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Re: Questions for Keith - straight to the point I hope

Apr 17, 2009 11:37 AM
by Anton Rozman

Dear Keith,

Thank you very much for your extensive explanation. 

Now I move to the last series of questions, those regarding the (3) General Council Meeting. You have already elaborated this issue equally quite extensively but maybe there still remain few unanswered questions. 

Namely, there were objections that there was not present fair approach as to who was allowed to attend the meeting and who not. Therefore I would like to ask you the following: Are there present any standards which are used or is there decision in this regard made for each meeting separately and by whom?

My second question is related to the following Warwick Keys' words: "The appointment of four additional General Council members saw another blatant twisting of the rules ? I questioned this procedure and placed a motion on the table asking for a GC vote on the subject. ?" I would therefore like to ask you if you can present your point of view regarding the reasons for mentioned motion and its fate.

Warmest regards,

--- In, "keith_fisher@..." <exsecy@...> wrote:
> Dear Anton
> The voting procedure is very straight forward, the President sends
> out a letter of nomination, or item of business, to all members of 
> the General Council.  A voting slip is included and a date is given 
> for the return of the slip, depending on the notice required under 
> the rules, this is three months in the case of Additional Members 
> and Rule Changes.  A period of notice is not specified for the 
> election of a Vice President or other items of business, as these 
> can occur at any time during the year.
> The postal ballot as a voting procedure has been used throughout
> the whole history of the General Council, it has been a consistent
> and effective practice.  The earliest reference I have is in the 
> minutes of the 1926 General Council meeting as published in the 
> Annual Report, and it seems to have been used ever since.  
> Obviously it derives its existence from the very fact that the TS is
> widely spread around the world, the postal ballot guarantees that 
> every member of the Council has the opportunity to vote, even 
> when he or she cannot be present at the annual meeting of the 
> General Council at Adyar. 
> John Algeo became a member of the General Council in 1993, and
> has voted in many postal ballots.  He was elected Vice President in
> 2001, re-elected in 2004 and 2007, all by postal ballot.
> Betty Bland became a member of the General Council in 2002 and
> has also voted in many postal ballots, including the election of the 
> Treasurer, Vice President, Additional Members, and rule changes 
> made in 2006.
> It is clear in Rule 49 that the postal ballot is an accepted practice.
> *****
> Rule 49. Changes in Rules and Regulations
> The General Council, of their own motion or on the motion of the 
> Executive Committee and after at least three months' notice has 
> been given to each member of said Council, may, by a three?fourths 
> vote of those members who vote in person, in writing, or by proxy, 
> make, alter or repeal the Rules and Regulations of the Society, in 
> such manner as it may deem expedient.
> *****
> I arrived at Adyar on Saturday 13 September 2008 and on Monday 
> 15 September was asked to organize a postal ballot for the nomination
> and election of a Vice President.  I obtained a list of General Council 
> members dated 12 August 2008 and presumed it to be correct, but the 
> President asked me to remove Colombia from the list as that section 
> had too few members, this was later confirmed at 52 members.
> The nomination and voting papers were sent out by email and airmail
> to all Council members, except for Colombia, on 20 September 
> 2008, giving the closing date as 20 October 2008.
> At the close of voting I phoned the results through to the President 
> who was attending an Indian Section conference in Varanasi:
> 16 for Linda Oliveira, 15 against, and 1 abstention
> The President asked me not to announce the result until she had 
> returned to Adyar and checked the results herself.  She also asked 
> me to check the status of all sections, to see if they complied with 
> Rule 36(d), not less than 70 members or less than 5 lodges.  
> Apparently, there were some questions raised the previous year as
> to the voting rights of certain sections.  The announcement of the 
> results was delayed even further due to two Public Holidays with 
> a weekend in between.
> On checking the status of the sections, Greece appeared to only 
> have 55 members and South Africa only 4 lodges.  The votes of 
> these sections were therefore cancelled and the result announced 
> on 29 October 2008 was:
> 15 for Linda Oliveira, 14 against, and 1 abstention
> Immediate objections were received by email from Greece and 
> South Africa and after making further checks it was found that 
> the votes had been cancelled in error.  An immediate apology was
> sent to each of the two sections the following day and the amended
> voting result was announced on 3 November 2008 in the following 
> letter of explanation. 
> 3 November 2008
> Dear Friends
> I have received two objections to the result of the election for 
> Vice President.
> The first objection from Greece informed me that they had sent 
> 40 Applications for Membership and four Applications for Lodge 
> Charters to Adyar in June 2008.
> Unfortunately, these had been placed in a pending file and forgotten.
> The total membership of Greece now stands at 108 Members, 
> qualifying that Section for a place on the General Council and 
> validating their vote in the election of Vice President.
> The second objection from South Africa informed me that they 
> now have five active lodges, as a new Lodge had been Chartered 
> in February 2008.
> Unfortunately, no entry had been made in the Lodge Charters Ledger
> where lodges are officially recorded.  A search of correspondence 
> files has revealed evidence of a Charter being sent to the South 
> African Section in May 2008, qualifying that Section for a place 
> on the General Council and validating their vote in the election of 
> Vice President.
> I apologise to both these Sections for any inconvenience and unrest
> these clerical errors may have caused.  It should be noted however,
> that at the time these errors occurred, the International Secretary was
> under extreme pressure.
> The number of Members of the General Council eligible to vote is 
> amended to 36 and the result of voting in the election of Vice 
> President has been amended to reflect the increase in valid votes.
> The amended result of voting on the Nomination of Linda Oliveira 
> as Vice-President of The Theosophical Society from 20 September 
> 2008 is as follows:
> Votes for Linda Oliveira:  16
> Votes against Linda Oliveira:  15
> Abstentions:  1
> There were 36 members of the General Council eligible to vote.
> A total of 32 voting slips were received.
> A total of 3 members neglected to vote.
> One voting slip dated 14 October 2008, in favour of Linda Oliveira,
> was received on 29 October 2008, and was not included in the 
> election count.
> Voting slips will now be numbered and placed in a sealed envelope,
> to be tabled at the General Council meeting on 25 December 2008,
> in order to facilitate confirmation.
> Yours sincerely
> Keith Fisher
> International Secretary

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