That’s why CDS Consulting Co-op members Michael Healy and Thane Joyal developed the Fresh Start Bylaws template to help give boards a more user-friendly process for updating their bylaws. According to Healy, in order for boards to avoid getting mired in rewriting or getting lost on issues, they now have an option to move forward with “a fresh start” by using the bylaws template to focus their discussions of how their co-op’s practices align with them.
“It’s important to distinguish what needs to be in there to protect the rights of members, and what can be delegated to the authority of the board,” Healy said. He cited an example of how many bylaws spell out how officer elections are to take place, but it’s often not legally necessary to dictate board business to that level.
The board at Onion River Co-op in Burlington, Vt. knew their bylaws were not adequate to their co-op’s current needs. Additionally, the co-op had known this for about a decade, but felt stymied by the process of changing them. Rather than spin their wheels as they had in the past, they met with Joyal, who did a two-hour workshop and gave the board advice on how to proceed.
Onion River’s board president Susan Munkres said that rather than trying to fix a document that held them in gridlock, they embraced the fresh start approach. Munkres said the clarity of the process gave her board the means to effectively change the bylaws, educate the members, and ensure their passage. Her words to describe the final result? “Very satisfying,” she said.
To access the Fresh Start Bylaws Template Guide go the CBLD Library