|GCCF Delegates Speak up at June 2009 Meeting|
|Written by Administrator|
|Thursday, 25 June 2009|
GCCF Delegates attend meeting to save the GCCF
The GCCF Council Meeting
Friends House, London
24th June 2009
Item 1 – Welcome to Delegates from John Hansson GCCF Chairman
The meeting opened with a minutes silence for Betty Harrison who died in June 2009.
Betty’s prefix was Harislau which was registered in 1967, Betty was also a GCCF Judge and a GCCF delegate for some years representing The Havana Cat Club and also the Oriental Cat Association.
Betty will be much missed by all who knew her in the Cat Fancy and by her devoted Son John and his partner Mark.
Item 2 – Apologies
No Apologies - as per signing in Sheets
Item 3 – Chairman’s Report
The Chairman’s report started with John Hansson describing the last year in the Cat Fancy as ‘tumultuous’.
John went on to explain that the GCCF no longer has an Official Journal and asked the delegates to put forward suggestions and ideas for a solution to this problem.
Office News covered the resignation of New Office Manager Carole Butler who is to leave on 26th June 2009, a retirement and the sad news of Linda Whittaker being off work extremely unwell, John asked us all to join with him to extend Good Wishes to Linda.
John talked about scrutiny from the press over the last year and implored the Cat Fancy to be careful what they said to the press regarding The Cat Fancy, he told us that at one point he was fielding 3-4 calls a day regarding the kick back from the ‘Pedigree Dogs Exposed’ programme aired on BBC1 last year. John said that the press were not interested in us or our cats and were only out for themselves and the ‘story’.
Item 4 – Club Matters
No Club reminders were sent out this year further to the vote taken by Council delegates and only two clubs had failed to send in their returns on time, The Coventry & Leicester Cat Club and The Old Style Siamese Cat Club, neither had a delegate present.
Delegates were asked to vote if the two clubs concerned should be allowed a delegate into the next meeting. The delegates voted and the motion was carried to allow them to return to council.
Item 5 – Election of Officers & Committees
One name to vote on – John Hansson – Carried with 1 abstention
One name to vote on – Keith Scruton – Carried unanimously
The delegates were asked to use their voting packs to vote for Executive and were instructed to only vote for up to 15 people.
The Executive positions remain unchanged, with voting as follows
(Number represent amount of votes received)
Helen Marriott Power – 104
Maria Chapman – 103
Steve Crow – 98
Frances Peace – 97
Lynda Ashmore – 93
Stephen Bunce – 89
Shirley Bullock – 89
Mary Kalal – 88
Gillian Bennett – 85
Joyce Green - 84
Doreen Goadby – 83
Celia Leighton – 82
Anne Gregory – 73
Pat Perkins – 73
Rosemary Fisher – 66
Irene Roos – 68
Jen Lacey – 57
GCCF Finance Committee
Stephen Bunce – 123
Doreen Goadby – 104
Brian Gregory – 97
Mavis Donnelly – 82
Charles Martin – 77
Eileen Fryer – 76
Betty Conway – 70
GCCF Investigations Committee
Diana Harper - 128
Mary Kalal – 120
Gillian Bennett – 113
Kym Jarvis – 102
Stephen Parkin – 72
GCCF Disciplinary Committee
Lynda Ashmore – 111
Shirley Bullock – 92
Celia Leighton – 91
Brian Gregory – 80
Sharara Chrichton – 75
Hilary Dean – 72
Gill Cornish – 65
Steve Morris – 63
Pat Norman - 63
GCCF Appeals Committee
Maria Chapman – 138
Helen Marriott Power – 133
Pat Perkins – 132
Steve Crow – 127
Betty Conway – 104
Nicky Goulter – 96
Julian Hague – 56
Kim Jarvis – 43
Saffron rabey - 33
Item 6 – Minutes of Council meeting 18/02/09
Ron Pike from The National Cat Club stood up for some time and ‘bantered’ with John Hansson regarding the recording of the GCCF Council minutes, Mr Pike was very unhappy at how the minutes appear to be selectively recorded, Mr Pike suggested whoever prepares the minutes decided what was important, Executive Committee decided what was important and the Chairman decided what was important but that facts were omitted from the minutes. Mr Pike asked if the minutes could not be used from the recording undertaken at each meeting, if not why couldn’t Council save money on the tapes and equipment.
