In contrast to last year’s stormy meetings, last weekend the Scottish Kennel Club’s special General Meeting was a quite low key affair with only 50 present, including council members and officers.
Opening the meeting, Convener Anne Macdonald explained that this meeting had arisen since the members had voted at last year’s meetings for the Electoral Reform Society to act as scrutineers for future votes. It had since been discovered that the Constitution did not allow for this so it had to be changed to accommodate the decision. The chance was also being taken to tidy up the constitution of grammatical and spelling errors as well as to review - a task last undertaken in 1979.
She emphasised that this meeting should not be construed as a take over or a sign of new troubles but simply to address the changes in a democratic manner. A two thirds majority was required for any approval and votes would be by a show of hands. She also said that votes would be counted by the office staff and one Council member unless the members felt otherwise and a vote was taken to approve this.
The changes were read out by Andy Kousourou and also shown on an overhead projector to ensure the members were clear on each.
The term Secretary General was changed throughout to Secretary since the original term was considered somewhat of an anachronism.
Memberships must now be paid by 31st March in each year to retain the privileges of membership - a standard time for most Clubs. Honorary Members cannot sit on Council or vote on any matter. Although this was always assumed it was not specified in the Constitution.
A query from the floor elicited the fact that there is at present only one Honorary Member.
The question of a conflict of interest was clarified and now members at a meeting can decide if there is a conflict of interest and in such cases can elect a chairman of the meeting from the floor.
In future 30 signatures will be required to call an SGM and not the current 20. This merely brings this item in line with the current number of 30 required by the constitution for standing orders.
The wording of an item covering the contract of a Secretary or Treasurer was discussed and a change of word suggested from the floor. This was considered but could not be done however it can be brought to the AGM for further consideration.
The size of the Executive Council was changed from 30 to 24 since this was felt to be a way of making economies of postage and travel . The council is currently running with a membership of 23.
On paragraph 42 one member proposed an amendment to split the paragraph into two to help with grammar and clarity with the sections being renumbered. A vote was taken from the floor and carried.
The declaration of interest was replaced by a formal document and declaration of interest which would also cover partners as well as spouses. The current form was read out for information before the vote was taken.
One member made the point that it was rather heavy going for something supposed to be a hobby but this was explained by the Convener that much of what could be discussed at meetings could be considered confidential. Previously there had been leaks to the press but in future the council would provide press releases after meetings should the executive consider that something had come up which would be pertinent to the membership.
By using the Canine Press to feature important issues they felt this would keep the membership informed.
One member asked why the Council business would be published but the convener pointed out that since most Council business was routine and mundane it would not be published but a press release would be done if there were issues of which the membership should be aware.
The deletion of the final sentence in the Constitution and Rules was simply to enable any rules changes to be implemented without waiting for KC approval. The Convener pointed out that the KC was aware of this change and comfortable with it. This was NOT a device which allowed SKC to make decisions outwith the KC. Some people might have construed this as a start to break away from the KC but this was definitely not so.
The final point was the amendment to the disposal or transfer of properties in the event of the Club winding up. The original amendment wording of ‘preferably kept in Scotland’ was proposed by a member to say ‘must be kept in Scotland’.
Throughout the meeting members had voted in the vast majority for the changes with only occasionally one or two against an amendment. The meeting came to an end with the final vote to approve all changes.