Fwd: Alison's resignation

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Fwd: Alison's resignation

David Gerard-2
[Forwarded from Arkady Rose, whose main SMTP server seems to be at
odds with mail.wikimedia.org]


"I don't think the majority of directors fully understand that
volunteering to be on the board of directors of a company is a damned
sight more legally binding than volunteering on WP, and that if you fail
to discharge the duties you've willingly taken on there can actually be
legal repercussions.

It sounds very much as though an emergency meeting of the board needs to
be convened so the treasurer and secretary can be replaced - granted my
grasp of company law is nowhere near as good as yours, but I'm recalling
a similar incident that happened in the National Fancy Rat Society some
6 years ago in which an EGM was called, Treasurer, Secretary and Press
Officer were dismissed, three new people appointed to the board and the
positions reappointed, which was done in the absence of the Treasurer
and Press Officer. The votes were overwhelming majorities."

What's needed now is an EGM to do precisely that. If board members
cannot or will not fulfill their duties, they must be removed -
forcibly, through a vote of no confidence if need be - and replacements
appointed. WMUK is a legal entity, like it or not, and it's about time
people started treating it like one.

So... yes, feel free to forward this whole thing on to the list. In the
meantime I need to poke my subscription settings for the list I think
and change my email address to my Gmail one so I can actually
participate myself.

-d.

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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Rob Church
On 08/03/07, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> "I don't think the majority of directors fully understand that
> volunteering to be on the board of directors of a company is a damned
> sight more legally binding than volunteering on WP, and that if you fail
> to discharge the duties you've willingly taken on there can actually be
> legal repercussions.
[snip]

Er, what happened? Did I miss a huge chunk of mailing list discussion
or am I just not party to whatever's going on?


Rob Church

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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Michael Bimmler
On 3/8/07, Rob Church <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Er, what happened? Did I miss a huge chunk of mailing list discussion
> or am I just not party to whatever's going on?
>
You might care to read
http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediauk-l/2007-March/000841.html

Michael
>
> Rob Church
>
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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Rob Church
On 08/03/07, Michael Bimmler <[hidden email]> wrote:
> You might care to read
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediauk-l/2007-March/000841.html

Yeah, it got buried under all the damn bug reports. :D


Rob Church

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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Arkady Rose
In reply to this post by Michael Bimmler
Michael Bimmler wrote:

> On 3/8/07, Rob Church <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>  
>> Er, what happened? Did I miss a huge chunk of mailing list discussion
>> or am I just not party to whatever's going on?
>>
>>    
> You might care to read
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimediauk-l/2007-March/000841.html
>
> Michael
>  
Indeed. I've just switched my email subscription over to my gmail
account so I shouldn't have any more problems posting to the list; with
that in mind, I'd like to explain further the (edited) email that DG
forwarded to the list earlier on my behalf.

The legal entity that is WMUK has been remarkably conspicuous by the
lack of activity since its formation a year ago with the very noteable
exceptions of a few members of the board of directors - in particular
the CEO/Chair, Alison herself. This has been caused by a number of
factors, most principally the complete and utter failure of the
Treasurer to perform *any* of his assigned duties or to respond to any
attempts at contact (this was why the original signing of papers to
legally form the company and to open a company bank account was such a
farce - the treasurer had failed to contact the bank and neglected to
inform the rest of the board of directors), but also a failure of the
Company Secretary to respond to attempts to contact him in the past two
months (though I understand he has finally responded) and the willful
obstruction of the WMF Chapters Coordinator.

This has been further worsened by a marked lackadaisical,
sit-on-our-thumbs attitude by the rest of the board of directors who
appear to have been quite content to sit back rather than take steps to
resolve the situation, including repeatedly failing to attend meetings
chaired by the CEO both online and in person with, again, very few
noteable exceptions.

Whilst this sort of situation may be deemed acceptable in a voluntary
organisation such as Wikipedia itself, it is NOT acceptable in an
organisation that is legally registered at Company House and is
attempting to seek charitable status. As such, the members of the board
of directors have legal responsibilities and duties, and failure to
carry out those duties bears legal repercussions.

The CEO has now tendered her resignation, and the overwhelming response
seems to be "oh, that's a real shame - so long and thanks for all the
work, ta-ta." It seems the directors are all going to sit back and do
nothing.

