We should start by looking at the bylaws of other hackerspaces
I read through the bylaws of HacDC, Pumping Station: one, Maker's Local 256, and Noisebridge. This is cribbed primarily from HacDC so far with some changes: one membership class, no new member sponsorship, and a different BoD structure. Definitely edit however you see fit and we can all talk out the details as we need to. Jonlesser 08:13, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Wiki Tip: If you type ~~~~, Media Wiki will insert a your username and a timestamp.
Operating policy vs. bylaws Bylaws are overarching rules for how the corporation is structured. They require a majority of the entire membership to amend, not to mention written notifications, etc. Many specific problems could be covered by operating policy or better yet no policy and everyone playing fairly.
Article 1: Purpose
Section 1: IRC Section 501(c)(3) Purposes
This corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes as specified in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Section 2: Specific Objectives and Purposes
Baltimore Node Corporation seeks to create and sustain an environment that promotes the creative use of technology for the benefit of art, science and culture. To this end the Corporation shall:
- Establish and maintain a physical space within the City of Baltimore that fosters creative technological exploration and invention.
- Support a nurturing community of makers devoted to extending Baltimore Node's purpose through education and collaboration.
- Empower Baltimore Node's members to create, experiment and invent interesting and novel ways of using technology.
- Encourage and support the sharing of research, experiments and knowledge with our community and the world.
- Actively engage with the community of Baltimore on issues aligned with Baltimore Node’s purpose.
For further discussion of the organizations purpose and mission see Mission Statement
Article 2: Offices
Section 1: Principal Office
The principal office of the corporation is located in Baltimore City, State of Maryland.
Section 2: Change of Address
The designation of the city, county or state of the corporation's principal office may be changed by amendment of these bylaws. The members may change the principal office from one location to another within the named city by noting the changed address and effective date below, and such change of address shall not be deemed, nor require, an amendment of these bylaws.
Section 3: Other offices
The corporation may also have offices at such other places, within or without its state of incorporation, where it is qualified to do business, as its business and activities may require, and as the members may, from time to time, designate.
Article 3: Membership
Section 1: Designation of Membership Classes
Baltimore Node shall have a single membership class, that of member.
Section 2: Becoming a member
Any person who submits a freely available membership application, supports the purposes laid out in Article I of these bylaws, and meets the requirements of the Membership Policy, is qualified to become a member. Any qualified person may become a member at any regular meeting by an affirmative vote of more than three quarters (3/4ths) of members present. A vote to affirm a qualified person as a member may only occur if the qualified person is present for the vote. Existing members should consider the qualified person's commitment to the corporations purposes, trustworthiness and any relevant risks before affirming a qualified person with their vote. If a member is unable to assess these considerations, they should make an effort to get the know the qualified person so they can make a proper assessment.
A list of qualified persons to be considered for membership must be posted electronically one week prior to the meeting.
- I added a clause to the definition of qualified person that stipulates a membership application be filled out. It can be policy for the Secretary to send out part of the application to the entire membership upon receipt, say just the name and 'why do you want to join' sections. I think a one week prior requirement is likely to just be a pain. -Jonlesser 23:27, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
A motion, seconded and carried by a majority of members present may postpone consideration of a qualified person or persons until the next regular meeting.
- This could happen whether we explicitly said so or not, right? -Jonlesser 23:27, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Qualified persons must be present at the meeting where they are elected.
