Part 4 – Let’s call the whole thing off

So since before the festive period this blog has been talking about the Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland Presidential Elections and how the process seems to occupying many of Rotary-related the social media channels.

And this weekend it really came to a head with one of the Districts having submitted an almost unanimous motion to call off the Presidential elections until the various administrative processes have been brought to a conclusion. This motion resulted in a special meeting of the National General Council meeting taking place on Sunday to discuss the matter associated with the joint Presidential application.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Well in summary, the issue that many have described as a debacle revolves around two key areas; the primary one focusses on the fact the Selection Advisory Committee (SAC) appears to have upset the applecart by what some are describing as having ‘canvassed‘ for a preferred candidate. Thus perhaps having disadvantaging the remaining three candidates.

The second, and almost distracting issue to the leadership campaign is the application from two individuals, Nick Corke and Mike Jackson who wished to stand on a joint-ticket and become National President under a job-share principle.

The two Regular Rots, who through this blog have become known as ‘Corkeson‘ had their joint application thrown out both by the Constitutions Committee who’s position was subsequently supported by the SAC on the basis it apparently wasn’t constitutational. is aware that Corkeson have now submitted a formal appeal to both decisions presenting their application rejection as the laws of natural justice have not been upheld. In addition they feel that equalities legislation in the UK has also not been applied accordingly.

It is hard to see where the Corkeson application falls within any protected characteristic of the 2010 Equalities Act – perhaps their advice is highlighting something to them that is not obvious. Ultimately however that remains to be seen and I am sure they are not going to uncover their powder here even if that were the case.

I use the words ‘almost distracting‘ in terms of Corkeson not to play down their situation but because this whole process should be all about the Presidential Election. Sadly the way in which the matter of the Corkeson application has been handled means it has become a much bigger issue – if not even bigger. And in fact, it is the very issue that has prompted their home District to submit a motion to have the full Presidential Process halted while the Corkeson appeal is heard. contacted Rotary International head office in Evanston to ask about their knowledge of the the current situation; if they were aware of the appeal having been submitted; what their view on a joint application was and what role RI would have in the process.

A spokesperson from Evanston responded,

Keeping in line with RI and RIBI constitution and bylaws, the election of the RIBI president is an internal RIBI matter.”

Further quoting the section of the Nominations for Officers of RIBI which states, “Nominees for president, vice-president, and honorary treasurer of RIBI shall be selected, proposed, and nominated pursuant to the bylaws of RIBI.”


So it would seem that what goes on in RIBI stays in RIBI with absolutely no influence or input from the worldwide head office.

Closer to home, in a discussion with Amanda Watkin, General Secretary at RotaryGBI  confirmed that a special webinar meeting of the General Council had been called this weekend by current President Peter Davey to discuss and consider the issue of the Corkeson joint application.

The General Secretary went on to outline following some lengthy discussion that despite upholding the initial decision of the Constitutions Committee not to allow the double-header Corkeson ticket to go through – the General Council under the leadership of Peter Davey have accepted that job-sharing of the Presidency now needs to be seriously looked into. Furthermore they have agreed that if necessary a special motion should be put forward to the next business meeting in Bournemouth to ensure there is no repetition in next year’s elections should a second application come forward. Surely that’s an indirect Corkeson result?

When asked about the whether the issue of the SAC’s decision to name one ‘preferred’ candidate was discussed by the General Council the General Secretary responded that this was not the purpose of the meeting but reiterated the previous position given by President Peter Davey that there was an acceptance the new system put in place this year required a full review and that this would happen sooner rather than later.

Let’s hope when the review of the Corkeson application is considered that it is undertaken by fresh, new and modern thinking Rotarians without any agendas to protect the status quo. Otherwise, as pointed out to by Nick Corke the organisation is going to be full of retired individuals undertaking the top roles on the basis that the current working Rotarian is finding it increasingly difficult to get time off from employment or to put their business on hold to undertake one of the major posts in RotaryGBI. Surely this basic, pragmatic fact in itself must make it a realistic view that sharing of posts is going to be the norm rather than the exception in the very near future.

So in shutting down the RotaryGBI Presidential [pre-results] Campaign 2016 it seems that despite being asked to call the whole thing off – the tables are being turned and it is the Regular Rots who are now being asked to do the same in terms of the ongoing review campaign. The Club members have been given assurances by the General Council, the current President and General Secretary that a full review will be undertaken into both the SAC’s role; the selection criteria and the announcement of a ‘most eligible’ candidate. Is that enough?

In addition, there will also be a review into the matter of job-sharing roles with the potential for a motion to be put forward to allow such an position to be acceptable in next year’s Presidential elections.

So ultimately, there now appears to be genuine acceptance in some key quarters that things need to move on and modernise and that sticking with the status quo is absolutely not the way the organisation is going to survive in these islands. The positive point here is that it seems to be those with influence to yield who are keen to ensure the review takes place.

So who are the winners and losers in all this?

Well the obvious loser is the organisation itself – where it has once again been shown to be much less forward thinking that it actually envisages itself to be. Coupled with an increasing perception from those who care to show an interest that there is a petulant  old boys network in existence with an unwillingness to listen or be told that things need to change. Sadly, in the last number of months there has also been an increasing number of individuals now questioning the validity of RIBI itself – despite all the advantages it brings.

