The RSSG & The SAA

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the bouncer
Staff member
Site Supporter
Aug 11, 2001
Hi All

Below is a copy of a posting made by Lee Fletcher (Trent Barbeller) on the BFW forums (also on the AN forums).

I am posting this with a sadness in my heart.



Dear RSSG committee member,

As you will be aware, prior to the RSSG joining the SAA to promote its political and environmental interests, Lee undertook various correspondence with officers in SAA so as to clarify what the RSSG role and stance would be within that part of the angling political arena. Various aspects were clarified and certain guarantees given from SAA that inspired the RSSG negotiator Lee Fletcher, to advise the RSSG committee that joining the SAA would be the right path for the RSSG to take. Prior to the RSSG joining the SAA, Lee Flecher and Mike Heylin the SAA secretary, jointly agreed on a press release that would announce that the RSSG had joined the SAA. It was also clarified prior to the RSSG attending the SAA AGM and normal SAA meeting held straight after in May, that the RSSG would not become the SAA rivers group but preferred instead, to retain its own identity within the body of SAA. However, at that meeting it was confirmed that the RSSG would fill the gap within SAA concerning having a group specifically dedicated to river fishing and that the RSSG would help out and take on river orientated issues within SAA.

A RSSG political and environmental team was set up after the second and final RSSG formation meeting who were tasked to represent the RSSG political and environmental interests at political meetings etc. That team comprised of Ray Wood, Lee Fletcher, Steve Richardson and Clive Dennison. Clive however was unable to become involved fully due to certain career related problems he was/is experiencing.

Not long into the RSSGs membership within the SAA, things started to go wrong. Lee did not receive notification via the SAA secretary that the agreed press releases had gone out and to whom. We did not appear on the SAA website under their Group Contacts section, and Lees SAA post as its Rivers Coordinator did not appear on the SAA website under the Officer section either. Lee thought this to be strange considering that other new SAA positions had been placed on the SAA website almost immediately after the May meeting. For some reasonable period, indeed more than a reasonable period, Lee said nothing to the SAA secretary, preferring instead to allow the SAA secretary to do things at his own pace.
When Lee did start to ask questions, his enquiries were met by either a wall of silence, or with particularly condescending replies to his emails.

Lee asked for any relevant documentation in river-associated areas that the SAA were working in so as to bring Lee up to speed with developments and to allow the RSSG to have impute if required. To begin with, Lee had no replies to his request for information. Over and again Lee asked. When Tim Marks did reply, all that were sent were old issues and the statement that the SAA worked within the Moran Committee on river issues.

When the European Anglers Alliance released its press statement concerning Cormorant predation, the RSSG through Lee backed the EAA stance and Lee asked if the SAA backed this stance also. Basically, the EAA working in the European Parliament were campaigning for cormorants to be culled on a Europe wide scale at their breeding grounds. The SAA stance was that it refused to back the EAA on Cormorants preferring instead to let the NAA hold talks with the RSPB. Lee registered the RSSG opinion that yet more talks with the RSPB were futile. But to no avail as Lees concerns was not listened to.

Lee asked the SAA when did the agreed SAA/RSSG press releases go out. Mike Heylin told Lee they had gone out but none of the papers/magazines had printed them. Lee asked when did they go out and to whom? Lee received no reply.

As things between the RSSG and SAA got worse, David Bird the SAA Chairman phoned up Steve Richardson and asked if the RSSG would hold a meeting between certain officials in the SAA in order to settle the differences between the RSSG and SAA. David Bird also told Steve that one or two within SAA wanted to kick Lee out of SAA membership.

The RSSG refused to hold any meeting with SAA officials outside of the boundaries of proper SAA committee meetings due entirely to the RSSG being left in a questionable position later if they had. Regarding David Birds comments surrounding kicking Lee out of SAA membership, Lee held a meeting with his legal council the following week so as to prepare for any perceivable threat to his SAA membership. Prior to the SAA meeting on the 8th of September, Lee held three such meetings with his legal council to discuss this mater.

Emails between the RSSG and SAA were further exchanged. Lee wanted to know why the RSSG had not been placed on the SAA website under the Group Contacts section. And why was not Lees position as the SAA Rivers coordinator not on the site also in the Officers section. Mike Heylin said that he had sent all relevant information to the SAA website controller Rob Stubbs. Rob Stubbs came back and said he could not remember receiving the information. Then, Rob Stubbs said he had but they had been lost. After persistent correspondence from Lee, the RSSG information and his own post did not appear on the SAA website.

