Editors from the Gazette were able to attend East Kingdom Curia on Sunday, January 26th. These are our unofficial notes from the audience and should not be construed as an official transcript of the meeting.
The official agenda for Curia can be found online at this link (.pdf format):
Curia opened with the presentation of a necklace to the Kingdom Seneschal from the Web Ministry, in recognition of the unusually stressful start of her term.
There was no old business.
New Business Item 1 – Crown’s Youth Champions of Arms
The Kingdom Seneschal and Her Majesty opened the floor for discussion. The Seneschal offered the Kingdom Youth Marshal the opportunity to speak first, but she declined in favor of hearing comments from the populace.
The open comment period lasted for nearly an hour and about 30 people offered comments on various aspects of the proposal. The Kingdom Seneschal requested that those who had already submitted written comments prior to Curia defer to those present who had not already had a chance to express their opinions.
Most of the comments were in favor of there being a Youth Champion of Arms, with several powerful and moving statements from youth combatants, parents, and marshals about the positive impact of the Youth Combat Program. A few commenters noted that they were not certain it was appropriate to choose a Division I youth champion, given that the Program prioritizes sportsmanship and fun for the youngest participants, rather than competition.
A significant number of commenters expressed concern about the logistics of the proposal as offered, which would mandate that the tournament be held at Coronation. Her Majesty noted that the tournament to choose the champion was proposed for Coronation in order to make the term for the Youth Champion 6 months, vs the one year term for the adults. Commenters noted that the mandate for Coronation might make it harder to find Coronation sites, and that due to the relatively small number of youth marshals in the Kingdom currently, a situation might arise where not enough marshals were available at Coronation to run the tournaments safely. A number of suggestions were made to alter the proposal to make it slightly more flexible in terms of time and location, while still keeping the champion’s term to six months.
There were also a large number of comments concerning the perceived unfairness of having a Youth Champion recognized for heavy combat without equivalent Youth Champions for archery, thrown weapons, arts & sciences, rapier, and equestrian. In counterpoint, it was noted that for most other disciplines, there are no age restrictions for entry and that youth could compete for Championships in those disciplines alongside adults. Commenters pointed out that we have had youth win King’s and Queen’s Archery in the past, and that youth have also been members of a number of Pennsic Champions teams.
Mistress Eleanor fitzPatrick made an extremely well-received proposal that the Crown include youth in the Consort’s Guard.
Following the populace comment period, the Kingdom Youth Marshal made her comment. She noted that she had come with a prepared statement, but was “throwing it out the window” in response to the “amazing” commentary from the populace. She spoke about her experience with the Youth Combat Program, about the passion and dedication she sees in the youth fighters, and how they make our society grow. She noted that she valued the perspectives of everyone who took the time to comment and that the youth marshalate was ready to proceed whenever the Crown was ready.
At this point, there was a short break to allow the Crown, the Seneschal, and the Clerk of the Laws to confer.
Following the break, Her Majesty announced that she would enact the proposal with the following changes:
– “at Coronation” will be changed to “at or between Coronation and Crown Tournament” to allow more flexibility in scheduling
– the section of law about the Consort’s Guard will be amended to allow for two advisers, one for the adults and one specifically for youth. The existing language already permits appointing youth members as well as adults.
New Business Item 2 – Proposal concerning the Marshalate Lesser Offices
Her Majesty announced that “at this time” she would not enact this change, and noted that the Earl Marshal’s office was welcome to submit this same or amended proposal to future monarchs. There was no discussion or comment period.
New Business Item 3 – Proposal to create a consistent usage of “in writing” in Kingdom law
The floor was opened for comments. No comments were offered, and Her Majesty will enact the changes as proposed.
New Business Item 4 – Changes to the Order of Valor
The proposal involved some renaming of law sections, revising the name of the award from Order of Valor to Award of Valor (for consistency with other similar awards), and changing the maximum number per reign from three to six.
