A message from Colin Roper, Vice President of Petanque England:
I am sending this message to provide further clarification about the forthcoming AGM
Just over 5 weeks ago The President, Vice President and one other director resigned because of personal differences within the Board. These differences risk undermining the Board’s ability to operate effectively. Although Board members may have strong views one way or another about who or what is to blame for this situation, it would contravene our codes of conduct for them to publicly criticise the conduct of other Board members and the depleted board did not consider it fair to assume the right to arbitrate. For that reason, we felt it to appropriate to appoint an independent Tribunal comprising respected and impartial members of PE to look at the issues surrounding the resignations and to make recommendations. In accordance with our articles. we are obliged to convene the AGM before 30th August, and it would not have been possible therefore to defer calling the meeting until after the Tribunal had issued its findings.
AGMs are not just an occasion to vote in new Board Members they are also the recognised annual opportunity for members to ask questions and to express their views. The burning questions which our members are asking at this present time are what is wrong with the Board and how is it to be put right? Those are questions which cannot be answered at present in a way which can be seen to be fair and unbiased, and which will not lead to uniformed, inflammatory, or even libellous comments. I do not feel that I or any of the other directors should be put in this impossible position. We are of the view that the AGM should not be concluded until after that report is available so that members can ask questions and express their views about it. We do not believe that simply changing the composition of the Board will in itself solve the existing problems. We also anticipate that our members will expect the Board to accept and implement any recommendations made by the tribunal and that all existing and incoming directors should be prepared to publicly endorse those recommendations or to consider their positions in the light of them.
The obvious solution in our view is to propose a resolution at the AGM to adjourn the meeting for a period of about 5 to 6 weeks for the Review Tribunal to conclude its deliberations. We do not feel that this can in any way impede the operational or governance functions of PE. We are being open and transparent about this proposal by announcing it in advance so that members can in effect choose how their votes should be cast and are not put to the expense of incurring unnecessary travelling or accommodation expenses to attend a meeting which will be a formality.
We have no reason to suppose that the Tribunal’s findings will have any effect on voting intentions, but it remains a possibility and members should not be deprived of the right to change their preferences if they so wish. We are not prepared to be accused of covering things up or preventing our members from taking informed decisions and we suspect that those who may want to canvass votes to oppose an adjournment will be seen, perhaps unwittingly, to be attempting precisely to do that.
If you wish to support the proposal for an adjournment, please ensure that in submitting your proxy form you appoint the chairman to be your proxy. If you wish to oppose the adjournment you will need to name someone other than the chairman to be your proxy. However, you must be sure that your proxy will be present at the meeting in order to cast your vote. In either case I would urge you to enter your voting preferences as to the appointment of President, directors etc. If the meeting is adjourned and you wish to change your voting preferences at a later date you will be able to do so by submitting a new proxy.
A proxy form has already been sent to you attached to a previous message, but further copies can be downloaded from the website under the AGM 2021 section which can be found by selecting Documents under the About tab. Alternatively, you can log on to your account at Loveadmin and submit the form electronically. I do hope you will be able to do your bit to support PE democracy by spending a little time to submit your proxy. Please remember though that your proxy needs to be submitted via Loveadmin or to be received by the secretary by 11.30 a.m. on Thursday 12th August 2021.
With best wishes