One clear winner in this whole process has to be current President Peter Davey who along with the RotaryGBI General Secretary has been willing to discuss matters in an open and transparent manner with this blogsite. The national President has kept in touch – and contributed – with discussions taking place on this blog and on other social media channels. His willingness to address some of the more thorny issues over the past number of weeks has certainly not gone unnoticed – and his successors should take note (on the basis few of them even seem to have an online presence…another blog???).

In addition, is aware that Peter Davey has communicated regularly with his General Council and been willing to call a short notice meeting this weekend to discuss matters, leading his team to a consensus opinion on the current issue. He has to received credit for that.

The Selection Advisory Committee is undoubtedly a loser in this process. It is ironic their actions may have actually handed the Bournemouth meeting the necessary hammer and nails for the SAC coffin. On the back of the last few weeks discussions, it is increasingly probably that once the momentum starts to gather in support of the motion to remove the SAC (narrowly defeated last year) that there will be nail after nail after nail fired into the coffin lid like they were coming out of a pneumatic nail gun used by Animal out of the Muppets after four double-espressos.

Ultimately if only one candidate met the criteria – the SAC should have had the courage of their convictions and put her directly forward, ruling the other three out. Instead a diplomatic, ‘middle of the road’, weak, watered down position that was taken whereby they found themselves in a perceived ‘canvassing’ position which has not gone down well with Regular Rots.

The Constitutions Committee doesn’t get away Scot free either – they should have had the strength to simply rule that a joint application was not accounted for in the by-laws and stand by the decision. No appeal – no review. However, on reaching that assessment – they should subsequently have recommend a review be undertaken ensuring that appropriate measures would be put in place to ensure current UK and EU legislation was being complied with – and that the constitution would be amended to at least allow for the a joint application to be possible. (Whether the membership wanted to support the actuality of fielding and electing a joint President would be a matter for the democratic process in the future.)

Perhaps most disappointingly is that by default the candidates in the Presidential campaign are effectively all losers – as one of them will be returned victorious from a process that has undoubtedly been tarnished and soiled from the very offset – and will ultimately remain so for some period yet. It can only be hoped whoever wins will be allowed to ‘get on with the job’ and put their campaign behind them.

Another winner has to be the online community of Regular Rots – individuals have been discussing matters online in a way they have never been discussed before. For example, had such recent circumstances presented themselves 20 years ago – the level of discussion and communication would never have taken place in the way it has over the last few months – if at all. And while it may make some people uncomfortable – there is now a new way of holding to account the accountable. It is important that the organisation’s leaders follow Peter Davey’s path and not ignore this community observing their voice and position being exponentially stronger.

So as the Presidential process continues – we will await the outcome of the results of votes from the Clubs which will come at the end of the month.

If this year is like any other then the SAC Candidate will win the day and we’ll be bowing to President Debbie in three years time. However, could 2016 be the last time Clubs are ‘guided’ as to which candidate fully meets the criteria as opposed to being informed that all candidates would be worthy of being elected to guide the organisation in these islands and leaving them to their own devices? Could 2017 be the first year we could holding election to appoint people jointly into the senior roles in RIBI?

Let’s hope so…in the meantime, it is important the process is allowed to progress under a very close watching brief to ensure 2017 doesn’t become a repeat of 2016.
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69 thoughts on “Part 4 – Let’s call the whole thing off

  1. Brian White says:

    In the article you say:

    “Otherwise, as pointed out to by Nick Corke the organisation is going to be full of retired individuals undertaking the top roles on the basis that the current working Rotarian is finding it increasingly difficult to get time off from employment or to put their business on hold to undertake one of the major posts in RotaryGBI.”

    Is this not already the case? Looking at the expectations of a DG I find it hard to see how anyone could do that role , have a family life, have other normal interests and a full time job. My district has dropped to below 70 clubs but even that means that the old fashioned notion of a DG visiting each club in their district at least once means several weeks are going to have multiple visits.

    This is on top of all of the committee meetings, executive meetings, RIBI meetings, conferences, assemblies etc, etc….and I’ll not even start to mention the cost….

    Yet to get to the higher reaches of the organisation you must have been through all of this. It seems almost ridiculous to suggest that an RIBI President could be anything other than either retired or extremely fortunate to be able to let someone else do all their professional work. And that makes a mockery of the system.

    I have read with interest the posts in the lead up to this election and as an ordinary rank and file working Rotarian (past club President, member of a couple of District Committees and about to embark as an AG in July) I was interested to see how my own club reacted to the list of names when they appeared. It was a case of “well we really know none of them but this one is the recommended one so shall we vote for her?”

    It does make me wonder what is being done in my/our name.

    1. Thanks Brian – and you reiterate some of the points previous made in the blog(s). It would seem that the processes over the last few weeks have demonstrated a new way of communication – and from my discussions with the President and General Secretary – they are definitely listening and taking heed. However, ultimately we have to remember that they are only a small percentage of a larger majority – so we need more people to adopt their approach and understand what is happening ‘out there’ and make sure they are supported by Regular Rots.

  2. Mark Stewart-Clarke says:

    Good morning Brian I am in full time work and 2 years ago I was DG with 79 Clubs all visited at least once and all RIBI duties fulfilled, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, we have also in the past had had quite a few working Presidents and I think all the current candidates are employed in some form.
    A question for you, when you are involved in local or national elections for politicians how do you decide, there is no preferred/recommended candidate, our new system allows for a video of each candidate and a full cv in print for all members on line and all Club secretaries to help in the election process.
    Change is happening, admittedly slowly, we need to remain positive and keep the change moving forward. I think the current General Council will bring forward changes to the By law’s concerning eligibility for officers and a Club has put forward a Resolution to abolish the Selection and Advisory Committee the business session is where we change our Association, but I have to say this Blog helps highlight our problems.