A tender to resign is not an actual resignation. It's a sign that
something is very badly wrong within the company and that something
needs to be done NOW to deal with it; and that "something" needs to be
an EGM of the entire board of directors. This is not a time to allow
lazy inertia to carry the company slowly towards self-destruction (with
all the legal repercussions that the directors will be jointly and
severally responsible for that that will entail), but to heed it as the
clarion call it is to DO SOMETHING NOW.

Call an EGM. The Treasurer and Company Secretary MUST be held to account
for their failure to discharge their duties. New members must be
appointed to the board, and a vote of no confidence taken in the
Treasurer so that he can be removed from his position and someone
appointed in his place who will actually grasp the very real and serious
responsibilities inherant in the position and fulfill it appropriately.
The Company Secretary must explain to the board of directors precisely
why he has failed to respond to efforts to contact him, why he has
failed to carry out those duties he has agreed to, and what steps he
intends to take to ensure the situation does not arise again. The board
of directors as a whole must discuss precisely WHY events were allowed
to proceed to this point in the first place and what will be done to
ensure this situation does not arise again.

There can be NO valid excuse for any member of the board of directors
not to attend this meeting. There have been far too many excuses and
shirked meetings already; the directors have consistently failed to
recognise that they are responsible for a legal company and that has to
stop NOW.

Whether WMUK survives this or implodes is up to them. They are the ones
who will have to account for their inactions to Company House - and to
all the people who have increasingly been demanding to know exactly what
has been done to take WMUK towards charitable status and complaining
about the lack of communication from the directors.

regards,
Arkady Rose

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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Scott Keir
--- Arkady Rose <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Call an EGM. The Treasurer and Company Secretary MUST be held to account
> for their failure to discharge their duties. New members must be
> appointed to the board, and a vote of no confidence taken in the
> Treasurer so that he can be removed from his position and someone
> appointed in his place who will actually grasp the very real and serious
> responsibilities inherant in the position and fulfill it appropriately.
> The Company Secretary must explain to the board of directors precisely
> why he has failed to respond to efforts to contact him, why he has
> failed to carry out those duties he has agreed to, and what steps he
> intends to take to ensure the situation does not arise again. The board
> of directors as a whole must discuss precisely WHY events were allowed
> to proceed to this point in the first place and what will be done to
> ensure this situation does not arise again.

As far as I understand it, only the directors are members of the company at
present, so only the directors (that's these folks:
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK#Board_of_Directors ) can call the
AGM or do anything about it. Perhaps Alison, as your final (I read your email
as "I have decided to quit" rather than "I am thinking of quitting") act, you
could see this through - so long as at least two director/members are present
at the start, and so long as at least two director members are present at the
end (though not necessarily the same ones!), that's fine - the absent directors
may continue to be absent and may be resigned in absentia. We don't need a
witchhunt ot a public flogging, we just need wiki-uk to get back on track.

> Whether WMUK survives this or implodes is up to them. They are the ones
> who will have to account for their inactions to Company House - and to
> all the people who have increasingly been demanding to know exactly what
> has been done to take WMUK towards charitable status and complaining
> about the lack of communication from the directors.

Companies House only care that directors haven't done anything illegal (as far
as I can tell, they haven't, they've just been absent), and that directors file
the accounts and keep the records held at Companies House up to date. Checking
their record, they have to file accounts from incorporation to 28/2/2007 by
14/12/2007, and they will have just been sent an annual return asking them to
check that the names and addresses of directors are correct, which is due to be
returned shortly.

As I said before, I hope this is a stumble not a fall - and that all those who
care about Wikimedia UK support in a positive way its continuence. I'm fairly
sure that the current directors don't need any more complaints, demands,
mudslinging or witchhunts - they need our support and advice.

Best regards

Scott


       
       
               
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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Andrew Walker-4
On 3/8/07, Scott Keir <[hidden email]> wrote:

