by Pete Mazzaccaro
Chestnut Hill Community Association members voted to approve a series of bylaws amendments on Jan.30.
The votes were cast at a special meeting of the CHCA membership. The meeting, required by current bylaws, took the form of a daylong open house at the organization’s office, 8434 Germantown Ave. CHCA executive director Ryan Rosenbaum said that 39 ballots were cast. One was disqualified because it was cast by a non-member. Thirty five members voted to approve the changes, two voted against and one abstained.
The most significant changes that will go into effect from the approved changes are a change of the number of board members from 31 to 26, changing of the organization’s fiscal year from one that runs from April 1 to March 31 to one that runs from July 1 to June 30, and a change in voter age eligibility from 14 years old to 18.
“The main reason for the changes was to keep our bylaws up to date and in line with other nonprofit organizations,” Rosenbaum said. “This was a long process that started at the CHCA’s bylaws committee and went before the CHCA executive committee and the board. Everything was done transparently.”
Rosenbaum said the bylaws were not only discussed in committee and by the board but also with the input of two law firms to ensure they were compliant with 501(c)(3) law. The CHCA became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit last year.
The proposed bylaws changes were announced to the public in late September and through January in the Chestnut Hill Local, on the CHCA’s website and through direct emails to members. Despite those efforts, only 2.5 percent of the organization’s 1,500 members voted.
There is no stipulation or threshold for turnout for the CHCA’s bylaws approval, so majority rules, even if it’s the majority of 2.5 percent of membership.
“I’m not sure why that is,” Rosenbaum said when asked why turnout was so low. “We’d hope for more, but it’s up to individual members to take that responsibility.”
A copy of the latest version of the CHCA’s bylaws are available online here.
Pete Mazzaccaro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-248-8802.