Here are the current Sunnyside Neighborhood Association Bylaws.
In August, 2015 the SNA board created a Bylaws Committee to review and update our bylaws and bring them into better alignment and compliance with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement standards. The bylaws committee members were Lorraine Henriques, Tony Jordan, and Katy Asher. The committee met several times and presented the SNA board with the proposed bylaws on January 12, 2017.
The SNA board voted to present the proposed draft of the bylaws to the SNA membership for a period of review and comment.
A period of public comment was open from January 12 through March 1st, 2017. This included an open house on February 12th.
On March 9th, the SNA board voted to refer the bylaws, without amendment, to the membership for ratification.
A Special Meeting of the General Membership will be held on April 17th, 2017 from 7-8PM at the Sunnyside Community House (in the dining hall). The Community House is located at 3520 SE Yamhill St. Food and beverages will be provided. Children are welcome.
At this meeting, the bylaws will be available for review and ballots will be available. No amendments will be considered at this meeting.
A minimum of 20 members of the SNA must be present to ratify the bylaws. If the bylaws are ratified, they will go into effect in June 2017.
Summary of Major Changes:
- Clarified and categorized types of meetings, required notice for those meetings, and the procedure for setting agendas.
- Allow board to use simplified rules of order intended for smaller boards (like SNA).
- Brought grievance procedure into alignment with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement Standards.
- Remove proof of eligibility requirements for voting in neighborhood elections and clarified notification requirements and board roles and responsibilities in regards to board elections.
Note on the Board’s decision to remove detailed language regarding proof of voter eligibility rules from our Bylaws: We felt that while the possibility that individuals might try to lie about their membership eligibility in order to vote once per year during neighborhood elections exists, the the potential harm of turning people away who do live in the neighborhood would more likely and be worse. Last year, we heard from at least one attendee who lived in the neighborhood who was prevented from participating in voting because she forgot her utility bill. We also have renters, new-to-the-neighborhood residents and houseless residents who, under the ONI standards, should be allowed to participate, but might not be able to do so. Potential voters will still be required to affirm, in writing, that they meet membership eligibility standards outlined in our bylaws. Also, the Board will continue ensure oversight of the process of people confirming membership at meetings where voting will take place – both to answer questions and encourage honest behavior.
- Remove language and requirements about the Sunnyside newsletter.
Note: The SNA Board plans to review this language and create policy and procedures documents for newsletter functions after Bylaws ratification.
- Removed language about ethics statements.
The SNA Board voted to remove reference to an Ethics Statement from the Bylaws because it felt the language to be redundant, that some of the language should be policy rather than Bylaws and that some of the language was highly subjective. Board Members are subject to Conflict of Interest rules, the Duty of Loyalty, Due Care, Obedience and Financial Oversight as outlined by the Oregon Secretary of state. Some of the other language included in the Board’s Ethics Statement were difficult to adjudicate in an objective fashion and would be better served by developing group agreements/ground rules and a healthy board culture. We felt that there were many likely possible violations which would be un-clear and subjective. And, in the case of situations where a violation was clear enough to meet the standards of removal via our existing ethics statement, other rules in existing bylaws and state law would already apply.
Additionally, SE Uplift Neighborhood Coalition’s Board recently ruled on a grievance appeal from another neighborhood association where a similar Code of Ethics came into play. In that decision, the SE Uplift Board recommended that the neighborhood association de-couple the Code of Ethics from its Bylaws for similar reasons – that the Code was broadly subjective, and that much of the language should be developed as Board Policy rather than Bylaw language. Based upon the precedent set this decision by the SE Uplift Board, our SE Uplift liaison, Katy Asher, strongly recommended that we also de-couple the Ethics Statement from our Bylaws, create separate policy documents related to items listed in the Code of Ethics, and develop group agreements about acceptable behaviors during meetings. She suggested we use language in the Code of Ethics as a starting place to develop separate Financial Policies and incorporate recommended conflict of interest language from ONI into our bylaws.