> --- Arkady Rose <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Call an EGM. The Treasurer and Company Secretary MUST be held to account
> > for their failure to discharge their duties. New members must be
> > appointed to the board, and a vote of no confidence taken in the
> > Treasurer so that he can be removed from his position and someone
> > appointed in his place who will actually grasp the very real and serious
> > responsibilities inherant in the position and fulfill it appropriately.
> > The Company Secretary must explain to the board of directors precisely
> > why he has failed to respond to efforts to contact him, why he has
> > failed to carry out those duties he has agreed to, and what steps he
> > intends to take to ensure the situation does not arise again. The board
> > of directors as a whole must discuss precisely WHY events were allowed
> > to proceed to this point in the first place and what will be done to
> > ensure this situation does not arise again.
>
> As far as I understand it, only the directors are members of the company at
> present, so only the directors (that's these folks:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK#Board_of_Directors ) can call the
> AGM or do anything about it. Perhaps Alison, as your final (I read your email
> as "I have decided to quit" rather than "I am thinking of quitting") act, you
> could see this through - so long as at least two director/members are present
> at the start, and so long as at least two director members are present at the
> end (though not necessarily the same ones!), that's fine - the absent directors
> may continue to be absent and may be resigned in absentia. We don't need a
> witchhunt ot a public flogging, we just need wiki-uk to get back on track.
>
> > Whether WMUK survives this or implodes is up to them. They are the ones
> > who will have to account for their inactions to Company House - and to
> > all the people who have increasingly been demanding to know exactly what
> > has been done to take WMUK towards charitable status and complaining
> > about the lack of communication from the directors.
>
> Companies House only care that directors haven't done anything illegal (as far
> as I can tell, they haven't, they've just been absent), and that directors file
> the accounts and keep the records held at Companies House up to date. Checking
> their record, they have to file accounts from incorporation to 28/2/2007 by
> 14/12/2007, and they will have just been sent an annual return asking them to
> check that the names and addresses of directors are correct, which is due to be
> returned shortly.
>
> As I said before, I hope this is a stumble not a fall - and that all those who
> care about Wikimedia UK support in a positive way its continuence. I'm fairly
> sure that the current directors don't need any more complaints, demands,
> mudslinging or witchhunts - they need our support and advice.
>
> Best regards
>
> Scott
>

I think Scott is quite correct: The current membership is limited to
the five signatories to the memoranda and articles of association, who
also formed the board. As far as I know we have not done anything
remotely illegal, but some of us have been rather crap (and I'm as
much to blame for this as anybody else).

Speaking for myself, I'll also echo Scott's suggestion that we should
not engage in whichhunts, mudslinging, name calling or associated
silliness. We will be meeting shortly and will outline the current
position, and what we see as the way forward, after that meeting.

Best wishes,

Andrew

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Re: Fwd: Alison's tendered resignation

Alison M. Wheeler
In reply to this post by Scott Keir
Re a couple of points Scott raises,

On Thu, March 8, 2007 18:34, Scott Keir wrote:
> As far as I understand it, only the directors are members of the company
> at present, so only the directors (that's these folks:
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_UK#Board_of_Directors ) can call
> the  AGM or do anything about it.

Yes, that is correct, and why I invited the Board to consider a wide input.

> Perhaps Alison, as your final (I read your email
> as "I have decided to quit" rather than "I am thinking of quitting")

That would be incorrect; I chose my words very carefully and neither of
those quoted phrases are accurate.

> Companies House only care that directors haven't done anything illegal (as
> far as I can tell, they haven't

That would be completely correct.


Alison Wheeler

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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Gordon Joly
In reply to this post by Arkady Rose
At 17:56 +0000 8/3/07, Arkady Rose wrote:


>[...]
>
>Whilst this sort of situation may be deemed acceptable in a voluntary
>organisation such as Wikipedia itself, it is NOT acceptable in an
>organisation that is legally registered at Company House and is
>attempting to seek charitable status. As such, the members of the board
>of directors have legal responsibilities and duties, and failure to
>carry out those duties bears legal repercussions.
>
>The CEO has now tendered her resignation, and the overwhelming response
>seems to be "oh, that's a real shame - so long and thanks for all the
>work, ta-ta." It seems the directors are all going to sit back and do
>nothing.
[...]

A charity board of trustees (directors of the company) is group of
volunteers by definition in the law of England and Wales.

So if somebody forms a company (limited by guarantee) which moves to
charity status, then as a Director (Trustee) you know that you will
be a volunteer, effectively from the day of incorporation. Charity
Law allows fees to be paid to Directors (Trustees) in certain (rare)
circumstances only. Expenses such as travel are allowed, of course.

Gordo


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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Chris McKenna
On Sun, 11 Mar 2007, Gordon Joly wrote:

>
> A charity board of trustees (directors of the company) is group of
> volunteers by definition in the law of England and Wales.
>
> So if somebody forms a company (limited by guarantee) which moves to
> charity status, then as a Director (Trustee) you know that you will
> be a volunteer, effectively from the day of incorporation. Charity
> Law allows fees to be paid to Directors (Trustees) in certain (rare)
> circumstances only. Expenses such as travel are allowed, of course.
>

As I understand it Wiki Educational Resources has not yet been granted
charity status. IANAL, but if this is so I would have though that Company
Law rather than Charity Law would apply?

