Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Am I Expecting Too Much?


After my previous blog posting, I had hoped not to blog again about the Wildrose Party or at least not in a critical fashion. I've registered for the AGM, booked our hotel room and booked a dog sitter. Despite some misgivings I do believe it's more important than ever to attend. We won't be passing any policy or constitutional amendments, however we will be electing a new provincial board and the importance of that can't be ignored.

In my previous post I mentioned that I felt the party was "off" on their dates for the deadline for nominations. Specifically the constitution says it is 65 days prior to the AGM.  By my calculations that date would be September 19; yet the party had a deadline of September 21.  In that same post Paul Collins (President of the Party) left a comment referring to (presumably) me as immature and a "clown".  He also suggested that I should pick up the phone. I did take him up on this advice.  

Since I didn't have a phone number for Paul, I called Jonathon Wescott, Executive Director; who falls under the direct supervision of the Board and of course also communicates back to the board.

My questions for Jonathon were simply; "Why the mix up on the dates?" And; "If they were sticking to the 21st deadline was it going to leave them enough time to meet the next deadline?"  (That being notice to members of the names of those running for the board positions.)  Jonathon and I played telephone tag for a few days and my last attempt was on a Thursday, I was advised he had returned to Edmonton and would call me back the following week. The call never came  and the deadline came and went. My initial question went unanswered and appears my second question has now been answered.

For reference (emphasis is mine), from our constitution:

6.8
At least sixty (60) days written notice of the holding of any General Meeting shall be sent to all members of the Party who have been members in good standing of the Party for at least fourteen (14) days before the date of such notice. Notice may be given by post or it may consist of transmitting the information of such notice by using appropriate telephonic and or electronic mail to the member’s appropriate information of record and simultaneously posting the information on the Party’s website.

And  7.2
Not less than ninety (90) days prior to any Annual General Meeting of the Party, the Executive Committee shall create the Nominating Committee, consisting of three (3) members. It shall be the duty of this committee to nominate candidates for the officer positions to be filled at the Annual General Meeting. Candidates for officer positions and all officers must be members in good standing of the Party. The Nominating Committee shall report to the Executive Committee prior to the notice of the Annual General Meeting being sent to all members, and such report shall be included in the notice of the Annual General Meeting. Nominations may also be made by any member up to sixty-five (65) days prior to the date of the Annual General Meeting, and such nominations shall also be included in the notice of the Annual General Meeting.

As you can see the notice can take three forms; regular post, email and website. And it must include the nominations. (In this particular case telephonic likely wouldn't be considered due to the mass amount of information to be conveyed.)

The 60 days prior to AGM was this past Monday (Sept 24); in my opinion by extending the nomination deadline from Wednesday, Sept 19 to Friday, Sept 21 they really left office staff under the gun to get the proper notice pulled together for Monday the 24th.

There indeed was an email notice from the party on Monday, however it didn't include any report from the nominating committee or even the names of those running for the various positions.  I've also been watching the party website for updates with a list of names and still nothing has appeared. That leaves regular post (snail mail), unfortunately I've learned through someone who was in contact with the office yesterday that the mailer at best "might" be ready to go out today (Wednesday) - rendering it least two full days late.

Let me be crystal clear here, I don't believe this is any fault of the staff or the appointed Nominating Committee. The failures here fall squarely in the lap of the Executive Board and the Executive Director. The Board didn't do it's due diligence of checking the dates. The Executive Director also didn't verify or if he did, he failed to bring it to the boards' attention.

An oversight like this may seem minor to some, but if we blatantly ignore our constitution why do we have one?  What else has been or will be ignored? If the constitution isn't working then we need to change it accordingly and following the correct procedure to make those changes.  The board is elected with the expectation they will uphold the constitution, not ignore or abuse it.

