BYLAWS OF APPLETREE COMMUNE, INC. (Accepted April 9, 1987)
The fiscal year shall be the same as the calendar year.
The purposes for which said corporation is organized are:
A. To create and maintain an intentional community of people, living communally in order to:
1. Manifest a commonly held belief of one-ness with the universe through sensitive treatment of the Earth and of each other;
2. Foster the group's unifying beliefs through daily interactions, work, child rearing, and economic interdependence;
3. Establish an environment to provide the group support necessary for every member to attain his or her highest potential for self-actualization, and interpersonal growth;
4. Act as a model of ethical and holistic livelihood; and
5. Teach the skills of communal living.
B. To maintain a community treasury, in order to:
1. Establish income sharing in order to provide an equitable life style to all members;
2. Enable the community to accept the disabilities and encourage the abilities of all members;
3. Create an equitable status for all work done by each member in recognition of the group's commonly held belief that everyone's work for the group is held to be equally worthwhile; and
4. Effectively foster the group's unifying beliefs by creating opportunities for right livelihood in a communal environment.
The principle and registered office of the corporation is: 32625 Saginaw West Road, Cottage Grove, Oregon 97424. The principal and registered offices need not be identical and may be changed from time to time by the Board of Directors.
MEMBERS-CLASSES AND QUALIFICATIONS
A. Classes of membership. There are two classes of membership: associate and full.
1. Associate Membership
a. Associate members are people who have been residents for six (6) months, usually, and have applied for and been granted associate membership status.
b. People in the age range of thirteen (13) to nineteen (19) who have lived at Appletree for at least on e year may be granted the rights and responsibilities of associate membership.
c. Associate members have the following rights and responsibilities:
1) To attend scheduled meetings;
2) To participate equally with other members in making decisions in all matters except full member decisions as defined in Section VII, B. 2. D.;
3) To pool income with all other members of all categories and to make specific agreements for the withdrawal of money from the commune's funds;
4) To use the Bylaws as guidelines;
5) To keep separate from communal equity that property which the associate member wishes to retain until full membership or until leaving the commune; and
6) To apply for full membership status after six (6) months of associate membership.
2. Full membership. Full members are people who have been granted that status after six (6) months of associate membership. They have the following rights and responsibilities:
a. All of those rights and responsibilities as stated for Associate Membership as stated for Associate Membership Section IV, A. 1. c. 1)-4).
b. To constitute the decision-making body that deals with the granting of full membership, the changing of the membership status of a full member to that of an associate member, and major financial decisions. Major financial decisions are decisions involving 30% or more of the commune's equity and decisions concerning insurance protection from financially disastrous happenings.
c. To participate in the decisions regarding change in status of associate members and the value of their assets.
d. To take a vow of poverty by donating, over time, all of their net worth to the commune.
B. Change of Membership Status.
1. Suspension of the Status of Full Membership. The status of being a full member may be suspended and this suspension may be reversed.
a. A person whose status of full membership is suspended will no longer have the rights and responsibilities of associate members. S/he will have the rights and responsibilities of associate members.
b. A person's full membership is automatically suspended after the empowered members (Sections VII, B. 2. a. and VII, B. 7. a.) decide s/he has expressed the intention, in words or in actions, to hold off or stop donating any parts of her/his net worth that has not yet been transferred to the commune according to the vow of poverty as defined in Section IV, A. 2. d.
c. A person whose full membership has been suspended in this way will regain the status of full membership after the full members agree that s/he has expressed, in words and in action, the intention to start up again with the donating of his or her net worth in accordance with the vow of poverty. The regaining of the status of full membership can happen no sooner than three months after the suspension.
a. By decision of the member whose membership is terminated. Membership termination is expected to result, in most cases, as the choice of the leaving member. The leaving member must announce in a dated letter addressed to the commune her/his decision to terminate her/his membership. The date of termination becomes official unless that member comes to a meeting and, in writing, reverses her/his stand.
b. By decision of Appletree. Under unusual circumstances a member may be expelled. The decision is a membership decision (Section VII, B. 2. c.).
1. All members are expected to contribute a reasonable amount of work in order to establish an environment that provides the group support necessary for the well-being of every member.
2. Income, whether as cash, goods, or services received by individual members will be considered communal and be credited to the communal treasury. The commune will extend at least "minimal support" to all members consisting of: food, clothing, shelter, and medical care.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
A. Composition. The Board of Directors shall include at least two (2) full members except when there are less than two (2) full members of the commune. The Board shall be elected by the members at the annual meeting to serve a one (1) year term, and shall consist of three (3) members.
