Consensus and quorums
From: Berrins (
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2001 08:47:01 -0600 (MDT)
At Pathways, a quorum is half of the 24 units.  There is no going back after 
a decision is made unless someone puts together a proposal to break the 
previous consensus and that proposal is consensed on.  There is supposed to 
be plenty of warning via the agenda, which is both emailed and posted at the 
common house.

Voting by units allows those with more than one adult member to have just one 
representative present (hopefully, they agree with each other), leaving the 
other free to watch kids, do the laundry, or simply get a break from 
meetings, especially if they aren't all that interested in the agenda items.  
Single adult units don't have that advantage but, on the other hand, have as 
much decision making power as multiple adult households. 

I think it must be confusing to break decisions down into class one and class 
two, with one type of decision being made by each unit having only one vote 
and the other by each adult having one vote.  Maybe not.

We do have a bit of a contradiction, because we don't allow proxies (on the 
idea that one should be there to hear the discussion in order to  make an 
informed decision), but on the other hand, we don't require that everyone 
voting be there for the whole meeting.  On the few occasions when we didn't 
have a quorum at decision time, we had to scrounge the community to find 
another unit member to get them to come in and vote.  Since those folks 
weren't there for the discussion, they needed to be brought up to speed on 
the topic.  Obviously, this wastes a lot of time.  We try to be sure a quorum 
is present from the beginning, but folks drift in and out.  We're working on 

I loved that Jefferson paraphrase, but seem to have lost that email; 
something like "The price of consensus is eternal attendance."

    Roger Berman
    Northampton, MA
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