There will probably never be such controversy at an AGM again as there was in 2008 ... when the old guard insisted on ignoring the backlash from its membership about the Pandora's box that Celtic Pets had opened. There were some hard lessons learned that spring about the need for constitutional reform .... lessons that were put to good use when resignations finally freed up the society from the old guard.
For instance, paid employees of the society are no longer allowed voting privileges to avoid putting pressure on their very job security to support the incumbents.
A few other little bits were tucked in that year. In the interests of promoting transparency, one no longer needs to be a member of the society to attend the AGM.
One does, however, need to be a member to vote .... and more importantly .. that membership has to be purchased prior to April 1st in order to qualify to vote at the AGM. No fooling!
The short version of all this is that on the heels of today's notice for this years provincial AGM, anyone intending to attend AND vote had best make sure their membership is bought and paid for before the end of this month!
Notice has also been given today that the society is seeking new applicants for its Board of Directors. In the bad old days, there was only an election .. or rather, what passed for one ... every couple of years. In 2009, that policy was quietly changed so that every year only half the positions on the board would be replaced.
At first I wasn't sure about that ... but upon reflection I actually like the idea. At no point in time will an entirely new board be able to bounce in and undo all the hard work that has been done since the society started on their New Path.
From an administrative point of view .. it makes a lot of sense. For the members who were used to the hoopla of elections though .. it will take some getting used to. When there isn't the big fanfare of a full slate of candidates, its easier for the membership to overlook the need to step up.
Last year, all the candidates ran unopposed ... which in realspeak means that there was no election at all. How did that happen? Because they were the only ones who stepped up!
Lets face it .... there have been so many good changes in the society since the Punch and Judy puppet show was shown the door that it is understandable that the membership's outrage had mellowed to complacency.
Why this year alone ... the (long overdue) housecleaning at the Sydney shelter is a clear demonstration that the society is still headed down its promising New Path.
Which is all the more reason for the membership to pay attention. For like minded folks to consider applying for the Board. ( And before the keyboards catch on fire, even if the society was actually willing to bring this middleaged grandmother on board .... me and my trifocals will never be capable of committing to meetings in the ....shudder ... city. )
What time is it? It is time for anyone considering joining the board to apply ... and of course for everyone else who wants to vote at the AGM to get a membership! The deadline for both is just ten days away! Tick Tock!