[Durham INC] By law changes at the next meeting
M. W. Shiflett - Hotmail
mwshiflett at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 18 11:30:30 EDT 2009
It's been an observation of many organizations, non-profits and other community or neighborhood associations that attendance requirements are limited to the officers only of those groups, not the membership.
I agree with the thought process (and formal By-law wording) that allows a paid up neighborhood who has delegate representing them to vote at any and all resolutions that come before INC as long as these two conditions are met, regardless of their past attendance record..
It should be up to the individual neighborhood to monitor (and/or enforce) their own restrictions on their delegates whether they represent themselves or the neighborhood on these votes, NOT INC.
In other words, each neighborhood 'polices' itself regarding who and how their delegates attendance is or how they vote at the larger INC meetings.
Northgate Park Delegate
----- Original Message -----
From: Kelly Jarrett
To: Tom Miller
Cc: inc-list at rtpnet.org ; inc-list at durhaminc.org
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 8:22 AM
Subject: Re: [Durham INC] By law changes at the next meeting
Tom and INC delegates--
I agree with the position you take below: I think that the appointed delegates of member neighborhoods should be able to vote on any issue at any meeting for which they show up. This is especially true now, when meeting agendas and minutes are available electronically, important issues and upcoming votes are announced and discussed on the listserv, and it is so easy for neighborhoods to keep informed about INC activities and to determine which are crucial to their interests.
OWDNA spent a great deal of time at our last meeting discussing INC's proposed by-law changes, and while I'm speaking as an individual and not as a representative of OWDNA, I will say there was strong agreement with the position I've outlined above.
I will also say that many of us were quite disturbed about the 2 different versions of the by-laws in circulation. Our INC delegate attended the INC meeting and came to the OWDNA meeting prepared to discuss the version of the proposed by-laws distributed at the meeting. I and other members had reviewed a version of proposed changes provided in a link in an INC email. We were pretty surprised to find we were discussing two different versions of the proposed changes to INC by-laws. I found it even more disturbing that the electronic version contained the proposed change Tom raised below.
I believe that so long as a neighborhood is a member in good standing and has sent a credentialed delegate, it should be allowed to vote. Neighborhood associations that join INC have the right to decide for themselves which issues on the INC agenda are priorities for them. Tom is exactly right that "participation by member neighborhoods is a barometer of the value of INC."
I would encourage INC to address why there were two versions of proposed by-laws in circulation and to insure that all neighborhoods discussed and approved the same version of changes. It might be that the vote itself will have to be postponed and delegates will all need to return to their associations to seek approval for the same version, and return next month to cast votes.
Tom Miller wrote:
Fellow INC Delegates:
At several INC meetings during the spring and summer, including the meeting last month, I reported to you that the bylaw amendments that Colin and I were working on held no major changes other than a proposal to include a conflict-of-interest provision. At last month's meeting I passed out copies of the proposed changes and a resolution to adopt them. I also informed you that the changes had been posted on the web.
What I did not know at the time that I spoke to you was that the version of the proposed by-laws available via the web was not the same as the hard copy I passed around at the August meeting. The web version contains a proposed rule which would allow or prevent member neighborhoods the right to vote on issues based upon the attendance of delegates. Had I known that this provision had been added to the proposed revision of the by-laws, I would have brought it to your attention.
At our meeting next week, Watts-Hillandale's delegates will argue strongly against any version of the bylaws which contains a provision which would prevent a member neighborhood from voting on an issue based upon the attendance record of the member neighborhood's delegates. INC is an organization of neighborhoods, not individuals. Once a neighborhood qualifies for membership and its delegates are credentialed, that neighborhood should be allowed to vote on an issue that it cares about. If the member neighborhood isn't as organized as other member neighborhoods and can't get a delegate to every meeting or even to a series of meetings, it should not be penalized on the occasion when it does send a delegate - especially if the neighborhood has sent the delegate to address an issue of importance to that neighborhood. Consistent and inconsistent participation by member neighborhoods is a barometer of the value of INC. The greater the value, the more likely a neighborhood will expend the money and the organizational energy necessary to join and attend. No by-law stick will coerce member neighborhoods into participation if the value is not there.
Instead of this very dubious approach to improve participation, I suggest that we become better at enforcing the core rules that have been in the bylaws from the beginning. Once upon a time, a neighborhood organization who wished to join had to fill out an application form attesting to its qualification for membership using the criteria established in the by-laws. The organization had to submit a letter credentialing its delegates and when those delegates changed, a new letter was required. In those years, it was not unusual for 60 -80 neighborhood representatives to attend each meeting. The organization respected itself and thereby earned the respect of its members. In saying this I do not wish to suggest that the organization today does not respect itself or that it is unworthy of respect. The organizational effort then was extraordinary and perhaps unsustainable over the long term. The ongoing effort by our officers to keep the organization vital, including even this review of the by-laws, is proof of their commitment and worthy of our respect, but I believe that we should try harder to attract participation before we consider any measure to coerce it. And, if nothing works and only coercion is left, then I suggest that INC should dissolve.
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