New Bylaws Under Review
Dear Co-op Owners,
The Board has devoted a large portion of its time this year to revising the co-op’s bylaws. When the co-op was first incorporated, we were much smaller in number, and the bylaws were adapted from a template typically used for non-profits. As we evolved into vibrant, growing cooperative business of 3,300 owners, with a functioning store and numerous programs, it became clear to the Board that it was timeto adopt bylaws that complement our policy governance structure.
To meet our needs, bylaws must allow for smooth functioning of the co-op’s internal governance processes while being consistent with both our owners’ values and with relevant laws.
- Bylaws are the means by which the owners delegate authority to the board. Under that authority, the board ensures that the co-op meets owners’ needs while remaining ethically, legally and financially sound.
- Bylaws explain the fundamental rights and responsibilities of both the owners and the board. Effective bylaws create the foundation for a transparent, fair and efficient governance process.
- The bylaws also explain how the co-op will satisfy its legal requirements.
- So, to meet our needs, bylaws must be: 1. User friendly, 2. Comprehensive without being overly detailed and 3. Consistent with applicable law.
With this in mind, the Board looked over our current bylaws and thought it best to use the “Fresh Start Bylaw Template” in order to achieve a new format that fit the co-op’s needs. The Fresh Start Bylaw Template was designed by the Cooperative Development Services (or CDS) Consulting Co-op specifically for co-ops using the policy governance model. We worked to ensure that the revised bylaws are short enough and clear enough that they can be used and understood by all of our owners.
After months of work and research, we finally have a first draft. We are in the process of having these new bylaws reviewed by legal counsel. Owner input will of course be an important part of our process to adopt the final version of the bylaws. We’ll be holding a forum open to all owners on Tuesday, November 5th from 6-8 in Café Istanbul right across from the Co-op. We’ll give a short presentation on the changes we’re proposing, and spend most of the time answering any questions you may have.
Please take a minute to check out the Draft Bylaws: Draft Bylaws for review 2013
In Cooperation, Your Board of Directors
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Current Bylaws as of 11/2012: At a regular meeting of the board on November 1, 2012 the New Orleans Food Cooperative adopted these revised bylaws:
nofc_bylaws_update_11_2012.doc (click to download)
The following Articles of Incorporation were finalized on May 5, 2009:
Articles of Incorporation (5/4/09)