Cancelling, Scheduling Special Meetings
From: DCS (
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2000 20:26:02 -0700 (MST)
I think canceling meetings is disrespectful to the people who have made
the effort to arrange schedules to attend meetings.

Unless there's a snow storm or other natural disaster that makes it
dangerous to be outside, or God forbid a member dies or some other
catastrophic event occurs, I can't imagine why *a group* would cancel
meetings. I guess if *a person* is trying a wicked political stunt,
canceling a meeting to keep an important issue from being discussed at
all, then you'd want some kind of policy, but it seems like the policy
would need to be "We Never Cancel Regularly Scheduled Business Meetings"
to prevent people from using your process against you.

(Even in the case of catastrophe, I think you could get by just fine by
handling those things as they come. By their very nature, catastrophes
are rare and unusual and making a general policy based on some unlikely
or extremely rare event seems like wasted effort. You can't make a
policy for every possibility and while I think most new groups try, I
look back on a lot of things we discussed in those early, pre-move-in
years and I now wonder why we bothered - it's so different actually
living here.)

If the problem is something else, say a lack of preparation on the
planned topic, or a lack of quorum, do some other group work, like
reviewing the Parking Lot of issues and projects, discussing how things
are going in general, etc. Just have dinner and hang out, since as a new
group you could probably use all the social time you can to get to know
each other better.

Our group seems to have the opposite circumstances but a related problem
- occasionally people want to schedule extra meetings (especially when
the topic is important and difficult), sometimes without having it
decided at a regular business meeting. Usually, someone will use e-mail
to solicit "How many people can make it to a special meeting" replies. I
think it's problematic when people think they have free time and then
find with less than a week's notice that an important issue is going to
be discussed at a special meeting they can't attend. (And they have no
real way of stopping the special meeting from happening.) I think it's
unfair because if it wasn't an important issue, why hold a special
meeting? If it is an important meeting, shouldn't everyone have the
opportunity to plan on attending?

Christine Della Maggiora
Eno Commons, Durham NC

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