B. Vacancies. A Board member may resign at any time. A vacancy on the Board will be filled by an affirmative vote of the membership at a meeting called especially for that purpose, or at the earliest possible regular meeting. Said newly appointed Director will serve until the next annual meeting.
C. Responsibilities. The Board shall act in accordance with the will of membership. Subject to the foregoing, the Board shall appoint officers at the annual meeting, and shall designate those persons who have the authority to sign contracts, legal documents, and bank accounts in the name of the corporation.
A. The officers of the corporation shall be the President and the Secretary. The officers shall be chosen by the Board of Directors, but are not required to be members of the Board. The term of an officer shall be from the annual meeting at which he or she was selected until the next annual meeting.
B. The officers shall have such powers and perform and delegate such duties as the Board of Directors may from time to time designate, and which include, but are not limited to, the descriptions of the powers and duties of the officers as described in the Bylaws.
1. President. The President shall report on the general affairs of the corporation at the annual meeting of the membership, or provide for such a report to be given, and shall sign legal documents which require the President's signature.
2. Secretary. The Secretary of the corporation shall be responsible to keep correct and complete books and records of financial transactions as required by the Internal Revenue Service, for reporting purposes, and shall keep minutes of the proceedings of the Board and members. Also, the Secretary shall keep at the registered office or principal office in the State of Oregon, a record of the names and addresses of the members entitled to vote. The Secretary shall sign legal documents requiring the Secretary's signature.
A. Limited Form of Government. The corporation will, on reaching a size of approximately ten (10) members, introduce a limited form of egalitarian planner/manager government to handle some of the major decision areas.
B. Decision Making.
1. Overview of Sections VII. B. 2. through VII. B. 9. (referred to as Section 2 through Section 9). Definitions are presented in Section 2. Descriptions are given of mappings on line segments of outcomes of the decision making process in Section 3 and of such mappings of participant positions in Section 4. How the "middleground opinion" is determined is described in Section 5. How the number of proposals is reduced to one is described in Section 6. How a decision is made in a meeting is described in Section 7. How a decision is finalized is described in Section 8. The most general description of the decision making process is the subject of Section 7.
a. Member empowered to participate in the decision making process. A member empowered to participate in the decision making process is a member who, according to these Bylaws, has the right to participate (see Section VII. B. 7. a.).
b. Participant. Participants are those members empowered to participate in a decision, excepting those who choose to not take a position or who cannot take a position due to absence and lack of representation. However, empowered members who are absent are, for the purpose of counting votes in major decisions for which they were not notified. (As is described [in Section VII. B. 7. b.] such participants are considered, considered participants to be opposed to the proposal in question.)
c. Membership decision. A decision to change the status of membership (including the expulsion from and suspension of membership) of any person is a membership decision.
d. Full member decision. Full member decisions are decisions made by the full members. Other members may act in advisory capacity. Full member decisions are:
1) The granting of full membership;
2) The changing of the membership status of a full member to that of an associate member;
3) Major financial decisions as defined in Section IV. A. 2. b.;
4) Any change in the definition of major financial decision, Section IV. A. 2. b., which increases the percentage of commune equity referred to therein;
5) Any change which increases the rate at which full members transfer their equity to the commune.
e. Bylaws decision. Amendments to these Bylaws are Bylaws decisions.
f. Major decision. Major decisions are membership decisions, Bylaw decisions, and major financial decisions as defined in Section IV. A. 2. b.
g. Proper Representation. An empowered member who is absent at a meeting is said to be properly represented at that meeting if a statement written by that member is at that meeting describing that member's position relative to the decision, or if another member holds a signed statement declaring that member the representative of the first member.
3. Mapping of Possible Outcomes of the Decision Making Process on a Line Segment
a. Each middleground opinion is determined with reference to a line segment whose endpoints and midpoint have been marked and appropriately labeled.
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^ ^ ^
(endpoint) (midpoint) (endpoint)
b. Mapping When There is One Proposal.
1) Quantitative Proposals. For the purpose of these Bylaws, quantitative proposals are defined as proposals where different opinions may occur on a single, measurable quantity (such as a quantity of money to be allocated for a certain purpose). Quantitative proposals are represented by labeling the end- and midpoints of the line with assigned quantities on a linear scale; other scales may be used if on one objects. If the quantities assigned cause the eventual middleground to be off the line, new quantities should be assigned until this situation is corrected.
