2010-2011 AGM/Candidates/Craig Franklin
I am very aware that as the only candidate, there is no concrete reason why I would need to make a nomination statement. However, I have always believed that it is important that members of the committee are as open about their activities and as accountable to the membership as possible, so I thought I’d leave a few notes about what I stand for and why I decided to stand for Treasurer.
The primary motivational factor is my view that in order to operate effectively the chapter needs to professionalise and streamline its operations. We also need to give donors and members confidence that the chapter is being administered properly and that all money and resources are being handled ethically and responsibly. This is doubly important given that clearance has now been established to participate in the next fundraiser; if we are going to be raising large amounts of money we need to have the procedures and systems in place to handle it.
This should not be seen as a negative reflection on Brian and Steve, the chapter’s first two Treasurers and the ones that did a lot of hard work to get the chapter financially secure as it now is. However I believe the time has come to move beyond simple cash accounting through spreadsheets and develop a more robust way of accounting for funds. That’s why I will push to:
- Move from the current cash accounting method to a more robust double-entry accrual accounting system.
- Have the chapter move from ad-hoc financial recordkeeping to adopting a software package to assist with bookkeeping.
- Establish a defined Accounts Payable procedure so that minor or routine expenses can be handled in a standardised fashion outside of a full board meeting.
- Engage a suitably qualified and impartial accountant to conduct an independent audit of our financial statements to give members confidence that all funds are properly accounted for.
As a member of the committee
Of course, being on the board will give me a role in developing the actual policy positions of the chapter as well, although as Treasurer I intend to concentrate on financial matters, at least as first. However, there are some things that I feel strongly about that I will advocate for:
- Constitutional reform. This has been something that has come up regularly almost since the foundation of the chapter, but prior committees have not acted on it. I would like to put together a package of reforms that would be voted on at the next AGM or at a special general meeting sometime during the year. Obviously I would consult the membership first, but some ideas I have are:
- Making it possible for one person to nominate for both an executive and ordinary committee member position during elections. I see no good reason for the rule preventing this from happening, and in the past I perceive there has been widespread support for changing this.
- Making it possible for executive positions to be filled by someone outside of the committee in the event of a vacancy. We saw this last year when it was not possible to appoint a replacement for the Treasurer when Steve became President. It is my view that we should relax the rules to allow the committee (again, after consultation with the membership) to appoint the most qualified person available to such a position, not just someone from the limited existing committee pool.
- Have the election conducted by a suitably impartial individual, rather than the Secretary. While Sarah has done a great job in the past, there is an obvious conflict of interest involved in the Secretary running the election for their own position.
- I believe that it is important that we participate in the next fundraiser – money we raise during this will allow us to tackle some more ambitious projects in pursuit of the chapter’s aims in the current year.
- The committee needs to be more proactive and efficient in communicating with members and also in seeking their opinions. Sarah has been working on a chapter newsletter which I think is a great start; hopefully this will explain more clearly what the committee is doing and will also be useful in getting feedback from the members.
- It is obvious that there is a lack of direction in the chapter’s activities. While backroom administration is important, it is also pointless if there are no defined goals for the chapter to aspire to. I will push to talk to our members, and also look abroad to what other chapters are doing, in order to see what people expect from the chapter, and what we can do for our members.
I’d like to thank Sarah and Andrew for nominating me, and express my gratitude to all those who have offered supportive comments. I would especially like to convey my appreciation to Brianna Laugher and Liam Wyatt, our inaugural President and Vice President who for the first time this year will not be a part of the executive. They have laid down a great foundation for us to work from, and I only hope we can continue to build on it with as much success as they had.