The Jewish Chronicle
Board fails again to attract enough votes for reforms
FOR A second successive month, Board of Deputies leaders have failed to win enough support for reforms of the representative body.
Although the reform package was supported by deputies on Sunday by a 63 per cent to 37 per cent majority, the result was narrowly short of the two-thirds majority required to approve constitutional change.
On Monday, the Board’s constitution committee upheld the result after the inability of some deputies to cast their vote at the digital meeting raised questions over whether the ballot would have to be rerun.
Board president Marie van der Zyl said the committee had “concluded there would need to be no further vote on the proposed changes to the constitution and that Sunday’s outcome will stand”.
She said it was “disappointing that the proposals failed to reach the two-thirds threshold by such a small margin. We will now reflect and decide how best to resolve the situation.”
The result was similar to January when the vote was 61 per cent in support and 39 per cent against. The constitution committee was called in after 12 of the 260 deputies who attended the latest Zoom meeting appeared not to have voted.
But the committee found that only two of the 12 had been unable to vote. One had been absent from the digital “room” when the ballots were issued; the other had encountered a problem with the system.
It found “no evidence of a systematic issue with the digital voting system”.
The main thrust of the reforms would be to increase the trustee body from the five current officers to 11 and, say lawyers advising the Board, protect deputies from unlimited liability.
But some of the finer details have attracted opposition, including whether some of the additional trustees should have specific portfolios.
After tweaking the plans again in the wake of last month’s setback, Board president Marie van der Zyl wrote to deputies ahead of Sunday in the hope that those “unable to support the constitutional documents last time will be able to do so this time”.
No amendments were allowed to be tabled during the 90-minute debate.
A group of deputies known as the “gang of four”, who have been at the forefront of resistance to some of the changes, had urged deputies in advance to vote against the package.
“We strongly believe that the Board will be best served by a consensus approach to the new governing documents in which the honorary officers carry all the deputies with them, instead of repeated attempts to push through their proposals without allowing amendments to be considered in a plenary,” they argued.