Website updated 15th February 2018
Unrest within the VMCC membership.
You may be aware of some unrest within the VMCC's membership. As there won't be another clubnight before the AGM I felt it worthwhile to take this opportunity to attempt to present the opinions as they have been aired in a number of mailnotes and documents.
There is the original mailnote from a group calling itself 'concernedvmccmembers', two responses from Jim Lee, aVMCC director, one from Alastair Alexander, President-Elect and Area Rep. for Scotland and the text of document to which Alastair Alexander refers in his response.
For techical reasons things are in revese order so here are links
to the individual items:
The following is the text of Alastair Alexander's document entitled 'Wrong Strategy Being Pursued For The VMCC' which is referenced in his mailnote quoted below. Here is a link to the original.
Directors Might Need to Re-think Strategy ? - You Decide.
The VMCC is at a turning point in its development and as the incoming President I feel compelled to make my views known in advance of the AGM on 4 March. I have been on the Management Committee for five years through being the Area Rep. for Scotland. My job in my new role, as President, is to represent you, the members. I pushed for the conducting of a survey questionnaire covering the whole membership. I put together the questionnaire and fed in comments from consultation with the Management Committee and the survey was done in their name. In this way the Committee own the results. Despite not yet being in post I have managed to get into contact with every member through the medium of the Journal. You have all had the opportunity to make your views known whether you completed the questionnaire or not. I think that is vital to the future and I am committed to consulting with and listening to the membership so expect more of the same from me.
Present strategy being pursued by the directors
It is difficult to know exactly what the business strategy is as there is no agreed business plan and financial controls during the last year have been lax. We have a budget but it is isolated from any meaningful explanation of what we are setting out to achieve. There is no doubt that the plan is to move from Allen House and it is a major part of the current Chairman's and Directors' drive for change. There is also no doubt that the buying and selling of motorcycles is intended to play a big part in the future. Regrettably, there is no business case that has been made to argue the case for the new way forward and the Directors seem intent on just doing this regardless and hoping that it will all work out. It is not a prudent way to run our Club. We should be willing to consider any proposals to improve the Club but we should expect the case to be made and properly funded and vitally only after appropriate consultation with the membership to make sure that we want it in the first place.
The survey findings tell us what you want from the club
The recent survey results suggest that a completely different strategy is needed to take the Club forward. The full survey findings are available from the website and from your Area Rep. The following has been prepared to give you a summarised version of what you, collectively, told us you want and is set out in A-E below:
A. Top Reasons for Being a Member -
The main reasons you gave in the questionnaire for being in the Club are the Journal, the camaraderie of your fellow enthusiasts, organised events and runs and being part of your local Section. You also want a strong voice on legislation affecting the use of older motorcycles.
B. Future Challenges -
In the survey encouraging younger members to join is the top priority along with the loss of knowledge and skills of the existing older membership. You want stable finances and a clear business plan. You also have concerns about threats from tighter transport regulations. Keeping all the age classes active was seen as a real challenge.
C. How Can We Improve the Club for Your Benefit? -
The top priority is to support the Sections and their members and help them to develop. Beef up our efforts on influencing transport regulations. Become much more active with articles in the media and use the internet to promote the Club. Step up our marketing efforts with Club stands at national and regional shows. Improve communications between the management and the membership. Selling motorcycles was rated tenth and selling spares 12th in your priorities to improve the Club's performance.
D. Allen House -
The Directors have made much of the importance of a move away from Allen House. Through the survey you indicated that three quarters of members have not visited and one quarter have visited Allen House. Of the those of you who have visited the main reason was the Library. Eighty six per cent of members have no plans to visit Allen House or don't know if they will visit in the future. These figures do not appear to support the case for a move to new premises at the present time. The result is significant as it is donated funds that are planned to be used for the purposes of a move and a conflict therefore exists with the members having different priorities, to those of the Directors, for the use of these funds as you will see below.
E. Donations and How to Use Them -
Nearly 60 per cent of members supported the concept of encouraging donations and about a fifth were against this along with a similar proportion who did not know. When asked how such donations should be used the top five were to support a recruitment drive including spending on advertising and PR, to offer a machine valuation service, to invest in the Library and in training programmes. The redevelopment of Allen House or a move to new premises were not top priorities at this time.
