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Input Sought on New Bylaws

Posted on August 17, 2014 in General News

Revised Society Bylaws to be Decided at AGM

For some time it has been apparent to those who pay attention to such things that our society bylaws are seriously out of date and need to be revised. In the past few months the board has been working on those revisions and will be bringing them for a vote at the Annual General Meeting on September 23rd at 7:00 pm. The final draft will be sent to members prior to the meeting so you can give them some thought. In the meantime we are posting the revised bylaws here and inviting members to submit any comments, questions or suggestions to John Coulson. The preferred form for your feedback is by email (click here), but feel free to call him at (250) 253-1469. See the revised Bylaws here. After receiving input a final draft will be prepared and sent out before the AGM.

We know, of course, that when many of us read bylaws our eyes glaze over. However, they are important. They help organizations stay out of trouble, and guide them when things get tough. So even if they are not for the faint of heart, we hope you will take a few minutes to read them over (only four pages) and submit your comments.

What are the Changes?

In fact the entire set of bylaws has been redrafted using simpler, more accessible language. So most of the changes are clarifying rather than substantive. Here are some of the more substantive changes:

  1. One has to do with the process for nominating Board members each year. Our current policy involves a nominating committee which (a) seeks people with appropriate gifts to stand for election, (b) ensures that they have received a standard information package so they know what will be expected, and (c) collects written information about each candidate to be distributed before the meeting to help members make informed choices. The revised bylaws adopt the common practice of  requiring nominations to be received seven days before the meeting. We believe this will be more effectively democratic by leveling the playing field and ensuring forethought for our board elections.
  2. In a similar vein, directors standing for election must be members of the society for at least 14 days before the election.
  3. The bylaws clarify some voting procedures. For example, the BC Societies Act states that proxy votes are not valid unless the society’s bylaws specifically allow it (ours haven’t). The reason for this has to do with the way democracy works. A motion is put before a meeting and discussion follows to help members influence one another and make up their minds. Because a person voting by proxy is not present, that person’s mind cannot be influenced by reasoned dialogue. The new bylaws don’t change this but simply clarify that proxy votes will not be allowed.

If you would like to compare the new bylaws with the present ones, click here to view the current Constitution and Bylaws. Remember that you can read, download or print any of our policies here.