Rebel’s bid for a seat at the ACS table


James Riley
Editorial Director

The tech industry veteran who led a rebel campaign against the executive team at the Australian Computer Society over the mismanagement of a corporate restructure is now seeking a seat at the table.

Roger Clarke, who took the ACS to the Federal Court over its handling of a membership vote at an extraordinary general meeting held last October, has nominated himself to fill the Vice-President (Academic Boards) vacancy that currently exists on the ACS Management Committee.

The eligibility requirements for the role are not straight forward, and Mr Clarke will need a special exemption from the 24-member National Congress to be allowed to hold the position because has not served the required minimum 12-months of the past five years serving on Congress – a key requirement.

Roger Clarke
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There is a certain irony that the V-P position Mr Clarke has nominated for has responsibility for the Technical Advisory Board – the board that will in the next day or so decide whether Mr Clarke’s nomination is valid and endorsed.

Even if the nomination is endorsed by the Technical Advisory Board, the National Congress would be required to vote on whether to allow a special exemption, via a show of virtual hands.

Nominations for the vice-president position – which became vacant when Ian Oppermann was elected to the president’s chair – closed on Thursday. The ballot will be held on April 12.

It is not yet clear how many people have nominated for the role, and it is far from clear what attitude the current Management Committee will have to Mr Clarke’s entry. Given the overwhelming majority of the 11-member committee were also on the committee when Mr Clarke was taking action against them in the Federal Court – including chief executive Andrew Johnson and former president Yohan Ramasundara – feelings may still be running high.

And it might be that the committee simply wants some gender balance on the committee, which operates effectively as the ACS board. Of the ten members of the current Management Committee, nine are men, with Maria Markman, the national congress member from Victoria the only woman.

In seeking the endorsement of the ACS Technical Advisory Board for his nomination, Mr Clarke has asked that they take into account “many years of contributions to the ACS” and his “demonstrated commitment to it.”

Mr Clarke says his many years of service including as chair and member of the management committee should be taken into account. And he says his role in the past six months of turmoil should be viewed as a positive.

“My deep engagement over the last six months with the issues confronting the Society enables me to convey to Management Committee the viewpoints of concerned members,” he stated.

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