearly the online option was a money saver, and the fact that 67 Delegates attended suggested that the turnout was higher than in-person Council meetings. I think I jest that as much as it is fun to speak briefly with delegates in person from all across the country, that the idea of travelling to London for a 4-5 hour meeting is in the long run probably not going to change the demographic of the kind of people likely to engage with ECF Council... Outcome: Next Meeting will be on Zoom.
Surprisingly, views from some directors suggested that cost was not as much of an issue, so, there was no particular pressure to hold meetings all on zoom, suggesting even the ambition of future meetings to be both held in person, with the option of attending online.. Personally, I think in a time of tight finances, I would take a more austere approach.
Term Limits for Directors - there was a motion suggesting that Directors should be capped at 2 terms, with the option of Council inviting a sitting Director to continue if no candidates emerged. This motion from the NCCU hoped to encourage more people to get involved in the ECF, and avoid too many from sitting in perpetuity. However, there were technical issues unresolved, as the Directorship terms are not all 3 year terms, at the moment. I think I also split my votes again, to support the sentiment, but not in full support of this proposal, as presently worded. The motion fell.
Direct Member Representative - a motion that I had missed prior to the meeting, but essentially saying you must be A Bronze member to stand as
a Bronze Rep, etc. And at the meeting, I voted against, because in my view, you could play 95% of a year's games in Leagues, play in one rapidplay, and suddenly accidentally become a Silver member. However, I recognize the worry that people could run for different membership categories that they consistently are not, but my instinct is that the membership could simply choose to vote them out, if it became a problem.
Working Group on Safe Restarting of Chess - This proposal was to set up a (voluntary?) Working Group to work along the ECF Board, to provide support and advice for clubs that seek advice, on things related to restarting, i.e. risk assessments, etc. I had not read the motion until the meeting, but my instinct was in favour, as it is not clear *who* in the ECF should a normal club reach out to, for advice on responding to the pandemic in general. A group like this could provide good signposting, to provide examples of what other clubs/leagues are doing, and collect information all in one place.
Opponents, to this, suggested potential legal issues if the group gave people the wrong advice! I suppose a correct answer to not making any mistakes is to not try something in the first place! If you don't take the exam, then you wouldn't get any questions wrong! And, indeed that motion fell.
Delegate for Coventry & District, and Leamington & District
Vice Chair @ Coventry and District Chess League | former-President @ Warwick University Chess
Celebrating 100 Years of the Coventry & District Chess League 1919-2019