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Cleveland Chess Association EGM

An Emergency General Meeting was called at

The Queens Head
Stokesley
on Thursday 3rd August 2006 to discuss one item:

1. NMS and ECF Membership Schemes - MO= Member Organisation

The meeting opened with a minute's silence for Mike Welsh.

Attendance:Ernie Lazenby (Chairperson,Middlesbrough) Steve Henderson (Webmaster, Eston and Normanby) Steve Dauber (Treasurer,Elmwood) Gerry Walsh (President,Eston and Normanby) Phil Semp (CCA Secretary,Stokesley); Philip Mitcheson,David Smith,Tony Kiddle,Andre Pasztor (Middlesbrough); Brian Whitaker,Dave Jackaman,Graham Edwards (Synthonia); Bill Wilson,David Smith,Frank Boagey,Graham Matthews (Hartlepool); Kyle Kinnie,William Metcalfe (Darlington); Bill McGregor,Collin Smith,Kenneth Boxall (Peterlee); Dave Richardson (Teesside Hungarians); Ian Richardson,Joe Richardson (Stokesley); Dennis Sawdon (Upper Eskdale); Alan Hare (Redcar); Andrew Killick (Elmwood)

Apologies were received and accepted from Mike Creaney.

Phil Semp circulated a document emanating from Bill O'Rourke(23/07/06) outlining his version of the NMS Scheme and the ECF Scheme. A document from ECF "Draft Membership Agreement" (21/07/06) was also circulated.

Ernie Lazenby welcomed members and outlined the reasons for the calling of the EGM, given the uncertain situation that faced CCA at the AGM re. NMS/ECF and the need to make a decision on this, given developments since the AGM, the upcoming ECF meeting, and the rapid approach of the new season. He proposed to invite Gerry Walsh to outline the ECF position. Then, he proposed to ask our NCCU delegates, Steve Henderson and Bill Metcalfe, to speak. Questions and contributions would be taken from the floor.

Gerry Walsh

ECF has cancelled the NMS agreement, due to Bill O'Rourke not adhering to it's terms. Also, Gerry thought that it's rather strange that Bill O'Rourke had voted, at a special ECF Council Meeting, against a Norfolk Membership Scheme simular to the NMS. However, while it ran, the NMS did demonstrate that members could be pulled in with block membership. Unfortunately, given the initial success, Bill withheld names of members from ECF and, as the year wore on, he seemed to be increasingly advancing schemes that were bypassing NCCU delegates. There is now no NMS that comes under the ECF umbrella.

In a sense, the rationale for allowing the NMS pilot scheme in 2005/06 has been incorporated into the latest ECF block membership scheme. It is now proposed to give Unions, Counties and League Organisations the opportunity to become Member Organisations i.e. to recruit members to the ECF en bloc.

The only condition for a Union, County, league Organisation to become a Membership Organisation is - 'The MO should use best endeavours to have its members become direct members of the ECF'. It will cost 10 per member under this scheme and a 10% reduction, to be refunded to the MO's, will be made if payment is sent to ECF by 31st October.

*ECF members will, as previously, be entitled to reduced tournament fees for approved events.

*ECF will grade any accredited games anywhere in England (not just League, club tournaments, county games and designated congresses) and any game fees paid elsewhere will be refunded.

*The ECF list will not be sold. Data protection will be assured.

The following questions were then asked from the floor:
1) Can NCCU become an MO? - YES, in principle, but (Bill Metcalfe), they'd have to make "best endeavours" to recruit to ECF - and this is not being proposed by Bill O'Rourke under his proposals.

2) Under this basic membership scheme why not a detailed breakdown of all graded games and how the grade is worked out? - Basic answer is.. ECF Office time. If only play chess locally, then the Cleveland Grader can supply you with all the details.

3) Will members who signed the ECF white form last year have to do so again? - No, is the short answer, however if you do not pay subs your ECF membership will lapse after approx 3 months and you will have to sign and submit another ECF form to renew your membership.

4) Why is there a difference between basic and standard fee? - Basic is for en-bloc recruiting to ECF and carries a discount on the Standard membership fee.

Steve Henderson
Over a few months the NMS scheme moved on from what it was supposed to do. The main thrust, initially was to recruit en bloc to the ECF. However, by December 2005, Bill O'Rourke had already moved the goalposts, he had decided not to hand over the completed NMS forms to ECF. By April demands for rebates on moneys handed over were being made, if the ECF were willing to give a rebate then the NCCU was willing to hand over the database of names. NCCU then proposed new NMS agreements which were turned down by the ECF. Bill O'Rourke then produce a new NMS agreement based on game fee (the documents that you see in front of you) which bore no resemblance to the original agreement and decided that this was the new NMS that the NCCU was going to offer Northern players.

This latest scheme coming from Bill O'Rourke would entail that people joining the new NMS would pay 10 directly to NCCU, game fee would then be paid to the ECF (approx 6.40) and the remainder would stay with the NCCU and go towards promoting chess in the North. However Bill O'Rourke refused to answer questions as to how ECF would get anything for people playing more than 14/16 games - apart from the fact that Bill O'Rourke refuses to have any email contact with and did cut Steve Henderson from the NCCU emailing list.

In conclusion, Steve said he had has lost all confidence in Bill O'Rourke purporting to represent NCCU through his NMS. There was not "full and comprehensive consultation" re. the 23/07 document, contrary to Bill O'Rourkes claims. A number of northern counties/associations have already indicated that they will apply to become MOs individually and not through the NCCU.

A question was asked as to why no one was representing the NMS point of view at this meeting. Steve responded that NCCU delegates can only report back on what information they have been able to obtain and it was very difficult to operate as a delegate when Bill O'Rourke makes a decision to stop all email contact with them.

Bill Metcalfe
Bill said that he was much in agreement with Steve's comments. However, he would attempt to make a positive advocacy of the NMS position as far as he could.

The Northern Counties had, through the 2005-06 NMS Scheme raised more money for the ECF than if it were paying games fee alone. The NCCU claim to have paid 6K more to the ECF. Thus, the argument goes, the NCCU should be entitled to keep more money back to develop chess in the Northern Counties.

Question - Why not? Answer- Bill O'Rourke will not respond to any questions concerning the viability of his present proposals, so we can't have any confidence in this scheme.
( Gerry Walsh said that, apart from anything else, York will not provide large Congress discounts, as claimed by Bill O'Rourke in his latest document)

Steve Dauber talked about the financial implications. Cleveland are in an extremely good position financially and he feels that it would be a nightmare for himself and club treasurers to administer two schemes simultaneously - the CCA MO Scheme and the NMS and that he personally would not feel he could do this as County Treasurer.

The chairperson then asked:
"Are you as the two CCA NCCU Reps able to offer any support for the NMS scheme currently being offered by Mr Bill O'Rourke." Both replied NO.

At this point, a resolution was moved and seconded :
A condition of participation in the activities of CCA is membership of the ECF, and that CCA should apply to become a Membership Organisation( MO).
This was passed nem con.

The meeting concluded at this point.