Mr Hansson repeatedly asked Mr Pike to state which part of the minute he would like corrected, Mr Pike repeatedly answered that it was not a specific correction but that many blocks were left off what had been said, during the ‘banter’ Mr Pike was prompted by his wife Mrs Carol Pike, delegate from the Seal & Blue Point Birman Cat Club.
Bringing the lengthy and time consuming exchange to a close, Mr Pike announced “Mr Chairman I am sorry for wasting your time” turned off the microphone and went to his seat, at this point Wendy Jennings explained the recording equipment at the last meeting was inadequate and when the tape was listened to for clarification the opening of the Mr Pike’s missing dialogue was not clear, Wendy apologised to Mr Pike.
Mr Pike responded by thanking Mrs Jennings for letting him know and answering his question and asked why the Chairman was unaware of these facts, Mrs Jennings responded that she had only told him that morning.
Mr Hansson then asked all new 14 delegates at the meeting to stand up and introduce themselves.
Steve Crow, Burmese Cat Club stood up and suggested if there were a minute that a delegate specifically wanted recorded that they state that at the time.
Item 7 – Matters Arising From Council meeting 18/02/09
Nicky Goulter, Longhair and Semi Longhaired Cat Club asked the Chairman what the progress was with on line registrations. Mr Hansson said that they were on hold currently and had taken a back seat to the current financial issues.
Mr Nick Mays former editor of Our Cats arrived to observe the meeting.
Patsy Knight of CRAOV spoke up about her club being unable to allow the Sphynx entry to their show although the club had supported their journey to recognition throughout, this was supported by Barry Newcombe of Essex Cat Club who was also unhappy that the Executive committee had described the Sphynx as a ‘vulnerable breed’ in the March Executive minutes.
Mr Hansson responded that the Sphynx was a vulnerable breed with the press as it was often them that were targeted and used as an illustration of issues in the Cat fancy.
A lengthy discussion was had regarding the ins and outs and definitions of ‘AOV’ between members and Mr Hansson who eventually moved the meeting on.
Phillipa Holmes, National Cat Club commended the Executive for making the decision not to hold on to Pedigrees and would be sending in an envelope to have hers returned.
Ron Pike, National Cat Club stood and addressed the Chair asking why he had omitted the word ‘animal’ from the Australian Fire Fund Appeal. John explained this was an oversight and the fund was created to raise money specifically for cats that had been affected in the fires and were left with lung and breathing problems, Mr Hansson continued by informing council over $5000 was raised and sent to the fund. Mr Pike suggested that had the word 'animal' or 'cat' been used the GCCF could have raised more money.
Item 8 - Minutes of Meetings
Discussions and corrections of the minutes took place and the minutes were voted through with 1 abstention.
Item 9 – Finance
Adrian Wood of O’Hara Wood was introduced to the room by John Hansson, Mr Wood had been responsible for the Auditors report prepared on the GCCF accounts. Mr Wood explained to delegates that he had been involved in the Cat Fancy for over 20 years, although did not explain in what capacity.
Mr Wood talked the room through the Auditors report page by page, these included:
Total income saw a drop of 4.3%
88% of the total GCCF income comes from Registrations and Transfers
The Supreme saw a deficit of 58k in 2007 and £49k in 2008.
The high rise of over £10,000 in printing costs were attributable to Our Cats
9.5% Increase in expenditure
Salaries were responsible for 53-63% of expenditure
The £28k office recharge was explained by Mr Wood as a tax liability exercise ensuring The Supreme was not taxable, he explained he had raised the query of the need for this some years ago.
