The most important thing for the good running in any club or organisation is its rules and constitution. These must be adhered to 100%, and in the same way to all members. After all, the rules must ensure that the control of the club is in the hands of the members – who are all part owners of the organisation - through an elected body. The elected body in the sport of racing pigeons comprises of Officials and Delegates.
In Scotland clubs are affiliated to a federation, and also the clubs to a union (mostly to the Scottish Homing Union (SHU)), however some Federations have recently affiliated to the Royal Pigeon Racing Association (RPRA) - which have a lot of different rules to the SHU). For the purpose of this article I will stick with the Scottish SHU set up.
The clubs are responsible for electing their delegates, which comprise the Federation council. In turn the Federations are responsible for electing their delegates who make the SHU council. So we have a Federation council - who are the elected club delegates, and a SHU council - who are the elected federation delegates.
Now lets make the job of delegates clear, in both in the club and the federation THEY ARE MESSENGERS. Before a federation meeting, all clubs should have a meeting to go over the federation meeting agenda and instruct their delegates how they want them to vote. The ONLY time delegates should decide their own way for voting is if something is brought up which is not on the agenda. Equally the same applies at SHU council meetings; the federation delegates (SHU councillors) should be instructed at a federation council meeting on how to vote. This is how MEMBERS get their say and run the organisations.
The Chairmans Role
As far as the Chairman is concerned, his main functions at meetings of a club are; to ensure that the business of the day is conducted in an orderly and proper manner; and that the rules of the club are followed in matters of procedure.
And in that sense he has a certain authority over the members, but it is only in this context, and not in the context of the decisions themselves. The decisions can only be made by the members as a whole.
First of all; in his executive role he is certainly no figurehead. He takes the chair at meetings and at general meetings, it is his responsibility, along with the secretary, to ensure the correct and smooth running of the club in accordance with its rules.
To this end, he should be well conversant with the rules of the club and the various legal obligations which the club has. It is also vitally important for the chairman to have a confident grasp of committee procedure and the conduct of meetings. He should not be afraid to assert his proper authority as the chief elected officer of the club in order to maintain good order and sensible, rational debate.
Where rules make provision, the chairman has a second casting vote on issues where there is an equality of votes, he should exercise this right judiciously, considering the welfare of the club above personal feelings. And it is perfectly legal for this second vote to be cast differently from the first.
One other point is that the Chairman if often the 'face' of the club, representing it at outside functions, and as such it is best that he maintains a discreet silence about internal matters of finance, policy, or administration, just as any senior company executive would in business. The affairs of the club are for the members alone, and should be discussed only in the proper place.