- Added -- Jonlesser 23:26, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
- "capacity to contribute" and "willingness to participate" sound like time will be a requirement for membership. Unless *you* are paying *me*, I don't know if that is a reasonable requirement on top of paying dues. Trusworthiness, solid identification (name and valid address), and payment of dues should be the only concerns. 126.96.36.199 14:31, 6 July 2009 (UTC)
- I think that's an issue to be addressed under section 3: becoming a member. However, I'm not sure what the purpose is of having separate sections for who qualifies to become a member and then how that qualified person actually becomes a member. Sylviachi 16:11, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
- I merged sections 2 and 3 into "Becoming a member" Jonlesser 21:52, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
- I agree there should be a bit of a trial period/contribution before becoming a member, this might not have to be in the bylaws it could be an operating procedure. Its bound to be something along the lines of "do we trust this person?", which is perhaps difficult to legally define. The bylaws could be more directed at the current membership making the decision based on their best judgement.Kellyegan 16:14, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
- I removed the participation and contribution clauses and added a reaffirmation that members should make sure the new members are committed to the corporations purposes. It seem to me that if you support these purposes you will most likely be an active contributor to the organization.Kellyegan 15:42, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Section 3: Membership Dues
Membership dues must be paid in full to be considered a member. Members who fail to pay their dues will lose all rights and privileges associated with membership, except for those guaranteed by Law, until such time as their dues are paid in full and certified by the Treasurer. The Treasurer shall be responsible for notifying the Board of Directors and the offending member immediately when a member fails to pay dues in a given month.
The amount, payment period, due date and acceptable methods for collection of dues shall be reviewed each year at the annual meeting. A majority vote of the members at any meeting may change the procedure and terms for payment of dues. Member dues may be waived for up to three months due to financial hardship or relocation by written petition signed by more than three quarters (3/4ths) of the Board of Directors. Payment of dues may be waived for any other reason only by members at a duly called meeting.
- We should perhaps try to make something inline with the "starving hackers" provision found in many groups. Obviously we want most people to pay dues but especially if we had a talented member who didn't have the cash we would want to find a way for them to join. Perhaps volunteer time? Maybe even students or seniors rates? Just a thought Kellyegan 16:56, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
- I'm interested in the volunteer angle, but until we have things that require volunteering ("I volunteer to drink beers and solder stuff and be awesome!", nope), I'm skeptical it will be of value to the organization. Works well for velocipede because volunteers build bikes that are eventually exchanged for cash. Abachman 00:35, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
- On waiving membership dues, should include the ability to merely reduce the dues? Also does this mean that actual amount of dues may only be changed at annual meetings? Or is that included in procedure and terms. Kellyegan 02:43, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
- Perhaps include a statement that prevents dues from being lowered below what it costs to run the spaceMehuman 23:48, 24 July 2009 (UTC)
Section 4: Membership Rights and Responsibilities
Each member shall have an equal right to voice their opinion and vote their preference or abstain from voting in the affairs of the corporation. Each member shall exercise only one vote for each decision before the corporation. Each member shall have reasonable inspection rights of corporate records. Each member shall be responsible for timely payment of dues, providing their current address, contact information, and preference for electronic receipt of communications. Each member is responsible for continuing to support the purposes of the corporation.
Section 5: Nonliability of Members
A member of this corporation is not, as such, personally liable for the debts, liabilities, or obligations of the corporation.
Section 6: Transferability of Memberships
No member may transfer a membership or any right arising therefrom. All rights of membership cease upon the member's death.
- I suggest offering family memberships. We're homeschooling (unschooling) our kids and a useable lab space that's open during the day would make a killer spot for weekly or monthly all ages lab sessions. BUT, this would require giving my wife the key, if she's not a full member. Clearly, the full family that actually got two members worth of use out of the space would be extremely uncommon, so what's the harm in "every membership is a family membership"? Call it family, call it household, one vote per, and bam, we're reaching out to the community in a new way. YMCA does it, I say we do it. Abachman 00:48, 7 July 2009 (UTC)
- This section is designed to prevent members from unilaterally selecting someone to be a member and bypass the standard procedure. I would think weekly or monthly all ages lab session, which by the way sounds really fun, would be considered an event or workshop and therefore open to the public. The Y charges nearly twice as much ($74) for a two adult household, which includes kids, compared to a single adult ($49) with no kids. . I think one key and one vote per membership is the way to start along with a liberal guest policy. There's currently no guest policy, but that may better handled as a free standing policy outside the bylaws.
