< Constitution Commission Report 2004

                           Half Year Constitution Report to the EGF

                                                      January 26th  2004

Tony Atkins, Henric Bergsåker, Christian Gawron, Zoltan Kelemen, Zoran Mutabzija,

Jan van Rongen .

1.      Introduction.

The constitution of the EGF was last amended at the AGM in Strausberg 2000. The Executive at the time asked the notary Adriaan Helmig for advice on how to develop the constitution, resulting in a report with mostly recommendations and general guidelines [1]. Since then a number of ideas and suggestions for further revisions, or even a complete rewriting of the constitution have appeared. In a report to the AGM in Zagreb 2002 and in the references therein, the suggestions up to that point in time were listed [2], including the original motivations for the suggestions. The constitution commission worked out a number of proposals based in some of these suggestions and provided some preliminary discussion of some of the others, all presented in a report to the AGM in St Petersburg in 2003 [3]. That report also contains the instructions for the commission. In the following we summarise the status at the moment and present some more worked out proposals. 

We expect that either the EGF Executive or the members will bring up proposals for voting at the AGM:s. Any proposed changes of the constitution need to be circulated to the members at the latest six months before the AGM, i.e. by the end of January.

2.      Suggestions for constitutional revisions.

The following are the ideas which have been considered so far. Suggestions S01-S16 are the ones which have appeared up to 2002 and were listed in the report of last year [2]. The points S17-S18 have been brought up within the commission since then. Point S19 has been raised by Marc Gonzales and point S20 has been brought up by the Irish member.

S01) Introduce the possibility to replace an EGF member with another national go association, e.g. in case the old member is found no longer to be representative of the goplayers in the country.

S02) State the transparency of the EGF more explicitly, in particular to ensure that the correspondence of members of the Executive Committee is made available to the members, as has been stated by the AGM:s in 2000 and 2001, taking into account that most of the correspondence today is in electronic form. A worked out proposal P02 was presented in St Petersburg [3].

S03) Change the requirements on nominations of candidates for the executive, in particular not to require nomination of people already in office for re-election. A proposal P03 was presented to the AGM in St Petersburg [3] and voted on. It got 17 votes in favour, 3 votes against and 5 abstentions, meaning that due to the requirement of qualified majority it was not accepted. The votes against were from the United Kingdom, Italy and Romania. The British Go Association has submitted a motivation to the commission and an alternative proposal [4]. The Romanian Go Association has stated that their vote against was a mistake and that they will vote in favour of the proposal if it is submitted again [5], hence it may be possible to achieve a sufficient majority for the proposal if it is put forward again.

S04) Increase the length of term for the Executive Committee.

S05) Include an explicit statement in the constitution to say that the EGF members should be democratic, following the statement by the AGM in 2000. A worked out proposal P05 was presented to the AGM in St Petersburg [3].

S06) Add procedures to handle the situation if the executive resigns.

S07) Introduce election for non-Executive posts. The possibility of electing members of the commissions was preliminarily discussed in [3].

S08) Change the voting rules at the AGM to give the big associations more weight, more in agreement with the number of members. A preliminary discussion is found in [3].

S09) Change article 6 of the constitution to ensure that the meeting can invite an individual to speak and remove the possibility to keep secret any part of the AGM. A proposal P09 and some discussion is found in [3].

S10) Scrap the appeals commission.

S11) Make the auditors responsible for commenting on the performance of the finance committee.

S12) Review the process of how the EGF gets money from the members, so that it becomes clearer and more predictable how much the EGF is to collect from each country and how many members each association is to pay for, when to pay and what happens if the fees are not paid.

S13) Review the process of proposals for the AGM, in particular to allow time for preparation of alternative proposals if a motion has been distributed only two months before the AGM.

S14) Introduce a possibility to make urgent decisions at the AGM on matters which have not been announced two months before, taking due care by qualified majority that decisions can not be made which can be contrary to what they would have been at a meeting with all members gathered and with adequate time for preparation.

S15) Modify the role of the Executive Committee into a board of directors under a president. In this model, each director would be responsible for a functional area, such as Corporate and Finance, Information, Tournaments, Rules and Regulations and Development. Some discussion is found in [2].

S16) Adopt the constitution of another organisation, such as FIDE, with appropriate modifications. Some discussion is found in [2].

S17) Change the election procedures at the AGM so that the situation when two or more candidates for an office get the same number of votes can be handled. A proposal P17 was presented in St Petersburg [3].

S18) Clarify the role of the EGF commissions and the formalities around them. Preliminary discussions are found in [1] and [3]. The AGM in St Petersburg agreed that the formalities around the commissions need to be clarified.

S19) Modify the election of the Executive Committee in such a way as to encourage or enforce the election of a team which is prepared to collaborate and work together.

S20) Modify article 6.3 to allow proxy votes at the AGM . A preliminary discussion is found in [3].

