Six Landscape Institute past presidents object to election result being overturned

Brodie McAllister was chosen as the Landscape Institute’s President Elect (PE) in 2021. Then, 3 days before he should have become President members were sent an email saying this would not happen. This webpage has a summary of the reasons which were given. It is followed by a letter, signed by Six Past Presidents of the Landscape Institute, which strongly objects to the LI’s decision.  To contact the group of LI members concerned with this issue please send an email to  [email protected] .

See also:

Dismissal of the President Elect

The letter from President Jane Findlay to members was marked confidential and cannot be reproduced here for copyright reasons. She informed members that (1) the decision was taken unanimously by the Landscape Institute’s Advisory Council on the 27th of June 2022 (2) there was a whistleblowing disclosure (which was not quoted) concerning President Elect Brodie McAllister (2) this was followed by an Investigation under the LI’s regulations (3) the Investigation found there had been breaches of the LI the Trustee Code of Conduct and on account of these findings the PE was dismissed as a Trustee (3) Brodie McAllister denied all the accusations and objected that due process was not followed (4) the Advisory Council took into account that the PE was elected by the membership and that its power should only be exercised in exceptional circumstances (4) the accusations did not relate to financial or sexual matters (5) the current Vice President, Noel Farrer FLI PPLI, supported by the Immediate Past President Jane Findlay CMLI PLI (from 1st July 2022) will lead the institute until a new election is held.

Letter of Objection to the President Elect’s Dismissal (signed by six previous LI Presidents)

Dear Colleague
Next President of the LI
Brodie McAllister was voted President Elect (PE) of the Landscape Institute in June 2021. You will have been informed by the LI that he will not become President. This happened because the LI made his position untenable, which is without precedent in the LI’s 93 year existence.
Like us, you will want to know more about how and why this came about. We do know that a very large sum of money has been paid to the Institute‘s solicitors to carry out a 5-month investigation of the PE’s actions. Like us, you will want to know how much is being spent and who authorised the expenditure. We do know that no funds have been afforded to the PE for his defence. 
The LI has claimed that the results of its investigations demonstrate that the PE has brought the Institute into public disrepute. Like us, you will want to know how that is plausible – given that both the PE’s actions and the investigation have remained confidential. By overturning a democratic election it is the LI management which risks bringing public disrepute upon our profession. 
A group of Past Presidents and senior members of the profession made several efforts to head off the crisis and received dismissive responses. 
We are asking that you join us in calling for an Extraordinary General Meeting to discuss these points. Our concerns are:
1.    due process and the principles of natural justice were not followed 
2.    the solicitors’ two reports on the Investigation have not been released but we understand the main points to be (1) the PE asked a question about the president’s stipend, (2) the PE made a joke about a musician (Prince) which was taken to be an insult to the Privy Council (3) the PE is accused of, and rejects, an accusation that he was responsible for the use an inappropriate avatar name in an internal Teams meeting (4) the PE was unhappy that an earlier complaint (from which he was fully exonerated) had been made against him by the Board. Together, the investigations have dragged on for the best part of a year, in which the PE should have been preparing to take office. We deem these complaints to be trivial and believe they should have been dealt with by a faster, fairer and cheaper alternative (mediation or arbitration)
3.    the action against the PE was taken under LI Regulation 21. It states that a trustee can only be removed  ‘in exceptional circumstances, such as, if in the reasonable opinion of the Council, the behaviour of the Trustee has damaged or is likely to damage the reputation of the Institute’.  In our view (1) the PE is of good character and has served the LI in many capacities over many years, which is why he was chosen by the members (2) the circumstances of this case are not ‘exceptional’ (3) internal communications cannot damage the public reputation of the LI (4) the action to remove a person who was elected by the membership may cause serious damage to thepublic reputation of the LI (5) overturning election results is bad democratic practice and will discourage potential candidates from standing in future elections. As it approaches its 100th Anniversary and deals with issues of global importance, the LI is in great need for strong, imaginative and compassionate leadership
4.    we are profoundly of the view that membership income held by a charity should be spent on promoting the ways in which the landscape profession can benefit the environment and society
We believe that the members’ choice of the next President should stand and that there should be an Independent Inquiry (like the RICS Alison Levitt Review) into LI’s actions. Would you support us in making this request? 
Yours faithfully
Past Presidents:
Merrick Denton- Thompson
Brian Clouston
Tim Gale
Alan Tate
Hal Moggridge
Richard Burden
Tony Edwards
Sally Marsh
Bill Cairns
Edward Hutchison
Peter Hutchinson
Senior Members:
Mark Loxton
Annabel Downs
David Appleton