Lee also asked on several occasions as to the whereabouts of the minutes of the SAA AGM and meeting held afterwards back in May. Lee received no replies.

On the 20th of July 2002, Mike Heylin sent Lee confirmation of a press release that he had sent out for the SAA where he stated that the said release entitled, SAA On The Move had gone out shortly after the 21st of July 2002. Interestingly, the press chose not to mention part of that release that mentioned Lee as the SAA Rivers Coordinator. However, this was merely a press release concerning new appointments in SAA and was NOT the one that Mike Heylin and Lee had agreed on back in May that was entitled, River Anglers Join SAA Lee has received no explanation from Mike Heylin or anyone in SAA as to whether that particular press release had ever been sent out to the press as previously agreed upon.

On the same date, 20th of July 2002, Mike Heylin announced rather angrily in an email (using foul language) that due to Lees attitude he had resigned as the SAA secretary. (A copy of this and all other emails between the RSSG and SAA is available at the request of all RSSG committee members. Lee keeps detailed files and all SAA correspondence is on Lees records)

Following the telephone conversation between David Bird and Steve Richardson, Lee received a registered letter from David Bird concerning the RSSG and SAA. David Bird stated that the RSSG information would be placed on the SAA website. Although this still took some weeks to complete. David Bird also confirmed that Mike Heylin had resigned as SAA secretary but had agreed to stay on until a replacement could be found. Lee did not like the idea of a resigning officer carrying on with his previous duties. A temporary replacement should have been found otherwise, what is the point of his resigning in the first place? David Bird also stated in his letter that all agreed press statements between the RSSG and SAA would be re-submitted to the angling press. In his letter, David Bird told Lee that the next SAA meeting should be interesting.

Following that letter, Lee asked when and to whom the re-submitted press releases would go out to.

On the 8th of August 2002, the SAA committee members received their copies of the SAA AGM minutes and minutes of the meeting held afterwards on the same day. They also received the agenda for a SAA meeting to be held on the 8th of September 2002.

Lee did NOT receive any of these documents either in his capacity as the SAA River Coordinator or in his capacity as RSSG General Secretary. As such, Lee was unaware that this meeting was taking place so was in effect, not permitted to attend that meeting.

Later, after this meeting had taken place, excuses were given by the SAA secretary as to why the RSSG or Lee had not received the September meeting information, which were;

Your post about the lack of minutes was pointed out to me and I cannot
explain why you did not get them. I sent them by an e-mail loop, which
includes you, on August 8th and everybody else on the loop got them, as far as I know.

I checked with Alan Row last night and he says your name did not appear at
the end of the list, which is where it is in my "group" mailing list, at the top of his email from me.
I can only presume it dropped off somehow inside Hotmail. I don't know how
these things work but find it hard to believe such an event can occur.

Prior to the September SAA meeting, Lee Fletcher, Steve Richardson and Ray Wood made various posts on Anglers Net threads where they criticised how the SAA was being ran. Lees posts were especially numerous above those made by Steve and Ray. At the same time, many others in SAA made their own posts that were written in another vein but none the less, were all posts made in the context of the SAA being their theme. The RSSG were very frustrated at the way it was being treated by the SAA leadership. So exercised its right to speak out on open angling forums.

This of course did not sit well with the SAA, so at their meeting in September, plans were laid to deal with Lee. Since that meeting on the 8th of September, Lee received the minutes of that meeting and they have been handed over to his legal council.

During that meeting, the SAA secretary announced his resignation and gave reasons for his decision. Reasons that wholly included Lee and Lees attitude towards the SAA secretary Mike Heylin. Following his announcement at the meeting, Mike Heylin left the room whilst those in attendance, (all 13 of them) decided what to do. David Bird kept the minutes of that part of the meeting. (Seeing as he had already destroyed his impartiality by getting involved beforehand, Lee and the RSSG question his right to be impartial in being the drafter of said minutes)

Mike Heylin received unanimous support to continue from those in the room (13 of 10,000) and so when allowed back in the meeting; he decided to carry on as the SAA secretary. After the meeting was held, I received an email from Mike Heylin. Parts of that email are copied here now;

Yes, I did stand down as secretary, but there were no nominations and I was
persuaded to withdraw my resignation. The meeting re-affirmed their total
confidence for me to continue to act as secretary, even after I explained
your complaints and my reasons for resigning in the first place. This part
of the meeting was not minuted by me, but by David Bird as chairman.

