Re: difficult members
From: Mona Loofs (
Date: Sun, 25 May 1997 19:24:21 -0500
I have been reading this thread with interest as we have just had a
long-running conflict with one member come to a head a few months ago, yet
is still not resolved.

Without going into too much detail there is one member who really does not
understand how to work co-operatively and yet has been a member for a long
time and feels entitled to her "share." We are government funded and she
decided to use "her" portion of the funding to buy her own house - a good
resolution as it stood. Now that we have found some land and the building
project looks like it will go ahead she wanted to be involved with it and
not buy her own house. We said no. Almost everyone feels personally awful
about doing this but it is obviously the best decision for the group. We
also decided that it would be ok for her to "re-join" the building project
at a later stage, once  all the planning and decision-making are out of the
way. She is not a bad person and we still want her part of the group but it
is incredibly difficult to work through the decision-making process with
her. She is understandibly incredibly hurt and angry.

Sorry to air our dirty laundry but we are obviously still dealing with the
whole thing. We decided to organise a consensus workshop for the group and
thought that would be the best way to re-introduce her to meetings, using a
common learning situation that we all need.

I feel we have made the best decision we could at the time. We are really
under a lot of pressure to get the plans/costings in on time so that we can
put a bid in for the land before the end of the financial year, otherwise
we run the risk of losing our money. We just do NOT have the emotional and
time resources to work with one difficult member at the risk of losing the
whole project. And she can still use "her" portion of the money to buy her
own house and be part of the group, albeit a slightly more peripheral one.
She just hasn't found a house she likes yet... The fact we are
government-funded adds an extra dimension to the problem as you can see.

Are we doing the right thing? I don't suppose Rob you could fly down to
Tasmania for a weekend workshop??? We are chasing up local people who could
run either a consensus or a conflict resolution workshop (depending on what
it turns out we need).

Anyway, I'm glad to see it's not just us dealing with these thorny issues!!

The Cohousing Cooperative
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia

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