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

Apr 21, 2009 06:04 AM

Dear Anton

I hope what we have been doing in these question and answer 
sessions has been helpful in clearing up information which has 
previously been distorted.  Now that members have a better 
understanding of the issues, they will more easily be able to make
informed decisions and come to the right conclusions.  I sincerely
hope that members will actively look for ways to move forward 
harmoniously, instead of perpetuating all the bad feelings and 
creating even more problems.

Membership records at Adyar can never be completely up to date, 
as they are reliant on the information received from Sections, 
Regional Associations, Presidential Agencies and Lodges around 
the world, some of which is only received on an annual basis.

The voting results for the Presidential election would be those 
received directly from the voting bodies, they would not be 
compared to any records held at Adyar.  I have had a look at 
your analysis which relies on the statistics printed in the 2007 
Annual Report being totally correct. Unfortunately, this report 
relies on information sent to Adyar in the annual reports of 
sections and lodges, if the information is not received, the total 
reported in the previous year has to remain in place.

In the case of Pakistan which was reported as having 89 members 
in 2007, I think you will find that this hasn't changed for a few 
years, and they will still have 89 members in 2008, as a report still
has not been received.  The total number of members is not known,
so it is entirely possible that they had 124 members eligible to vote 
in June 2008.

In the case of Ukraine which was reported as having 11 members
in the Ankh Lodge in 2007, but had 15 members eligible to vote, 
this is also possible.  The Ukraine has a lot of Fellows at Large, 
some of these members have formed another lodge, there were two 
lodges at the end of 2008 with a total membership of 27 members.

It is safe to say that at any given time Adyar would not be able to
give an accurate membership count.  I seriously question whether
it is necessary for Adyar to keep any membership records at all in
the future, this is best able to be done at the section level, and with
email, the information is quite easily obtained from a section in a 
matter of hours. I would like to see the question of membership 
records and annual reporting completely reviewed and streamlined
in the very near future.

There are many departments at Adyar each dealing with it's own area
of activities, they include Electrical and Mechanical maintenance, the 
Garden dept, Sanitary dept, and Houskeeping dept.  There is also the 
Adyar Library and the Theosophical Publishing House, including the 
Vasanta Press, Editorial dept and Adyar Bookshop.  

Leadbeater Chambers and the New and Old Quadrangles are Western 
and Indian guest houses respectively, they each have there own 
restaurants which cater for guests and residents. The President's office, 
Archives, Museum, and Public Information office are all located in the 
Headquarters building and a separate Administration building houses 
the Treasury, Secretary's office, Accommodation office, School of the 
Wisdom office, and the General Managers office.

Most of the TS officers are unpaid volunteers who pay for their own
accommodation and meals, there is a small allowance available to 
cover these expenses for those who have no other form of income.
There are also employees in most of the departments and contractors
are used for large building and garden projects.

The General Manager has overall control of the departments and works
closely with the Site Manager and Heads of departments.  There are 
many activities going on at any one time, this can best be seen from the 
minutes of  the February EC meeting which follow:

	of the Meeting of the Executive Committee
	held on Friday 6 February 2009 at 8.30 am
	in the Board  Room at the Headquarters of
                the Theosophical Society

The following were present:
Mrs Radha Burnier	President
Mr Keith Fisher		Secretary
Dr C V Agarwal
Mr D K Govindaraj
Mr Sriram Panchu
Mr S Harihara Raghavan

1.Confirmation of the Minutes of the Meeting of 3 December 2008

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 December 2008 were read,
confirmed and signed.

