Proposed Black Star Bylaws Revision (10.30.16)

From time to time, it’s critical for the health of a co-op to review and revise its Bylaws to accommodate the changing needs of the organization. Due to the sunset provision of our Bylaws, requiring revision at least every five years, the Board convened a committee to review the Bylaws for any potential changes.

Directors Beth Beutel and Marcus Wilson along with former directors Jessica Cassidy and Johnny Livesay, also the Kitchen Team Leader, met several times over the course of the year to discussion potential areas of revision. The committee then presented their recommendations to the Board for feedback, and having taken that feedback, the Board will now put the Bylaws to a vote at the October 30th Members Assembly meeting. 

The following is a brief explanation of the changes made to each section:

 Section 1. Membership

The committee recommends changing the phrase in section 1.3 from “filing” to “processing” such that “Membership shall commence upon the processing of a completed application form…” to ensure clarity that membership begins not once an application is turned in, but once the Workers Assembly has processed the application. 

Section 2. Types of Members

2.1.3 Neighborhood Members – the committee recommends striking the section. After more than five years of being open, no one has claimed the voting rights of a neighborhood membership. The co-op is responsive to the needs of the neighborhood and values their business without their have voting rights in the co-op. Additionally, neighbors are welcome to become members by contributing capital as all other members do – and not becoming a full member removes a source of capital for the co-op. 

2.3.4 Reactivation – Under advisement from the Business Team, the committee proposes deleting the final sentence as it does not reflect the practice of the co-op of leaving membership capital as marked to the member. 

2.4.2. Expulsion – the existing Bylaws make expulsion public, taking place at a Members’ Assembly meeting. The proposed Bylaws make expulsion a more discreet matter handled by the Board of Directors, with a process for appeal before the Members’ Assembly. 

3. Members’ Assembly

3.3 Meetings – the proposed Bylaws change the requirement from two yearly meetings to one meeting to present the Annual Report to Members and one gathering of any type. This will allow the Board and Workers’ Assembly the flexibility to decide what type of event will be most beneficial to the organization, while still maintaining our current rate of coming together as body. 

3.3.3 Quorum – to the existing Bylaws allowance of mail-in votes to count towards quorum on the issue, the proposed amendment also allows for electronic voting. 

4. Board of Directors Electronic votes – the proposed Bylaws removes the option for members to “opt in” to receive notice of the Board’s electronic votes. No such process has been created by the Board or requested by any owner. It’s additionally redundant as electronic votes of the Board are included in the next month’s meeting minutes. 


5. Workers’ Assembly

5.3 Volunteers – the proposal is to strike the section, as the section creates the false perception amongst members that there is widespread opportunity for volunteering with the Workers’ Assembly. Not having volunteers mentioned in the Bylaws will not prevent the co-op from utilizing volunteers, such as for committees, members meetings and events.

5.4 Board Staff Liaison – strike the phrase “chair their meetings, and shall also” as the Business Team has advised that the BSL does not chair the WA meetings.