Re: Meeting quorum questions
From: Lynn Nadeau (
Date: Sun, 21 Jun 2009 00:32:53 -0700 (PDT)
Lynn at RoseWind Cohousing here, Port Townsend WA, about 20 years in.

On proxy, and on reducing what needs to have a quorum.

For the reasons Sharon explains as well, we do not allow proxies for consensus. The whole idea of the process is to evolve the best resolution, and an absent person cannot evolve their understanding, accept or not accept suggested refinements or adjustments to a proposal. And it would be totally unproductive to allow blocking by proxy - that just wouldn't make sense at all, as the person would not be able to hear how their concerns could be addressed without raising a block.

Not all decisions need a quorum. (Those delegated to a committee or task force don't even need a meeting.) We have defined in our Bylaws what constitute "Class One" decisions: annual budget, selection of Steering Committee and officers, changing the documents, financial decisions of over $1000 for matters not already budgeted, and any other issue that Steering or the membership wants to designate Class One (because it seems particularly important to get buy-in from all). For Class One decisions -- of which there may only be a few per year -- we need to give ten days notice, and have a quorum. Any other decisions can be made at a monthly business meeting by whomever shows up.

We have 24 households, and used to require 13 present for Class One decisions. Several years ago, this got hard to come by sometimes. So (to my personal horror) quorum was reduced to at least one person from each of TEN households. To my surprise, it turned out not to be a problem. At the same time, we reduced how many sorts of things were Class One, and when something qualified for the new Class-One criteria, it was typically of enough interest that people turned out. Often at or beyond the "old" quorum rate.

As for mortgage holders, we have never given it a thought. Our documents are registered with the County, as they "run with the deed" when property changes hands, so if we make significant revisions to our CC&Rs etc, we update the County file copy.

Lynn Nadeau
PS -- I hope to see some of you in Seattle next week -- come by the RoseWind table and say hi !

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