Mr Wood went on to say the GCCF had endured a ‘Disappointing year with reserves and cash reserves’
Mr Wood told the delegates that he had eight recommendations to Council, the same that he had given to the Finance Committee.
1. The Cat Fancy must consider dramatic increases for services provided, if they are not done in the short term, they must be implemented as soon as possible for the future.
2. A dramatic review of the pricing structure offered to the Cat Fancy, Mr Woods felt that prices are not priced accordingly and things like Show licence fees could be increased.
3. Cutting Overheads – 53%-63% of the GCCF overheads are salaries. Pay rises were inappropriate under the current financial issues.
4. The Supreme must not continue to lose money, Mr Woods proposes the committee scale the show down or running every other year, both options however must see the show make a profit.
5. Disciplinary produces excessive costs with a £46k deficit, Mr Woods recommends the procedure is simplified to save costs and suggests monies are paid up front to cover expenses.
6. If the finance situation continues, the GCCF should consider selling their biggest asset, the building or raising a mortgage against it.
7. Additional capital to capital fund, money should be moved from the Show Abandonment Fund – This however has been done and a sum of £75k has been moved to the capital fund.
8. The GCCF forms a new Limited company should the position worsen, however Mr Woods advises that this should be discussed with lawyers to protect the interest of the clubs.
Mr Woods went on to say that these points needed acting on as early as possible, and said that he had be asked to project what would happen if the GCCF were to do nothing, he explained this was an impossible question to answer however he felt that if the situation were allowed to continue that cash resources would be exhausted in the first quarter of 2010.
Mr Woods described the GCCF accounts as ‘Dire’.
The floor was opened up for questions.
A delegate stood and asked why The Supreme accounts showed a figure for entries that did not tally with the basic entry cost multiplied by entries, Mr Woods stated that the figures were correct and it was agreed the difference in revenue was probably owing to VAT.
John Hansson said to the room, “The mess we are in is the mess we need to get out of”.
A delegate asked what ‘Equipment and Maintenance’ covered in The Supreme Accounts, Celia Leighton explained that it covered the hire of security staff, trestle tables and various other expenses relating to the day.
There was much unhappiness in the room, delegates analysing costs and past decisions over and over.
Steve Crow, Burmese Cat Club stood and addressed the room saying that the delegates had all collectively made the decisions that have resulted in the situation the GCCF are in and that agreeing solutions was the way forward, Steve asked the delegates to not waste time apportioning blame but to make decisions leaving the room today having made decisions to rectify the situation.
Steve received a loud round of applause from the room.
Stephen Parkin, Abyssinian Cat Association addressed Mr Woods and asked about item 11 on the auditors report regarding Contingent Liability, Mr Parkin wanted to know what the situation was regarding a legal claim. Mr Woods was unable to answer and Mr Hansson stepped in and informed the room that there was 3 years from the first contact regarding the claim to pursue the matter but at that time nothing was happening with it.
Rosemary Fisher Chinchilla, Silver Tabby & Smoke Cat Society Cat Club wanted the large salary bill explained. Mr Woods explained that in Jan 08 the office received a pay increase of 3.5-4% and in Jan 09 the increase was 3%, Mr Woods explained that in 2007 there was a member of staff off long term sick and this had not given the figures an accurate picture.
Patsy Knight of CRAOV asked Mr Woods to explain the Professional Charges indicated in the accounts in the sum of £5977, the invoices concerned were present from GCCF solicitors, Marshalls and were for legal issues surrounding The Official Journal situation in 2007/2008 which Mr Woods read to the room.
Janet Tonkinson of the HOLCC again asked for the Supreme Office Admin charge to be explained, the concern seemed to be that the £28k recharge was actually being paid to someone and this did come up again several times from several different delegates. Tom Hollway likened the situation to people sharing a car and all of its expenses.
