Notes from Windward: #64

The Bi-annual Bylaw Update

     There are lots of things about Windward that get people excited, but reading through the by-laws is not one of them. Still it can be argued that our bylaws are just about the most important part of the community since they form the structure that keeps the community operational year after year.

     In good times, keeping the organization running is no problem, but any group that keeps going long enough is sure to reach a point where substantial differences in vision develop within the organization. That's when it's vital that the organization have a mechanism already in place that's able to reconcile those differences in ways that will enable the community to go forward together, and if that's not possible, to re-form itself in a way that will make future progress possible.

     That's a tall order that's not easily filled. So far, our by-laws have stood the test of time, and we're proud to present them here for others to consider and adapt to their own uses. We've built upon the experiences of those who've gone before, and are pleased to present what we've learned so that it can help the next generation in turn. While there's no guarantee that what worked yesterday will work just as well tomorrow, that's always the wisest place to start.

     We endeavor to review our by-laws every two years to make sure that they're a fair reflection of what we're doing, and that they embody what we've learned since the last review.

     This latest update incorporates three changes, the first of which involves a change in terminology. Formerly we used the title "Leader" to refer to a full member. We've come to the conclusion that the term "Steward" better describes that role.

     The second change involves adding a line which allows any director to invite people of their choosing to attend our board meetings. While it will occasionally be appropriate to hold a closed executive session of the Board to discuss matters of a confidential nature, we believe that it's important for the ordinary business of the corporation to be done openly within the context of the community and its supporters. Previously, that had been presumed; now, it's formally stated in the By-laws.

     Our Board is carefully crafted to insure that a broad range of interests are represented without any one set of interests becoming paramount. The third change involves adding a prohibition against a married couple, or a parent and child, from both serving on the Board at the same time.

     On the one hand we're open to couples becoming part of the organization, just as we're willing to have a member invite one of their family members to take advantage of what Windward has to offer.

     On the other hand, it's too easy for that close an association to create a situation in which the autonomy of the Board is subordinated to the private, personal relationship. And even if two people truly are ready, willing and able to put the organization's interests ahead of their personal relationship, the appearance of a conflict of interest is always going to be here.

     This change still allows a couple, be they husband and wife, or parent and child, to hold a seat on our Board of Directors. They just can't hold two seats at the same time.

     Click Here to view Windward's By-Laws as Amended on July 14, 2004.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 64