1. #1
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    Default Advice for Re-writing Bylaws

    Hi All -

    The board of directors of my department are beginning the process of re-writing our bylaws. Our current by-laws are outdated, incomplete, and in definite need of replacement.

    What advice can any of you give regarding how to approach the project? How to get "buy in" from the general membership? How to make the cut-over from the old bylaws to the new? Any specific topics that we should cover? Things to watch out for?

    Thanks for you help.

    Joe Fiala
    Miller Fire Department
    Miller, SD

  2. #2
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    Joe-get yourself either a lawyer or a legal assistant to help out. Get ideas from the membership as a whole and not just the board-get a core group of some board members and general membership, then its less likely to get one sided for personal agendas. Cover every aspect you can and review and update every year.
    "Stay Safe, Stay Low and lets Rock-n-Roll"

  3. #3
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    I've been in your shoes a few times. What we have found helpful is to get as many other by-laws as you can from similar organizations and see what you like in them that will improve yours. We have also added language about using ROBERTS RULES OF ORDER whenever procedural questions arose during meetings. That eliminates alot of language and doesn't restrict you except when a question arises. Once you get the by-laws set, I would also recommend you include language for an automatic review on a regular basis to help keep them from becoming obsolete again in the future.

    Good luck!
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  4. #4
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    In our department, we have two provisions for amending by-laws: they can be changed at our Annual Meeting if the proposal is brought up at the meeting a month prior, or they can be changed at a special meeting called by a certain percentage of the members for that purpose (I don't have a copy here at the moment; sorry about the lack of detail).

    Changing the by-laws as a series of amendments my be easier to sort through than ditching the whole lot and starting over.

    We just formed five years ago, and I served on the committee that wrote the orginal by-laws. Seems like it took about three months of on-and-off work, and we compared many, many other departments by-laws.

    The previous statement about consulting an attorney is well-founded, particularly if your plan start from scratch. Seems like that would be almost like disbanding and starting a "new" organization.

    I'd be happy to send you a copy of ours, if you're interested.

    bryceb@webzone.net
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  5. #5
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    make sure that even if the board decides not to dot an i, the membership knows about it.

    one of the worst things that can happen, is something which gets changed and people are unaware of it, or say 'we didn't approve that' or the 'what are you guys trying to get away with' attitude.

    good luck with your 'endevour.

    make your transition as open to the membership as possible!!!

  6. #6
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    Thanks, everyone. Stay safe.

    Joe

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