The floor was opened for comments. No comments were offered, and Her Majesty will enact the changes as proposed.
New Business Item 5 – Profit Sharing with Royal Progress Events
The Seneschal asked the Kingdom Exchequer to present his report at this time, in order to inform the conversation around this proposal.
The Exchequer stated that he will be submitting our annual required report to Society later this weekend. He noted that Birka marks the end of his first full year in the role.
He introduced his new emergency deputy, Ysane la filerese
He noted that he urgently needs regional deputies for the northern region (ME, NH, VT area), New York, and New Jersey
He announced that the Kingdom (and, in fact, all Kingdoms) have now moved to QuickBooks. Society is paying for the Kingdom licences for QuickBooks, and all reports from Kingdom to Society will now be submitted via QuickBooks. Local groups are not yet moving to QuickBooks, in large part due to cost, but also because not all groups need to use the service. The annual licence fee per group for QuickBooks would be between $250 and $480 per year.
He noted that at Curia last January, law was amended to mandate that Royal Progress events share 20% of their net profit with the Kingdom, in order to keep the Kingdom solvent, but implementation had been delayed by one year in order to give the new Exchequer time to determine if 20% was indeed the right number. He noted that when he took over the office it was in “quite the tangle.” He has now gone over the financials for the past 7 years, and “by the bank balances” there is not actually an annual year over year loss of $5,000, as was the concern last January. Further investigation is needed to determine why the budgets are so divergent from the apparent reality. The amendment to delay the profit sharing by another year (to January of 2021) will give him time to look over the numbers in a much more detailed way, to determine the scope of the problem. He also noted that a number of groups have made voluntary donations to Kingdom this year. He thanked the people of the East for their support as he took over the office.
He noted that if people would like to volunteer to help the Exchequer’s office, he was delighted for the assistance, but people should bring him specific proposals about what skills they can bring to the office. “I’m skilled at QuickBooks” or “I have a lot of experience with financial spreadsheets” will help him better understand how he can use volunteers.
He also noted that there was “a long history” of communication issues with the office of the Exchequer. “This has to end.” He introduced some new deputies and highlighted that local groups must be better at getting reports in on time.
Although no firm timing was offered, the Exchequer also announced that, in the future, he plans to make the income and balance sheets for the Kingdom available on the East Kingdom website.
At this time, profit sharing for Royal Progress will be delayed until January of 2021.
Seneschal: Within a few days, the shire of Glenn Linn will be restored to full status. There have been some very early discussions about adding a fifth region to the East, a “western” region including Delaware and part of Pennsylvania. Former East Kingdom Seneschal Mistress Mercedes is taking on the role of the liaison to the heirs. Mistress Siubhan Wallace is becoming the local by-laws deputy. Overall, things are going well. Everyone is reminded to feel free to reach out with questions before they become problems.
Brigantia Herald: The East currently has the most submissions of any Kingdom. The current Brigantia has been approved for the fourth and final year of his term.
Chancellor Minor: There are currently 157 people on the background check roster, of whom 150 are active. Forty-seven new people are now in the background check pipeline. In light of the last-minute issues around youth at Pennsic last year, the office is currently working with other Kingdom Chancellors Minor and Pennsic staff to codify the rules. French translation of office documents is proceeding. Lady Eleanor Grey has taken over as Northern Regional deputy. Saravit of House Three Skulls has taken on the role of Webminister.
Chatelaine: A few recent issues have led to some revised policies that will be announced March 1st. New handbooks are in the works to reflect those new policies. Society is changing reporting dates for the office, will also lead to some changes in how and when local and regional officer reports are made. A wide variety of forms (reporting and rosters) are now available through the Chatelaine’s website. Every group will now need to submit a demo form so the Kingdom office is aware in advance that demos are taking place. The required demo form is available on-line. She is also bringing together a team of local chatelaines who excel at various aspects of recruitment to create short booklets for sharing best practices for the office.
