Member involvement in club decisions

Posted By Ken Walker

There has been discussion recently about members of the club feeling excluded from the decision making process. One member who left the club recently had this concern. A member in his Rotary Minute at our meeting this week supported this concern. President Doug has identified this concern as a goal that he wants to deal with by involving our members in the decisions we make.

These concerns are clearly something we need to address.  Just because we have done what we do in a certain way in the past, doesn’t mean we can’t do better.  To put in my two bits worth on the question, I will first describe what we have done in the past and why:

  1. Our bylaws, like those of every Rotary club,  say “The club shall not consider any resolution or motion to commit the club on any matter until the board has considered it. Such resolutions or motions, if offered at a club meeting, shall be referred to the board without discussion.”  I believe that this is based on a valid concern that the nuts and bolts of running the club should not clutter the cheery meetings of our group.  This is especially so when we try to limit our regular meetings to 60 minutes.
  2. The decisions we make happen at board meetings.  Every member is welcome to attend board meetings.  If there are members who have not been informed about the time and location of these meetings, we should fix that.
  3. After every board meeting, your secretary (who has the minutes of the last board meeting still on his to do list) circulates the minutes to all members.

I am all for involving our members in club decisions but I am not in favour of cluttering up our weekly meetings with debates about the details of our operations.  The decision making process should be transparent in the sense that any member interested in participating should know when the board meets, should be welcome to attend and feel free to make her or himself heard.  If the member chooses not to be involved in that process, the member should still receive board minutes so they are in the loop about the decisions made on their behalf.

In years past, new members were expected to attend a couple of board meetings to become familiar with the decision making process.  We should consider that.  We should consider any practice that will engage and involve our members in the running of the club.




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