    1. You are more optimistic than I am Mark. Closing ranks and allowing poor treatment of a legitimate (albeit it inspiringly different) nomination against the Four Way Test is not progress I am afraid. It is shameful.

      Also the formal complaint and appeal of the those candidates has been brushed under the carpet.

      This election is significantly flawed and I call upon the current candidates to withdraw to demonstrate their respect for Rotary and restore some semblance of leadership.

      A shameful affair!!!

      1. Mark Stewart-Clarke says:

        I am and will remain optimistic it is the only way forward. I would argue with your comment of closing ranks, the current President and General Council are the most forward thinking we have had for some time, they are certainly acutely aware that change is required. The rule book with all its contradictions is clear enough that an individual is required as a candidate, Corkeson have been badly served by RIBI they should have been told that at the outset and recommended to put forward changes to the bylaws and stand for election next year.
        Rather than closing ranks it was more about moving the poison chalice around and hoping that the music didn’t stop.

    2. Good points Mark – the key one being to ‘remain positive’ – change is happening; although I tend to fall on the side of the fence this is actually become more by revolution than the evolution it should be. I am sure there will be many in Alcester smarting that this ‘whole things is being allowed to go on’ – but we are dealing in a new modern world of communication that Senior Rotarians need to understand and grasp hold of….quickly.

      As outlined in the most recent blog – the irony is that the membership of the current Presidential SAC may just have scored an own goal in terms of your resolution. And as I am sure you are aware will certainly be following that resolution with interest.

      1. Mark Stewart-Clarke says:

        I am and will remain optimistic it is the only way forward. I would argue with your comment of closing ranks, the current President and General Council are the most forward thinking we have had for some time, they are certainly acutely aware that change is required. The rule book with all its contradictions is clear enough that an individual is required as a candidate, Corkeson have been badly served by RIBI they should have been told that at the outset and recommended to put forward changes to the bylaws and stand for election next year.
        Rather than closing ranks it was more about moving the poison chalice around and hoping that the music didn’t stop.

        1. Glad ro hear it Mark … Let’s hope that these more forward thinkers demonstrate it and then I for one will be a happier Rotarian as despite my posts I passionately believe in Rotary and RIBI (with reform).

          My optimism might just be restored with people like you around

      2. Mark Stewart-Clarke says:

        Evolution has to be the better course, revolution is messy. Many mistakes have been made mostly with the best of intentions and it becomes apparent unless we take on a more professional approach to everything we do while making changes we will continue to make poor decisions.
        I am for own goals.

  3. If I was to say the I feel that Debbie (or any of them) is the best candidate and meets fully the criteria (implying the others do not I would be accused of canvassing and Debbie would be disqualified!

    It seems odd that we cannot “canvass” for a candidate without them being disqualified but the SAC can blatantly do the same and get away with it without recourse !

    The remaining three candidates are disadvantaged by the SAC “recommendation” and therefore Debbie should show she has respect and stand down.

    In fact if I was a candidate I would also stand down out of disgust over the way this fiasco has been handled then we might get a level playing field

    A shameful situation! … I am really saddened to be a Rotarian at the moment!

    1. Interesting point of view Martin – and if you go back to the very first blogpost you will see that what you are proposing is exactly where I came from then too. The big issue here is that ‘someone’ (likely to be Debbie Hodge) is going to be ‘that President from the 2016 debacle’ – I know I certainly wouldn’t to be that person from a personal, self-pride and professional perspective.

      1. It has to be asked whether in this situation would I hang in there and what my motives would really be … The prestige of the job can be an appealing force to some and maybe be a stronger pull to hang in there. …. Who knows. I would have to look deep into my soul and ethics

  4. The way that the Corke and Jackson nomination has been dealt with is absolutely disgraceful. It has been shown that even though the President has now admitted that it was handled badly the General Council has been completely whitewashed.

    The Club President of one of the candidates sought to ensure the Gen Council was fully briefed on the facts and the response of some was “how dare you communicate with me directly” … There were however several that indicated support yet the special meeting of the Gen Council over the weekend closed ranks.

    I presume the “meeting” of the Gen Council was quorate and that the minutes will be released as per Peter’s previous declaration of transparency and openness. I would like to know how many members attend ended this meeting.

  5. Unfortunately RB I have to disagree for once … Peter Davey had no choice but to call an extraordinary GC this weekend following a District voting overwhelmingly to call it off and deal with the issue properly.

    Had he not done and waited for the next GC it would have been too late as it is after the close of the voting.

    It would have been unfair, unethical and ridiculous to have heard the appeal and if found to be sound no recourse would be available.

    As it is, .. it appears that the appeal has been swept under the carpet anyway saying there is not any appeals procedure against the constitutional committee … This is surely against natural justice.

    If people look in two directions at the same time they miss seeing anything they do not to see!

    1. Good point well made Martin. And I actually agree with the fact the President was almost cornered into holding the meeting. However, credit where credit is due – Peter Davey has not buried his head in the sand in this issue – and has pretty much been front and central in the matter with little if any procrastination. Certainly much more than others would have been in a similar situation. He is on-board with this new media and understands the processes. Look at his successors – none of them (including the preferred candidate) have anything other than a token online presence – and his predecessor was frankly non-existent in this field apparently thinking that modern communication was a biro…but I don’t want to give too much away on a future blog!