I draw you attention to no nominations in the above paragraph. Lee himself as SAA Rivers Coordinator and as the RSSG General Secretary received no nomination forms or prior knowledge for the purpose of having someone stand for the position of SAA secretary in an election. Surely, once an officer has resigned, that position is then put out for re-election at the appropriate time and in the meantime, a temporary secretary is nominated to undertake the secretaries duties in the interim period.
Lee also states that he has not read, or knows about, whether the SAA secretarys decision to resign was made in writing in the appropriate manner. Or that any nomination forms or invites to stand for the vacant position was sent out.

Another section within Mike Heylins email to Lee states;

I am certain that other members of SAA will object to you posting anything
further on the websites about the SAA. The feeling on Sunday was very much
against you continuing to do so, and such postings are in breach of the
constitution (para. 14.10). This was not from the core but group reps
attending the meeting. You must make your own mind up but for SAA change it
to RSSG and then decide how you might view that within RSSG if your washing
was in the public domain. I trust you will do what is best for angling and
the future.

What this means is that the SAA are trying to use the item 14.10 in the SAA constitution as a way of possibly terminating Lees SAA membership. Lees legal council has stated that this item has been taken out of its original context and further more, Lee is infact a tiny part of those who regularly make posts of a SAA nature on angling websites. So, are all those SAA members/officers posting on websites concerning the SAA being made answerable for their freedom of speech? Clearly not. Lee has supplied his legal council with all posts made by other SAA members/officers over the last twelve months.

More from the same email was;

I am attaching a copy of the SAA constitution to this mail so that you can
consider your future action in the full knowledge of the standing of SAA,
it's committee and authorised spokesmen. This is not intended as a
challenge to you. I am trying to avoid further disruption within angling and
to remove that which I fear may come about if you proceed with posts on AN
or other websites regarding the internal business of SAA. The angling press
are monitoring the bulletin boards looking to pick up stories. It is after
all cheap journalism. See today Anglers mail page 4. It would be
unfortunate if this washing was made available to a wider public and damage
to SAA or angling ensued.

Lees legal council has read the SAA constitution and SAA website and nowhere do they state who the authorised SAA spokesmen are. Furthermore, Lee is ready and prepared for what Mike Heylin states as that which I fear may come about.

Lee was denied the democratic process of defending himself at the SAA meeting on the 8th of September 2002 or having his legal council present to defend him. Even so, the SAA went ahead with that part of the meeting regardless of the obvious absence of Lee being present in the room.

So, where does all this leave Lee Fletcher and Ray Wood? More importantly, where does all this leave the political and environmental concerns that the RSSG hold?

It remains vital to the RSSG that they have a place within the existing political avenues in place today. Without that, the RSSG will have no political or environmental say in the angling scheme of things. Steve Richardson has already told Lee and Ray that in order to deal with the SAA in future, a different dialect would have to be used. Both Lee and Ray agree with that sentiment and confirm that Steve is probably right.

The problem that Lee and Ray have in all this is that they refuse to be gagged by an administration in SAA that they regard as less than adequate. But in the interests of the RSSG, their first priority, and the interests of political angling unity, they are making the following statement.

From this day forward, Lee Fletcher General secretary of the RSSG and Ray Wood, Chairman of the RSSG resign their RSSG positions collectively.

Lee can no longer trust or work within the SAA arena so terminates his membership in that group also forthwith.

This is to take immediate effect from the time and date this communication is sent out.

Their decision is final.

Clearly, from the events surrounding the SAA meeting on the 8th of September, Lee and Ray hold no regard for the SAA and have no common ground on which to work on. Ray and Lee would like it to be known, that no forces within the SAA or anywhere else will prevent them from speaking their minds and giving opinions on any angling related matter on open website forums in the future as individual members of the wider angling community.

This joint statement has been sent to the RSSG committee first, then to the leadership of the SAA.

I'm going to lock the thread after posting this so there can be no "risky" posts made.

I hope you all understand.


I'll have a fiver on the black un
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