The survey results suggest a re-think of the directors' strategy is needed
The survey results are the most objective evidence we have to date to determine our future priorities. The conclusion is that the Directors may be going in the wrong direction to secure a better future for the Club. What the survey tells us very clearly is that the members see recruitment, development of the Sections, improving the activities and stronger efforts on transport regulations as the core issues they want addressed. A move from Allen House and the selling of motorcycles and spares are not priorities at this moment in time and the Directors need to listen to the membership and think again. Failure to do so may run the risk of rupturing the Club with the members railing against a Board of Directors not acting in their interests in the light of this new information.
Have you as a member an opportunity to make your views known to the directors?
Please read the survey report which you can get from your Area Rep. or the Website and make sure that you communicate your views to your Area Reps., the Directors and the President. Thereafter. the Directors and the rest of the Management should work together to prepare a new fully costed business plan which takes account of the Directors' current plans and incorporates the new priorities from the members. Furthermore, the AGM on 4 March provides the opportunity for you to vote for, against or abstain for each Director you think will best serve the interests of the Club. Please vote in person or by nominating a member who is attending the AGM to act as your proxy. Please complete your voting form or download one from the website or ask HQ to send you one. Please send your form to HQ by 28 Feb as it needs to be received at least 24 hours before the AGM.
Alastair Alexander, President-Elect and Area Rep. for Scotland,
From: Alastair Alexander
For circulation to the Section Secretaries and their members:
The survey findings, as expressed by the members, seem to be at variance with the current strategy being pursued by the Directors which majors on a move from Allen House, the trading in motorcycles and spares and no focus on supporting and developing the Areas and Sections.
We have always been a membership services organisation and the Directors' plans will change the ethos of the Club and put it on to a much more commercial footing.
The survey findings gives us a good indication of what the members want and an opportunity to prepare a fully costed business plan to support the initiatives which members have identified as important to them.
The purpose of the attached report is to make you aware, as individual members, of this divergence in direction for the Club as sought by the membership and by the Directors. I am due to become your President on 4 March and it is important for me to give you this new information which you may need to decide on what is best for your future in the Club. There is no better way to do this than by voting for the Directors who are either up for re-election or in one case election for the first time. You have the voting form so I am asking you to assist the democratic process and get your votes recorded. You can vote for, against or abstain for each person standing as a Director or you can nominate a member who will be at the AGM to act as your proxy. Please look out your Voting Form and if you have mislaid it you can download one from the website or ask Allen House to post one to you. If you have already voted and wish to change your instructions, in the light of this new information, you can retrieve your Form from Allen House and resubmit a new one.
In any event, please read the survey report and get your comments and views across to your Area Rep., the Directors and the President. Your opinions matter so let us hear your opinions on this subject.
Regardless of the outcome of the above, I am really looking forward to meeting you and working with you to secure a brighter future for this great Club of ours.
With kind regards
Here is the second response from Jim Lee, a VMCC director, again following the covering mailnote.
Date: 2 February 2018 at 05:46:51 GMT
We'll let you all read this latest email response received from VMCC Director Lee and make up your own minds on it's contents. Threatening legal action just for questioning the current Management of the Club certainly does seem far fetched and over the top.
Is this really how members want to see their membership subscriptions and legacies spent ?
Forwarded message From: jim lee
Yes, here we have yet another load of biased rhetoric and" rubbish from concerned VMCC members" obviously not prepared,indeed afraid to identify themselves.
Those concerned do not have a clue about the way the club is managed.The management committee are fully aware of how the club is managed from Allen House by a General Manager who was NOT appointed by the current management team of Directors.,but by a previous a previous management regime. We are as the current directors well aware of the mismanagement currently emanating from Allen House,and the problem is,and has, been met and corrected by the management team.As the management team responsible for the proper management of the club. We are aware of the mismanagement and dealing with it according to law.
Obviously these are a load of scaremongering biased bigots. We are already aware of all of the various shortcomings and, profits,etc etc etc.There is no hidden agendas or dirty laundry involved. We have decided to do nothing about moving from Allen House,because it has not received the necessary approval by the management team. I would suggest you identify yourselves,or shut up before legal action is taken,as we are aware of those concerned.
