The following is the contents of a letter addressed to all members of the Club dated 17th June 2014:
I am no longer Secretary of GOSPBC and I would like you to be aware of the circumstances leading to my resignation before you hear of any other stories that may be circulating over the coming days or weeks.
The Chairman of the Club called a Committee meeting to be held at the Royal Three Counties Show at Malvern on the 14th June even though it had been agreed at the AGM in April that the next such meeting would be at the Great Yorkshire Show in July. There was nothing on the Agenda pertaining to the Secretary’s role or remuneration.
Under ‘Matters Arising’, I was asked to leave the meeting which I did for between 20 and 30 minutes. When I returned, I was informed that the remainder of the Committee present had listened to concerns raised by the Treasurer about the levels of income and expenditure being unsustainable and that they had reached the conclusion that the solution was to remove membership duties from my role and reduce my honorarium (set in 2011) from £1250pa to £600pa. I was not consulted even though the Secretary is a member of the Committee under the Constitution, nor was I offered any alternative.
I am unable to accept the fait accompli offered by the rest of the Committee present quite simply because they have no authority under the Constitution to even discuss such matters. The Constitution is quite clear on the subject: ‘The Secretary shall be appointed by the membership for such time and upon such conditions as they may think fit, and any Secretary so appointed may be removed by the membership. The Secretary shall have an ex officio place on Committee with a right to vote.’
In other words, matters concerning the Secretary can only be determined by the whole membership at an AGM or EGM with prior notice in writing. Further, I was denied the right to participate in the discussion or vote on the subject.
From speaking to some members of the Committee afterwards, it appears that the Treasurer may have misrepresented levels of future expenditure in her arguments. As I was not allowed to be there, I do not know if it was through incompetence or a deliberate attempt to further their case.
I e-mailed all members of the Committee after the meeting and demanded that the proposal be withdrawn and a written unqualified letter of apology be issued to me within 72 hours or I would resign and the reason that you are receiving this is that no such action has occurred.
Whilst the Committee has no authority to do what they have done and my role cannot change until a General Meeting determines otherwise, I cannot continue to work effectively if the majority of the Committee attending that meeting (Messrs Robinson, Kiddy, Crump and Lightfoot and Mesdames Sims, Renshaw, Lightfoot and Littlehales) have no confidence in my abilities to run the Club effectively in the future.
I was responsible for establishing the Club in 1990 and took over from the inaugural Secretary the same year and ran it until 2002 and then again from 2007 to date. For all the periods that I was not Secretary, I served as Treasurer! During that entire period the Club has never made a significant loss other than those budgeted for such as last year whilst celebrating the breed’s centenary.
The way this episode has been orchestrated leads me to believe that this is pay back for my efforts to support a member who last year was hounded and vilified by the BPA out of all proportion to her misdemeanours in misunderstanding the rules governing showing. Certain individuals with positions within the hierarchy of the BPA and the Club obviously feel threatened by me.
I am very sad to be leaving in this way and assure you that I have never tried to profit personally from my dealings with the Club. I view my honorarium as fair recompense not for my time but for expenses not otherwise claimed for items such as travel, telephone, stationery, the freepost facility etc.
I fear for the future of the Club and the breed under this present regime but assure you I shall never be far away.
With best wishes,