Re: Governance: Att: Southside, Nyland, & Sharingwood
From: Monty Berman (
Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 09:29:24 -0500
From: Monty Berman, First Resident Group, Ecovillage at ithaca

=09 As per Mac Thomson's excerpt below, I am interested in knowing more=20
about  what comprises the "consolidation" of committees that Southland,=20
Nyland,  & Sharingwood moved towards. I think such a transition might be=20
useful to  our EcoVillage at Ithaca group. Specificlly, I'm looking to=20
know what committees have been consolidated. Compare, for example,as in nex=
paragraph, the various committees we have in operation
 =09As far as what we have done committee-wise, my analysis is that=20
 we get the jobs done by forming basic committees (e.g., Finance,=20
 Steering, Land Use, Landscape, Process, Energy) and then form many ad hoc=
 committees to deal with short term issues (e.g., Appliances, Common House=
 Furnishings, House Rules). These are staffed primarily on a volunteer=20
 self-selection basis, and what happens is that those who are interested=20
 in a particular area wind up om it. This seems to me to be working fairly=
 well---though I wonder about the fact that some members overextend=20
 themselves by being on too many committees.
 =09In any event, the idea of consolidation appeals to me and I'd=20
 like to hear more about it.
 =09As far as construction vs. living there, we are now 25% complete=20
 on the houses, so my remarks pertain to construction only.
 =09Re average number of hours at mtgs, I would say that those of the=20
 30 households who attend fairly regularly, about 30 individuals, probably=
 attend 80% of our regulular 4 hr mtgs, which are, usually, twice a month.=
 However, many months there are 3 or 4 gneral mtgs, e.g., as this=20
 past Jan, Feb.,  March, May. I'm aware it will be difficult (but not =20
 impossible) to come up with an average number of hrs, but at least you=20
 have the figures (estimates?). NOTE: Of course, the above is for=20
 generalmtgs only and does not include committee mtgs or related events,=20
 e.g., community building, etc.
> =09
> On Thu, 16 May 1996, Mac Thomson wrote the following excerpt:
> >  I=B9ve also noticed=20
> > that a few groups (Southside, Nyland, and Sharingwood) have consolidate=
> > their committee structures.  My understanding is that there was a=20
> > problem with too many committees all responsible for different=20
> > miscellaneous activities and some activities perhaps falling between th=
> > cracks and being the responsibility of no committee.  In consolidating,=
> > the group created an oversight body of some sort and created just a=20
> > small number of committees to whom ALL activities were distributed.
> >=20
> > Here=B9s some questions to stimulate some discussion:
> > Is my explanation of what happened with these groups somewhat accurate?
> > Have other groups gone through similar consolidation?
> > Who has a system that they think works particularly well?  Particularly=
> > poorly?
> > Does the construction period require the same type of governance=20
> > structure as when you=B9re actually living in cohousing?
> > How many hours per month does the average member spend in meetings?
> >=20
> > =09   Mac Thomson                   San Juan Cohousing
> > =09   ganesh [at]                Durango, Colorado
> >=20
> > "Between whom there is hearty truth, there is love."
> >                          - Henry David Thoreau
> >=20

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