What this has really impacted is the democratic process. A number of people are running for the various positions and our members don't even know it!! Each day that passes is to the advantage of the incumbents who are free to communicate to members via their current role. Leaving the challengers as unknowns.  The constitution allows for 60 days notice of this information for a reason - - for members have time to educate themselves on all the individuals running.

My husband (Cory) feared the notice was going to be delayed and to his credit he took it upon himself to gather the information on who might be running.  So while you won't find a list of candidates on the Party website, you can find it on Cory's blog. The names in italics are rumored only at this point. The others have confirmed directly with him.

Update


Mere hours after my blog post gets published, the Party has now posted the list of those who are running for the various positions.

I called the office and asked if a mailer has gone out. No, it has not. 

I asked if it would be going out today? No, there is no notice scheduled to be mailed today.

Did they know when it would be going out? No, they would have to check with Jonathon Wescott if there was even going to be one.

HUH?? Our constitution is pretty clear about the means of notice. Not every member has email, not every member uses the internet. Why no mailer? Are we short on funds? Short on organizational skills? Neither scenario allow the Executive Director or the Provincial Board to overstep and ignore the constitution.

If funding is the issue, I can see perhaps tailoring the mailing to go only to those who wouldn't get the email notice. Realistically though you should mail all members, even expired ones, to get them reengaged. 

Evening Update

At 5:20 PM I received an email from the Party which included the link to the list nominees that they now have online. Makes one wonder if my blog might have prompted this finally going out.  Perhaps there is hope for an actual mail-out as well.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks to both you and Cory for doing the yeoman's job of keeping the WRP honest and true.
    Well done.

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  2. Oh this is going to be an interesting AGM. I can't wait. What I would like to know is how we can NOT be discussing policy. This is especially important since the leader has be making policy statements that simply are NOT in line with the current Wildrose policy.

    I understand making statements out of political expediency, but they can only be attributed to the leader's personal views, not to the party as a whole until they are voted on by the membership.

    Not discussing policy, at this stage, is, in my opinion, unforgivable.

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  3. Special Thanks to Jane & Cory for using there blogs to let us know what's up.

    The very essence of why my wife Diana and I joined the Wildrose Party and worked so hard for it was found in 4.1 of our Party constitution.
    Appallingly few members and even some EC members seldom or ever read it.

    Basically 4.1 of our Party reads like this;

    "4.1 The Constituency Association is the primary organization through which the rights of members are exercised."

    It also says

    "5. GOVERNANCE
    5.1 The governance of the Party shall reflect the following principles:
    5.1.1 Authority within the Party resides in its members.
    5.1.2 The Leader and Executive Committee are accountable to members of the Party and the Caucus.
    5.1.3 The Caucus is accountable to the Party and to their constituents."

    So what happens now when duly elected CA Boards and there duly elected Presidents are ignored?
    On Policy what happens when VP's of policy are told that Caucus will handle policy issues?
    What happens when CA's are told that they have no authority and the Candidate (or MLA) can do what he wants and can get rid of anyone on a board they don't like? This was told to me by a serving PD.
    Is this what our Party Constitution says? Who is accountable to who?
    Jane & Cory Morgan did us all a favor by exposing a system that allowed a select few to decide who they wanted on the EC. Well done. Shining in daylight is a great disinfectant.
    I’ve also noticed that there is now no “*” beside certain Candidate names as an EC (or Caucus?) endorsement. That happened last year despite my protests. Members are bright people; they don’t need to be told who to vote for.
    These issues are what this AGM and EC is about. Do we want more of the same or do we really want to fix what's broken? Elect the same crew and expect the same results.
    This cannot be about just personalities it needs to be about issues and solutions and earning your trust.
    I’ve seen many good people quit the party or leave CA boards they were serving on, or just stayed home sitting on their wallets @ election time. Let’s earn back there trust and make sure this cannot happen again.
    Ask each candidate what they will do to earn your trust and vote.
    If they don’t have a good answer & plan, move on to the next. Vote for the Candidate you trust and will be accountable to you for results.
    Alan Napier

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