(By Paul Rogerson, THE ACCOUNTANT, February 2000, page 1)

Dissident members of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) have failed to win the required backing for an external review of how the London-based body is run.

At an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) in 17th February, members overwhelmingly rejected the motion calling for the appointment of an independent commission to examine all aspects of the association's governance.

Votes cast by the 150 or so members in attendance were being counted as TA went to press but the results of a postal vote, revealed at the outset of the meeting, made the result a foregone conclusion.

Only just over 10 percent of the association's 72,000 members responded to the poll. Of 8,301 votes cast, 92 percent (7,615) voted against the motion, with 7.8 percent (651) voting in favour.

Anthony Thomas, a disaffected former council member, forced the EGM by persuading more than 1000 members to sign up to his motion. Among his specific concerns were the role and supervisions of Anthea Rose, the chief executive, and the use of the president's proxy vote in council elections. In the EGM poll, the president cast 439 delegated proxy votes against the motion.

Thomas was also concerned by the way Ray Gardiner, president-elect, was unseated last year. Gardiner was dumped by a vote of no confidence just hours before the association's 6 May annual general meeting (AGM). Council voted 25 to ten to bar Gardiner, the-then deputy president, from assuming the top job. He was ousted over his alleged role in a disciplinary matter involving former council member Robert Jackson.

Speaking at the EGM, which cost the association £65,000 ($104,000), Thomas vowed to fight for greater transparency and accountability at the ACCA would continue. "If you think that the conclusion of this meeting will end the debate, you are wrong,", he told ACCA officials. "That debate has only just started".

At this year's ACCA AGM, moves are expected to raise the number of signatories required to force an EGM from the current 100. One percent of the association's membership is likely to be the new proposed threshold.