Another former elder chiming in here:
I do know that the congregation is the major factor in the appointment or removal of an elder.
The local congregtion does have input but I've personally witnessed situations where a brother was recommended by the local BOE and local CO only to be shot down by the branch for reasons that were arbitrary. I've also seen situations where someone who had connections with the local branch had been recommended to be deleted but the branch wouldn't do it.
Elders and MS are appointed by the branch and to say otherwise is to be dishonest. The recommendations are reviewed by a direct agent of the branch, the CO. As has been previously shown with quotes from the Shepherd book, that's not only the written procedure but that's everyone's practical experience from several countries.
Defend them all you like, it doesn't change the fact that they were morally obligated to do more and as some of these lawsuits are showing, are LEGALLY obligated to do more.
I'm just glad I never had to deal with a pedophile case as an elder.