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Kennel Club AGM: Some controversial proposals

Issue: 10/05/2019

New venue: the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel, close to Victoria in central London

The Kennel Club Annual General Meeting will this year take place on May 21st at a new venue - the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel near to Victoria Station. 
In keeping with the KC's attitude to such matters, the agenda papers which have been revealed to us, apart from a document submitted by former Chairman Simon Luxmoore, are no longer marked as 'Private and Confidential'. This enables us to reveal some information about the meeting in advance.
There are ten vacancies on the Board with a total of twenty candidates putting themselves forward for election. Seven of the twenty are existing Directors seeking re-election and the other thirteen are newly proposed candidates.
The twenty candidates are as follows (existing Board Members are marked *)
• John Bailey
• Yvonne Billows
• *Maurice Cooke
• *Ian Gabriel
• Christofer Habig
• Mark James
• *Ron James
• Bill King
• Linda King
• Chris Morgan
• Robin Newhouse
• Ernie Paterson
• *Paul Rawlings
• Gavin Robertson
• Ian Seath
• *Gill Simpson
• Dick White
• Amanda Winston
• *Jan Wood 
• *Wilson Young
OUR DOGS has this year broken with tradition and has invited all candidates to submit their thoughts on the direction they would like to see the KC Board progress in the future, and to outline what part they would intend to play in that movement if they are elected. (See page 4 of this week's issue for some contributions.) 
As well as the normal AGM items such as the appointment of Vice Presidents, Honorary Life Members, Auditors and the submission of accounts and reports from the KC Chairman and the Chairman of Crufts, there will be some rather more unusual agenda items. 

Vote of no confidence in board?

The first is a proposal for a vote of no confidence in the present Board of Directors and the request that: "all those directors, save for those elected on May 21st this year, to arrange to step down and undergo a new electoral process within three months of May 21st." 
The rationale given is that: "in the last twelve months the KC Board has been asked by Members to deal with various issues and the perception has emerged that it has failed to carry out its duties and failed to agree to Members' requests. It is thought that one way for the Kennel Club to move forward and make progress in eliminating that perception is for those Members of the Board who are not subject to the current election on May 21st this year, to stand down and submit themselves to a fresh electoral process and thus clear the air once and for all."
In response the Board replies that it is disappointed that such a perception exists and that is has striven to carry out its duties in good faith as demonstrated by the KC Annual Report. It adds that there is a wealth of experience and knowledge amongst Board Members, they act in a voluntary capacity, carry out their company legal and statutory duties to the Kennel Club fully, and that KC Members already have control of the composition of the Board through the three yearly electoral process. |
In conclusion the Board reminds Members: "The effect if a vote of no confidence resolution if passed is advisory in nature and the Board will consider the expression of the views of the members in this context." 
Some KC Members have asked if this means that the Board would ignore such a decision? 

Withdrawal of Membership?

Two separate individual proposals will be submitted asking the Board to invoke KC Article 38 (Termination of Membership) and invite Messrs Luxmoore and Cocozza to withdraw their membership of the KC.
No rationale has been provided by the proposers of these resolutions and Members are left wondering if this is simply an extension of the attempts by a large number of members last year, subsequently withdrawn, to ask for the resignation of Messrs Luxmoore, Cocozza and Horswell from their positions at the KC.
Mr Luxmoore's comments in reply are marked "Private and Confidential - not for publication in the press, media or social media" . We are therefore not at liberty to divulge the detail of his response.
Mr Cocozza says that he is at a loss to know why such a proposal has been made and adds that at a Meeting in April 2019 three complaints were made against him. He responded robustly and the Board did not support the complaints. Two other complaints were made against him last year and they were dismissed - again based on evidence. He says that he has successfully answered all complaints. He then says that if members vote for the proposal he would be denied his legal right to reply and comments that thankfully we live in a country with an established legal system that protects basic human rights. He says he doesn't need to highlight the risks and dangers of this type of proposal and urges members to vote against it so as to protect the Kennel Club. 
Some KC Members have asked whether this is a threat or merely a gentle reminder of the facts?

KC Board not to show under one another?
A proposal will be made that no Board Member will exhibit dogs under any other Board Member during his/her term of office. 
This is presumably in order to discourage any perception of unfairness as between Board members and non-Board members.
The Board rejects this proposal and says that such decisions not to show dogs under one another should remain a matter of personal choice. It adds that Board members who judge do so in accordance with the same rules and codes of practice as anyone else, that these codes provide clear guidance regarding integrity, and that the KC has a clear policy to deal with legitimate complaints. 
The Board does however mention that Board Members, their partners and members of their households do not show at Crufts, under one of its Standing Orders.

JCF to be put on hold?

A proposal will be made to put the Judges Competency Framework on hold while a complete assessment is carried out by an independent review body containing as a minimum representatives of breed clubs, open show societies and exhibitors. This is proposed because the JCF is said to be 
• Over complicated
• Too academic
• Does not give enough credit to practical judging experience
• Damaging to the open show scene 
• Unfair to breed specialists
• Likely to create a shortage of good judges
The Board rejects this for many reasons including because several changes have already been made to accommodate objections, the new KC IT system to deal with the JCF has just three months to go before roll out and the Board is severely constrained from what it can do in terms of that roll out. To stop now would cost around £350 K per year to keep the old system running.
Besides the Board says that the JCF has many benefits and that extensive consultation had been carried out. It says that the JCF is what show societies want and what judges want. It mentions several statistics including that 30 presentations have been held, 183 Breed Education Coordinators have been appointed and 2352 mentors have been appointed.

Judges Committee no new breeds at CC level?

A proposal will be made that the KC Judges Committee should be made up of successful people in each group who, when appointed, will: "undertake that they will not expand their judging portfolios beyond those breeds for which they are already approved"
The Board rejects this and responds to the part relating to successful and experienced group people being appointed, by outlining the present arrangements for the proposing of members to represent the various Groups on the Judges Committee. 
On the question of expanding their judging portfolios the Board states that : "It is assumed that the intent of the proposal is to curtail members of the Judges Committee from adding new CC breeds to their name during their tenure, although this is not expressly stated." 
The Board also says that if there is any inference or perception in the proposal that Judges Committee Members are treated more favourably than others, then It entirely rejects that inference. 

Dress Code for Members

The Board itself will propose that for gentlemen members, the requirement that they have to wear a tie will no longer be required in the bar area of the Club.

Kennel Club brand refresh

A presentation will be made on the Kennel Club brand refresh.

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