--
Chris 'Awkward' McKenna

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The essential things in life are seen not with the eyes,
but with the heart

Antoine de Saint Exupery


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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Andrew Walker-4
On 3/11/07, Chris McKenna <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sun, 11 Mar 2007, Gordon Joly wrote:
> >
> > A charity board of trustees (directors of the company) is group of
> > volunteers by definition in the law of England and Wales.
> >
> > So if somebody forms a company (limited by guarantee) which moves to
> > charity status, then as a Director (Trustee) you know that you will
> > be a volunteer, effectively from the day of incorporation. Charity
> > Law allows fees to be paid to Directors (Trustees) in certain (rare)
> > circumstances only. Expenses such as travel are allowed, of course.
> >
>
> As I understand it Wiki Educational Resources has not yet been granted
> charity status. IANAL, but if this is so I would have though that Company
> Law rather than Charity Law would apply?
>

Dear all,

I think a quick update is in order. The Board of Wiki Educational
Resources met on the evening of 8th March to consider the issues
highlighted by Alison's tender of resignation. We expressed our
continued confidence in Alison's abilities to execute her post and
declined to accept her resignation. However, it was clear that the
Board as currently constituted has been unable to move forward with
the process of setting up the UK chapter due to inaction of the
Treasurer. In order to allow this situation to be resolved the Board
decided to remove the Treasurer from post and appoint a replacement.
Arkady Rose has been appointed as Treasurer (also known as Chief
Financial Officer), effective immediately.

Regards,

Andrew

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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Gordon Joly
In reply to this post by Chris McKenna
At 22:12 +0000 11/3/07, Chris McKenna wrote:

>On Sun, 11 Mar 2007, Gordon Joly wrote:
>>
>>  A charity board of trustees (directors of the company) is group of
>>  volunteers by definition in the law of England and Wales.
>>
>>  So if somebody forms a company (limited by guarantee) which moves to
>>  charity status, then as a Director (Trustee) you know that you will
>>  be a volunteer, effectively from the day of incorporation. Charity
>>  Law allows fees to be paid to Directors (Trustees) in certain (rare)
>>  circumstances only. Expenses such as travel are allowed, of course.
>>
>
>As I understand it Wiki Educational Resources has not yet been granted
>charity status.


That is my understanding.

>  IANAL, but if this is so I would have though that Company
>Law rather than Charity Law would apply?
>
>--
>Chris 'Awkward' McKenna


Indeed. But since the aim of the Company was always to become a
Charity, it would be ideal if the Directors who hoped to become
Trustees should treat themselves as Trustees from the day of
incorporation, even if they all have to resign before the Company
becomes a Charity.

A Company Limited by Guarantee does not issue shares (as I recall).

New laws (which were not in force at the time of incorporation on WER
Ltd) allow a Charity to incorporate as Company Limited by Guarantee
in one action, rather than the two stage process. In others words, on
the day of incorporation the Charity comes into being.

BTW, when will the next General Meeting be called?


Gordo

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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Gordon Joly
In reply to this post by Andrew Walker-4
At 07:52 +0000 12/3/07, Andrew Walker wrote:

>On 3/11/07, Chris McKenna <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>  On Sun, 11 Mar 2007, Gordon Joly wrote:
>>  >
>>  > A charity board of trustees (directors of the company) is group of
>>  > volunteers by definition in the law of England and Wales.
>>  >
>>  > So if somebody forms a company (limited by guarantee) which moves to
>>  > charity status, then as a Director (Trustee) you know that you will
>>  > be a volunteer, effectively from the day of incorporation. Charity
>>  > Law allows fees to be paid to Directors (Trustees) in certain (rare)
>>  > circumstances only. Expenses such as travel are allowed, of course.
>>  >
>>
>>  As I understand it Wiki Educational Resources has not yet been granted
>>  charity status. IANAL, but if this is so I would have though that Company
>>  Law rather than Charity Law would apply?
>>
>
>Dear all,
>
>I think a quick update is in order. The Board of Wiki Educational
>Resources met on the evening of 8th March to consider the issues
>highlighted by Alison's tender of resignation. We expressed our
>continued confidence in Alison's abilities to execute her post and
>declined to accept her resignation. However, it was clear that the
>Board as currently constituted has been unable to move forward with
>the process of setting up the UK chapter due to inaction of the
>Treasurer. In order to allow this situation to be resolved the Board
>decided to remove the Treasurer from post and appoint a replacement.
>Arkady Rose has been appointed as Treasurer (also known as Chief
>Financial Officer), effective immediately.
>
>Regards,
>
>Andrew



Phew. Just in time to file the accounts and the annual return!