      1. FAIR COMMENT, RB … I do respect Peter Davey’s approach and his embrace of timely responses. He is one of the few that is trying to do it properly.

        He has shown that he is willing to act and I should give him much more credit than perhaps I have done initially.

        I hope and trust he will encourage and inspire the current cohort to be more open (as he is) and inclusive because they are the likely future President candidates.

  6. Paul Jackson says:

    Where does the rule “no lobbying” come from? Surely it should be a good thing to be more open about who does what?

    1. There are very clear guidelines in terms of canvassing and electioneering Paul not that we’re actually agreeing with them. We’re all on the same page here regarding the opportunity to understand the individuals directly from them. Perhaps at some point in the future we will get to a totally democratic position of ‘one member-one vote’???

  7. Jim Sleight says:

    What a mess.

    As clubs & their members are at the root of everything we do & achieve, how is it that we are happy for a club president role to be shared by 2 [or even 3 club members] in one year without any issues or fuss and yet at the RIBI level, this appears to be unacceptable?

    Also, although I am not an expert in employment law, I seem to recall that, if you employ staff to undertake a role in most organisations, if they request a “job-share” opportunity, the employer has to do “due diligence” and try to facilitate it, even if it is inconvenient or more expensive. Only if there are clear business reasons for not offering it and they can be argued at any ensuing tribunal, can the proposal be refused. Although this is in the commercial world and we are all volunteers, I have not seen anything in print that says specifically that it can not be offered on a job share basis and hence the election should be stopped and relaunched from scratch.

    For goodness sake, we are electing a President 3 years away, what will the impact of a few months delay have in reality?

    I hope that, at the special GC meeting this weekend, they decide to either stop this year’s fiasco directly, or write to all candidates to advise them to withdraw on their on initiative [and hence applying the 4-Way Test in doing so as currently, it is not fair to all]

    1. Lindsay Pearson says:

      Jim, the emergency meeting was LAST Sunday.

      General Council have already decided to allow the election to carry on as it stands, as well as declaring the “Corkeson” Joint candidacy invalid. Clubs are currently being notified.

  8. I cannot help pondering if the current candidates are comfortable being elected in a flawed system where three of them have been disadvantaged and one “recommended” who is likely to the job!

    I think If I was in this situation I would withdraw rather than hang in there in the hope I might get to wear the “gong” – if I was the “recommended” candidate I would be really uncomfortable holding the job knowing that it was due to the SAC’s flawed actions in “recommending” me which is likely to be why I got to wear the regalia.

    There was only one video presentation that really addressed change and what they would do … and it was not Debbie. Will she bring about the changes need I wonder?

  9. Jim Sleight says:

    Sorry, it was the ambiguity of how to interpret “this weekend” [past or next…..].

    Well, I still don’t believe the decision is sound. We need to see the evidence of what the Constitutional basis actually is if the appeal has been refused. I still would like someone to explain why is ok for our clubs to have more than one president in any one year but not our RIBI president. Incidentally, what was the vote for, against and abstentions, etc. I am certainly going to email the link to this blog to all of my club members and I recommend others do so too. At the end of the day, we are a democracy and we vote for other Rotarian members to articulate our wishes through the very convoluted, hierical family tree. This seems to be a traversity of natural justice and needs to be sorted out promptly to we can get back to developing our membership so we can survive the next 10 years, or so…….

  10. Jim Sleight says:

    Martin : Totally agree – however, how many of the candidates for both elections use socia lmedia at all and, in particular, subscribe to this blog?

    1. Great points as usual Jim…it is interesting to note that our Clubs can share the post but the national organisation can’t. Thanks for circulating the blog around your club members hopefully they will find it interesting and join the many hundred of other subscribers.

  11. Lindsay Pearson says:

    In the absence of a contribution from the Constitution Committee (so far), from correspondence I have received, the basis of the decision is that various rules regarding the election process refer specifically to the “person” (singular) with no appendix explaining that “person” may refer to one or more people doing the job of RIBI President.

    And on the other hand, there is no “rule” that specifically states ONLY one person may stand, which would indeed specifically precluding a joint application.

    One could conclude that irrespective of the definition of the word “person” in this context, the original off-the cuff judgement, which in principle said “there isn’t a rule that says they can, there isn’t a rule says they can’t”, could have been followed. The joint nomination could have gone ahead and democracy would have determined whether the Regular Rots thought it was a good idea, or not.

    1. Thanks again Lindsay – While it would have been nice to see this decision reached, facts now show it wasn’t. However, we must now support Corkeson (and any others like them) to stand next year following the review that is going to be undertaken into the possibilities of a Presidential Job-Share.

  12. Jim Sleight says:

    Lindsay: Very interesting: Well, again I am also not a Lawyer – however, one legal interpretation of the use of the word “person” can mean the person occupying the role at any one time & not that one person can only occupy the role throughout the period of office. That would mean that several people could occupy the office in tandem as long as no period existed when more than one person was actually in office…… Maybe we need to check our club constitutions to see what they say – they are all based on the standard Rotary constitution [as far as I know] and I bet the wording is the same in this instance. But we do have clubs with more than one president in any one year, but not simultaneously in office at the same time – food for thought?

  13. Aled Owen says:

    John Hewko addressed a gathering of DGs a year or two ago and said that the rule book was being thrown out in the interest of sustainability. Of course I paraphrase but it appears that we are still allowing minutiae to stand in the way of innovation. I get the impression that twelve months in the chair just isn’t long enough to make a lasting impression on our demise and perhaps, and only perhaps, two heads would have been better than one. It appears we will never know.