Section 7: Membership Resignation and Termination
Any member may resign by filing a written resignation with the Secretary. Resignation shall not relieve a member of unpaid dues or other monies owed. Membership may be suspended for non-payment of dues by the Treasurer. Any suspended member may restore their membership 90 days after suspension upon payment of dues owed and payable through one month beyond the end of the suspension period, or upon the granting of a dues waiver as outlined in Section 4. Membership may also be terminated for any reason by written petition signed by more than three quarters (3/4ths) of the members.
Section 8: Baltimore Node Membership Rules, Guidelines, & Policies
All members must follow the rules and guidelines as stated in the "Baltimore Node Membership Rules, Guidelines, & Policies" in order to be a member. They must be aware signing makes you held accountable to the rules and regulations as stated by the "Baltimore Node Membership Rules, Guidelines, & Policies".
Article 4: Meetings
Section 1: Regular Meetings
The time, location, and frequency will be determined at the annual meeting by vote of the members present. A different meeting place or time may be designated by written petition signed by more than three quarters (3/4ths) of voting members. Regular meetings shall not take place on the day before, upon, or after a federal holiday unless specifically approved at the prior meeting.
Section 2: Annual Meetings
An annual meeting of all members shall take place sometime in January, February or March. The President shall select the date, time and place no later than January 31 of each year. The date, time and place of the annual meeting must be submitted to members electronically at least two weeks prior to the annual meeting. A petition signed by more than three quarters (3/4ths) of voting members and submitted to the Board of Directors before Valentine's Day may specify a new date, time and place for the annual meeting. At the annual meeting, the members shall elect Officers and the Board of Directors, review and vote on the standing rules and policies of the corporation, receive reports on the activities of the corporation, approve the budget and determine the direction of corporation in the coming year.
Section 3: Special Meetings
A petition presented to all members and signed by one third (1/3) of members may call a special meeting. Such a petition must include the date, time, place and agenda of the special meeting.
Section 4: Notice of Meetings
The time and place of upcoming meetings shall be conspicuously posted at the principal office and electronically sent to all voting members. No notice is required for a regular meeting. Special meetings require 72 hours notice considered delivered only when all voting members are personally notified and given an opportunity to sign a special meeting petition.
Section 5: Quorum
One third (33%) of the voting power shall constitute a quorum. If the voting power is not evenly divisible by three, any fractional remainder shall be rounded up. For example, in the case that voting power is equal to seven (7), a quorum shall be three (3). If a quorum is present, the affirmative vote of a majority of the voting power represented at the meeting shall be the act of the members, unless the vote of a greater number is required by these bylaws or the Law.
- HacDC amended their bylaws after a year to lower the quorum from 50% to 25% of the total voting power. I think that with fewer members, say 10 to 15ish, it's important to keep the percentage high to maintain the legitimacy of decisions. I could be easily convinced that 25% is sufficient if anyone feels strongly. --Jonlesser 07:42, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
- I count 16 people currently pledged to give some money. That would be a quorum of 6. That's pretty low. Perhaps we should keep it higher initially. Twenty-five percent would be too low I think.Kellyegan 02:59, 17 July 2009 (UTC)
Section 6: Voting
When a quorum is present, all issues, except when otherwise specified in these bylaws, shall be decided by affirmative voice vote of more than one half (1/2) of the members present. A motion, seconded and carried by one third (1/3) of members present, shall force the voting on a particular issue to be conducted by secret ballot.
- I added this secret ballot and voice vote distinction because it seems like most votes should be done by voice for efficiencies sake. But occasionally there may be an issue that a many members may not wish to publicly state there opinion but for which there may be a majority. I think it is good protection against a vocal minority overtaking a quieter majority. Kellyegan 15:59, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
- I like it. Jonlesser 22:55, 18 July 2009 (UTC)
Article 5: Officers
Section 1: Role, Number, Qualification, Term and Compensation
There shall be four officers, consisting of President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Each officer must be a member and each officer shall serve from the time of their election until their successor is elected and qualifies. No officer may serve more than 3 consecutive terms. No officer shall be compensated for their service as an officer, though the corporation may provide insurance and indemnity for officers as allowed by law.
