Softball Ireland is proposing a constitutional review that will make some of the most significant changes to its constitution since the organisation was formed. The previous constitution has been altered and changed piecemeal at AGMs since it was originally written, adding proxy votes, limiting the length of the meeting and changing the voting process, that it is considered a long and unwieldy with unnecessary sections. Since the leagues are now run by the regions, there was even more unnecessary sections that could be removed.
During this past Softball Ireland AGM, SI President, Colum Lavery promised to organise a constitutional commission to review and rewrite the SI constitution. Well the first draft is done and the Q&A is scheduled for tomorrow with the constitutional EGM scheduled for the 17th of May. Here is a summary of some of the major changes that I have found. I am going to try and give the facts without editorialising but that won’t be likely. 😉
The first few sections lay out the structure for the organisation, the legitimacy and the definition of terms used throughout the document. Softball Ireland is the governing body, what the structure is for the entire organisation, ISF, ESF, etc.The fourth section talks about the organisation’s objectives and the fifth section the powers that organisation wields. There is a clarification and increase in the scope of what the organisation can do, but mostly it puts the powers they were already exercising into words.
In section 6.6 the “Payment of subscription” and how the organisation can collect funds is an extreme change. Players, clubs and organisations can be struck off if SI has not received payment within 30 days of notice from the treasurer. It probably is written this way in the most extreme measure because they wanted to ensure that they had the power to collect monies that are due. The fact that the funds are collected by the regions and then distributed to Softball Ireland is where these extreme measures fail.If players were paying for their own registration fee to Softball Ireland then they could impose such harsh consequences, but when the money gets paid to a club, then to a region then to SI makes players, organisations and clubs being struck off seem too radical.
Section seven deals with the AGM and 7.2 has the requirement of written notice of three months before the general meeting. That seems quite optimistic as past councils have had problems giving one months notice.
Section 7.3.4 removes the rotary voting in favour of a direct majority as well as a secret ballot for voting of officers but not motions. And finally the removal of proxy voting. If you aren’t there you can’t vote. That might be problematic for the regions other than Leinster.
Another impediment to voting is the requirement of teams/clubs to notify the secretary in writing who will be representing the club in voting. This seems to be a major flaw as we should be trying to make it easier for teams to vote rather than more difficult. Another change, although minor, is the SI president casting the deciding vote when there is a tie, unless they are involved in the vote which then transfers to the Secretary.
Section eight deals with an EGM, and section nine covers the officers. I’m not quite sure what section 9.1 refers to when discussing an “Independent president” and another significant change in this section disqualifies the president from holding positions in his or her club. Considering how hard it is to get volunteers for our sport this might be a bit much.
Section ten talks about the board and their powers. In this section there is a few questionable changes which grants powers to the board that seems over the top. In section 10.3, letter P allows SI to approve any Team, Club, or Regional Association Tournaments played in accordance with the Regulations of Softball Ireland.This could mean that if SI decided that alcohol will not be allowed at a tournament or that a tournament organiser must play 5-5 or 6-4.
Winding this up, and wmainly because we haven’t seen the published regulations XX as promised, we can assume we will see these tomorrow but section 10.3 letter t reads:
t – Without prejudice to the generality of these Articles, the Board may expel or suspend from membership of SI or impose such other punishment or penalty, including a fine, as it considers fit in accordance with Regulation XX on a Player, Club or Regional Association for any infringement of the Articles or the Regulations or for any conduct which in the opinion of the Board is prejudicial to the interests of SI or of the Game or which may bring SI or the Game or any Persons, Administrators or Officials into disrepute.
Finally, another major change is that constitutional changes will no longer be made by a majority vote, but instead by 75%. So it will be incredibly important that you attend the EGM on the 17th of May, because the likelihood of this new constitution changing afterwards will be small.