Chronicler: The Kingdom Historian now has the archives from storage. There is currently a plan in place to index and scan what can be scanned and evaluate items that cannot be scanned. The goal is to reduce the amount of storage space needed while still keeping a comprehensive archive in place. The Chronicler is working with the Exchequer to purchase a scanner for the office.
Earl Marshal: The Earl Marshal continues to work on policy documents. The East (along with most other Kingdoms) have been doing marshal warrants incorrectly for quite a long time. A new process is being put in place to ensure that both the Earl Marshal and the Crown approve Marshal’s warrants going forward. The East has been approved for the current society test of experimental steel rules. Brian of Stonemarche will be the deputy for this, and the first demo in the East will be held sometime this summer, providing they can find an event to host.
Arts & Sciences: The Artists & Scholars Exhibition is planned for April 18th, 2020 in Carolingia. The office continues to work to find ways to support local exhibitions and competitions.
Minister of Lists: The office is in urgent need of volunteers for deputy roles. In particular, an emergency/primary deputy, and also a volunteer to be webminster for the office. The office is considering options for a long-discussed digital authorization system, looking at best practices from other kingdoms to create a system that could be adapted for society-wide use. The office currently has a massive print budget which seems unnecessary in this era of electronic communications and cell phones. Also, the handbook has not been rewritten in about a decade and needs a refresh.
Tyger Clerk of the Signet: “I just stepped up yesterday.” (much applause) 226 scrolls have been assigned so far this reign. In 2019, 121 scribes did at least one scroll, and 89 did more than one. As she takes over the office, she has added a new slate of deputies, who will be listed on the website. She wants everyone to take back to their local groups the message that last minute requests are becoming an increasing issue. Please don’t wait until the week before the event to send in your recommendations – this leaves the Crown with the difficult choice of not giving worthy people awards, people getting awards without scrolls, or overloading the scribes with last minute requests. Lead time for non-polling awards is at least ten weeks before the event, and earlier requests are always better.
Web Minister: The big project for the past many months has been the new website, which is now launched. Much of the credit for this goes to his predecessor and staff, including Lord Simon of Barnesdale and Master Joel Messerer. The web minister for the Shire of Owlshurst, Lord Edmund Forster, was the lead designer on the project. They are ready to transition over to gender neutral titles as of Coronation. A new WordPress plugin is now available to local groups, which will allow them to offer alternate language pages automatically based on the viewer’s browser settings.
Kingdom Chamberlain: The Kingdom archives have been moved to their new home. Master Goerijs Goriszoon, the current Chamberlain, will step down shortly and is actively looking for a candidate or candidates for the office. He will remain responsible for the stagecrafter’s guild for the time being.
Youth Combat: Last quarter there were 6 events hosting youth combat. There are 8 regular youth practices, including the first Canadian practice coming soon. The program continues to grow. They are up from just 3 regular local practices not long ago. There are currently 41 Marshals warranted, with 5- 6 currently in the pipeline. Youth combat is bringing in new families.
Pennsic Steward: The Pennsic Steward’s office has a budget of $8,000 which is a big chunk of the Kingdom’s overall budget. For 2019, we spent $6,511 on Pennsic, largely on rental items including tents and equipment for the state kitchen. $1,489 was unspent and returned to Kingdom. A big addition is the purchase of a second storage trailer for Kingdom use, which greatly expands our storage space. This purchase was funded through a donation from Fortune and Ozurr of privately-raised travel funds from their reign, as well as through the fundraising dinner held at Pennsic this past year. The most urgent need for the office at this time is the construction of new showers for East Kingdom Royal Encampment at Pennsic.
Kingdom Marshal of Fence: New Society-level rules are currently working their way through corporate. Once they are finalized, I will work with local marshals to implement them at the Kingdom level, but there is not currently a timeline for that.
There being no further business before Curia, the meeting was adjourned.