Re: Fiduciary Responsibilities - Taking Care of the Community
From: Norman Gauss (
Date: Sun, 8 Jul 2012 22:12:12 -0700 (PDT)

In our community, most people who come to community meetings want the
experience to be pleasant.  There are often fun things that facilitators
work into their agenda so that humor and light-heartedness figures into our
discussions.  If topics are presented that are administrative in nature,
glassy eyed looks often appear on many people's faces, and some actually
leave the meeting.   Unless we make the community meetings palatable, our
attendance will be below quorum.  I have actually been told by community
meeting attendees that what I am talking about is boring and that the Board
should handle it.

We require that each proposal approved by the community be ratified by the
Board.  Since the Board is the only body liable for negligence or purposely
making poor decisions, any repercussions of bad decisions rest entirely on
the Board.  Only the Board can be sued for its work, not the community.

Norm Gauss
Oak Creek Commons
Paso Robles, CA

-----Original Message-----
From: Sharon Villines [mailto:sharon [at]] 
Sent: Sunday, July 08, 2012 5:41 AM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Fiduciary Responsibilities - Taking Care of the

On 5 Jul 2012, at 8:15 AM, David Clements and Evan Richardson wrote:

> We have had conflicts related to the Board being perceived as doing "too
much," when it exercises the authority given to it in the bylaws, and doing
"too little," when members of the Board assume that they do not have the
authority, and fail to act or defer to members.

Between a rock and a hard place. Aside from the boring repetition of people
have different ideas about things, what is happening is that both groups,
the do mores and the do lessers, are pushing from the sidelines. The Board
is doing its best (we can assume) to be responsible and address the needs of
the community as it sees them and others are critiquing their actions but
are staying uninvolved in the actual decision-making.

If you think of the decision-making field as flat, rather than hierarchical,
it is easier to see how to get the sidelines involved in the decisions. The
gardening people have their responsibilities and decisions to make, each
other group theirs - buildings, grounds, interiors, meals, social
activities, children's groups.

Where those groups come together or overlap should be the board. If this is
true, it much harder for these groups or for individuals to say the board is
doing too little or too much because they are participating in the board.
They should be contributing information to the decisions and participating
in evaluating that information before and after a decision is made whether
they are actually in the room or not.

Sharon Villines, Washington DC
"Design is the first sign of human intention." William McDonough

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