Vote now in the RTPI elections and help strengthen the institute

Make your vote count in elections for Junior Vice-President and the Board of Trustees, and vote online, urges Richard Summers.

Vital contribution: general assembly members play a key role in shaping Royal Town Planning Institute policy
Vital contribution: general assembly members play a key role in shaping Royal Town Planning Institute policy

Use your vote in the Royal Town Planning Institute elections to ensure that we have a stronger institute to continue our dialogue with government and the media about planning issues and national planning systems, to tackle the challenges of global economic crisis, social inequity and climate change, and to lead the RTPI into its centenary year in 2014. Your vote is vital to our democracy.

Make sure your vote counts before the deadline at noon on Wednesday 30 November. This is the second year that you can vote online.

This year, we have four strong candidates for junior vice-president in 2012, who will be RTPI president in our centenary year in 2014. They are (in alphabetical order): David Marshall, Kevin Murray, Cath Ranson and Andrew Taylor. They are all committed and enthusiastic members of the RTPI who have served the profession in many capacities over the years.

Then there are six eager candidates standing for three vacancies on our board of trustees. They are Ken Burley, Tony Crook, David Marshall, Janet O'Neill, Cath Ranson and Phil Williams. We also have two strong candidates for the role of young planner on the board of trustees. They are Cullum Parker and Wayne Reynolds. So we have exciting contests ahead for junior vice-president and the board of trustees. Good luck to them all.

In other changes, Don Alder has been elected unopposed as the associations representative on the general assembly and the board of trustees. There were also 14 nominations for 14 vacancies on the general assembly and so they too have been elected unopposed. Well done.

This year, we are saying thanks and fond farewells to our long-serving and devoted honorary treasurer Vincent Goodstadt and our equally long-serving and vigilant honorary solicitor and secretary Peter Wilbraham. They had a well-deserved ovation for their services to the RTPI at the recent meeting of the general assembly in London. Thank you both.

The general assembly also accepted the recommendation of the board of trustees that Graham Stallwood be elected as honorary treasurer and that Pat Thomas be elected as honorary solicitor and secretary. They have both served as trustees and as members of the general assembly and we are delighted they are rejoining us in their new roles.

In addition, the general assembly gave a well-deserved ovation to Jed Griffiths, past president, past chairman of the former East of England branch and member of the general assembly, board of trustees and countless national and branch committees. He is one of several members of the general assembly standing down this year.

So let this encouragement, congratulation and gratitude underline the vital role that volunteers play in the life and governance of the institute. RTPI members serve the profession in many ways and their contributions are much appreciated. But the elections to junior vice-president and the board of trustees answer a special opportunity to serve.

I want to encourage all members of the RTPI to vote in these important elections. Your votes are vital in enriching the life and governance of the institute and promoting the planning profession in what continue to be challenging times for planning and for planners. Let us all work towards creating better places.

Richard Summers is RTPI president for 2011 and head of planning at The Landscape Partnership. Corporate members can vote online in the elections by clicking on the link in your late October email from the Electoral Reform Society. Follow the link to the society's RTPI Elections website, where you will find the candidates' election statements as well as your own voting paper.

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