Brian Cormack of the FoH was kind enough to reply. The questions asked yesterday are re-posted below with his answers following them.
I would like to thank Brian for taking the time to answer. His responses are in bold and have been unedited.
Matt Leslie: It goes without saying given the two owners the club had before administration of 2013, that the above quality is essential for all potential candidates.
However, and maybe for the next election, could an addition be made? Namely, someone that can have ideas and a structured programme into enhancing the club's community programme?
While I'm sure the current one does fine work, there is always scope for improvement.
An example is the Glasgow Rocks basketball team who via the Scottish Sports Futures programme (http://scottishsportsfutures.org.uk/) have done some sterling work with children in disadvantaged areas in Glasgow with some outstanding results.
Brian Cormack: I think that is a good suggestion for next year.
Connecting with the community is a key priority for everyone involved with Hearts.
I cannot do better than quote what Ann Budge said at the weekend regarding community engagement:
“I see three intersecting circles. There’s the club, there’s Foundation of Hearts, who are absolutely supporting the club, and we have got Big Hearts and they are all inter-connected so we have to have the same values………………[W]hat happens at Big Hearts, is Hearts. And in a sense what happens with FoH, is Hearts so it has to be tightly-knit.”
2. Three-year elected term
ML: Is there any scope for the FoH to step in should an elected director prove him or herself to be incompetent, or even worse, corrupt to the point where the club is inconvenienced (regardless of whether or not the police are involved).
After all, three years does seem to indicate a large leap of faith being taken in whoever is fortunate enough to be elected.
Maybe the term of office could be cut to one year instead of three with the director standing annually should he or she wish to do so?
If they have fulfilled the expectations of office during that year, then re-election should not be a problem.
If they don't, then the opportunity is there for FoH members to resolve any issues that they may have by electing an alternative candidate after the 12-month term is up.
BC: Our articles of association provide that a director can be removed from office at any time if all the other directors unanimously resolve that he/she should stand down.
He/she can also be removed at any time by an ordinary resolution of the members.
I think a three-year term of office is appropriate at this stage of the Foundation’s evolution, and reducing it to one year could, I think, potentially deprive the board of capable directors just as their full value to the board begins to be realised.
3. No fees to be paid to elected members
ML: If we have a situation where a particular elected director shows him or herself to have skills and abilities of a very high level (Ann Budge-esque capabilities for want of a better term) that benefit the club, will there be an option to make that director an offer to be a full-time salaried employee of Heart of Midlothian?
Naturally this would have to be done on a case-by-case basis, but if one member shows that they can take the club's off-field performance to a higher level, then wouldn't it be wise to get them on board full-time?
After all, if other clubs notice such a person's talent, and see that they're not getting paid, then Hearts could lose a very skilled individual for nothing and have to start from scratch all over again to fill their position.
BC: there would be no impediment in principle to a director of the Foundation also holding a salaried post at the Club.
4. Exclusion from election due to mental disorder
ML: Does this prohibit potential candidates who have depression and/or anxiety?
If that is the case then are the club and the FoH not in breach of the 2010 Equalities Act which covers amongst many things, depression and anxiety?
BC: I find it very difficult to envisage circumstances in which we would have to treat depression or anxiety as grounds for ineligibility, and we would do our utmost to avoid that situation.
To be relevant, the condition would have to one which would have a significant negative impact on the person’s ability to perform the normal duties of a director.
Before considering any question of ineligibility, we would look at how we could reasonably adjust the way the board operates to allow the candidate to fulfil the role of director if elected.
And, although a non-executive director is not an employee in the eyes of the law, we would fully comply with applicable equality legislation.
5. Nomination procedure
ML: The rule where it states that each candidate must be nominated by 25 people - given the election this time last year only produced one candidate, could the figure of 25 be reduced to (for the sake of argument) 10?
It may be possible that the candidate list for this year's election may be bigger but 25 presents quite a barrier.
There is the likelihood that skilled and able candidates are deterred from putting themselves up because they cannot raised the 25 signatures needed.
The club could be losing out and maybe reducing the nominations number could see more on the list next year and give FoH members a greater choice.
BC: The figure of 25 was fixed after lengthy discussion among the directors as to what the appropriate level of mandatory up-front support was.
But we will keep it under review in the light of each year’s election process and, if appropriate, we can bring forward an amending resolution.
ML: Assuming there are three or more candidates on the ballot paper, will there be a second preference option should neither of them win outright on the initial count?
BC: No. It is a first-past-the-post election, and each member has one vote.