John Hansson drew the room away from the charge explaining that The Supreme only had a ‘perceived loss’, indicating that the £28k recharge was the reason for the Supreme accounts to show a loss.
It was clear that the delegates were split regarding The Supreme, many extremely against the show and others in extreme support.
A discussion ensued regarding medals and their cost.
Nicky Goulter of Longhair and Semi Longhair Cat Club stood and addressed the room, imploring them to stop the constant dialogue and to move on to what the solution to the problem was and that the delegates needed to restore the GCCF’s position of being the best registering body in the World. Nicky received a round of applause.
Carole Jones of the Abyssinian Cat Club also spoke to implore the room to Move On!
Sally Rainbow Ockwell addressed the room and said that the GCCF is a small business and needed to run as one, that the GCCF hadn’t been run as a business in the past, Sally asked why the committees aren’t being manned by professionals and questioned why its only a crisis that has prompted a look at the current proposals, Sally asked if there was actually anyone on Executive who had experience in running a business.
John Hansson responded by saying Executive did not make decisions, Council made all the decisions, the room was not happy with this comment.
Steve Crow, Burmese Cat Club stood again and said that the room needed to ‘Cut to the Chase’ and said that the problem was the constitution was not conducive to running a business and that no business would run itself through 150 people who meet 3 times a year unless they had adopted the attitude of ‘crossing their fingers and hoping for the best’. Steve said that the GCCF are lucky to have survived for 100 years and said that the room needed to make decisions now for the continued future of the GCCF.
Brenda Wolstenholme of Preston & Blackpool Cat Club addressed the Chairman saying she was ‘losing the will to live’ with the continual dialogue in the room and asked that matters moved on.
Tom Hollway was asked what cash income would be like in the remainder of the year, Tom predicts that at the end of the year £50k will be left and this will mostly be used up in December/January owing to heavy cash flow from yearly bills that will need to be paid, this was taking into account The Supreme Show 2009 at least breaks even.
Tom told the room in his opinion an extra £100k a year needed to be found to keep the GCCF running solvent.
Carol Pike of The Seal & Blue Point Birman Cat Club requested that it was minuted that the Treasurer had said the Supreme must at least break even for there to be £50k in the bank in December.
Frances Martin of The Siamese Cat Club asked if the GCCF could make kitten transfers mandatory bringing in more cash to the GCCF, this did not seem a popular suggestion.
Stephen Parkin of the Abyssinian Cat Association addressed the room with a prepared page of notes on the GCCF becoming a Limited Company, Mr Parkin seemed to think that becoming Limited was a positive for the GCCF.
Sue McParlin, OSSTS asked who the Directors would be if the GCCF were to become a Limited Company and was told by John Hansson that the discussions had not gone that far but perhaps the Executive would be.
John Hansson suggested he buy Sean Farrell roller skates for the next meeting to help him get around the room with the microphone quicker.
The Abyssinian Cat Club proposed that Council delegates voted and passed the Finance Committee proposal en block.
John Robinson of West Country Cat Club was concerned the proposed rise in income would bring in more overall cash flow but decrease the take up. John expressed his concern at the £150 proposed fee for taking forward a disciplinary complaint saying that this would leave some on lower and fixed incomes unable to take up their right to pursue a claim imploring the delegates to not remove someone’s right to complain.
Steve Crow, Burmese Cat Club addressed the room and said that he was frustrated at these meetings - he said that £15 per annum is not a lot of money and that it is less than 30p a week, Steve continued that 3 kittens at £350 each started a breeder with an earning of £1050 at which the room erupted – Mr Crow continued after asking the room to Shut Up – and qualified his intent in explaining that a starting block was the amount in for a kitten and that all expenses were to come out of that, including the £15.
Barry Tackley, National Cat Club stood and addressed the room regarding The Supreme Cat Show asking if it was necessary to continue running considering it now had to break even, should there be a Supreme Cat Show this year if they are going to lose money – it was pointed out to him that the show would break even.