Section 2: Duties of the President
The President shall preside over meetings or designate an alternate, attempt to achieve consensus in all decision-making where consensus is required, ensure the membership is informed of all relevant issues, and serve other duties of a President as required by law or custom.
- suggest language change to "consensus in all decision-making which requires it", or something to that effect. Not everything is a consensus decision. Abachman 20:42, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
- changed. Jonlesser 03:49, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
Section 3: Duties of the Vice President
The Vice President shall assist the President in organizing meetings of the membership, provide notice to the membership of all meetings of the members and of the board of directors, and serve all other duties of a Vice President as required by law or custom, including acting when the President is unable or unwilling to act.
- What are we talking about here? Kellyegan 16:24, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
- This was pulled over from the HacDC descriptions. My interpretations is that the VP is charged with selecting communications channels and then making sure they're properly supported, by delegation if necessary. Pumping station one has a more traditional description for VP in their bylaws that I think is better suited, so I've changed the above description. --Jonlesser 07:55, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Section 4: Duties of the Secretary
The Secretary shall be responsible for record keeping including membership and board meeting actions and petitions, posting and distributing copies of membership meeting minutes and relevant meeting agendas to the membership, assuring that corporate records are maintained, maintaining an up-to-date roster of members contact information and serving all other duties of a Secretary as required by law or custom.
Section 5: Duties of the Treasurer
The Treasurer shall be custodian of corporate funds, collect dues, make a financial report for each meeting, assist in the preparation of the budget, develop fundraising plans, make financial information available to members and the public, and serve all other duties of a Treasurer as required by law or custom.
- this is probably the most important officer position Abachman 20:42, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
Section 6: Duties of the Officers as a whole
The Officers must prepare an annual report to be distributed at the annual meeting. The report should chronicle the activities of the corporation, including specific narratives on the corporation's work, the corporation's annual financial statements, relevant legal filings, and relevant copies of the organization's district and federal tax returns. Any decisions not mandated by Maryland law or these bylaws to fall with the Officers may only be delegated to the Officers by a vote of the membership to amend these bylaws to explicitly give the Officers such decision making power. Any policy, agreement, or process affecting the organization at-large will, unless stated otherwise in these bylaws, be decided upon by the voting membership.
Section 7: Officer Elections
Officer elections will take place at each annual meeting. Each member present shall be given an opportunity to be a candidate for each officer position. If there is more than one candidate for an officer position, the candidate which obtains the highest number votes in the election process outlined below shall be elected. If there are no candidates for an officer position, the outgoing officeholder may, if eligible, elect to serve another term or select any willing member to serve in that position. Voting will begin with the office of President, and proceed in the order of Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. The election of each office will following the following steps:
- Members may nominate themselves or any other member to be a candidate for any office. If a member nominates a member other than themself, the nominated member must accept the nomination before being considered a candidate. Non-present members may be nominated, or nominate themself, only if they have given written notice to the Secretary in advance of the annual meeting indicating their acceptance of any such nomination.
- Each candidate will be given equal opportunity to speak to the voting members. Non-present nominees may file a statement with the Secretary in advance of the meeting to be read aloud by the Secretary. Candidates may use any of their allotted time to field questions from the members present.
- Voting will commence by secret ballet. Two non-candidate members will collect no more than one vote from each member present and then count all collected votes twice.
- The total votes cast for each candidate will be announced, in unison, by the two members who counted the ballets. In the event of a tie for the most votes, another vote will be held with only the tied candidates eligible to receive votes.
- Once an office is filled, the next office is brought up for a vote. Candidates who did not win in a previous vote are eligible to run for other offices.