There were two responses from Jim Lee who is a VMCC director. The first is below and follows the covering mailnote, The second is the next item above.
Date: 31 January 2018 at 18:09:44 GMT
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Please note that Jim knows nexactly how much profit the ebay bikes sold by Rob Reaney over the Christmas period made even before Rob Reaney has declared the profit to the Board and the Membership as he stated he would. How is this possible you must be asking yourselves ? Also note Jim's views on the staff and management at Allen House. Staff and management that Jim and his fellow Directors are responsible for hiring and managing. Jim even confirms what all of us have known for a long time.... that the VMCC Retail shop is a "joke". Unfortunately Jim you seem to have shot yourself in the foot yet again, just like you did with your previous outburst which was printed in the Old Bike Mart so that everyone could read about the VMCC's dirty laundry.
We would like to thank you for all your positive and supportive comments so far. We will be putting forward our alternative plan for the future preservation of the VMCC shortly as an alternative to the Business/commercial "vision" being stealthily imposed by Rob Reaney and his small band of supporters whilst the wider membership are kept deliberately in the dark.
Forwarded message From: jim lee
What a load of lies and rubbish.The bikes bikes mentioned have indeed been purchased and sold netting a £2,800 profit.That quick profit was achieved,The club is a business and NOT a charity.That profit has already been eaten into by MAG and LARA holding out their begging bowls as they are entirely unable to support themselves financially.. Allen House and its contents are a liability the club cannot afford.We have staff there all enjoying lucrative salaries,and staff including some of which are incapable of carrying out the functions for which they were appointed.
Yes Rob Reaney is a motorcycle dealer. So am I having some 60 years experience of club membership and buying and selling motorcycles old and new.I do not need anyone trying to teach me to suck eggs.The club has a history of fraud,and fraudulent conversion over many years,and the regime still exists but NOT amongst the Management Team All of which are unpaid by the VMCC,.. yes,unpaid volunteers..
The VMCC has a retail shop which is a joke.The administration at Allen House is joke,with a recently resigned in house accountant who achieved a £14,000 VAT deficit due to incompetence.
We the Management Team Directors are not kept informed of shortcomings at Allen House that exist due to the closed shop scenario that exists at Wetmore Road.
Of course we have plenty of the membership all too ready to shout loudest at AGMs and via the Forum,but never ready to volunteer to and get themselves elected onto the Management Team.
The VMCC Forum is not widely accessed by the membership because the majority of the membership are not interested.Clearly this current Email is totally indicative of the average non-interest by the average member.Who are these 'concerned VMCC members',obviously afraid to stand up and be identified,but full of rhetoric.
The VMCC generate Income streams and apart from being a business is also a motorcycle club specialising in motorcycles over 25 years old.Any one with half a brain recognises that what better commodity is there to sell than motorcycles in order to create income streams and make a profit via Raffles,Ebay or in house.Every sale has the added advantage of creating a new member or the motorcycle paraphernalia that goes with it.The potential for creating workshop and repair facilities and specialisation is also part and parcel of the same equation and that is never is never going to be achieved at Allen House as the premises are entirely unsuitable and in the wrong place.
Jim Lee Director,Ariel Marque Specialist.
What follows is the mailnote from a group calling themselves 'concernedvmccmembers' which started it all off:
30 January 2018 20:56
The Proxy Voting Form for the 2018 AGM of VMCC Ltd has been distributed but Members have not yet been informed of the details of the candidates for election and may be unaware of the merits and aspirations of those putting themselves forward. Much of the information to make an informed decision is available on the VMCC Forum, but this is not widely accessed by the Membership and needs wider circulation. We would be grateful if you would bring the contents of this circular to the attention of your Section Members
The current Board of Directors, under the chairmanship of Rob Reaney, are intent on changing the VMCC from being an enthusiasts club, with modest business activities, to become a classic bike sales organisation with a club attached. Rob Reaney is a second hand bike dealer and during his term of office has continually pushed the Club to move in this direction. To this end he has twice attempted to rush into the purchase of new Club premises, which would have provided space for showrooms and bike storage. On both occasions he did so without informing the Membership, without proper surveys being carried out and without the production of a business case or financial risk assessment. Fortunately both purchases were prevented at the last minute, as otherwise the Club could now be facing a financial millstone.
