The North Melbourne Football Club board has recently announced that they are looking to change the constitution at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in August. It follows a somewhat ugly election process at the last Annual General Meeting (AGM) early this year.
The proposed changes are good. Here’s Reverend Shinboner’s analysis:
Candidate credentials included with AGM notice
In nominating for the board, candidates have the opportunity to include a 250 word spiel about themselves which the club then distributes to all members, along with the notice of the AGM. There is one caveat: the club can edit or reject any spiel that contains ‘offensive, defamatory, racist (or) sexist’ material, or anything that brings the club into disrepute.
Board nominees are also required to sign a form which prevents them from using the members’ register or sending unsolicited mail to any members.
This clause is a clear attempt to avert the spat which occurred in the lead up to the last AGM. And it levels the playing field for nominees, in-line with best practice election processes.
It’s overdue, and makes perfect sense. I would hope all members would support it.
The caveat may sound like censorship, but it’s sensible. Any dodgy edits by the club would not stand up in court.
Online and postal voting
The election of directors to the board of NMFC will be conducted online or by postal vote prior to the AGM. In-person or proxy voting will still occur at the AGM, but limited to business outside of the board election.
This is an interesting change which makes voting for board candidates much more accessible. Around 1900 votes were cast at the last AGM, or roughly 6.5% of the total membership. I would expect this to increase dramatically, potentially double, if this amendment is passed.
The effect of this will be to dilute the power of the most ardent member. At present, it is only the most fanatic NMFC members who either turn up to the AGM or allocate their proxy vote. The new system will see much more participation in the board election from rank-and-file members. Whether this is a good or bad thing is entirely subjective, and difficult to predict.
There’s an economic theory regarding share trading that is pertinent – that the sheep (small, private investors) protect the sheep from the wolves (large institutional investors). It suggests that the large number of emotional investors participating in the share market provide enough uncertainty in the market to prevent the fat cats from ripping them off.
By increasing the accessibility of the voting system, the North Melbourne board are exposing themselves to the sheep. But in so doing they are protecting themselves from the wolves – the old-guard power brokers.
I think it is a noble, and not necessarily self-serving proposal.
AGM notice by email, fax or post
Instead of having to send out the AGM notice in the mail (or serve it up in-person), members can elect to receive it via email or fax.
For those not on the net, it will make no difference – they will still get the notice in the mail. For those that are, and elect to use it, they’ll get it via email and thus save the club lots of money.
An overdue and uncontroversial change. It’ll save around $5-10,000 in printing and postage costs in the first year.
These changes are logical, democratic and sensible. Sadly, not everyone sees it this way and has taken it to the media.
Thus, I urge all sensible North members (ie. 99% of you, and all Roo Beauty readers) to participate in the EGM on 9 August at Docklands – it’ll protect the sheep from the wolves. You can do so by turning up and voting, or by allocating your proxy to someone you trust. If no-one you know is heading down but you support the amendments, take the time out to allocate your proxy to the President, James Brayshaw.
Brayshaw and his board have clearly spent a lot of time, effort and thought in proposing these amendments. They’re in unanimous agreement and have done a good job.
Don’t let a few numbskulls ruin it for the rest of us.