Grant Szuveges has been a major factor in the Melbourne Chess Club's resurgence over the past 2 years. I worked along side him on a committee for 2 years and know first hand that Grant is full of innovative ideas and the energy to implement them. This year Grant has extended his activities to include a role on Chess Victoria's (CV) committee. Grant has not been shy about criticising CV in the past but it is all done constructively even if it isn't always taken that way!
I remember talking to Grant about the CV constitution before a previous election and we both agreed that there were problems with the processes. In the meantime, I have had similar conversations with a number of people and nothing has happened. Grant on the other hand, has got on the front foot and proposed a motion for constitutional change. To me it makes a lot of sense, but I won't be one of the people to vote on this.
Anyway, good work Grant on getting this moving.
"MOTION ABOUT ARTICLE 8.2
I have submitted a motion to the Chess Victoria executive to be voted upon at the upcoming 2012 Chess Victoria AGM. The motion has been submitted by me (Grant Szuveges) in my role as a CV executive member. It has not been submitted by Melbourne Chess Club (the club of which I am the president) and does not necessarily reflect the views of the MCC or the CV executive.
The motion regards Article 8.2 of the Chess Victoria constitution and reads as follows:
“That in the Constitution, Section 8 (Meetings), Rule 8 (2) be changed to read:
8 (2) The right to vote at a General Meeting shall be limited to:-
(a) Delegates; and
(b) Honorary life members
who are present at the meeting.”
Rule 8 (2) previously read:
8 (2) The right to vote at a General Meeting shall be limited to members of the Association as defined in rule 3 who are present at the meeting.
(Rule 3 specifies that members of the executive, as well as delegates and honorary life members are ‘Members of the Association’.)
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The purpose of the motion is to remove the AGM votes of the 6 person CV executive. Currently, at an AGM, the right to vote is limited to delegates from CV affiliated clubs, honorary life members and the members of the CV executive – of which I am a member.
WHY HAS THIS MOTION BEEN PROPOSED?
This problem with the CV constitution is not the fault of any current CV executive member and the motion is not directed against any individual on the CV executive. It is directed against what I believe to be a problem with the voting system itself. I believe that voting at AGMs should be the right of CV member clubs – not those people elected to run CV – myself included.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
CV is the umbrella body of Victorian chess clubs. It is an organisation which is supposed to represent the interests of its affiliated member clubs. Under the current constitution however, the CV executive have the right to 6 votes (one per executive member). However while the executive are allowed 6 votes, affiliated clubs have the right to 5 votes at the most. Currently, clubs have the following number of votes, depending on their membership numbers;
10-25 members: 1 vote
26-40 members: 2 votes
41-60 members: 3 votes
61-80 members: 4 votes
81 or more members: 5 votes
Therefore, the CV executive has more votes than even the largest clubs – thus holding disproportionate levels of power. The CV executive have DOUBLE the amount of votes (and thus double the amount of say in CV matters) as an average sized club!!! For example, in an AGM consisting of 30 voters (numbers at AGMs differ annually depending on the size of clubs, numbers at meetings etc), the CV executive’s 6 votes represent 20% of the entire vote (1 fifth). A club with 3 votes only has 10% (1 tenth). Without the votes of the executive, only 24 votes would be allowed and thus the club with 3 votes would increase its voice to 12.5% (1 eighth) of the vote.
HOW DOES THIS WORK IN REAL TERMS?
As well as being on the CV executive, I am also the president of the Melbourne Chess Club (MCC). It could be argued therefore, that I may vote in the interests of the MCC at CV AGMs. This would give MCC a 6th vote at these AGMs and thus a very powerful position. It could also be argued that other CV executive members who represent other clubs or coaching companies could vote in the interests of those organisations. The main problem is that clubs without their own members on the CV executive risk having less representation at CV AGMs.
While the current CV executive is extremely diverse, with multiple clubs and coaching bodies represented, this may not always remain the case: For example, should the CV executive be dominated by MCC members, this could in theory give MCC 11 votes at CV AGMs! (6 executive votes and 5 ‘proper’ MCC votes). 11 votes in a meeting of 30 voters amounts to over 33% of the vote and thus no constitutional change is ever possible without part of this bloc providing votes (a 2 thirds majority is needed for constitutional change). Even an average sized club dominating the CV executive would mean that that club would effectively have 9 votes! A CV executive dominated by one club would also be extremely difficult to vote out of power! While CV has a diverse executive, the opportunity is now available to correct this serious problem with the CV constitution.
WHO STANDS TO GAIN FROM THIS CHANGE?
CV affiliated clubs all stand to gain from this change. As mentioned earlier, by eliminating the votes of the CV executive, clubs increase their percentage of the vote, thus giving each and every club more power over their own destiny. Small clubs in particular stand to gain the most from this change.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT HONORARY LIFE MEMBERS?
CV currently has 4 honorary life members. Regardless of the outcome of this vote, honorary life members will all retain their right to a vote at CV AGMs.
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT MY/YOUR CLUB?
Regardless of which club you belong to, this change will affect your club in a positive way – by giving it more say and a larger voice at CV AGMs. It will also safeguard its future voice by ensuring that no club can dominate CV by dominating the executive.
SEE YOU AT THE CV AGM!
If this vote is to succeed, 2 thirds of the voters at the AGM must vote for it. I do not know whether it will be passed, but to give it the best chance of succeeding, make sure that your club sends the maximum number of delegates allowed to the CV AGM. If you care about your clubs future voice at the state level, supporting this motion is the way forward for a more democratic, more representative and more just CV.
I am a member of the CV executive, and at the CV AGM, I am sincerely hoping that I am able to vote my own vote out of existence! Please support me to do so!
FM Grant Szuveges, CV executive member."