If re-elected Rob has announced his intention of acquiring new Club premises in the spring. The questionnaire, distributed with the December Journal made no mention of this intention and did not seek Members' views. Rob appears to have his own agenda and is intent on moving the Club towards the buying and selling of bikes whatever the wishes of the membership. This is a high risk strategy and could seriously damage the viability of the Club. That this is the case was aptly illustrated in December when Rob purchased for the Club a number of bikes and sidecars to be sold on the eBay auction site over the Christmas period. Clearly Rob was expecting to achieve a quick profit and to demonstrate the potential value to the Club of such a business venture. However, the plan backfired and has become a fiasco. Rather than make money, the Club will be lucky to break even. If the full costs of acquiring the bikes, transportation, storage, insurance, auction preparation, auction commission, etc are properly allocated we will have made a thumping loss and that is before adding a contingency to cover misrepresentation.
The Directors are the agents of the Membership and jointly responsible for the management of the Club's business. The expectation is that they will do so having regard to the wishes of the Membership. The Chairman is chosen by the Directors from amongst their number to chair their meetings, but is not given autocratic power to run the Club. Regrettably our current Chairman, Rob Reaney, believes he has the right to make dictatorial decisions without consulting his fellow Directors, let alone the Membership. It was his decision, and his decision alone, to purchase the bikes to be auctioned on eBay over Christmas; he had no mandate to make that decision.
The Wessex Veteran and Vintage Section, supported by the Dorset Section, put forward resolutions to be tabled at the AGM. These were aimed towards introducing better business practices and greater transparency in the management of the Club. Specifically they would have prevented the Directors spending more than £50,000 of capital expenditure without consulting the Membership; such restrictions are common in the business world and essential in the club environment. These properly presented resolutions were rejected by the Directors on the grounds that they would restrict their freedom to make decisions. The proper course of action would have been to allow the resolutions to go forward and to argue the case for their rejection before allowing the Membership to decide at the AGM. When taken to task they argued it was their right to decide which resolutions would go forward, which it is not, before falling back on the Companies Act to legitimise the rejection. Companies Act formally requires a 5% support before a resolution can be accepted, but does allow for an agreed lesser level of support. In past years resolutions put forward with a majority support from a Section were accepted, the current Board now reject this.
The requirement for 5% support for the submission of a resolution is acceptable in the corporate world with a few large shareholders; it is not acceptable in the Club environment where 5% represents over 700 signatures. The clause formally stating that Sections should be allowed to submit resolutions to the AGM was inadvertently omitted from the revised Bye-laws. The Directors are aware of this and decided not to amend the Bye-laws to reinsert it, which they can easily do. They preferred not to allow membership interference in their autocratic management of the Club.
Under Rob Reaney's chairmanship the management of the Club is in shambles. He is desperate to spend the Joyce Cobbing legacy and is rushing to buy a new headquarters building to fulfil his ambition for the Club to buy and sell bikes, whilst neglecting his responsibilities to the Club. The General Manager has been involved in futile searches for new headquarters buildings and has not been fully available to do the job for which he is paid; namely the efficient management of Headquarters and the promotion of the Club aimed at increasing membership numbers. The financial management over the past year has been a disgrace and the profit or loss figures have varied by the day, or should that be hour. Does anyone believe the final figures? The strategic business plan for the next 3 years, required, according to Bye-law 3.5, should have been produced and agreed by the Directors before the end of the last financial year. They should have been available three months ago for review by the Membership. They do not exist as Rob does not want to be bothered with financial planning provided he is free to spend the Club's money.
The future of the Club is being dictated by a handful of people without consultation with the Membership and whose business skills are entirely lacking. These people represent a major liability for the future survival of the VMCC. If you wish to prevent this happening you should cast your vote against Rob Reaney and, his right-hand man, Vice-chairman Brian Southam in the Election of Directors, Items 14.2 and 14.3 of the AGM Proxy form.
Please make your vote count on March 4th and help preserve the future of the Club. If you have any comments please don't hesitate to respond back to us at email@example.com. If you have concerns, rest assured you're not alone.
Comments, suggestions and articles for inclusion to: Will Curry ()