March 13, 2021

Bands reject RSPBA motion to require payment of lapsed dues

Sixty Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association member bands attended the organization’s 2021 annual general meeting held on March 13th via Zoom, where a contentious motion to force members to pay up to three years of lapsed dues in arrears when they re-join the organization was narrowly defeated.

According to several sources, the vote went 26 for the motion, 30 against, and four abstentions. Had the motion passed, some bands could have been on the hook to pay nearly a thousand pounds in lapsed dues.

The organization used the time to go through its 2020 financials, which initiated basic questions from pipes|drums that the organization did not address before the meeting.

There were calls at the meeting for the association to be more transparent and willing to answer questions about its actions and finances.

The association clarified that several line items listed under 2020 were actually money paid out in 2020 for 2019 events, such as numerous cheques not cashed in 2019 that had to be reissued in 2020.

Some expenses for judges’ costs were also for late 2019 events, but which were not submitted and administered until 2020, and other expenses were for two trustee meetings held in January 2020.

After a discussion, the organization reportedly decided to withdraw a motion to pay board of directors for services rendered at the RSPBA’s five major championships and the World Solo Drumming Championships. Board Vice Chair Paul Brown eventually cautioned against passing the motion until more details can be obtained from the Scottish Charities Regulator about what is permissible.

There were calls at the meeting for the association to be more transparent and willing to answer questions about its actions and finances, which the Scottish Charity Regulator had stressed the organization should improve.

Chief Executive Ian Embelton commented about his retirement, which was delayed due to the pandemic. He thanked the board of directors, the vice-chair, the president, the headquarters staff, the stewards, officials, and judges.

The members unanimously approved the appointment of Kevin Reilly as the Chair of the organization. He replaces John Hughes who said he is retiring from the organization after 20 years. Reilly was the only board member nominated for the role, which he returns to after holding it for several years in the 2000s.

The association said that there would likely be announcements on the Scottish and World Championships in the next few weeks. The events are the only two majors still on the calendar.

It was also stressed that the organization currently has enough money to see it through at least until the end of 2021.

At publication time, Vice Chair Paul Brown had not responded to an invitation to comment on decisions and reports made at the meeting. As always, the RSPBA’s input is welcomed.



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