2) Yes/No Proposals. All proposals that are not quantitative, as defined in Section VII. B. 3. b. 1) above, are yes/no proposals. Single proposals will be represented by labeling the endpoints "YES" and "NO," and the midpoint "MIDDLE."
c. Mapping When There Are Two Proposals. The two proposals will be represented by the two ends of a line segment. The midpoint will be labeled "MIDDLE."
4. Mapping of Participant Positions on the Line Segment. Each participant will represent her or his position by placing a mark with initials on the marked and labeled line segment.
a. Mapping When There is One Proposal.
1) Quantitative Proposals. A member's position about a quantity may be that it should be zero or that it should be infinite or any value in between. Quantities may also be negative. Note that an extreme position (such as an infinite value) may have a position off the actual line segment, without impairing the process of finding the middle position.
1.1 Example of a case in which it would be appropriate for a member to have the position that a quantity should be zero. The opinion that no money should be allocated for a certain purpose corresponds to being of the opinion that the quantity to be allocated is zero.
1.2 Example of a case in which it would be appropriate for a member to have the position that a quantity should be infinite. Assume the commune needs to decide on the membership size of Appletree at which it is possible to make a decision with two members opposed. The position that decisions should be made by consensus is equivalent to the opinion that the membership size should be infinite for it to be possible to make a decision with two members opposed.
2) Yes/No Proposals. If a proposal is classified as a yes/no proposal, every participant will indicate her/his opinion by means of a position between Yes and No on the line segment. Positions between the endpoints describe degrees of agreement. For instance: positions near the Yes end indicate yes with little hesitation. Positions on the yes side of the middle of the line and close to the middle indicate being in favor of the proposal with much hesitation.
b. Mapping When There Are Two Proposals. Each participant places a mark on the line indicating what her/his position is. A mark in an endpoint signifies agreement with the proposal represented by that point. A mark closer to one endpoint than the other means that the person who placed the mark is more in agreement with the proposal the mark is closer to. Some merit is seen, however, in the other proposal.
5. Determination of the Middleground Position. This section defines the middleground position on a line which has been marked and labeled as above, and on which people have indicated their positions by marks. If the number of people positioning themselves is odd then it will be determined which position has an equal number of positions to either side. This position will be referred to as the middleground position. If the number of people positioning themselves is even, then it will be determined which set of two adjacent positions has an equal number of positions to either side. The middleground position is, in this case, halfway between these two positions. If two or more positions are the same, then, for the purpose of finding the middleground position, they are moved apart a little. If the middleground position is one of the positions that was moved it will be moved back, after it has been identified, to where it was before. In the case the endpoints represent "Yes" and "No" or one of the two proposals, the middleground position is then moved to the nearest endpoint.
6. Reduction of Number of Proposals.
a. When the Number of Proposals is Greater Than Two. If the number of different proposals about the same issue is greater than two that number will be reduced to two by a process of elimination. Each participant will vote for one of the proposals or divide her/his one vote among the various proposals. Further votes will be held, if necessary, until one proposal receives the smallest number of votes; this proposal will be eliminated from the list of proposals. New votes will be held on the remaining proposals until not more than two proposals are left. The procedure of Section VII. B. 6. b. below will then be followed to reduce the number of proposals further to one.
b. When There Are Two Proposals. One of the proposals will be selected (thus eliminating the other) with the middleground method described in Section VII. B. 5. above.
7. Making a Decision in a Meeting. This section describes most of the process of making a decision in a meeting. Section VII. B. 9. describes the decision making process in its greatest generality. Among other things, that section describes how decisions are made outside meetings.
a. Determine who are empowered to be participants. All members are empowered to participate in all decisions with the following exceptions:
1) Associate members are not empowered to participate in the making of full member decisions.
2) Nonresident members who are not properly represented as defined in Section VII. B. 2. g., and who, in the case of a major decision, have been sufficiently notified (Section VII. E. 5.) are not considered empowered.
3) In decisions about the membership status of a person (admittance, expulsion, suspension, or other changes of status) that person is not empowered.
4) In the decision that a member has not abided by one of the commune's written agreements, the member in question is not empowered.
5) In decisions in response to a member who did not abide by one of the commune's written agreements (Section VII. C.) that member is not empowered.