- the process should include provisions for announcement periods (i.e., how long ahead of the annual meeting should nomination and discussion take place?) and votes by proxy, should any member be unable to attend. Abachman 20:47, 5 July 2009 (UTC)
- I am a big fan of getting the whole affair done in one sitting, rather than having any period of official campaign, debates, or the like ahead of the annual meeting. This process basically compresses everything into a singe event. Everybody who wants to be VP stands up and says why, then we vote. If someone really wants to be VP, there's nothing to stop them from campaigning for as long as they want in advance of the annual meeting, but there's no institutionalized expectation to do so. I added some clauses about running without being physically present. --Jonlesser 08:21, 9 July 2009 (UTC)
Section 8: Resignation, Termination and Vacancies
Any officer may resign by filing a written resignation with the Secretary. An Officer may be terminated in their role by written petition signed by more than three quarters (3/4ths) of the membership. Vacant offices shall be filled at the next regular meeting using the applicable processes outlines in these bylaws.
Article 6: Board of Directors
Section 1: Responsibilities
The Board of Directors shall fulfill all roles required by Maryland law. Any decisions not mandated by Maryland law to fall with the Board of Directors may only be delegated to the Board of Directors by a vote of the membership to amend these bylaws to explicitly give the board of directors such decision making power. Any policy, agreement, or process affecting the organization at-large will, unless stated otherwise in these bylaws, be decided upon by the voting membership.
Section 2: Size, Term and Compensation
The board of directors shall consist of no fewer than four (4) and no more than twelve (12) members. The four Officers defined in Article IV will serve as bona fide directors. Each director shall serve from the time of their election until their successor is elected and qualifies. No director may serve more than five (5) consecutive terms on the board of directors. No director may be compensated for their service as a board member, though the corporation may provide insurance and indemnity for board members as allowed by law.
Section 3: Meetings, Quorum, and Voting
The Board of Directors shall meet when necessary, provided all members receive notice sent electronically at least five business days prior to the meeting. All members may attend a meeting of the board of directors. The notice shall give the time, place, reason for calling the meeting, and the agenda for said meeting. Minutes of each board meeting shall be electronically distributed to all members within forty eight (48) hours. Two thirds of board members at a duly called board member meeting shall constitute a quorum. When a quorum is present, all issues, except when otherwise specified in these bylaws, shall be decided by affirmative vote of more than 50% (one half) of the directors present.
Section 4: Elections
The four Officers serving on the Board of Directors shall be elected in the manner described in Article IV, Section 7 of these bylaws. The remaining directors shall be elected at the annual meeting by the members present. Any member may nominate any person to be a candidate for director. The nominating member must provide a written narrative to the membership in advance of the annual meeting which describes the nominee's qualifications for a directorship. The nominee must be present at the annual meeting or send written notice to the Secretary in advance of the annual meeting indicating acceptance of nomination and willingness to carry out the duties of Director. A candidate for director must be approved by three quarters (3/4ths) of the membership present at the annual meeting.
Section 5: Resignation, Termination and Vacancies
Any director may resign by filing a written resignation with the Secretary. A director may be terminated in their role by written petition signed by more than three quarters (3/4ths) of the membership. Vacancies on the board shall be filled at the next regular meeting using the applicable processes outlines in these bylaws.
Article 7: Fiscal Year
The fiscal year of the Corporation shall be from January 1st to December 31st.
Article 8: Execution of Instruments, Deposits and Funds
Section 1: Execution of Instruments
The members, except as otherwise provided in these bylaws, may authorize any officer or agent of the corporation to enter into any contract or execute and deliver any instrument in the name of and on behalf of the corporation, and such authority may be general or confined to specific instances. Unless so authorized, no officer, agent, or employee shall have any power or authority to bind the corporation by any contract or engagement or to pledge its credit or to render it liable monetarily for any purpose or in any amount.
