A New, Novel Approach to Neighborhood Organization and Representation

Hi all,

As you may know, I’m keenly interested in neighborhood affairs, and the conduct of neighborhood organizations and associations, especially when these neighborhood organizations and associations fail to adequately represent those they claim to serve.

Most neighborhood organizations adopt a hierarchical approach to representation, where there is one set of neighbors that enjoy greater privileges, usually the “directors,” and another set of neighbors that enjoy lesser privileges, usually the “members.”

The distinction sometimes is extreme. In my neighborhood, Warfleigh, directors forbid members from observing or participating in their board meetings and refuse requests to provide copies of meeting agendas and minutes.

Is there a better way forward?  Is there a form of neighborhood organization and representation that allows all neighbors to enjoy the same rights and privileges?

Well, yes!!

I’ve spent a few days reviewing Indiana code and statute and have drafted some bylaws that would create a truly open form of neighborhood association and representation. I provide a link here:

The drafted bylaws apply to the Warfleigh neighborhood, but the geographical region could be expanded, or altered to apply to a different region.

Please be kind, it’s just a first draft.

I do understand the bylaws are long and boring.

But here’s the simple solution: eliminate the distinction between directors and members, eliminate the restriction on the number of directors the association may have, and create a neighborhood association where everyone who wants to may enjoy the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

Here’s the simple way to pull it off (umm, maybe not so simple?!):

(1) An individual incorporates.

(2) The incorporator holds an organizational meeting initially with a limited set of directors to establish foundation and infrastructure.

(3) The initial set of directors divide themselves into two groups, one with greater terms of service and one with lesser terms of service.

(4) The organization solicits nominees for director positions prior to the end of the terms of service of directors with lesser terms.

(5) If the interest in director’s positions exceeds the number of expiring terms, then the number of directors permitted under the organization’s bylaws expands.

(6) Then, at the time of elections, directors elect to the board every individual interested in becoming a director and serving the neighborhood and their approval shall not be unreasonably withheld.

And what results?

A truly open and democratic neighborhood organization where anyone and everyone who is interested in serving the neighborhood may enjoy the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

Could this approach fail? Certainly!!

Would there be any harm in trying? No!!

Who’s in??!!

(I wonder what I might have missed, or what flaws there may be in an approach such as this. Very interested in any insights, reflections, and comments.)

And, yes, I know, I appear to have too much time on my hands!

Jim Polito

WNA Board Meeting to Elect Officers

Hi all.

The WNA will hold a Board Meeting or Meeting of Directors April 12th (see warfleigh.com). The WNA will elect officers at this meeting (bylaws, Section 4.07.E). The WNA will not permit the neighborhood or voting members to either observe or participate in this meeting. Additionally, the WNA will neither provide meeting minutes nor an agenda for this meeting.

Go, neighborhood democracy!!

Jim Polito