6) Members whose membership has been suspended are not empowered.
b. Determine who are the participants (for definition of participant, see Section VII. B. 2. b.). All empowered members present at a meeting are participants, excepting any members who declare themselves non-participant in respect to a particular decision. Any empowered members not present at the meeting are not participants, unless properly represented (Section VII. B. 2. g.); however, any member who is not present and who was insufficiently notified for a major decision (Section VII. E.) will be considered a participant who is opposed to the proposal.
c. If the proposal considered is major (Section VII. B. 2. f.) and has been on the agenda for less than one month then empowered members who are not present at the meeting and do not have the nonresident status are participants who are considered opposed.
d. If the proposal considered is major and an empowered nonresident member has not been notified in accordance with the requirements (Section VII. E. 5.), that member is considered opposed.
e. Attempt to Reach Consensus. The participants will engage in a process of discussion and debate in which an attempt is made to arrive at consensus on the formulation of a tentative decision which is acceptable to all participants. Such a tentative decision is expected to be a compromise, weighted in each member's mind towards those who are knowledgeable with respect to the subject and towards those to whom the subject is considered particularly important. Participants may decide to "go twice around": each participant expresses what s/he considers the best decision, not taking different opinions into account. In the second time around each member expresses what s/he considers a fair compromise decision, thus taking into account what was said in the first time around. If no consensus is reached the middleground opinion will be determined (see Section VII. B. 7. f. below).
f. What Happens When No Consensus Can Be Reached. If the number of proposals on the same matter is greater than one that number will be reduced to one with the method of Section VII. B. 6. The middleground position will then be determined. The process is described in Section VII. B. 5. The facilitator will ask if the middleground position can be adopted as the tentative decision by consensus. If any participant asks for a vote, the participants will then vote on acceptance of the middleground opinion as the tentative decision. The outcome of the vote depends on the number of participants opposed:
1) The number of participants opposed is zero. If the number of participants opposed is zero, the decision is made by consensus after all.
2) The number of participants opposed is one. If the number of members empowered to make the decision in question is equal to or greater than four, the proposal is tentatively accepted; otherwise it is tentatively rejected.
3) The number of participants opposed is equal to or greater than two.
3.1 Major decisions as defined in Section VII. B. 2. f.. If the number of members empowered to make the decision in question is equal to or greater than five times the number of participants opposed, the proposal is tentatively accepted; otherwise it is tentatively rejected
3.2 Decisions other than major decisions as defined in Section VII. B. 2. f.. If the number of members empowered to make the decision in question is equal to or greater than four times the number of participants opposed, the proposal is tentatively accepted; otherwise it is tentatively rejected.
g. Second Thoughts. If any participant expresses having second thoughts about her or his position prior to elevating the status of a decision from tentative to final, a new attempt to reach consensus will be made. The process as described in Sections VII. B. 7. e., f., and g. will be repeated until no participant expresses second thoughts.
h. Responsibility for process. All participants have the responsibility to adhere to the decision making process as described in these Bylaws. In particular, the facilitator is not considered more responsible than other participants f the process is not adhered to exactly. If the process is not exactly followed and no member expresses a protest the decision will be considered final and binding provided it has been finalized in accordance with section 5+ below.
8. Finalizing a decision. Each decision is recorded in the minutes book and, if appropriate, in the Bylaws and/or policy book. It becomes effective and final at the time the participants who voted for it approve of its wording. A finalized decision is also referred to as a "written agreement."
9. The most general description of the decision making process; Making Decisions In- or Outside Meetings. A member empowered to participate in the decision making process makes a proposal. One or more such members may make counter proposals. If (one or more of) the empowered members want the decision made in a meeting or if the subject of the proposal(s) is a major decision, the submitter(s) put it on the agenda for meetings. A decision will then be made in a meeting, following the process of Section VII. B. 7. above; otherwise an attempt will be made to make the decision outside a meeting. The following procedures will be used in making decisions outside a meeting:
a. The middleground opinion will be determined by the process described in Section VII. B. 5.. All empowered members are counted as participants, excepting any members who declare themselves non-participant in respect to a particular decision. Any empowered members not home and not expected to come home within seven days are not participants, unless represented by either a written statement of their position relative to the decision, or by another member who holds a signed statement declaring that member the representative of the first member.
b. Any participant who objects to accepting the middleground opinion as the tentative decision may enter the proposal as an agenda item for our meetings; otherwise the middleground opinion will be the tentative decision which may be finalized following the process of Section VII. B. 8..
C. The Commune's Response to a Member's not Abiding by a Written Agreement. If a member has purposefully not abided by a written agreement, those other members empowered to review the agreement may make a decision how to respond (see Section VII. B. 7. A. 4)).