    1. Thanks for commenting on the blog again Aled. Something tells me that one day, in the not too distant future we may actually know what it is like to have senior positions within the organisation that is RotaryGBI on a job-share basis. Never say never!

  14. says:

    Hello, I’m a new Rotarian, still trying to make sense of the whole situation (it’s a bit like learning a new language, I sometimes feel), so am particularly interested in this situation and pleased that it’s described clearly here.

    My club is split about social media – some read the Facebook page regularly, more read it occasionally and some just honestly say that they don’t “do” Facebook. My feeling is that, like Twitter, it’s a tool, which can be used to increase awareness of the club and Rotary in general. (Also, reading Facebook pages from other groups helps me feel part of a community, besides, there are often good ideas for fund raising which can be discussed in my group).

    As I’m in a very small club, there’s also the hope that the Facebook entries may improve the local perception of Rotary and, if we are very lucky, lead to new members!

    It does help, though, that I enjoy writing for Facebook. It’s a bit like having a diary documenting the high points of the group and it’s always fun taking photographs.

    1. Thanks for looking in Jenny – glad you are enjoying the blog and that it has been useful in assisting you clarify some of the current situation surrounding the election of our future RotaryGBI President.

  15. An interested observer says:

    Two observations. 1. The very first comment from Brian. He says his club no none of the candidates so may as well vote for Debbie. Isn’t voting for a candidate purely on the grounds of knowing them just as bad and lazy as voting for the preferred candidate? Some candidates, as a result of the committees they serve on, will be higher profile and therefore more recognised than others. Surely the clubs should be encouraged to study all the candidates and vote for the one they believe to be the best NOT just the one whose face they recognise or the SAC preferred candidate.and 2. In all your blatant antagonism against RIBI hierarchy in general and SAC in particular, have you ever stopped to consider that Debbie might actually be the best candidate? If she does get elected it will be because of one of two reasons. Either the clubs have studied all the information they have and believe her to be the best , in which case she should be congratulated , or because the clubs are too bone idle and indifferent to take the election seriously, which is not her fault. RIBI is a democracy. Undoubtedly flawed, but a democracy all the same.

    1. Brian White says:

      Interested Observer, if you read what I originally wrote it is more making the point about one candidate being recommended which swayed the vote (in actual fact some individual members did know some of the candidates but the club as a whole did not).

      In the real world people buy people and do tend to vote for those they know. That’s a human trait not just a Rotary one.

      I do not think that anyone has doubted Debbie’s abilities in this thread or considered her superior or inferior to any of the others. But the situation around her is flawed.

      I really feel sorry for her, she’s damned whatever she does. If she stands down on principle as suggested above then she gives up her chance at the top post, a chance which may never arise again, because of circumstances beyond her control. Should she stand and win she will, again as suggested above, risk her year as being tarred by the issues around it. “did she deserve it?” “was it unfair?” “was it a fix?” etc.

      I am rather concerned though that you feel the need to remain anonymous to make your comments. We are all Rotarians here and should be able to manage a debate and then get on with each other afterwards.

      Brian White

    2. Dear Interested: I think it always set your publication to a new level when you receive anonymous feedback and comments even if it does generate the question, “why does this person not wish to be known?” . So anyway, thank you!

      I’m not quite sure in which direction your comment regarding the ‘blatant antagonism against RIBI’ focussed – if it is directed at then I don’t believe it is accurate.

      There have been many posts on this blog which overtly support the position of RotaryGBI, the General Secretary and the Secretariat (despite having a worldwide audience) the most recent one being which comes right out of the corner in support of ensuring RotaryGBI is retained. That said, there are issues with the administration and governance of the organisation – and a trickling treacle-like progress in terms of understanding and implementing the necessary change doesn’t aid matters.

      Surely the last four weeks has demonstrated this. Where things go wrong someone has to take responsibility for those circumstances – surely those involved can’t just point over their shoulder at ‘him over there’ to attribute blame?

      In that exact science that is hindsight and looking objectively at circumstances; does the Constitutions Committee Chair still believe he and his committee got it right? Does the Chair of the allegedly antagonised Selection Advisory Committee believe that what they did was correct; just and proper? And in both cases, do their respective actions enhance the Presidential election processes.

      You do however hit the nail on the head when you describe the processes as being flawed – but the silver lining to this unfortunate cloud it that a full review of the processes surrounding the election of the President is going to be undertaken to ensure a similar situation cannot occur in 2017.

    3. in view of the total fiasco I would say that the candidates [including Debbie] should stand down out of respect for a poor treatment of fellow Rotarians and the blatant disregard of the Four Way Test

  16. Terry Leivers says:

    We have now descended into a shambolic mess of Rotary politics in RIBI which does not reflect well on us. Club Rotarians are not in the least bit interested in the power struggle which is going on at RIBI as it does not affect them. We are busy helping others and it is time to get real and come into line with the rest of the world by
    abolishing the post of RIBI President as soon as possible. Maybe
    those who aspire to great office could then turn their attention to the true purpose of Rotary – helping those less fortunate than ourselves.

    1. A interesting, if different view point Terry – thanks for your comment on the blog and for reading the piece. You are correct in saying that internal difference in a organisation do not look good externally. I actually believe your comment about most Club Regular Rots are not interested in this process is very accurate, if not somewhat sad.

