ROCs must approve bylaw amendments outlined at Annual Membership Meeting
CHICAGO – Nearly 70 ROC leaders from across the country met last night and discussed a series of proposals to strengthen the governance and leadership of the ROC Association.
The Association’s Annual Membership Meeting was a combination in-person/online event with 19 ROC leaders gathered in Chicago and almost 50 ROC joining through video conference representing nearly all 21 states with ROCs.
“We are 19 strong here, coast to coast with all of the meat and potatoes in between,” said Marjory Gilsrud, president of the ROC Association Board.
One proposed amendment to the Association’s bylaws would give the leadership a much different look, doubling the number of Directors from three to six. The change is designed to expand the Board’s capacity to take on more activities and get better coverage of ROCs’ perspectives and needs from each Region.
The additional Directors, one from each ROC Association region, would be appointed by the elected Directors and would have the same level of authority. Called al-large Directors, they would not serve as President, Secretary or Treasurer of the Association Board, nor would they serve on the ROC USA® Board.
- Incorporating ROC Association as a 501c3 tax-exempt entity;
- Expanding the current mail-only voting rule to include options for casting ballots by email or online;
- Clarifying online meeting attendance to specifically allow attendance remotely by electronic means and the option for electronic voting; and,
- Giving the Board authority to change the geographic regions of the Association as more ROCs are created.
Individual ROC Members will not vote on the Bylaw changes, said Mary O’Hara, ROC USA’s executive vice president for ROC Movement. ROCs each have one vote.
“The Members of the Association are the ROCs themselves,” O’Hara said. “The cooperatives cast one vote during their community Board meetings.”
She also reiterated that the proposed amendments would only impact the ROC Association’s bylaws – not the bylaws of individual ROCs.
By Oct. 15, each ROC Board President and Secretary will be sent a ballot for a community vote on the bylaw amendments by both mail and email. Every ROC Board is asked to put the proposed amendments on its October or November Board agenda and vote. A quorum of 25 percent (78 ROCs must return ballots) is required and results will be announced by Dec. 31.
Mountain West Election
Association Board Secretary John Egan of the Mountain West Region has decided not to seek re-election and his seat is up for election this year.
Egan, a Member of Animas View MHP Cooperative in Durango, Colo., encouraged anyone interested to run for his seat, for which nominations are currently open. Learn more here. The biggest requirement for the serving in the volunteer position is simply time. Directors serve a minimum of one three-year term and attend three virtual ROC USA Board meetings and one in-person Board meeting per year.
“For nearly two years, I have been on the Board, and it’s truly been one of the most dynamic things I have ever done, in terms of public service and being able to share ideas we have created together,” Egan said. “I don’t really want to leave the Board, if it wasn’t for personal reasons, I would stay on. I think this role is so important.
“Yes, it takes a little time. But it takes time for purposeful and meaningful work and to create policy and new ideas. All of the things that we do are dedicated to improving ROCs and ROC Association. I can’t tell you how important and satisfying this work is.”
Other ways to serve
ROC Association is looking for more volunteers on the Policy and Advocacy and Outreach and Education committees. These committees meet once per month for an hour to discuss ways to improve and help ROC Members across the country. More information about these committees is available at rocassociation.org.
The Policy and Advocacy Committee is focused on the PRICE Initiative, $25 million from the Minnesota Housing Finance Authority, opportunity to purchase legislation and inviting congressional and local leaders to tour ROCs across the country.
“If you want join a committee, please raise your hand,” said Natividad Seefeld, committee chair and president of Park Plaza Cooperative in Fridley, Minn. “We absolutely need 100 percent as many people as possible so when we go into the next session, we can get all of these bills passed.”
Members of the Outreach and Education Committee connect with ROC Association Members to answer questions, provide support, resources, develop peer-to-peer problem solving and work with the media to spread the message of ROC Association.
“We would love anyone to join either one of these committees,” said Bobbie Grubb, committee co-chair and Member of Pammel Creek Estates, Inc., in La Crosse, Wisc. “It doesn’t matter how much experience you have, that experience informs the committee.”
Anyone interested in joining a committee or with questions about the proposed bylaw changes, or running for the Mountain West Director seat should email email@example.com or visit rocassociation.org.
The ROC Association was started in 2013 by two ROC leaders, Natividad Seefeld, president of Park Plaza Cooperative in Fridley, Minn., and Lois Parris, then of Lakes Region Cooperative in Belmont, N.H. In 2020, the ROC Association launched two ROC Association Committees, the Outreach and Education Committee and the Policy and Advocacy Committee. ROC Leaders from across the country volunteer their time to expand the work of the ROC Association.