S21). Article 21 in the constitution says that in the case of liquidation of the EGF, it's assets should be divided between the International Go Federation and the European Go Cultural Centre. Franco Pratesi has suggested that the assets should in this case rather be divided between the EGF members.

Additionally the report to the AGM lists some proposed language improvements to the constitution, mainly to make it more coherent and gender neutral [3].

 

3.      Proposals.

3.1 Proposed change P18 in the constitution, Commissions and Appeals Commission.

In article 9.1, change the phrase: "One of the members must be appointed Chairman by the Commission." into: "One of the members must either be appointed Chairman by the Committee, or elected Chairman by the Commission."

In article 10.1, change:

"An Appeals Commission will be installed by the AGM."

into:

"An Appeals' Commission consisting of seven members is installed by the AGM. Members of the Appeals Commission are elected for three years and there can not be more than one national from any country in the Appeals Commission. The Appeals Commission should elect its own Chairman."

In Article 6.6, the agenda item "Creation of new Commissions" is changed into "Creation of new Commissions or changes in existing Commissions".

Motivation: Up to now, chairmen of the commissions have not been appointed/elected by the commissions themselves, they have been appointed by the Executive. The new phrase leaves both possibilities open. Probably the intention was that the Appeals Commission should be elected by the AGM, already when this commission was introduced in the constitution revision in 2000. It makes sense that the Appeals Commission is installed by the AGM, rather than by the Executive, since it is meant to deal with appeals also against executive decisions.

This is also what notary Helmig recommended [1]. The additions to article 10.1 makes it more clear that the Appeals Commission should be elected, since this has never happened so far. The fixed number of members and the three year assignment makes the election procedure less tedious. Presumably the members of the Appeals Commission should be nominated and elected in the same way as the members of the Executive ("Officers of the EGF") and if someone resigns before his period is out there can be a by-election at the subsequent AGM.

3.2 Proposed change P19 in the constitution, team election of the Executive.

The proposed new phrasing of article 6.7 (proposals P03 and P17 of the previous report [3])

is changed into:

"Except in the case of re-election of the Committee already in office, a list of candidates for the Committee must be proposed by at least one member Federation in good standing, seconded by two more member Federations and the candidates must confirm their willingness to occupy the posts for which they are proposed, together with the other candidates on the list. The nominations should take the form of complete lists of candidates for all the intended positions in the Executive Committee and have to be communicated to the Secretary at least two months before the AGM. The lists of candidates for office must be circulated by the Secretary together with the Agenda. The election of the Committe shall be by secret ballot if there is more than one list of candidates. If there are more than two lists of candidates and no single list receives an absolute majority in the first round, the list that received the fewest votes will drop out and the vote will be taken with the remaining lists. The same procedure is then repeated if necessary. If it results that two or more lists of candidates in the end get an equal number of votes, the Committee is selected by drawing of lots."

Motivation: The suggestion S19 was motivated by an impression that the Executive has not been working like a team and that this has impaired its efficiency (reference 15 in [3]).

If complete lists are nominated, then presumably teamwork is encouraged. Moreover, the recurring question of how many members the Executive should have finds a natural solution in that lists with any desired number of candidates can be proposed.

3.3    Proposed change P20 in the constitution, proxy votes.

In article 6.3, the phrase: "Every delegate shall be a member of the Go organisation he is representing, and nobody shall represent more than one Go organisation."

is changed, either into:

a) "Nobody shall represent more than one member organisation at the AGM".

or

b) "Every delegate for a member organisation must be a national of the country that the organisation is representing"

Motivation: In recent years there have de facto frequently been voting by proxy at the AGM:s. Membership is not easy to verify and can be arranged ad hoc anyway, so the rule against proxy votes is not effective. To allow proxy votes would make the constitution follow the present practice. It also has the advantage of not excluding members from the right to vote on geographical grounds, and that majorities will be more independent of where the congress is held. If proxy votes are not desirable, it is preferable to require citizenship, since this is at least easy to verify.

5.      Conclusions.

The commission has worked out eight concrete proposals based on the 21 suggestions that have been registered so far. Some additional points have been given preliminary discussion. The intention is to continue working out proposals and registering new suggestions during spring, preferably also to discuss more long term strategy for the constitution and perhaps to collect some statistics on the constitution of other similar organisations. A new report will be prepared for the AGM in Tuchola.

References

(Items indicated with (A) are attached to this communication. Items indicated (D) have been distributed to the EGF members on earlier occasions. Copies of any of the documents can be provided if requested.)

[1] Starting points for a new constitution, annex 10 to president's newyear letter 2000. (D)

[2] Henric Bergsåker, Report to the EGF Annual General Meeting 2002: Ideas and

    suggestions for a new or revised constitution (D).

[3] Constitution Commission, Constitution Report to the EGF Annual General Meeting 2003 (D).

[4] Comments by Simon Goss and Tim Hunt on proposal P03 (A).

[5] Comments by the Romanian Go Association on their vote on proposal P03 (A).