Those attending the SOECA block party in October may have heard that SOECA was able to offset most of the cost of that event with the help of a generous grant from the county. In order to receive that grant, SOECA had to have a valid not-for-profit tax ID from the state. As a part of that process, the SOECA Executive Committee realized that the SOECA could benefit from incorporating as a 501(c)4 nonprofit membership organization (as many other local civic groups recently have). And in order to complete the incorporation, our organizational bylaws must be up-to-date. This process has provided an opportunity to ensure that our paperwork and governance structures are in proper working order.
The SOECA bylaws, first written in 1968, have been revised only twice—in 1975 and 2001. They currently contain several formal requirements that don’t match the reality of how the organization functions. As such, the Executive Committee has undertaken a rewrite of the bylaws aimed at streamlining and clarifying required processes without substantially changing the way SOECA operates. With guidance from SOECA Vice President Onuka Ibe, who advises nonprofits on governance issues professionally, the Executive Committee has prepared several amendments to the bylaws. These will be presented and distributed at the January SOECA membership meeting and will be voted upon at the March membership meeting.
Most importantly, our dues structure, membership requirements, and membership voting structure are completely unchanged from the previous bylaws. Substantive changes include:
· Updating the fiscal year to match the articles of incorporation,
· Leaving open the possibility of delivering the SOECA newsletter electronically, rather than physically, in the future (there are no plans to make that change, at present),
· Clarifying the roles of the various officers and streamlining the nominations process before officer elections,
· Eliminating specific (and outdated) requirements about the number and timing of meetings and a number of “standing committees” (we are not creating or eliminating any committees, just removing mention of particular committees from the bylaws to allow the officers more flexibility to align committees with current needs), and
· Altering the language around making amendments to the bylaws in order to allow us to vote on all the changes at once, rather than having to vote on each Article’s changes individually.
The text of these proposed amendments are being madeSOECA Bylaws.Redline Dec 2018 SOECA Bylaws.Conformed Dec 2018 available via the Listserv, website, Facebook page, and in print at the January and March meetings. If you have any questions about the proposed changes, feel free to contact the Executive Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.