Re: Paying coho members for professional services
From: Eris Weaver (
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2011 09:04:42 -0800 (PST)
I would echo Sharon's comment - you have to be able to fire people that you
hire! There needs to be a clear boundary between work that members are
volunteering AS MEMBERS and work that is done professionally.

(I would especially be wary of paying for anything after the fact!)

Here at FrogSong we have had a couple of experiences with paying community
members for specific jobs. Some of them have been good and some

We pay a member (really poorly) to act as manager of our retail building. No
overt problems so far...although sometimes as a business person it bothers
me that we basically hire whoever is willing to do the job versus looking
for specific management skills.

We have paid a member to do handy-man kinds of things - again we don't pay
him particularly well - he does the work that volunteers aren't stepping up
to do, at a good quality level. He is hired on a case-by-case basis.

One of our members has a landscaping business; we've hired them twice. The
first time caused some problems...after the project there was a large hole
left in the ground and there was debate about whether or not it was their
job to fill it in. If it had been an outside company I don't think there
would have been any controversy about us pushing for them to do it. Since it
was a resident, who did NOT feel it was part of the job, a lot more personal
and emotional stuff got woven in.

His company more recently did a small landscaping job on the property about
which I have heard no complaints on either side.

Bottom line: one of the big lessons I've learned in my 13 years in cohousing
is the need for clearly defined boundaries. Paying members really muddies
those waters. ESPECIALLY at the phase you are in, I think it would not set a
good precedent...especially if you have folks asking for payment after the

Eris Weaver, Facilitator & Group Process Consultant
Author, "Let's Talk About Money: A Conversation Guide for Intentional
eris [at]

fa cil' i tāt: to make easier

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