Why did Chris Ellis resign?
Reposted from Chris Ellis:
I have waited sometime before coming forward with my own statement on my resignation as Chairman of the MEA. The counter punch is always easier.The Board, however, nearly spiked my guns by deciding, very wisely, to cite "irreconcilable differences" as the reason for my departure, a most apposite phrase. Certainly, it was in complete contrast to an earlier draft statement which was unaccountably sent to me and which was loaded with " it was all agreed" all over the place- an obvious travesty of the truth.
Unfortunately, the authors could not resist the luxury of a littleput-down which gives me an excuse for replying in the same vein. Afterall, Sir Thomas More, later a saint no less, said that "let a person step on your toe in the morning and by evening (he) will be stepping onyour face. Or, if you would "nemo me impune lacessit" -ah you can always tell the old Grammar School boys.
It is this "acting" Chairman bit. A few weeks earlier, the final MEA proclamation of intent had been produced (and not by me) over a clear "Chairman" etc. authority. On resignation, I appear to have been demoted .Well now, "reluctant" yes but "acting" I will not have. I seem to remember single-handedly setting up and organizing the unning of an open-ended E-mail Board Meeting from mid-December onwards to enable actions to be taken by an otherwise paralysed Board. At the Board Meeting on 20th Jan, I seem to have been the only trustee to have taken the trouble to arm himself with the relevant details of current bank accounts, expected income flow on a monthly basis and figures related tto immediate liabilities.
If one wanted to apply the word "acting" one might do so to the previous Board from whom the parlous state of the MEA was inherited and, in particular to the Treasurer for the past two years, who remains uundaunted as Trustee. I hold no personal rancour since I have only met the man once and spoken to him on the telephone twice only but the record speaks for itself. At that meeting on 20th Jan, called essentially to discuss the financial viability of the MEA his sole suggestion was that we use an Auditor's report dating back nine or so months i.e. before the Appeal made by the MEA and before the Val Hockey redundancy package all of which had some little bearing on the matter under discussion.(Incidentally, as it turned out, the Appeal Fund might well be named The Val Hockey Redundancy Fund). When the "acting " Treasurer for the past 2 years was unable to tell the Board which monies in a particular account were available to cover immediate expenses and which part of same were reserved for research then all calculations became absurd.
Before continuing, I wish to make one thing clear. Insofar as the new Board are having to tackle the horrendous problems left by the previous administration they deserve everybody's support. However, insofar as their initial steps or lack of them to solve the problems are concerned then herein lies my reasons for resigning. Why are the two remaining members of the old Board left to obstruct progress? Can you see a new Tory government continuing with Gorden Brown and John Prescott in tthe Cabinet? Starting in December, with their wrangling over certain proposed articles in the Magazine and then on to their opposition to the newly proposed policy for the MEA, the two members of the old regime are allowed to continue with a policy of resistence. As predicted by me in my previous E-mail they are fighting word by word and I know this because, yet again unaccountably, I was sent an E-mail outlining opposition to the need to update MEA literature in line with the new direction of the Association.
One really upsetting factor for me was to find the prodigal spending of the Association in respect of premises. The business which I owned prior to retirement occupied one tenth the area and yet had six times the turnover, three times the staff and paid the equivalent of a fifth of the rent. Why Buckingham? Well it was near the home of the then Chief Executive and given the importance of this function, not an unjustifyable choice when stated alongside the reason that "rents in Milton Keynes are more expensive". However, for the new Board to contemplate staying because of "valued staff" and because "Buckingham is cheaper than Milton Keynes" yet again, seems to me absurd. Is this a national charity or what? Is Milton Keynes a national first alternative or what? Do not many members have to pay for all this out of meagre Benefits? I give up.
So there it is and yet I would have stayed on if only I had had just one solid supporter. Dr Charles Shepherd? I am sorry to say I think not. As our good correspondent, Robert Napier has succinctly put it, the medical profession is run on an hierarchical basis and Dr Shepherd is compromised by his need to act accordingly if he is to make progress in his career. Notwithstanding this realisation, I had always kept Dr.Shepherd in good regards and just before 20th Jan when the Hooper Report came out, I had written to him offering him my support against his accusers in that document. Then came the Board Meeting, on the way home from which the penny dropped. Three separate remarks by Dr Shepherd came into fusion. Firstly,I remembered that Dr.Shepherd had floated the possibility of sharing premises with AfME when the question of the MEA lease was being discussed. (Unthinkable as the two lady comrades themselves expressed to their credit whilst the two old guard looked on amazed at the opposition.) Secondly, he advised that he had been speaking to Chris Clarke and reported that a meeting with him and his Chairman had been discussed. I was left to decide the venue. Finally, in an aside, he told me conversationally that he often talked with Simon Wessley and "if only he had half an hour to spare I could ...." and here we were back in the Board discussion. On the train home it came to me that he had been about to take on the position of apologist for Simon Wessley. You know, the sort you have all heared before. The sort that runs ...Hitler was not all bad. He built the Autobahns, you know. He rebuilt the German economy. Well, dear readers, make what you like of the above. I have formed my own opinion.
I may well be back in true Arnie fashion. All that is needed is six good men/ women.Good and true.
CHRIS ELLIS ( FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE ME ASSOCIATION)