Anne Madden of The Birman Cat Club addressed the room and said that whilst she would rather not pay the £15 fee, she would if it would help the GCCF out of its current situation.
Anne Gregory, South and South Western Birman Cat Club stood and addressed the room with two proposals from club members, the first proposing a new system allowing a suffix with a £10 charge. The suffix would mean that not only breeders but exhibitors could buy a prefix from The GCCF and then add the prefix as a suffix at the end of their cat’s names. Anne gave us the example; Fluffycat Fluffyknickers of Beaumaris.
This new proposal would mean that exhibitors gain recognition for the show successes of their cat’s in addition to the breeder and is also an excellent opportunity for the GCCF to create a new revenue stream.
Anne Gregory also proposed that an end was put to disciplinary and investigations from Breeders to Breeder and Breeders to Clubs and that they should be directed down a civil court route.
John Hansson directed the delegates to take a break and take the time to consider the Finance Proposals.
On the return to the meeting, Mr Hansson read out a statement regarding The Colourpoint Seminar which contrary to rumours, is going ahead.
Mr Hansson went on to say that the £15 Prefix proposal had now been removed from the Finance proposal owing to it being a contentious issue.
Bruce Bennett, Siamese Cat Society of Scotland addressed the chair saying his will to live was a tiny flicker and implored the room to move on.
Keith Scruton addressed the room imploring the delegates to replace the £15 prefix fee with something else to ensure the GCCF’s financial position was improved.
Frances Peace of The Bengal Cat Club picked up an earlier suggestion of implementing a registration fee for each litter and the figure of £5 was seen as fair and would also bring in revenue from those breeders not using their own prefixes but the admin prefix to register their litters.
The votes were then taken very quickly on the financial matters.
Finance Committee Proposal Document – Voted en block minus the Prefix Maintenance Charge - Passed
Suffix Charge – Passed - Although not made clear at the meeting, it appears this vote was taken and passed to allow Executive to take the matter forward.
£5 per Litter Registration Charge – Passed
John Robinson of West Country Cat Club Cat Club proposed a 5% or rate of inflation increase on fees each year, this was taken to the vote and passed.
Following a proposal from Maria Chapman, London Cat Club, some time was spent discussing when the financial changes will come into effect and whilst the changes would normally take effect on 1st January 2010, efforts would be made to get them up and running by 1st Aug 2009 to ensure as much money as possible was coming into the GCCF accounts at this worrying time.
Item 10 – Proposal to Council
Mr J Culf, the delegate for The Yorkshire Cat Club gave an excellent moving speech about how his club had come to the idea of lending an amount of money to the GCCF to help them out of the immediate financial crisis they are in.
A delegate asked if her club were to lend money and then found themselves in dire financial difficulty, would the GCCF give it straight back, Mr Hansson said yes if the funds were available at that time.
John Hansson stated that the item was not a matter for the clubs to vote on but for the club concerned and the GCCF to come to an agreement.
Item 12 – Cat Welfare Trust
Keith Scruton drew the Council’s attention to his CWT report in the delegate’s information and invited questions, none were forthcoming.
Item 17 – Standard of Points
Bengal BAC proposal to a change in the standard of points for pattern from 1st June 2010 – Passed
Item 18 – Application for Promotion to Championship Status
Tabby Bi and Tri Colour Persians to be granted Championship status from 1st June 2010 - Passed
Item 19 – Supreme Show
a. Supreme Show Update
Celia Leighton, Supreme Cat Show Manager was asked by John Hansson to address the room.
Celia started by saying she wasn’t sure if she should stand at the back of the room so she could dash out of the back door or at the front where she could be shot!
Celia explained to the room that The Show was being run on a ‘shoe string’ and that she had torn up everything and started again, she listed the following as cost cutting:
The halls have been reduced to 2 halls – 17 and 18 which are closest to the car parks.
New Contractors for stand erecting.
