Re: Bylaws, the law, and Sociocracy
From: drmaryann49 (
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:28:30 -0700 (PDT)
Our community, Manzanita Village in Prescott AZ, is recognized by the state as 
a HOA. Every year the homeowners elect a three-member Board of Directors 
(President, Secretary, Treasurer). The Board is titular (holding a purely 
formal position without any authority) and functions merely to rubber stamp 
decisions made by the group as a whole in a Plenary session. The minutes of the 
Board are a summary of the more detailed minutes of our Plenary sessions 
focusing on any decisions made. Members of the board are authorized to sign 
legal documents and represent the community in circumstances where that is the 
appropriate legal situation. For example, several years ago we had a law suit 
that went to arbitration. The board was authorized by the community in Plenary 
to represent us in those negotiations. 

Although major decisions are made in Plenary, the day-to-day running of the 
community is handled by committees, task forces, and even individuals given 
their authority by mandates agreed to by the community and the group or 

This organizational structure is laid out in our CC&Rs, Bylaws and Villagers 
Guide (Policy and Procedure Manual).

Mary Ann
Manzanita Village in the only state in the union that stays on “God’s time” 
when the rest of you try to save daylight

On Mar 10, 2014, at 4:40 AM, R Philip Dowds <rpdowds [at]> wrote:

> In Massachusetts, Cornerstone is recognized as a residential condominium.  
> State enabling legislation requires us to elect a Managing Board, and the MB 
> is broadly charged with the duty and power of decisions and actions related 
> to property management and community business.  Additionally, both MB and the 
> association that elects it have broad discretion in the details of how we 
> choose to manage ourselves -- and how duty and power are divided among the 
> association plenary, the Board, and various other sub-groups.
> Net result is that there is no legal obstacle to delegation, circles, circle 
> elections, aims, double links, consent, provisional decisions, evaluations, 
> and other features of Sociocracy.  Except, of course, that the inalienable 
> rights of property owners and mortgage lenders cannot be superseded by any 
> sort of community decision process.  In practice, this has not been an issue 
> at our coho.
> Philip Dowds
>> On Mar 9, 2014, at 11:26 AM, marcia.carlson [at] wrote:
>> At Columbia Ecovillage we are in the process of transitioning to
>> sociocratic governance and want all residents, whether owners or renters,
>> to be able to participate as fully as possible.  We are now trying to cross
>> our "t's" and dot our "i's" regarding Oregon statute law and our By-laws.
>> If your community is using sociocracy or dynamic governance, we would
>> appreciate hearing about any legal issues that may have come up when you
>> implemented sociocracy, and how that may have affected the structure you
>> chose.  For instance, was there concern about the legal status of top
>> circle decisions, or were any By-laws changes needed?
>> Marcia
>> _________________________________________________________________
>> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. - 
Leo Tolstoy

Mary Ann Clark                                                  drmaryann49 
Check out DrMaryAnn's Academy at

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.