2.Matters arising from the Minutes	
Valuable wood:   Pending  Attn.GM
Energy Audit:   Pending  Attn.GM
Renovation of Administration Building:  Work Completed.	
Painting of Main Water Tank:  Replacement of existing metal
stairs with an Aluminium staircase.   Pending  Attn.GM
Renovation of Blavatsky Bungalow: Work in progress. 
Binding and pointing work on the roof is not proper, painting 
to be re-done at many places at contractor's cost.  Attn. GM      
Renovation of Compound wall near fruit shop: 
Pending. Attn. GM
Repairs to Govinda Vilas:  Work in progress.  Attn. GM
Repairs to Sita Vilas: Minor work needs attention.  Attn. GM
Repairs to Ranga Vilas: Work completed.				 
Work in progress will be completed this month. Attn. GM
Compound wall Renovation near main gate:   
Work in progress. Attn. GM
Repairs to Triplicane Building: 
Minor repair work to be taken up as soon as possible. Attn. GM
Renewal of Annual Maintenance Contract for OTIS Lift at the
Headquarters. Renewed for period 1-12-2008 to 30-11-2010 
Raising the Neem Cottage compound wall by 3ft:  
Total length 95ft. Completed.
Providing Y angles and barbed wire fencing 
on 825ft of the Compound wall. Pending  Attn. GM
Water proofing the roof of Sitavilas: Completed					
Plastering, painting and white washing LBC.  Seven rooms and 
front veranda on the second floor of LBC completed. 
Other work to be taken up shortly.  Attn. GM
Painting of certain portion in the Headquarters Building 
namely entrance, veranda, staircase, Board room, Vice President's 
room, and all doors. Work Completed.
Upgrading Computers:  
President's Office and Maintenance department.  Completed.
Manufacturing of 50 cots for Convention:  Completed.
Nutrients for coconut trees from Hi-Tech Coconuts.  Completed.	
Lawn Mower and Accessories for Garden Department.  Procured.
Fencing on the riverside  Recovery of Rs 1,00.000/- 
from Jayam Estates -  Pending. Attn. GM
Repairs to eastern side of Headquarters Building  
Pending. Attn.GM

3 Sanctions accorded:
3.1 Administration Building Annexe
(Ground Floor & First Floor)  Civil repair work & painting. 
Provisional estimate - Rs.35,000/- Attn. GM

3.2 Adyar Library ? (Ground Floor & First Floor Veranda)
Civil repair & painting work, renovation of bathrooms & toilets.
Rs.2,00,000/-	Attn. GM

3.3 Mosque ? Repair work & painting. Rs.42,000/-  Attn. GM

3.4 Headquarters Building - Offices of President and Secretary.
		Rs.89,000/-  Attn. GM

3.5 Triplicane Building portion of Masonic Temple 
wood work and erection of brick pillar etc. 
(subject to reinspection)  Rs.48,700/-	 Attn. GM

3.6 Erecting stone masonry compound wall from the southern side
of the compound wall (slab) in Besant Gardens to the entrance 
of Animal Welfare Dispensary.
770 ft at Rs.940/- per running foot. Rs.7,23,800/-  Attn. GM

3.7 Painting and minor repairs on `Rose' building in Besant Gardens
Provisional estimate -	Rs.20,000/-  Attn. GM

4 Sanctions accorded: 
Garden Department	Amount approved: 	Rs.3,50,000/-

4.1 Drip Irrigation in Salt Meadow		Rs.1,20,000/-

4.2 Partial Pest Control in Coconuts		Rs.60,000/-

4.3 Repairs to 11 Pumps				Rs.11,000/-

4.4 Coconut leaf and wood shredder		Rs.1,20,000/-
Details & technical specifications to be furnished to consider 
the balance sanction. To be purchased only after verifying the 
machines performance at our premises.

4.5 Coconut Husk Removal Machine		Rs.80,000/-
To be purchased only after verifying the performance 
of the machine at our premises.
4.6 Two Handcarts				Rs.25,000/-

4.7 Electric Chain Saw repair or replacement	Rs.5,000/-

5 Authorisation of a TPH contract with E-Billing Solutions Pvt Ltd.

Resolved that the consent of the Executive Committee be and is 
hereby accorded to enter into an agreement with E-Billing Solutions
Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, for availing of payment gateway services on 
terms and conditions specified in the agreement. 

Further resolved that Mr S. Ramu or Dr C. V. Agarwal or 
Mr S. Harihara Raghavan jointly with Miss Keshwar Dastur, 
Treasurer, or Mr D. K. Govindaraj be and are hereby authorized to 
sign and execute on behalf of the Theosophical Publishing House 
all agreements, undertakings and any other documents that may be
necessary for availing the said services from E-Billing Solutions 
Pvt. Ltd. and to do all such acts as may be necessary to implement
the foregoing resolution.

6 Any Other Business

6.1 A letter dated 2 February 2009 from the organizer of the Besant 
Scout Centre, requested that a concrete pad in the Centre to be 
replaced.  An estimate for the work to be sought. 
No new platforms to be built.		Attn. GM
6.2 Security Matters.  Pending		Attn. GM

6.3 Removal of Polystyrene etc., on river bank from LBC to the 
river mouth.  Pending	 Attn. GM
6.4 Increase in Ironing Rates ? Approved

6.5 A senior planner was invited to the meeting to explain the 
proposed new road along the beach.  He confirmed that the 
proposed elevated road is in the planning stage and may 
come very close to our compound wall along the beach. 
Mr. Panchu suggested that it would be in the interests of the 
Society to make a representation to the appropriate authorities 
in the government explaining that environmentally it is not 
advisable to take up the proposed project.  
The President requested that Mr. Panchu draft a suitable 
representation on behalf of the Society.  Attn. Mr. Panchu 
Sorry about the formatting.
Best wishes