Name & Registered Office:
WIKI EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES LIMITED
340 LIVERPOOL ROAD
LONDON
N7 8PZ
Company No. 05708269
Status: Active
Date of Incorporation: 14/02/2006

Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Company Type: PRI/LTD BY GUAR/NSC (Private, limited by guarantee, no
share capital)
Nature of Business (SIC(03)):
None Supplied
Accounting Reference Date: 28/02
Last Accounts Made Up To:  (NO ACCOUNTS FILED)
Next Accounts Due: 14/12/2007
Last Return Made Up To:
Next Return Due: 14/03/2007


Gordo

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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Scott Keir
> At 07:52 +0000 12/3/07, Andrew Walker wrote:
> >I think a quick update is in order. The Board of Wiki Educational
> >Resources met on the evening of 8th March to consider the issues
> >highlighted by Alison's tender of resignation. We expressed our
> >continued confidence in Alison's abilities to execute her post and
> >declined to accept her resignation. However, it was clear that the
> >Board as currently constituted has been unable to move forward with
> >the process of setting up the UK chapter due to inaction of the
> >Treasurer. In order to allow this situation to be resolved the Board
> >decided to remove the Treasurer from post and appoint a replacement.
> >Arkady Rose has been appointed as Treasurer (also known as Chief
> >Financial Officer), effective immediately.

Good - glad to hear it! I'm assuming that that resolves the all the
person/volunteer issues discussed of late and WER can move forward. Glad to
hear/infer that Alison is no longer tendering too.

--- Gordon Joly <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Phew. Just in time to file the accounts and the annual return!

There's months left to file the accounts (accounts from incorp to 28/02/2007
are due 14/12/2007. The return (which is a list of the directors) is due soon,
which is most timely, given the changes - and, to be honest, can be a few days
late and can be done online.

Looking forward to hearing of future progress as it develops

Scott


               
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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Cormac Lawler
In reply to this post by Andrew Walker-4
On 3/12/07, Andrew Walker <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Dear all,
>
> I think a quick update is in order. The Board of Wiki Educational
> Resources met on the evening of 8th March to consider the issues
> highlighted by Alison's tender of resignation. We expressed our
> continued confidence in Alison's abilities to execute her post and
> declined to accept her resignation. However, it was clear that the
> Board as currently constituted has been unable to move forward with
> the process of setting up the UK chapter due to inaction of the
> Treasurer. In order to allow this situation to be resolved the Board
> decided to remove the Treasurer from post and appoint a replacement.
> Arkady Rose has been appointed as Treasurer (also known as Chief
> Financial Officer), effective immediately.


Very glad to hear about Arkady Rose's appointment, as well as that
Alison won't be resigning. (I obviously misunderstood what "tender of
resignation" meant.)

Thanks for the update,

Cormac

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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

James Forrester-3
In reply to this post by Scott Keir
On 12/03/07, Scott Keir <[hidden email]> wrote:
> --- Gordon Joly <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Phew. Just in time to file the accounts and the annual return!
>
> There's months left to file the accounts (accounts from incorp to 28/02/2007
> are due 14/12/2007. The return (which is a list of the directors) is due soon,
> which is most timely, given the changes - and, to be honest, can be a few days
> late and can be done online.

Indeed. To clarify, the return was filed with information correct as
of 14/02/2007, as required, which thus does not include Arkady and
does Jon; however, the change of Director forms have also been filed.

Yours,
--
James D. Forrester
[hidden email] | [hidden email] | [hidden email]
[[Wikipedia:User:Jdforrester|James F.]]

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Re: Fwd: Alison's resignation

Arkady Rose
In reply to this post by Cormac Lawler
Cormac Lawler wrote:
> Very glad to hear about Arkady Rose's appointment, as well as that
> Alison won't be resigning. (I obviously misunderstood what "tender of
> resignation" meant.)
>
>  
Glad you approve! ;-)

I suspect I was rather hoist by my own petard on this one actually!

-a

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