1. Membership Meetings.
a. General membership meetings shall be held on a regular weekly basis to be set by the membership at the annual meeting.
b. The annual meeting shall be held between two (2) weeks before and two (2) weeks after December 31 at the registered office of the corporation in Oregon, or at such other place as the Board of Directors shall establish.
2. Meetings of the Board. Board meetings shall be held as needed, and may be called at any time to deal with situations which require the attention of the board.
3. Special Membership Meetings. Special membership meetings may be called to deal with a particular issue with the approval of one-twentieth of the membership. Amendments of these Bylaws myst be made at meetings in which the notification requirements for special membership meetings (Section E. 3.) have been met.
E. Notification. In all cases it is recognized that attendance constitutes a waiver of notification requirements.
1. Regular Membership Meeting. At the annual meeting, the schedule of regular weekly meetings shall be set and posted in a central location readily accessible by all members, or notice may be given personally to all members. The membership can, from time to time throughout the year change the regular meeting schedule, which must then be posted or personally given as directed by these Bylaws.
2. Annual Membership Meeting. Notice of the annual meeting shall be given not less than seven (7) nor more than fifty (50) days before the date of the meeting, either personally or by mail.
3. Special Membership Meetings. The meeting time, date, and subject shall be posted seven (7) days in advance in a place as directed by the Bylaws governing notice of regular meetings.
4. Board Meetings. Any Board member may call a Board meeting, and in so doing takes responsibility to personally inform the remaining Board members at least seven (7) days in advance, unless all Board members are able to attend at an earlier date.
5. Nonresident Members. Nonresident members shall be sent written notice, to their latest known address, of meetings in which the making of a major decision (as defined in Section VII. B. 2. f.) is on the agenda, at least 2 weeks before the date of the meeting. No major decisions shall be made without such notice.
1. Membership Meetings. An attendance quorum for a meeting of the general membership, after due notification of members, shall be those who attend, except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws.
2. Board Meetings. An attendance quorum for a meeting of the Board of Directors shall be two (2).
These Bylaws will be reviewed in accordance with Attachment A. to these Bylaws as soon as possible after one year after the adoption of the major amendment in which type of decision making was changed from consensus to middleground, early in 1987.
Any amendment to these Bylaws must be made by one or more tentative decisions and, on a later date, a final decision of all members at Special Membership Meetings and must not compromise or change the intent of the stated purposes of the corporation.
Any proposal for a bylaws amendment that has been tentatively adopted may be revised in the period between the tentative and final adoptions. If the membership decides to adopt such a revision and if any member considers this revision significant, then the date of the acceptance of the revision is considered the new tentative acceptance date and the date of final acceptance is moved to a later date accordingly. The final acceptance cannot occur less than two months after the tentative acceptance.
A. In the case of threatened dissolution by reduction to less than three (3) members, the remaining member(s) may appoint a non-member(s) to fill a vacancy on the Board of Directors for an interim of one (1) year.
B. In the case of reduction to less than three (3) members continued longer than one year, the corporation will be in a state of dissolution and will dispose of its assets as follows:
1. All liabilities and obligations of the corporation shall be paid, satisfied, and discharged, or adequate provisions made therefore.
2. Assets held by the corporation upon condition requiring return, transfer, or conveyance, which condition occurs by reason of the dissolution, shall be returned, transferred, or conveyed in accordance with such requirements.
3. All remaining assets of the corporation shall be distributed to the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, a Missouri non-profit corporation. In the event that the Federation is unable to accept the remaining assets, then the distribution shall be made to a non-profit corporation with similar purposes as determined by the final Directors of the corporation.
4. No part of the net earnings of the corporation shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, directors, officers, or other private persons, except that the corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Section 2 hereof and within the permitted scope of Article VI and VII of the Articles of Incorporation.
REVIEW OF BYLAWS ON DECISION MAKING
Decision making by middleground, as defined in Section VII. B. of these Bylaws, will be in effect until a time which is no more than one year after these amendments have been adopted. At that time members will be invited to submit, in writing, alternative decision making processes. A decision will then be made, using the version of middleground decision making process active at that time, to either keep or amend the decision making process active at that time or to adopt an alternative decision making process.
If the current "middleground method" is selected the individual positions about the value of the numbers four and five that occur in Section VII. B. 7. f. will be redetermined by the middleground process and rounded off to the nearest integer.