      Abolishing the President altogether….now that’s the first time we’ve had that one!

    2. Terry – it is probably true that Club Rotarians are no that interested but itis not correct that what happens at RIBI does no affect us … it very much does!

      As Edmund Burke said: “All tyranny [autocracy] needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent

      I agree with your point about whether we need a president .. in fact I reckon we only need the good bits .. namely the secretariat and a Chief Exec so that we can retain the benefts of RIBI without the power plays and the greasy poles climbers.

      Unfortunately your wish could not happen without some involvement from the rank and file Rotarians expressing their viewpoints. RIBI will continue to close ranks unless the tidal wave of change is brought about by reasoned argument across all the clubs.

      Sad as it is because I am sure that most of us are dedicated Rotarians and would rather be doing good in the world than having to take a stand to bring change.

      When fair play, unjust actions and whitewashes occur there need to be the people to challenge this for the good of the whole.

  17. It now being 2016 why on earth are we not embracing technology and all Rotarians getting to vote individually? A truly democratic process that involves all in the election of RIBI President.

    Setting up a surveymonkey survey costs £0.

    This would at the very least involve everyone and it won’t continue to be what feels like an elitist group who decides who gets the top job.

    Current voting process is a nonsense. It involved everyone agreeing at our meeting we don’t know any of the candidates. Where’s the individual email communication from RIBI to us all detailing all candidates etc and how to vote online.

    Communication from RIBI on elections needs to improve greatly for it to interest the “everyday Rotarian” who doesn’t hold district or national office.

    Kristoff, a 30-something Rotarian who joined 2015.

    1. Really great points well made Kirstoff.

      The use of electronic voting is a very interesting point – but perhaps the more interesting issues comes to the ‘one member one vote’ proposals that will eventually be tabled to the business meeting.

      One issue that hasn’t been mentioned is the fact it is understood RotaryGBI hold over 30,000 email addresses which it uses for its regular briefings. Could these thirty thousand Regular Rots not be given the courtesy of being contacted direct to ask them to make their case to the Club as to who they wished to represent them in three years.

        1. The blog is read by senior Rotarians and the General Secretary so they do hear the comments. In fact President Peter Davey will occasionally comment on some of the blog posts in replies to comments.

  18. Jim Sleight says:

    I have now checked the wording of the standard Club Constitution as currently published on the RIBI website. It is not prescriptive about the appointment of club Presidents and could be interpreted either way in terms of a “job share”. I am aware that some clubs have successfully implemented a job share for their President and we must assume that the DG of the day would have been aware of this and by implication, approved of it. So, my question is, if its good enough for our clubs to do this, what are the arguments/rules that prevent us from doing it for our National President?

  19. Jim Sleight says:

    Some excellent comments overnight [the night owl club?]. Well, I am a 70- something Rotarian who has embraced social media and I have worked hard, with a number of others, over the last 3 > 4 years as a member of the RIBI Membership Committee to try to drag us into the 21st C [some might say, even the 20 C would be progress?].

    One of the fundamental questions I ask myself when inside any large organisation [for instance, when I was accompanying my father-in-law in an A & E hospital, several years ago when he was seriously ill & not a lot was happening] is “who is in charge?” – it that case, it was easy – it was the sole hospital porter (one of the lowest paid employees in the hospital?) on duty who was run off his feet as he was the only one who could move patients from ward-to-ward and, crucially, from the A & E Dept. to the appropriate ward for my father-in-law. So, ask yourself, who is “in charge” in RIBI? The answer is actually not difficult to find, Surprise, surprise – its a committee of some 30 individuals who come together 4 > 5 times a year to make decisions – its the General Council made up of our National President & the District Governors of the year we are in. How can you run any organisation in the 21 C by a large committee of disparate individuals? [I am using the word “disparate” correctly here – check out the dictionary definition]. It didn’t work for the Co-Op – a multi-billion national business and it doesn’t work for Rotary. We are top heavy, multi layered, complex and inefficient by any business measure and yet, because of our absolute commitment to “the democratic process” we are totally incapable of seeing the light. Many attempts to address this have failed to achieve even scratching the surface [if we were brutally honest with ourselves, we would have to admit its got worse & not better over the last 20 years, or so – and there are well founded reasons for this]. If we don’t grasp the nettle soon we will rapidly decline to the point of implosion – the average age is the “killer”, but the depleting numbers don’t help as our income reduces every year.

    I am a strong supported of a RIBI structure – it has many advantages, but not the form it is currently in. We get great value from the Secretariat, which is the envy of many other parts of the Rotary World, but our structure of the “voluntary management” of how we operate is a total disaster.

    We have one role in the world which inspires others to join us – “to do good”, which appears in many of these blogs. To do this, we need to look outside of Rotary to see how other groups organise themselves to do their “good”.

    I am currently working on a possible guest blog to offer up in the future – “Nomads & Crusaders” – watch this space. [end of rant!]

  20. Lindsay Pearson says:

    Last Sunday I wrote to all members of GC, putting my perspective on the Presidential Election, as I had heard they would meet sometime before the election. It turned out to be that afternoon. It was instructive, reading the handful of replies received from DGs., most of which accused me of trying to influence the GC. Quite how my personal observations and views can be called influence, I am unsure. However, I am amused to see that Antonia Williams, “Governance Administrator” is circulating, via District Secretaries the document “RIBI – The Benefits”

    Surely RIBI isn’t trying to influence Rotarians?

