No Quorum
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2019 11:52:55 -0700 (PDT)
We had a discussion a few years ago about the community in Blacksburg, I think, 
that dropped their quorum requirement. Has anyone else done that?

We discussed because I think our quorum count is fake because people are 
counted even if they show up, check in with the minute taker, and leave. But 
people felt that they were giving permission for any decisions that come out of 
the meeting in a positive way. Not just not showing up.

But now we are getting a lot of resistance from new people. No meetings. They 
enjoy living  here and participate fully in the work and meals but are not 
interested in governance or resolving issues. We have one 2-hour meeting a 
month but it isn’t enough to do any discussion about a serious topic that we 
need to understand and make a decision. The current issues are paying for LCEs, 
Bylaws amendments, and Declaration amendments. When meetings happen once a 
month it's like children returning to school— we have to spend time reminding 
people what we did last time and bringing people who missed that meeting up to 
speed. We need a series of meetings every two weeks to complete these 
discussions and involve even half the residents.

I realize that people are interested in different aspects of the community (we 
have rabid weeders just now). But refusing to schedule meetings because “no 
one” wants to talk about bylaws is incredibly frustrating for those who realize 
that for legal issues and avoiding future risk, they need to be updated. 

Expecting to reach consensus on issues requires that people be informed and 
contribute their knowledge to the discussion. If people really are happy with 
whatever the group decides, then there has to be official time for those 
interested to sort out issues. If there are 15 people interested in the bylaws 
amendments, why can’t they meet and decide?

One of our members pointed out that compared to groups using parliamentary 
procedure our requirements are very high. For a membership of 60, Robert's 
requires 31 people to show up. And decisions pass with 16 people. Less than 1/3 
of the membership. Some quorums are lower than that.

With consensus 31 people have to show up and all 30 have to consent 50% plus 1. 
So to schedule a meeting the board and facilitators say the topics have to be 
of interest to at least 31 people. That it is their job to protect  residents 
from unproductive meetings.

Having no quorum but (1) requiring strict notification of the agenda and 
decisions to be made and (2) the ability of members to have a topic delayed 
when they can’t attend a meeting. I feel that people should be expected to 
attend all meetings and to read documents ahead of time. But I’m feeling like 
it’s herding 9th graders and just turning them off to governance.

No quorum would work better now that the community is established and decisions 
are neither emergencies nor will they change the lives of everyone here.

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