Re: Searchable Decision Log?
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 2021 10:11:08 -0800 (PST)
> David Heimann <heimann [at] theworld.com>
> is the author of the message below. 

> We've had several times where someone
> has insisted that we had reached a certain decision, but a search of the
> Decision Log and the General Meeting minutes doesn't show a record of
> it, so in fact we conclude that in fact no decision had been reached.
> This has stopped a number of potential disputes in the bud.

Another side of this is decisions clearly categorized. One just came up here 
about a change in quorum for decisions that are made in membership meetings by 
all members vs just owners.

A few years ago during the recession when units were not selling, we had a 
number of rented units. That meant we had a large number of members because 
owners are automatically members and non-owners become members by signing an 
associate membership agreement. This made our quorum for most decisions too 
large to meet and hard to determine. Non-resident owners didn’t attend meetings 
and often rental members didn’t attend meetings. So the number of members 
required to meet a 51% quorum just kept growing. And required frequent updates 
because the associate member numbers changed often.

We resolved the issue by stating quorum in set numbers, minimums rather than 
percentages.

Those familiar with standard practice and bylaws, knew that this meant amending 
our Bylaws. We were in effect passing a Bylaws amendment. It was recently 
raised that we did not make the decision as a bylaws amendment. I flabbergasted 
— you can’t change a quorum without amending the bylaws. Ever! 

So I tracked down the minutes last week and there is no mention of “bylaws” or 
“amendment” in the minutes. It read as if we had decided to have the parking 
gate open on Saturdays or change the color of the piazza chairs to green.

Fortunately, there have been no disputes related to quorum caused by not filing 
a bylaws amendment with the city, but if there had been, we would have been 
bound by the original number and then any decision made using the new quorum 
quorum could be declared null and void.

FWIW on Robert’s Rules of Order, a parliamentarian on the Robert’s website said 
that rules of order have to be questioned at the time. They can’t be invoked 
after the fact. This prevents haggling over technicalities. If the quorum was 
not questioned a the time, it couldn’t be questioned later. 

I’m sure I talked about the quorum decision as  an amendment but it was not 
recorded that way and I never noticed.

Another discussion on a policy was recorded in detail and it was long. But 
there was no declaration of policy passed or consent achieved. The only clue 
was in the meeting evaluation: “It isn’t good for us to have such long 
discussions and not reach a decision. We should have decided next steps.”

Sharon
----
Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
http://www.takomavillage.org




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