    PS my absolute favourite reply to my GC email includes the following:

    ” Clearly this has been sent without the permission of your District Governor and I take a dim view of people doing their own thing.”

    1. So Lindsay is being accused of being a lone wolf? Since when did you have to go via 5 different people to get to the GC? This really is poor show and shows how prehistoric and elitist top office really is at RIBI. it is so far removed from all the work all us club members do raising money for worthy grass roots charities and international projects, no wonder general Rots are not interested in all this top heavy managerial politics.

    2. An unfortunate approach – but as others have said, it is not uncommon. As I have said in previous posts relating to this very issue; there will undoubtedly be individuals who must be asking themselves how the comments on the blog; on social media and in various online platforms are actually allowed to happen. It wouldn’t have happened this way 20 years ago – maybe even 10!!! Having to seek permission from your DG simply smacks of an individual who is looking to retain control of their own District – and as others have said – the worrying thing is that the individual who gave that reply is ‘in charge’ of our changing organisation. How many own goals can be scored in terms of the programme of change…?

  21. Jim Sleight says:

    Lindsay/Kristoff: Yes, you both have hit the proverbial ‘nail on the head’. You both represent the breath of fresh air we need across our territory if we are ever going to break out of this vicious circle of preventing change from happening.

    The reference to the comment “Clearly this has been sent without the permission of your District Governor….” is incredible, but all so true of a few, or perhaps many?

    In the eyes of “Rotary International”, we are all equal whatever our roles – we are all Rotarians, whether we hold any office or not at all. With Rotarians having this sort of attitude, we have little, or no hope of implementing changes in the hierarchy to bring about the radical change that we need to survive. I go back to the Co-Op example. They had/have a similar structure to Rotary in terms of their “Ruling Body/Council”. However, the big difference is that, as a business they are subject to Regulation and Accountability and they endured to a very high level review carried out by an independent expert [Lord Myners] – until we are brave enough to go down the same path with a similar type of review & then implementation, it is my own personal opinion that we are doomed to oblivion.

    That sadly is the stark truth……

  22. Mike Lade says:

    Well what a mess we have got ourselves in ……. lets get back to what Rotary should be about internally.. Modernising and recognising the pressures on Rots that do have to guts to take on these senior roles of DG upwards for the benefit of the organisation. Family life, work life, running a business and running the organisation – not easy at all. Politics, infighting, barrack room lawyers, old guard that know the Constitution backwards and use it to hold the organisation back are not what we need ……. . Not sure that Equality legislation argument hold water but the issue of “job share” very much is in this “modern age” so I’m glad that Corkeson is well and truly rocking the boat. Job share option is inevitable and bring it on. Perhaps part of the “modernisation” of the organisation is to forget where we are. To look at the demands and requirements of Rotary in these isles (I deliberately avoided referring to RIBI!) in 5yrs time, design the new organisation – then work out the path to get there. Change the Constitution where required. I bet someone says that’s what we are doing…… Come guys – keep focus. Peter you are proving to be a the man to do the job ……. Lets not miss this opportunity with Corkeson being the catalyst.

    1. A great and well balanced response Mike. There is no doubt that the Corkeson issue has catalysed a change in the view that the process definitely needs to be looked at. As I said in the blog – it doesn’t mean we will ever get a joint President – but the system should at least be ready and prepared for such an occurrence.

  23. Herbert Chatters says:

    I feel that it puts the whole sorry mess and over – publicised issue into perspective when it attracts 49 comments from less than ten individuals.
    We are where we are. Rotary in these Islands will neither rise nor fall by the folly of the groups and individuals who have sat in judgement on this issue. History is for the Historians and Rotary as the World’s largest service organisation is for communities regardless of this tiff and not about scoring points against our fellow Rotarians. Let’s put this to bed and resume energising Clubs and Districts by example. There is much to talk about as the Walrus said and many ideas to distil. No journey is ever wasted, including this debacle, but let us hope that those who created this journey and were driving the train, will find themselves with a one-way ticket, never to step on the platform again, leaving it clear for new younger passengers who care little about how they travel but concentrate on what is achieved at the destination.

    1. Thanks for your comments Herbert. It’s disappointing you feel the situation is over-publicised…perhaps a view shared by many others – but certainly not reflective of the communications has received since Christmas? I’m also not sure what perspective it puts things into or where the point-scoring has taken place – what I would say is the commentators have demonstrated how much ‘noise’ the online world now allows individuals to make (no matter how small the group). And that is only going to be exponential as we look to the future.

      I agree the matters as outlined in the blog should now be put to bed, but that a watching brief is adopted over the next few weeks and months in the lead up to the Annual Business Meeting and ensure the appropriate reviews that have been put forward take place in an open, transparent and democratic manner.

      You are absolutely correct about no journey being wasted – and in particular this one.

    2. Herbert … and your point is?

      You misunderstand the realms of Social media because the reach is far greater from few through Blog, Twitter, Facebook and other platforms.

      This topic has been restricted by and large to the UK deliberately by choosing the relevant social media but it has certainly reached hundreds if not thousands of active Rotarians.

      If only a few can achieve this reach and response, that has the General Council meet on a Sunday to gave a special meeting and albeit rejected the issue it has however achieved a move forward in the way Rotary will be in future. … This would certainly have not happened if “People of good conscience had remained silent” [Edmund Burke]

      We agree that even though the outcome is that we still have a flawed election it is time to move on. We shall see what the Business meting will bring .. Forward steps is hoped …

  24. Paul Hickson says:

    It is refreshing to see the vision being provided by Regular Rots in these blogs and equally the response from our President, which is healthy. It is hoped that future Presidents will embrace social media and therefore keep in touch in the same way.