Section 2: Checks and Notes
Except as otherwise specifically determined by resolution of the board of directors, or as otherwise required by law, checks, drafts, promissory notes, orders for payment of money, and other evidence of indebtedness of the corporation shall be signed by the treasurer and countersigned by the president of the corporation.
Section 3: Deposits
All funds of the corporation shall be deposited from time to time to the credit of the corporation in such banks, trust companies, or other depositories as the board of directors may select.
Section 4: Gifts
The board of directors may accept on behalf of the corporation any contribution, gift, bequest, or devise for the nonprofit purposes of this corporation.
Article 9: Indemnification, Exoneration and Insurance
Section 1: Indemnification
The Corporation shall indemnify its directors and officers to the fullest extent permitted by Maryland statutory or decisional law, as amended or interpreted, including the advancement of related expenses, upon a determination by the Board of Directors or independent legal counsel appointed by the Board of Directors (who may be regular counsel for the corporation) made in accordance with applicable statutory standards; provided, however, such indemnification shall only be to the extent permitted of organizations which are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law).
Section 2: Exoneration
To the fullest extent permitted by Maryland statutory or decisional law, as amended or interpreted, no director or officer of this Corporation shall be personally liable to the Corporation or its members for money damages; provided, however, that the foregoing limitation of director and officer liability shall only be to the extent permitted of organizations which are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Internal Revenue Law). No amendment of the Articles of Incorporation or repeal of any of its provisions shall limit or eliminate the benefits provided to directors and officers under this provision with respect to any act or omission which occurred prior to such amendment or repeal.
Section 3: Insurance
The Corporation shall have the power to purchase and maintain insurance on behalf of any person who is or was a director, officer, employee or agent of the Corporation, or who, while a director, officer, employee or agent of the Corporation is or was serving any of the entity at the request of the Corporation, and in any capacity, against any liability, asserted against and incurred by such person in any such capacity or arising out of such person's position, whether or not the Corporation would have the power to indemnify him or her against such liability under the provisions of the Article.
Article 10: Conflicts of Interest
Any director, officer, or member having an interest in a contract or other transaction or determination presented to the Board of Directors or the membership for recommendation, authorization, approval or ratification shall give prompt, full and frank disclosure of his or her interest to the Board of Directors prior to its acting on such contract or transaction. The Board of Directors shall thereupon determine, by majority vote, whether the disclosure shows that a conflict of interest exists or can reasonably be construed to exist. If a conflict is deemed to exist, such person shall not vote on, nor use his or her personal influence on, nor participate (other than to present factual information or to respond to questions) in the discussions or deliberations with respect to such contact, transaction or determination. Such person may not be counted in determining the existence of a quorum at any meeting where the contract, transaction, or determination is under discussion or is being voted upon. The minutes of the meeting shall reflect the disclosure made, the vote thereon and, where applicable the abstention from voting and participation, and whether a quorum was present.
Article 11: Intellectual Property
The Corporation shall make no claim to any intellectual property created by members or created using Corporation resources or facilities. The Corporation shall not hold or seek patents.
Article 13: Amendment of Bylaws
These bylaws may be amended only when an amendment proposal petition is approved at a membership meeting and signed by more than three quarters (3/4ths) of voting members. Written notice of such petition must be submitted electronically to all members.
Article 14: Construction and Terms
If there is any conflict between the provisions of these bylaws and the articles of incorporation of this corporation, the provisions of the articles of incorporation shall govern. Should any of the provisions or portions of these bylaws be held unenforceable or invalid for any reason, the remaining provisions and portions of these bylaws shall be unaffected by such holding. All references in these bylaws to the articles of incorporation shall be to the articles of incorporation, articles of organization, certificate of incorporation, organizational charter, corporate charter, or other founding document of this corporation filed with an office of this state and used to establish the legal existence of this corporation. All references in these bylaws to a section or sections of the Internal Revenue Code shall be to such sections of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended from time to time, or to corresponding provisions of any future federal tax code.