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National AGM 31 March 2012

Description of the Discussion at the CPSA Board meeting prior to the AGM, 31st March 2012


With regard to the suggestion that Colin Butler “had been subjected to an amount of pressure which amounted to harassment and intimidation”, this certainly does not accord with my recollection of events.  During the course of the pre AGM Board meeting Colin announced his intention to stand for Chairman and asked the rest of the Board for their views. I gathered from the discussion that followed that although at least some of the Board had recently got wind of Colin’s intention to stand he had not formally or publicly declared his intention to contest the Chairmanship. In response to Colin inviting views from the rest of the Board a number of the Directors each in turn expressed their personal views. The vast majority of them made comments along the lines that they did not doubt Colin’s passion and enthusiasm for the CPSA and the sport but questioned whether he was ready for the role of chairman and had sufficient experience yet as a Director. With one exception, all of the other Directors including Terry Bobbett said they would work under Colin’s leadership if he were elected as Chairman. The sole exception was Graham Walker who said he would not work alongside Colin as Chairman and would resign if Colin were elected to the post.


A number of the Directors suggested to Colin that he delay standing for Chairman until the following year. My recollection is that this was being suggested to Colin partly to give him an opportunity to gain further experience as a Director first and partly so that there could be a declared and open contest for the role of Chairman. I recall there was some discussion regarding a number of proxy votes Colin and the East Midlands regional committee had apparently collected. Colin was asked if those members who had given proxy votes had been informed of the issues on which they were giving their proxy votes and in particular if those individuals had been made aware that Colin was standing for the Chairmanship. As I recall, Colin stated that everyone who had given a proxy vote did know of his intention to stand. I was not actually shown any of the proxy voting forms or formally asked to advise on them but it was apparent from the discussions that the proxy voting forms were not specific as to the issues on which the proxy votes were being given and effectively gave a blank mandate.


Ultimately, Colin was asked by the rest of Directors to think carefully about whether it was in the best interests of the Association and its members for him to pursue his plan to stand as Chairman at this time and whether it might not be better to delay for a year. It was left to Colin to make his own decision and he chose to absent himself from the rest of the Board meeting so that he could reflect and make that decision. I might add that Colin initially asked if the Board meeting could break for 10 or 15 minutes so he could consider his position. When Colin came back about half an hour later and the meeting was reconvened Colin stated he had spoken to his wife on the phone and she had told him to come home. Colin still seemed uncertain what to do. Other than reiterating it was for Colin to make his own decision whether to continue with his intention to stand for Chairman, no further observations were made by the rest of the Board. It was at that point Colin asked if he could be excused from the rest of the Board meeting so he could come to a decision prior to the AGM.  


There was some concern expressed amongst the Directors that because Colin had not publicly announced in advance his intention to stand the overwhelming majority of the membership, at least outside the East Midlands region, had been proceeding on the basis that the position of Chairman would be uncontested and that had they known this was not the case, more members might have opted to attend the AGM or give proxy votes for the candidate of their choice.  I cannot now recall to what extent this discussion took place with Colin present or after he had absented himself from the remainder of the meeting.


In summary, the reservations expressed by the rest of the Board were not about the fact that Colin was standing for Chairman but the manner in which he had gone about it. While there was a fairly frank exchange of views, nobody raised their voice towards Colin and he certainly was not pressurised, nor could any of it be described as harassment or intimidation.


Laura Saunsbury

Honorary Solicitor

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