I received an email from a member, who had copied it to 8 or 9 other members, concerning the request for an EGM, and I also received an email from Andrew Howard about it.
I spoke to the person who had emailed me, and we had a frank discussion. I have also emailed those shown on his email and also Andrew, to give the reasons for calling an AGM and not an EGM. I would like all members to be aware of this.
First, I would like to correct any misunderstanding. I did not in my article intend to imply that Andrew had agreed with me, as yet, about how we do this, only that I believed he too wished to rebuild the Executive Committee.
I sincerely believe he ought to support the calling of an AGM for the following reasons, and I ask him to do that. With respect, it seems clear that we cannot, in all conscience, as Officers, support something which is so clearly unconstitutional. We both have no choice but to support the only constitutional method open to us, the AGM.
The letter contains no resolution, but expresses some purposes of those sending the letter. It is not a constitutionally acceptable request to the EC for the following reasons.
1. EGM’s require a resolution on which members can vote, as has been the case in every EGM I have ever attended and as members will also recall recently.
2. Any resolution must be about something the WPA has the power to do under its constitution:
a. The EGM cannot force the officers to resign if they choose not to. Recently two officers were requested to stand down, which they could have declined to do, but they chose to resign. So there is no effective “vote of confidence” – it is for the Officers personally to decide what they wish to do.
If they don’t volunteer to resign, the resolution is pointless.
b. The running of the WPA cannot be handed over to the arbitrators. There is no power to do that.
It is pointless to hold an EGM to try to do things which cannot be done.
These are the reasons an EGM called for the purposes in the letter would be unconstitutional, and any decisions made invalid.
The letter also accepts that such an EGM would be a first step only, and that it would have to be followed by the calling of another meeting, another EGM, to vote for new officers to fill vacancies but it could not remove any who choose not to resign.
It would therefore be pretty pointless, and waste time, when there is a much more effective and constitutional alternative, an AGM, which would allow the Committee to be replaced in an entirely proper, and democratic way, where all our members decide.
The EGM would produce a meeting where there would be likely to be a lot of dissent and argument and frustration, not least for the reasons I gave above. It would only be divisive, at a time when we need to rebuild the WPA. I sincerely believe an AGM is now the only way forward.
For all these reasons I believe that the officers are honour bound to call an AGM. I am sure that that is also the opinion of many members who wish to make changes but in the proper way.
With respect, it seems clear that we cannot, in all conscience, as Officers, support something which is so clearly unconstitutional. Both officers have no choice but to support the only constitutional method open to us, the AGM, and so I expect Andrew to support that.