So the order for a large box of cigars and a case of finest brandy was delivered to Rotary GB&I Headquarters for the meeting of the Selection Advisory Committee as they came together in the corridors of power to consider who they want to join their inner sanctum and become President of the organisation in three years time.
This outdated Committee was headed up by Keith Barnard-Jones as Chairman, with his Committee consisting of past Rotary GB&I Presidents and Governors (obviously only people of note). Each and every member of the Committee can therefore be held equally accountable in enacting the antiquated and wholly un-democratic system of pre-selecting a ‘preferred candidate’ for the lofty position of Rotary President of these islands.
RotaryBlogger has previous published an article called ‘Democracy or Otherwise‘ on the process of selecting a candidate that those in high places would like to see succeed them into their conclave. No matter how it is dressed up, the preferred candidate process simply smacks of ‘jobs for the boys’ and it has to be brought to and end. It urgently requires to be replaced with an open and transparent evaluation panel (probably external), using appropriate benchmarking against a criteria where the membership is presented with say, the best three candidates to choose from – with no preference given!
Let me make one thing clear…I have no issues with the preferred candidate that has been chosen by the selection panel – I don’t know him! However, it is the system that I and (based on previous blogposts) others have issues with, that’s all.
Now I’m sure that like last time I will get messages from proponents of the system saying that the process is democratic as Clubs don’t need to vote for the preferred candidate if they don’t want to. Really? How many Clubs fully engage in the process and don’t simply stick an X in the box of the preferred candidate. I genuinely believe if there was no preferred candidate, the Clubs would be forced to do their research on who they were selecting and ultimately pick the best candidate.
I also have an issue with the timing of the process. The details, CV’s and other relevant information are released right at the point where Regular Rots are probably at their most disengaged with their Club activity – other than their Christmas dinner meeting. As they think about their santa’s lists; how they’re going to wrap their presents; whether they’ve bought a large enough turkey and so on. Why can all this not be done at a different time of the year?
I’m sure it purely coincidence that these elections precede the only real recess time of the year in Rotary – where many Clubs will not actually have Council meetings to fully discuss matters. But it certainly doesn’t help in throwing the doors of transparency and accountability open. Imagine a local government election taking place immediately following new year with canvassing over the festive period – there would be public outcry!
Anyway, this year there are six applicants for the position of President – and I’m sure they all have individual qualities that would be of benefit to our organisation. However, how much of these can be extracted from the Curriculum Vitae they each submit along with the applications.
Let’s be honest – in selecting a President how important is it as to how many Rotary Conferences, Institutes or Conventions they have attended in the last five years? What does this actually demonstrate to the Regular Rot?
In my view what is important is how up-to-date they are with the society within which Rotary is now operating. Do they understand the media? Do they present well as the ‘face of the organisation’? Can they inspire, influence and motivate? Can they engage with people at all levels of society? Can they/do they use social media? Does their job allow them to be outward facing and presented to the Public?
Surely these things are more important to the organisation’s survival than whether our President has a 100% attendance rate at conferences over the last number of years?
Between now and the vote RotaryBlogger is hoping to contact all the prospective candidates to ask them some ‘real’ questions about Rotary and then feature their responses in a post on this increasingly popular blog. If there are any questions you would like to ask an incoming President, then feel free to send a message to
I am hopeful that all the candidates will ‘play ball’ and answer the RotaryBlogger questions that will be put to them in order that the subscribers and readers of the blog can get a better insight as to the person behind the CV standing for the post of RotaryGBI President and who will ultimately be leading us in a few years time. Fingers crossed!
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