Re: community management
From: David L. Mandel (
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 02:09:30 -0500
A few quick comments in reply to Stephan Rogers' query from Pioneer Valley.

@ Nineteen committees! We had close to that many at first (issue need to be
dealt with? form a committee). Setting meeting times was horrendous, especially
for the hyperactive folks who joined many committees. So about a year ago we
created four broader "clusters"; everyone is expected to me a member of one and
only one. The first hour of one of our twice-monthly general meetings is devoted
to cluster meetings. Each one has a coordinator and they are responsible for
four general areas: Common house, other (mostly outdoor common areas),
administration and community life. When a task needs doing or a topic needs
brainstorming, a subgroup from the cluster takes it on. The idea is to delegate
specific implementation of general decisions to these clusters, which are also
supposed to generate proposals for improvements to our lives. 
        Results: the chaos of umpteen committees has diminished, but some
clusters in particular have trouble getting a handle on the idea that they're
supposed to do maintenance work in their areas, not just talk about it and toss
any difficult problems back at the general meeting.
        We're talking about the problem, and I will be happy to e-mail to anyone
who requests a three-page brainstorm opener that was highly influenced by the
"What it's really like" workshop in Boulder. The topic is "Getting things done
around here," and it proposes some basic principles to consider along with a
categorization of the different types of tasks we face. Let me know but don't
expect it until after Nov. 7. I'll be out of town.

@ We have two overall coordinators responsible for setting general meeting
agendas, keeping tabs on important maintenance tasks to make sure they're not
neglected, coordinating work parties, fielding complaints and gripes from the
rest of it. The idea is to rotate these positions every six months or so, but
one person has already stayed longer.
        It seems like a good idea, though some of us are so bad about 
and following through on assigned tasks that it's not enough to have just these
coordinators. We need a better overall system.

I'll be happy to hear about other successful and unsuccessful schemes. Maybe
genetic engineering for responsibility and better memory would help?

David Mandel, Southside Park, Sacramento

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