Here is the initial CPNO Bylaws Committee Update Report, followed by the changes recommended. As noted in the report, current thinking is to present them to the members for a vote at the monthly meeting February 19, which allows time for questions and discussion.
In a healthy democratic society, laws are not written in stone. As our community continues to evolve and grow, it’s important to make sure our Candler Park Neighborhood Organization’s bylaws are fair and equitable and meet the needs of today’s busy families. With that goal in mind, the CPNO board called for volunteers to form a committee to review our bylaws and propose changes that members can approve or reject.
Our first Bylaws Committee meeting was held in early September of this year. After this initial get together, the Committee developed a short survey to take the pulse of the neighborhood. Using the results of that survey we have prepared a few proposals-two of which will be covered in this article. (The others are somewhat minor in scope and will be presented to the membership at a later date.)
Voting Outside Regular Meeting Times
The first major proposal has to do with allowing eligible members to vote on substantive issues outside the regular monthly meeting times. This topic received a whopping 80% support from the folks who took the survey.
The Committee kicked around several ideas including voting by proxy, early voting, or extending the voting time. After much debate, we propose that for substantive matters, a 2-day window remain open for eligible members to let their voices be heard.
In other words, when there is a major issue up for a vote—an issue that requires prior notification— eligible members will have 48 hours after the monthly CPNO meeting to record their individual vote. We propose that all voting of this nature be done electronically using the CPNO website. (If someone is unable to vote in this manner, they can contact the Membership Officer within the 48-hour timeframe to record their vote.)
Bear in mind that this extended voting is only for matters that require prior notice such as changes in zoning, any expenditure over $500, capital expenditures of over $25,000 and changes to the bylaws. (You can find a complete list in Article VI, under Section 5 “Previous Notice of Motions” of the current bylaws which are of course available on the CPNO website.) Routine housekeeping votes during the meetings can still be done by a show of hands either in person or on Zoom. Think, okaying the minutes of the previous meeting, calling the question, etc.
Now if there are extenuating circumstances, we propose that the board can shorten the window in its discretion. For instance, suppose a particular zoning issue must be reported to another entity within a specific timeframe that falls within the 48-hour window; under these circumstances, the board could reduce the voting period to 1 day with proper notification to the membership.
Same Day Registration to Vote
You may have noticed that we identify only eligible members for the voting process. Anyone who is 18 or older and either lives in Candler Park or owns property here can apply for membership free of charge. This includes people who rent as well as those who own their home. (Folks who own a business in our neighborhood can also appoint a representative as a voting member.) However, to vote at a monthly meeting our current bylaws require that new members join by the first day of that month. Previous members remain eligible to vote through April 30 of the next year, but if they miss the renewal deadline then they too need renew by the first day of the month in order to vote. This brings us to the second major proposal. Same day registration for membership.
In our survey, the respondents provided mixed messages…56% favored “same day registration,” yet only 47% favored “Decrease the waiting period before voting.” We interpret these responses as representing substantial division in the neighborhood about whether people should be able to register to vote the day of a meeting or if they should have to plan weeks ahead.
The Committee proposes that membership applications be accepted up to midnight of the day of the CPNO monthly meeting. In other words, you’ve forgotten to re-up your membership but wanted to vote on a big issue. Under this proposal, you could register or re-register by midnight and then vote for or against the issue.
Allowing members to register the same day as the monthly membership meeting ensures that our neighbors that show up to a meeting ready and eager to vote on an issue they feel strongly about and that affects their lives, will not be told “sorry, you didn’t register weeks ahead of time so you don’t get a say in your neighborhood.” This even affects our neighbors who have been part of the community for years if they forget in the course of their busy lives to renew their registration before April 30 each year as CPNO requires. Our survey showed that for those opposed to this change, the most common concern was some variation that it would allow uninformed people to vote.
In proposing this change, the Committee concluded that removing this administrative obstacle to ensuring that everyone in the neighborhood can vote if they wished outweighed the potential drawbacks, but we recognize there is division on this point among the membership and look forward to a robust conversation.
So, there you have it folks. Our proposed bylaws changes were presented to the Board at their meeting November 13th and to the members at the monthly meeting November 20th. Our proposed bylaws changes were presented to the Board at their meeting November 13th and to the members at the monthly meeting November 20th. Current thinking is to present them to the members for a vote at the monthly meeting February 19, which allows time for questions and discussion. If you have any comments, please email the committee, which allows time for questions and discussion. If you have any comments, please email the committee at email@example.com.
Initially the Bylaws Revision Committee recommends three sets of changes to Article VI, Meetings (click or tap here to download a PDF of the current bylaws). These changes are:
1 Voting – allow for voting outside of regular meeting times.
Renumber Section 9. Proxy Voting, as Section 10. Proxy Voting and add a new Section 9 as follows.
Section 9. Voting. Any matter shall be decided by the affirmative vote of the majority of the Members who cast a vote on the matter.
- Each Member shall be entitled to one vote;
- The voting period for all matters subject to Section 5 notice requirements (“Substantive Motions”) shall remain open for two calendar days beyond any Annual, Regular, or Special Meeting where the matter was introduced (“Voting Period”). However, with adequate advance notice and for good cause shown, the Board may shorten the Voting Period by one calendar day, or even further in exceptional circumstances, if it determines that the matter is time-sensitive;
- All votes on Substantive Motions shall be certified as determined by the Board and shall include a verification by the Membership Officer or other Board designee that the Members of record for said vote is accurate and complete.
#2 Record Date – allow for members to vote with no delay between joining or renewing.
Change the date in Section 6. Record Date, to “the record data shall be the day of any Annual, Regular, or Special Meeting.” Currently this section is:
Section 6. Record Date. Only Members of record on the Record Date shall be entitled to notice of a Regular Meeting, to demand a Special Meeting, to vote, or to take any other action. Unless the Board of Directors orders otherwise, the Record Date shall be the first day of each month.
#3 Changes to be compliant with state law.
Section 4. Notice of Meetings, change “five days before the meeting date” to “ten” days before the meeting date.”
Section 5. Previous Notice of Motions, Section (b) Manner of Notice, change “at least five days before the meeting date” to “at least five days or as required by law before the meeting date.”