Monday, August 22, 2011

Reply to Wim and Hugh

Thank you both for your comments on yesterday's blog post. I think that the TMS Board is trying to control every little detail of a diverse organisation by issuing directives rather than consulting the people they expect to do the work. They need to get out more often.

Between March and July I was seen at the Museum most weeks. I attended the AGM and the Chairman acknowledged that I was taking notes for The Journal. A week later, on the day they decided to sack me, the Chairman, the Treasurer and the Editor all received drafts of my AGM Report. At no time did a single member of the Board offer to discuss Ian Dougill's letters with me.

I hadn't replied because I felt the tone of the letters was insulting to someone who first became editor 39 years ago and had always followed the rules and submitted copy for approval. Over the years I worked closely with Geoffrey Claydon, a solicitor, to ensure that The Journal was as accurate as possible. We used to meet and review every issue a few days before it went to the printers. Latterly I submitted complete PDF page files by email to Ian Dougill for approval. So where's the problem Wim? I don't need your lecture.

I have produced 57 Journals on time and on budget and feel that I should have been consulted before snotty, 'sign this or else' letters were sent out.

The main reason I was not prepared to sign is that frankly I don't think that Ian Dougill is the right man to be Board Member Responsible for The Journal. He has far too many and too diverse responsibilities to carry them all out effectively and he is not a natural journalist or a lawyer. Had the Board consulted me I would have explained my reasons for not signing in more detail and then have expected to be asked for my resignation.

Finally the TMS should adopt a policy of marking sensitive letters "Private and Confidential" and consider making them less impersonal and abrupt when dealing with volunteers. I know from the AGM that the Chairman shares this view. He referred to it as cosseting volunteers.

1 comment:

  1. Richard, let there be no doubt that I admire what you have done for Crich as a volunteer and a pioneer. Yet, I think because of that you are confusing two things: your conflict with the Board about your dismissal and what happened now with your position as assistant editor of the Journal. These two issues could and should have been separated from each other. I know from very well informed sources that the Board was trying to separate them. It was you who thermit welded them firmly together (with a lot of sparks). Crich was very lucky to have pioneers like Chacely Humpidge, John Price, Jeffrey Claydon and others. People with a vision and a drive to fullfill that vision. Perhaps Ian is not Jeffrey. Maybe Malcolm can't stand in the shade of John. Collin is trying hard to keep the ship on course in a situation that would have been a challenge for Chacely. Wether we like it or not, they are the present Board, elected by us and at least trying to manage our unique museum. As a government inspector I have sworn an oath to serve the Dutch constitution, the law and my government (in that order), even though sometimes I have to serve a government that as a citizen I did not vote for. As an officer of the TMS you can be asked to put in writing such a statement regarding the TMS, because you gave reason for doubt. I do not find the letter send to you as a rude letter. It was a formal letter, yes, but not rude. You made it rude through your reaction. Thereby disapointing many who were thought that you were grey and wise. You certainly disapointed me.