--- In, "Anton Rozman" <anton_rozman@...> wrote:
> Dear Keith,
> It seems that we have come to the end of designed discussion and therefore I would like to thank you very much for your answers, in the name of all who have sent me a message of appreciation for the effort we made to clarify a little past events and in my personal name. There is now available a lot of material for thought and analysis and I will need some time to prepare an overview of what have been presented here.
> But if you don't mind there is still one related question I would like to ask. Namely, there have been allegations made that membership records at Adyar are not reliable. Also, when I was analyzing voting results I found few minor discrepancies between the number of votes received and number of members eligible to vote. And finally, in your elaboration you mentioned how certain not updated records have to quite great extend provoked troubles and doubts regarding the regularity of election process. Therefore I would like to ask you the following:  Can you give us your estimation of the condition of the Society's membership records and the capability of the Headquarters offices to keep them updated?
> And at the end I have one special request for you. Namely, there are probably many members who, like me, don't know all the activities which are going on at the Society's Headquarters, how many people take care for these activities, how they are engaged and paid and so on. Therefore, I kindly ask you if you can present us an overview in regard to these issues.
> Thank you very much in advance and warmest regards,
> Anton
> --- In, "keith_fisher@" <exsecy@> wrote:
> >
> > 
> > Dear Anton
> > 
> > There is nothing in the Rules and Regulations to invite observers 
> > to the GC meeting and I am not aware of any standard that has 
> > been set down elsewhere, but it is definitely by invitation only.  
> > I was told unofficially that applications had to be in writing, in 
> > the form of a letter to the President, who then makes a decision 
> > on who will be invited to attend.  Only three of the applications
> > passed through my hands, these were forwarded to the President's
> > office, I presume that the other applications were made directly to
> > the President.  I don't know what criteria is applied to them.
> >   
> > 
> > In the election of Additional Members the General Council had 
> > voted in a postal ballot, each of them signing their name on a 
> > voting paper indicating which way they wanted to vote, this was
> > the usual procedure established over many years.  Members are 
> > asked to send their votes in by 1 December, and the result is 
> > announced and confirmed at the General Council meeting on 
> > 25 December.  Item 3(c) on the Agenda.
> > 
> > While this Agenda item was in progress, and after the results had 
> > been announced, Warwick Keys tried to move a motion to discard 
> > the voting by all General Council members and take another vote 
> > with only those present at the meeting plus the proxies they held.  
> > He argued that the postal ballot did not conform to Rule 2(b).
> > 
> > *****
> > 2. Members of the General Council
> > (b) The General Council shall include not fewer than 5 and not more
> > than 12 Additional Members, among whom all past Presidents while 
> > in good standing shall automatically have place. Other members shall
> > on the nomination of the President be elected for a term of three years
> > by vote of the General Council at its Annual Meeting, their names 
> > having been sent to the Members of the General Council at least three 
> > months before the Annual Meeting.
> > *****
> > 
> > After a long discussion on the legality of the postal ballot, Warick Keys
> > read out Rule 2(b) and said he would like to move "That that procedure 
> > be followed".  The Chairman ignored his motion on two occasions and 
> > continued with the Agenda item, which was a motion to confirm the 
> > voting in the election of the Additional Members.
> > 
> > I never for one moment thought that this motion was on the floor and 
> > reported it in the minutes accordingly.  A chairman cannot accept 
> > another motion when one is already on the floor, and a chairman is 
> > not obliged to accept a motion that is obstructive.  Furthermore, the 
> > Chairman did not indicate acceptance of the motion by calling for a 
> > seconder, or asking for clarification of the wording, which would have
> > been necessary to make the motion intelligible. 
> > 
> > However, Warwick Keys was under the impression that the motion was
> > on the floor, and he decided to withdraw it "in the interest of harmony".
> > 
> > In considering the legality of voting by postal ballot, which has been 
> > established and accepted for many years, we need to consider the 
> > logistics of the year in question.  The Agenda was sent out by email 
> > and airmail on 25 September 2008, three months notice being given 
> > in respect of voting for Additional Members.  Although members were
> > asked to send in their votes by 1 December, the results were not declared
> > at that date and remained confidential until the General Council meeting.
> > The three months notice expired on 25 December 2008, the day of the 
> > General Council meeting, when the votes were declared and confirmed.
> > 
> > Best wishes 
> > Keith

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