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DEAR STEPHEN election - following correct procedure

Discussion in 'Governors' started by emerald04, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. I have serious concerns over the election of Chair at our school. The current chair and clerk seem to be doing everything to put me off standing.
    Currently v/chair and with the support of the rest of the governing body I have self nominated for chair. It's something I really want to do, and believe I would be good at Knowing that the current chair wouldn't like it I didn't self nominate until the end of the holidays and within minutes of sending the email to the clerk I had text,email and voice mail from the chair, none of it nice.
    The chair basically said that he wouldn't allow me to stand and as chair I should be discussing it with him first anyway. He wouldn't allow me to stand and I'll regret it and that as chair he hadn't run the school for a year to then step down. I've since had an email from the clerk also confirming I can't stand, until the current chair decides to step down. I've discovered the clerk is actually a good friend of the chairs wife prior to taking the role.
    The head and deputy have checked to make sure when changing to an academy we didn't change the chairs term of office and it's in black and white that we elect the chair and vice chair annually. I raised this with the clerk who since emailed back telling me I can stand but I have to make a speech at the next meeting to the current chair and governing body. She asked if I was prepared to put myself through that???
    So could you offer any guidance. We've already lost a clerk and several governors to what I feel is a bully.
    Many thanks
  2. Of course you are entitled to stand if the Chair and Vice Chair are elected annually. It isn't for the current Chair to not allow alternative candidates nor would any Clerk worthy of the name claim that you cannot stand.
    The current Chair will not be acting as Chair at the meeting where the election takes place - that falls to the Clerk.
  3. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    Your chair and clerk seem to be making things up as they go along and have no right to do so. They are living in teletubby land. The appointment of a chair and vice chair should be in your terms of reference. A GB can decide that when appointing both that they can do so for any period of up to four years and not less than 1 year. You seem to have the shortest period allowable.
    Do not let these numpties put you off legally nominating yourself. The procedure is such that generally the clerk for a short period chairs the appointment of chair and vice chair. Those who have been nominated or indeed self nominated are simply asked to leave the room, whilst the balance of governors discuss the nominations and take a vote. I would suggest in reading your post that the best format of voting would be by secret ballot. It is not mandatory to say anykind of speech so don't let them put you off with that red herring. Some GB's do like to hear from candidates but there is nothing in the legislation that says you have to. No clerk should ever ask questions like that.
    There are too many bully chairs knocking about and sadly it can be difficult to oust them and you will receive no help from either your LA or the Dfe.
    You sound very keen and the old guard obviously want to hang on, so go for it and post here how you got on!

  4. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    You're a GB with a bullying chair and you're willing to stand against him and believe the majority of GB will vote for you. Go for it! If only all GBs with domineering chairs had someone willing to stand against them.
    You now have prior warning that the chair and clerk are going to try and prevent that happening, so forewarned is forearmed (and better than finding it out on the night).
    Do your homework before the meeting:
    --- Has your GB adopted any Standing Orders specifying how the election of chair will be run? Probably not, few GBs do, but get clerk to confirm in writing. If there are no SOs it's up to full Gb (NOT chair or clerk) to agree the procedure
    --- Are you part of an academy chain or a standalone converter? If the former check if your spnsor/chain lays down any rules on electing the chair.
    --- look up your academy's Articles of Association and see what they say about electing the chair. take copies to the meeting! Clerk will have your Articles and they are available to anyone on DfE website. The model articles for recent converters say:
    83. The Governors shall each school year, at their first meeting in that year, elect a chairman and a vice-chairman from among their number. A Governor who is employed by the Academy Trust shall not be eligible for election as chairman or vice-chairman.
    89. The Secretary shall act as chairman during that part of any meeting at which the chairman is elected.
    90. Any election of the chairman or vice-chairman which is contested shall be held by secret ballot.

    Note the 'secret ballot' requirement. Insist this is complied with. Incumbent chairs can try to use 'show of hands' to intimidate other governors
    Well of course you are willing to do that! Anyone who wasn't willing to address the members of the GB to say why they want to be the chair wouldn't be much use as chair in my opinion. Where the chair's position is contested I'd expect all candidates to address the meeting and explain why they want to be chair - you are, after all, soliciting the votes of the members of the GB so it's a reasonable thing to expect. So prepare what you want to say in advance. What you must insist on though is that all candidates are equal, if you are going to address the GB meeting then so must the current chair (who actually at that point isn't the chair any longer, his term of office has expired). To be precise all candidates must be <u>invited</u> to address the meeting. If current chair declines to that's his choice - unlikely to work in his favour I'd have thought.
    At the start of meeting get the full GB (not chair/clerk) to decide basic procedural rules, eg candidates should leave the room after you have both made your 'speeches', neither of you should be present while the GB discusses their choice of chair or while the ballot is taking place. You should be called in only when the the result of the secret ballot has been announced.
  5. WOW thanks everyone
    I will of course let you know how I get on, only another week to wait
  6. Huge thank you to you all I'm now the chair, I'm thrilled.
    All your advice was great and I felt able to fight my corner. I was still led up the garden path and even in the election my fellow governor didn't play by the rules. In the end it didn't matter because for all his huff and puff it didn't get him anywhere.
    The meeting went into chaos due to the last chairs outbursts, wanted a recount, didn't accept the election process, but once he left the building we all took a deep breath and had a great meeting where all felt able to contribute.
    One less bully
  7. montiagh

    montiagh New commenter

    Fabulous ending. Well done. The ex chair leaving the building tells you why they needed to be ex. Good luck for the future. Perhaps you could now look for a new clerk as well.
  8. Didn't see this thread until today, but just wanted to add my congratulations for standing up & being counted, and to wish you well in the role. It's also very reassuring to know - from the evidence above - that there are such knowledgable and supportive experts in Governance on this forum!
  9. grrmummy

    grrmummy New commenter

    Well done! [​IMG] and ditto...

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