Re: Emergency powers?
From: Mary Ann Clark (
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2012 18:00:52 -0800 (PST)
In general our Steering Committee has no authority to make decisions. All 
decisions are made either at the committee level or by the community as a whole.

However, in the case of a real emergency, the Steering Committee is empowered 
to act to protect the community or its members.  Here is the relevant statement 
from our policy manual: 

[The Steering Committee] Exercises emergency authority as required to protect 
the health, safety, well being, legal or monetary status of the community. 
Ordinarily, the Steering Committee is not a decision-making body although it is 
empowered by the community to exercise emergency authority in the event that 
the community is facing a time-critical decision that cannot reasonably wait 
for a plenary. Such an emergency would involve a physically dangerous 
situation, an imminent threat to life or property or some serious legal or 
monetary risk with a tight deadline, for example, fire, personal attack by a 
community member or an outsider, threatened suicide and the like. If time and 
circumstances permit, at least four members must be present at any meeting at 
which these emergency powers are invoked. In the event that the Committee 
invokes these emergency powers, it must make a prompt and complete report to 
the community as soon as reasonably possible. 

We also have a process for calling an emergency meeting of the community (a 
plenary). Amazingly once we had a procedure in place "emergencies" quit 
happening ;-)

Mary Ann
Manzanita Village

On Feb 1, 2012, at 6:40 AM, Catya Belfer wrote:

> Hi all,
> How do you handle emergency powers in your communities?  Who has the
> authority to make what decisions in a time-critical/emergency situation?
> We're thinking about how to work this between our Trustees and our Steering
> team, and we're interested in how other communities do that to inform that
> discussion.
> Thanks,
>     - cat
> Catya Belfer   -
> Technical Director   -
> Cohousing in MA!  -
> _________________________________________________________________
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Mary Ann Clark                                                  drmaryann49 
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