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WSRA Trustee Election Hustings

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Robin Moira White, May 26, 2014.

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  1. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    As promised - a new thread created to keep this separate from the other WSR thread.

    I set out below my (150 word max) personal statement as this morning sent in to the WSRA. I am prepared to take pretty much any sensible question from any forum member but I suggest that those asking identify whether they are WSRA members (and so have a vote) or not.

    regards

    Robin White

    WSRA Trustee election 2014 – Personal Statement by Robin White
    Proposed by:
    John Jenkins, WSRplc Signal Engineer
    Seconded by;
    Peter Treharne, retired SM Blue Anchor, Blue Anchor Museum Curator, WSSRT Trustee

    Statement

    WSR volunteer since age 16 – now 50! Regularly work all 5 WSR signal boxes. Line Controller.

    WSRA Life member. Previously WSRA Trustee, WSRA Chairman, WSRplc Director and WSSRT
    Trustee. Significant achievements: consultation with WSRA membership on sale of loco 6412, import of GWR BCK 6705 from USA, planning permission for Station Farm.

    Present employment (last 18 years): employment / discrimination barrister. Significant assistance to WSR plc, WSRA and WSR individuals on staffing matters. Qualified mediator.
    Previously: Station Manager / Traffic Manager with British Railways. (Last appointment at Bristol Temple Meads). Chartered Member of Institute of Logistics and Transport (MILT).

    Live adjacent to Stogumber station.

    Now that the freehold question has been put on the back-burner by Somerset County Council there is a need to re-establish sensible relationships between the vibrant (!) organisations that make up the life of our wonderful railway. I believe that I can help with that.
    (149 words)
     
  2. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Frank C asked (on the other thread) if I felt able to subscribe to a series of principles which he set out. I believe that I have demonstrated my practical commitment to them all:

    Openness and Transparency
    Well, I am here, under my own name and suggested this opportunity. I also instituted the WSRA member-wide consultation before loco 6412 was sold on. There are some limits, e.g., personal staff matters and commercial negotiations but they should be very much the exception.

    Proactive positive engagement with the PLC and other groups supporting the railway
    I have very significant engagement with the plc. I am currently working on a number of staff matters about which it will be understood for the reason above that I cant comment on openly. On these I have been working directly with the WSRplc Chairman, General Manager and virtually all the Directors individually. A short while ago I was asked to intervene in a difficulty between a loco owning group and the plc and the matter was dealt with satisfactorily to both parties. I have been assisting more than one station group (see below). I instituted a formal procedure for station groups and the like to apply to the central WSRA for grant funding to provide funding for projects from central funds.

    Probably the best more public example of my co-operative working is the obtaining of the planning permission for Station Farm, Bishops Lydeard, which has delivered a priceless land asset to the Railway.

    The pressing need now is for some sensible discussions with the plc to put the relationship back on a co-operative footing,

    Maximising the Charitable Potential
    I worked hard on this when previously WSRA Chairman. There had previously been little understanding of the full potential (and obligations) of Charitable status, rather it had, essentially, been seen as a way of getting grant-aid on membership subs. It was at my initiative that we instituted a railway wide drive on legacies, which are plainly and more tax-efficiently handled through a charity than a trading company.

    Having a clear agreed policy for Asset Management
    I instigated this when WSRA Chairman. It led to conclusions that (1) 6412 really didn't have a sensible place in the 21 century WSRA, and (2) the financial; returns of the QB were questionable unless the profitability improved. Neither were necessarily comfortable conclusions but the next steps in both cases were consultation - 6412 as above and, in respect of the then proposed changes to the QB, at a special session arranged for them in the function room in a hostelry south of Taunton.

    Developing the Education Aspect
    I was responsible for inviting Ian Coleby to take over as Museum curator. Since the WSRA claims to be an educational charity, this is a crucial aspect.

    Developing the Heritage Aspect
    I believe that my commitment to this aspect is well known. A good illustrationare the GWR platform lamp recoveries that I have arranged over the years. Dunster, Blue Anchor, Williton, Stogumber, Crowcombe and Bishops Lydeard all have station lamps that I have dug out from their natural environment and dug in where they now stand. The repatriation of GWR BCK 6705 from the USA is a great story and would be worth a thread in itself.

    Enhancing the Railway for those with Accessibility Needs
    My grandfather suffered from rheumatoid arthritis and was wheelchair bound from the 1970's, long before modern legislation, adaptations of facilities etc was in force, so I am very conscious of these needs. I was involved in the original work to create and bring into service 'Lorna Doone', the WSR's disabled access vehicle, at a time when virtually no other Railway had such a thing. In my working life I am known for disability-related cases, in particular for those with non-physical protected characteristics such as autism and Aspergers, from which the lessons are that the needs of individuals may be complex and less than immediately obvious.

    I hope that answer Frank C's questions?

    kind regards

    Robin White

    (Oh, and just for those who felt the need to comment adversely on my comments on being on the number 50 bus yesterday, I would say that (1) my sense of humour and general joy at the life I have is an inseparable part of me, and (2) two folks came to me while I was working Corfe box yesterday to say that they had enjoyed the 'asides' which they had read within minutes of their being posted!)
     