    The decision to ask the candidates to provide 3 minute presentations was a step forward (although as a member of International Toastmasters I think they would all probably benefit from some feedback and evaluations- but that would be true for the majority of us).

    I do understand the comments made with regard to why the SAC should not suggest a particular candidate. However having undertaken a straw poll at my Club today as to how many of my fellow Rotarians had access to the RIBI/RI website, or if they did, would bother to review the presentations we may be grateful for the SAC deliberations and steer in order to achieve a meaningful result.

    Turning to ‘Corkeson’ they have thrown a large pebble into the pond and the debate that will arise will be useful. The age profile of the already declining membership of RIBI requires pebbles if not indeed boulders to be thrown into the Rotary pond.

    Any organisation that changes its CEO and Board of Directors every year is always going to struggle to compete in a fast moving world and a two President model may not be the way forward
    but we must surely listen to any proposals that bring us closer to the business world, from which Rotary started and question if there is another way forward

    1. Thanks for contributing Paul. Well put comments. You make an interesting point regarding the changes in leadership on such a regular basis. I also think your own Club is probably very reflective of many others around these isles – which while not being surprising is still disappointing.

      I think the Corkeson has thrown that boulder into the pond – and it will be interesting to see how things look when the water has settled.

  25. Andy Muchall says:

    As a retired teacher of English, may I draw attention to the following dictionary definitions of the word ‘canvass’?
    to solicit votes, subscriptions, opinions, or the like from.
    to examine carefully; investigate by inquiry; discuss; debate.

    I understand why candidates are banned from (1), but why from (2)?

  26. An interested observer says:

    Just to refer back to Kristoff’s original comment. Surely the idea is NOT to vote for any candidate purely on the grounds of merely knowing them. The interviews and CVs of the four candidates are online on the RIBI website available for every Rotarian to see. Perhaps an idea would be for clubs to spend one of their meetings watching the filmed presentations and looking at the CVs together and discussing who to vote for. This new approach is new and, although flawed, is a step forward. The mistake SAC made was in going back on their previous decision and still having what is ,in effect, still a preferred candidate. I am sure that any one of the candidates would make an admirable president and would work hard to promote RIBI. Do not let the Issue of a shared presidency detract from the other four.

    1. Interesting turn of events “interested observer”

      I agree that now the Gen Council has closed ranks but opened the door to change for the future (even though in a fair world this would have been stopped)

      The problem with the videos etc is that many Rotarians simply have not registered with RI to be able to see them to make their mind up.

  27. Paul Hickson says:

    Not sure if there will be a final blog as regards the Elections with the results now out -may well be time to wish Debbie and Brian many congratulations move on and focus on a positive -but understand only 44% of Clubs responded.
    Does that suggest a) Lack of engagement and apathy? b)Why do we need a President ? Or c) just the realisation that there are countless Rotarians out there who don’t have a RIBI /RI log in!
    Its time to get enthusiasm back into Rotary because without that we will not be able to progress

  28. An interested observer says:

    So that’s it is it? All over? It all just comes to a grinding halt? No inquests. No final summing up? No closing comments? Just silence until presumably it all starts again next year. Martin criticised me for not giving my name. My reason is that I am a fairly new Rotarian. The only female in a well established club where some of the members make it plain that they would rather I wasn’t there, especially as I try to bring the club up to date. I told them about this blog. I won’t offend you by telling you what most of them thought! I tried to interest them in the election. At first they said they had no intention of wasting their time. It was December . We were far to busy with collections and Santa etc. when I insisted we vote and tried by every means possible to get them to watch the videos and read the CVs the best I could get was that they had seen one of the men at a conference giving a talk so they would vote for him to save time!!!! I had carefully researched all four candidates, looking in to their past achievements, length of service etc as well as watching and carefully listening to the videos. The man we voted for would most definately not have been my choice. Nor would Debbie. Only one seemed to talk about what he actually wanted to do and achieve for Rotary. His passion stood out. So what about you Mr Blogger? And you, Martin as the second most prolific writer. What do you think of the choice, other than its inevitability? Did the best candidate win and if not who do you think should have won? Go on. Put your head above the parapet. And other than writing endless screeds on here , what, if anything can be done to ensure that the best candidate wins. Though RIBI selection committee obviously think the best one did win. Oh well. Same place, same time, next year.

    1. Interesting comments … I am not sure I was the one to criticise not using your name .. That is your choice.

      However I do empathise with your dilemma and know that many clubs and grass root Rotarians do not give a hoot about RIBI (or their districts) but does that mean that if things are fundamentally unjust we sit back and say nothing.

      This campaign has resulted in calling an emergency Gen Council meeting and although closed ranks prevailed there was at least a public recognition that it was all a shambles and that there is going to be action and a vote at the Business Meeting to seek to redress the issues. So social media did have some effect.

      It was always likely that the recommended candidate would win in his flawed system so no surprise there. Thus would not have been the candidate I would have voted for and I actually said so previously. I would have liked to see the only candidate that clearly talked about what they were going to do to move Rotary forward. … If I am honest I do not think any candidate stood out strongly in their cv or their presentation.

      Sad as it is because I am sure that most of us are dedicated Rotarians and would rather be doing good in the world than having to take a stand to bring change

      We stopped making comment because the cause was fought and when the horse is dead … Get off!

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