OKNA Bylaws Amendments Proposed

(Update: The meeting location had changed to Trillium Charter School. See here for details.)

Hello Overlook Neighborhood Association Members and Friends,

At next Tuesday’s (Aug. 15) OKNA General Meeting, the board will ask members to consider bylaws revisions.

Over the years, the bylaws have been amended on multiple occasions. As is often the case with organizational bylaws, they became too long and stopped reflecting neighborhood association practices. The proposed revisions would correct this. Overlook does things well overall, but we aren’t so arrogant to think that we can’t learn a thing or two from other neighborhoods. To that end, we reviewed many other neighborhoods’ bylaws for inspiration and ideas.

We’ve broken the revisions into two proposals for Tuesday. Each will require a two-thirds majority of members present to pass. A summary is below. You can read the full proposals in the following documents:

1A. Proposed revised bylaws (clean version)
1B. Proposed revised bylaws (red-line, tracked changes version)
2. Proposed update to membership qualifications.

If you have any questions before the Aug. 15 meeting, please send them to info@overlookneighborhood.org. The meeting will take place at the Lucky Labrador Tap Room on N Killingsworth Street starting at 6:30 p.m. A full agenda will be included with the neighborhood update this weekend.

Thank you for your interest in Overlook. We hope to see you Tuesday!


Revision A

The first revision that members will consider Tuesday has updates throughout our bylaws. The changes feature ideas about how to handle some things better and more efficiently. They also have updates to make sure that how we do things is in alignment with the bylaws. Highlights include:

Elections

The current bylaws call for representation from geographic zones and a series of elections of executive and standing committees. In recent years, OKNA elections have followed a more streamlined approach of electing board members and then having the board choose a chairperson, vice chairperson, treasurer, secretary and committee chairs. The system has worked well, and the bylaws revisions would codify it.

Size of the Board

We currently have 10 board members. The revisions would set the number of seats at 15, creating more opportunity for neighborhood residents to serve and help lead our community. If fewer than 15 people run, all will join the board. An election will occur only if more than 15 seek seats on the board.

Meetings

The current bylaws set an expectation that the board meet monthly. The revisions would allow greater flexibility. Some months, there is no business to discuss or a holiday conflicts, so holding a meeting makes no sense. This doesn’t mean we’ll only have a handful of meetings per year, but we’ll skip a month now and then with the consent of the board.

Committees

The current bylaws define several standing committees that require elected chairpeople. Under the revisions, the board would establish committees as needed, and the chairs of those committees would be selected by the board. This gives OKNA the flexibility to have the committees necessary to address issues as they come up and to disband committees that no longer are needed. The only codified standing committee would be the Grievance Committee.

Leadership Term Limits

The current bylaws also establish a two-term limit (two years) for all offices and committee chairs. We have in some years struggled to find enough people to fill all of those roles, and two years is barely enough time to learn all the ropes. Therefore, the revised bylaws would create a three-year term limit on executive offices with an exception for additional years if no one else wants to fill a role and the current person is willing to continue.

Because these changes bring OKNA bylaws into line with OKNA practice in recent years, the board hopes that members will adopt them on Aug. 15 so that they can be in effect for elections at our September General Meeting.

Revision B

The second bylaws amendment for consideration on Tuesday clarifies who qualifies for membership in OKNA and therefore may vote and hold office. Under a city Office of Neighborhood Involvement interpretation of neighborhood bylaws, it is possible that anyone who happens to be in the neighborhood on the day of a meeting could be eligible to vote. This includes houseless individuals camping illegally in Overlook or squatters occupying a vacant building.

This revision reflects the view that a greater commitment to the neighborhood should be necessary to vote and serve on the board. To that end, this amendment would require residents to provide a legal home address to qualify for membership. That would exclude houseless campers and squatters in vacant buildings. However, it would not preclude a houseless village that has from receiving full membership privileges. A city-sanctioned and permitted houseless village would have a legal address, and its residents therefore would qualify for OKNA membership. Alternatively, a houseless village with a nonprofit component could have a designated representative member in OKNA.

Businesses and non-profits in the neighborhood would continue to be eligible to have a designated member in OKNA.

 

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