  3. Steve1015

    Steve1015 Member

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    It was Mike W fault.....I dont blame you Robin..
     
  4. FrankC

    FrankC Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the responses, Robin, and for taking time to answer at length. It provides a helpful benchmark.

    Frank
     
  5. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Robin,

    if elected what would you do to enhance contact between trustees, WSRA members and volunteers on the WSR? (I ask as at least one trustees has objected, politely, to the fact that I found his e-mail address and wrote to him.)
     
  6. ikcdab

    ikcdab Member

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    I guess this refers to me and it sounds as if i dont like being contacted - which is not right.
    I have absolutely no problem with people emailing me. I just am not keen on my private email address being listed on a public forum. I emailed Rodney direct and what I said was:

    "Its not that I object to my email address being circulated privately by you to your contacts – I have no objection to that as it encourages communication, its rather that publically published addresses encourage harvesting by web crawlers and will entail me getting yet more spam – which is a massive nuisance.

    "So, please remove my email address from your public posting, but more than happy for you to circulate my address privately around the railway and WSRA members."

    Hope this clears up the query!

    Ian Coleby
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  7. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Dear 'Aldfort'

    I should say first of all that I have no better knowledge of the Trustees' reasons for remaining silent in recent months than any other WSRA member. I would agree that, whatever the reason, a poor impression of non-communication has been created. That cannot be allowed to continue.

    On a personal note, not even my severest critics would accuse me of hiding my opinions, and not communicating! You may disagree with me but (assuming you can express yourself within bounds of propriety) I will listen to what you say and make an opportunity for you to have your say! Long ago and far, far away, British Railways sent me on a three-day press course and what I learned has always come in handy......... During my spell as Chairman, and when dealing with the Station Farm planning application I tried to always be the source of news rather than having 'leaked' and then having to comment.

    My immediate thoughts are that the WSRA (1) can learn from the steps the plc has taken in recent years in running open meetings other than the annual AGM, (2) might wish to establish a formal channel for concerns to be expressed and answered, with standards for speed of reply etc, and (3) might wish to look to developments in e-communication.

    There is a balance to be struck. It must be right that folks who give their time to such organisations should not be 'bombarded' with personal communications. I have, for example, a work e-mail address which is known to my clients but few of them have my personal e-mail.

    Do you have any practical suggestions not covered by the above?

    kind regards

    Robin
     
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  8. rodders154

    rodders154 Member

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    Which I agreed to do when asked. Now replaced with a message saying if you want addresses please pm me. As an aside will the trustees be making a statement about the recent press comments. If you don't wish to post you have my number

    Rodders
     
  9. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Hi Ian,

    Apologies as I did give the wrong impression - also we've now e-mailed privately.

    Mike
     
  10. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    Hi Robin,

    I think these are excellent suggestions and would go a long way. It would be nice to see, at least, the chair and vice chair of the WRSA have published e-mail addresses. Reliance on a single "info" address is not really good enough.
     
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  11. Tiffer

    Tiffer Member

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    Taking Aldfort's valid point,it may be adviseable for chair/ vice chair to have two email addresses,one personal,the other more public for railway matters.,
     
  12. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator

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    Why not just open an email account specifically for such questions to be made and then give the trustees access to that?
     
  13. 1472

    1472 Well-Known Member

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    In the year 2014 & given the new quest for open ness & communication, this should be a very basic pre requisite and the railway one must be published.
     
  14. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    This may be what exists already. There is a single e-mail address for this purpose. It's the general "info@" address. The problem is this possibly places reliance on somebody forwarding e-mails to the relevant trustee. I think others have already understood my point though.
     
  15. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    This is slightly 'back to the future'. I had a look back at the arrangements when I was WSRA Chairman. I had a chairman@wsra etc e-mail address that I passed on to David Holmes when he took over from me that had a fair amount of use and was publicly known.

    regards

    Robin
     
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2014
  16. aldfort

    aldfort Part of the furniture

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    This is what I am suggesting exactly. If there was, say, a "chairman@" and a "vice-chariman@" link on the WSRA contact info pages of the WSRA web site then members would be able to write directly to the officers.
     
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  17. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Well-Known Member

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    You also need a good spam filter or additional protections on the 'corporate' address as well, otherwise you end up with automatic forwarding of all mails, which, whilst it keeps your e-mail address private, only overloads it with redirected spam.
     
  18. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    Herewith 'personal statements' from prospective WSRA Trustees.

    kind regards

    Robin
     

    Attached Files:

  19. ilvaporista

    ilvaporista Well-Known Member

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    Nice little sub notes added to the profiles.... Just in case you were going to try and judge each person on the merits of their statement.
     
  20. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    There was also quite a long document from the WSRA Trustees on the freehold included in the package which included the above, which included quarterly WSRA Journal, AGM paperwork etc etc. I have spared Forum members copies of that. There is still quite a lot of diplomacy to do, it would seem.

    kind regards

    Robin
     
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