‘Bobby’ from R&L Pet Products is now providing storage for free for The Supreme.
The committee have reduced printing costs.
Demoted hotels with vastly cut costs.
Penning Company DANCO has not been used this year, three penning companies are instead working together at a better rate.
New ideas include:
Kitten class – A new kitten class has been introduced by Celia which will for the first time see exhibitors handle their own kittens whilst being judged, Celia is looking at this as a trial to see if it can be expanded on in future years negating the need for 150+ stewards and their related expenses.
Entertainment for children including face painting and a stuffed toy judging class providing written critiques for their stuffed animals, Celia hopes this will keep the children entertained all day.
Celia ended her presentation by making a plea to the room for entries, stating she was different to Julia May and to come along and enter.
Phillipa Holmes, National Cat Club asked if the closing date could be extended to ensure more entries, Celia explained it was because of the Hall Planning and that was a matter for Ketill Game, her Hall Manager who was not present at the meeting but that the closing date could not be extended because of the catalogue preparation which she looked to Brian Gregory to confirm for her, which he did.
Ron Pike asked Celia why monies were often outstanding after 31st Dec following The Supreme, indicating that by making a comparison to his own show (National Cat Club Show) he would not allow that to happen.
Celia and Tom Hollway agreed it was a matter of Credit Control.
Barry Newcombe of Essex Cat Club asked why the show could not be cancelled, the Chairman responded that a cancellation charge would be levied by the NEC making an instant loss for The Supreme.
Celia was asked how many cats she would need to attend to break even, Celia did not know.
A suggestion was made that the show move location away from the NEC, Celia stated there was nowhere other than The NEC that could accommodate the nine rings used for judging and the 1000 double pens which council themselves voted to retain last year.
Celia was asked if a running total could be kept on the Supreme website to say how many more cats were needed to break even, Celia looked at New Press Officer and Publicity Officer Lisa Aggett for a response and the response indicated that they would look at implementing that.
Celia was asked if the qualification requirement could be dropped and she responded that it could not and was backed up by Chairman John Hansson.
Celia was asked if The Supreme had gained any commercial sponsors and she responded that Royal Canin has been very generous and that R&L are on board as they always are.
A delegate asked if The Supreme would be doing away with the walkie talkies used each year, Celia responded that they were previously part of the deal with DANCO and that new ones had been acquired for this year’s show, it was also pointed out that the walkie talkies were invaluable and saved much time in communicating rather than seeking out people in order to relay information. *
Penny Akehurst for Burmese Cat Society stood and praised Celia for all she has done for The Supreme and asked the room to give her a chance.
Barry Newcombe of Essex Cat Club told Celia that last year his club’s talk was overpowered by the Hall PA system, Celia said that she would look at rectifying that for this years show.
A delegate mentioned the flyers for this years show and Celia responded indicating there are new promotional posters with a ‘large cat’ on them, the matter of the yearly theme was discussed and Celia indicated that entries into the decorated pen competition fall each year and this would probably be the last year they would hold a decorated pen competition.
A delegate asked what was being done regarding PR for the show, Celia responded that the New Press Officer and Publicity Officer, Lisa Aggett had been in touch with companies from Tesco’s to Toysrus but did not answer what Press and PR activities were being covered or what Publicity these companies are being approached for.
Celia addressed the room saying that this was her first go at the show and she was trying her best and ended with ‘And I didn’t get shot’.
b. Moratorium – Not passed by a majority
Item 20 – Application for Affiliation
The Selkirk Rex Cat Club to be affiliated to The GCCF - Passed
Item 21 – Judges
The below items were not discussed and will be put on the agenda for the next Council meeting.
Item 9g – OCA Proposal
* Although this question and answer was recorded correctly, a correction has come in from The GCCF regarding the walkie talkies which are not actually provided by DANCO but by a private company, the walkie talkies are going to be provided by another company for Supreme 2009.
|Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 October 2009 )|
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