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Quainton News archive - Quainton News No. 34 - Spring 1978
Extraordinary General Meeting
In the Summer 1977 issue of Quainton News, page 6 , I reported, under the paragraph titled 'Society Administration' [Para 6] that Chris Tayler had been elected at the Annual General Meeting to the Executive Committee and had agreed to make it his special task to study Society administration and to report to an Extraordinary General Meeting his findings and conclusions.
On 12th November this meeting was held at the Red Cross Centre at Aylesbury and there were 35 shareholders present at the start of the meeting.
Chris presented his report which he admitted had proved very difficult to prepare. He outlined the problems which success and from expansion, from the challenge facing the Society in meeting the requirements of the Department of the Environment, and from the need for increased professionalism which can conflict with the family atmosphere so cherished by many Society members.
He then presented his proposals for an Executive Committee to meet monthly, consisting only of 10 elected members, four of which would be responsible for four divisions within the Society; commercial, operating, engineering and administration / personnel. The other six members would be office holders, e.g., Secretary, Chairman and Treasurer. He emphasised that his proposal would take away from certain sub-committees their present facility of direct representation on the Executive and consequently a loss of their full voting rights. Nevertheless he felt that the sub-committees should conduct their business to reduce the burden of detailed decision making now undertaken by the Executive, thereby enabling that Committee to concentrate on policy matters and on the management and responsibilities of the Society as a whole.
A very interesting discussion took place on Chris' proposals. The problems of communications between departments and the liaison between subcommittees and the Executive were considered in detail. The system of election to committees and the role of the proposed restructured Executive Committee and the divisional representatives were of particular interest. The loss of sub-committee representation on the Executive was probably the most worrying aspect to many members and indeed to the Society Officers. Roy Miller, our Secretary, was concerned at the possibility of a reduction in the democratic nature of the present organisation if Chris' more commercial approach was adopted. He pointed out that the QRS was not a commercial concern but was a Charity. He also gave his support to the principal of having sub-committee members on the Executive because their expertise was invaluable when discussing specific subjects on which they could contribute their specialist knowledge. He felt there was a danger in having a divisional member who could become simply a spokesman without any real depth of knowledge of the branches of his section.
Some speakers were of the opinion that the changes envisaged in the report could lead to a less flexible system than the current organisation because a member would only be able to reach the Executive through two stratum of control; section committee and divisional member. The possibility of appointing Assistants for the Treasurer, Secretary and and idea of electing a Vice Chairman was mentioned by a number of speakers and there was some discussion on the need for more direct representation on the Executive for the Catering Department, the Museum, the Private Owners and the other Charity on the site, the 6024 Society. Another matter of problem of great concern was the ever present need for the fullest possible inter-departmental co-operation and in this context the merits of Chris' scheme was discussed in great detail.
Throughout the whole meeting our Chairman remained completely impartial. The proposition to adopt Chris Tayler's report was proposed by Les Sherman and seconded by John Rawlinson. Only shareholders were, of course, eligible to vote. The result was 16 votes for the proposition and 22 against. The Chairman then declared the report had not been adopted. He thanked Chris for his valuable contribution to Society affairs in preparing and presenting the report and for all contributors to the full and frank discussion. The meeting then considered a number of developments which may require careful deliberation by sub-committees and by the Executive Committee. For example; the effect of legislation such as the Health and Safety at Work Act on our engineering facilities and operating activities, the importance of improving inter-functional liaison, the need for better site security and the role of the new Information Sheet. Some members expressed their concern at the general appearance of the site at Quainton and many present were glad to hear details of the 1978 Programme for work at the depot to improve the situation . The locomotives which were expected to operate during the season were reported on and there was the anticipated and very understandable interest in the long term future at Quainton - especially in the prospects for reaching out from the confines of the premises onto the 'main' line.
All these matters were fully discussed until the Chairman closed the meeting by promising to consider them, together with other ideas, at the April Annual General Meeting. But that wasn't quite all because John Jones proposed a vote of thanks to the ladies who had provided the tea, without which he said they surely wouldn't have survived. The proposition was carried with acclamation!
The next item on the Agenda is the AGM. Please come.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 17 November 2017