|Legal powers vs desired values||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Lynn Nadeau / Maraiah (welcomeolympus.net)|
|Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2018 19:33:07 -0700 (PDT)|
RoseWind Cohousing, Port Townsend WA. Approaching 30 years in. Governance puzzle for well-established communities using a Homeowners' Association structure: We used to govern entirely based on consensus of those who constituted a quorum at our regular meetings. A Steering Committee of 5 carefully-selected members on rotating 2-year terms served as a coordinating committee, with little license to engage in decision making except as directed by the Membership. As a sort of dismissal of the typical hierarchical "corporate" model, we defined our Board of Directors as all of our members. In the course of revising our Documents, a few years ago, we were in conversation with our lawyer. Knowing that we have had problems with one contentious and litigious household on several occasions, the lawyer pointed out that if every member was on the Board, we could not exclude the problem person from discussions/consultations with our lawyer about how to deal with them. So no confidential strategizing. In order to circumvent that vulnerability, on his advice we changed the definition of our Board to now be the 5-member team that had been Steering. Our legal documents, in line with HOA requirements in our State (Washington), give very extensive legal rights to the Board: technically, legally, they now have god-like powers to decide virtually anything/everything. We still want the great majority of our decision making to come out of our big-group consensus process. We attempted to write that in to the new system by dubbing the big group the "Community Committee" and stating that the Board delegates all but a limited number of legal and personnel issues to them (meaning to all of us). So instead of defining limited powers for our Steering Committee, we are now in the position of needing to trust that our Board will choose not to exercise their legal rights to bypass the consensus-based whole group process. So far we have always had steering-and-now-Board teams of 5 who were aligned with our core values, and trustworthy. But the need to trust such a Board not to get power-hungry at some future time has some members anxious. All things considered, would it be wise to go back to our old model? Has any other group dealt with something like this? Who has the bottom-line power in your legal structure? Is this congruent with how you really function? A strangely-heavy conundrum to sort out, in absolutely glorious golden cool-breeze, warm-sunny September weather. The garden is laden with fruits and vegetables--tomatoes, greens, broccoli, carrots, beets, onions, potatoes, squash, raspberries, pears, apples, plus sunflowers, dahlias and other bright blooms. I don't feel like hashing out legalities, just want to soak up this delicious weather while savoring a piece of fresh-blackberry pie! Maraiah Lynn Nadeau www.rosewind.org
Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.