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Monday, September 28, 2009

Working Group to Review Bylaws

An invitation to members was e-mailed to members via the Saints' Cyberline at least four times during the past two weeks. Members were invited to be part of a "Working Group" to review the current Bylaws. The deadline to sign up was 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, September 27, 2009. Interested applicants were advised to send their names to an anonymous e-mail address.

To the best of my knowledge, neither the board at large nor the membership has been advised of who will be part of this working group. Once an announcement has been made as to who will be part of this group, I will post it on this blog. Stay tuned...

Below is the text of the President's invitation and the guidelines for the "Working Group".

The Board is inviting Saints members to be a part of a Working Group to review the current Bylaws.

(a) There is no set limit as to how many members can join this group - any one who is interested (other than current Board Members or their relatives) may join.

(b) The first group meeting will be at the Saints Office and after that the group can decide if they wish to continue to meet at the office or wish to meet at another more convenient place. You will also determine the meeting schedule.

(c) The Group members may elect, from within themselves, a Facilitator or a Leader or a Spokesperson or may choose to work in any other manner that they agree on.

(d) The Group will be responsible for reviewing the current bylaws and providing the Board a report with the Group's suggestions for specific changes with the rationale behind the suggested change (e.g. "this statement is awful" is not acceptable, rather, "the statement (X) should be substituted with statement (Y) for reasons (P) and (Q)" is what would be expected.). Or "this statement violates the law and should be replaced" is not acceptable, rather, "Statement (L) Violates Illinois law (D) and should be replaced with statement (M)" is what would be expected.

(e) The report is due to the Board no later than November 30, 2009, and has to be signed by all the members to show their consensus of agreement.

(f) The Board is currently in the process of hiring a legal firm to review the bylaws. The above input from the Working Group will be provided to this legal firm for evaluation as well. The end result will be presented to the membership for approval.

If you are interested in being a part of this important work, please send in your names to by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, September 27, 2009.

If you have any questions about the above please send your questions also to .

Thank you,


  1. I hope there will be at least one lawyer on the bylaws working group. We need bylaws that are legal.

  2. I know that at least one lawyer has requested to be on this working group. Nobody seems to know when the people will be notified (signup deadline was last Sunday). I sent in my request.

    If this work is so important and there's a Nov. 30 deadline, then why the delay?


  3. I too emailed in my availability to serve on this working group. At the membership meeting it was stated that everyone who submited an interst email would be welcome on the committee so I'm assuming I'm "in". It was also stated by the board Secretary, Andy Lingras, that there would be no interference by the board in the group & how it works, so I'm taking that to mean that we won't be held to some of the ridiculous "rules" that were sent out with the request (such as 100% signoff when approval of the bylaw changes only requires a specific majority). Hopefully this is the beginning of moving us forward as an organization & we will be hearing soon from Andy as to the date of the 1st meeting so we can meet the November 30th deadline.
    Donna Oswald

  4. Is there any news on this yet?

  5. A meeting has been set for October 10th. There are apparently 34 members who have expressed interest in serving on this workgroup, 26 or 27 of which have said they can attend the first meeting. Hopefully much of the work can be accomplished via email as having a meeting place for that many folks will be a challenge. Makeup of this group is still unknown as Andy is "waiting on several participants to "grant permission" for their contact information to be made available to the group memebers before he will send us that. It seems to me they could at least release the names on the group. I'm not certain how someone expected to function on this group if they weren't willing to have their name & contact information provided to the other group members. With that many people it would be nice to explore carpooling opportunities to this first meeting. This obsession with "protecting people's contact information" has gotten out of hand & is now only serving to dealy the process. This whole process has gone on too long. 10 days after deadline to sign up before the 1st meeting & then only 6 weeks to work on this, with the thanksgiving holidays in the middle. I can't wait until we can start working on this without board meddling & trying to control everything.

  6. We had our first meeting on Tuesday night. Approximately 20 members were able to make it down to the Saints office, about 10 had said they couldn't make it & another 4-5 have either officially dropped out or just didn't come. Cozy, but workable. We set some goals, selected an overall facilitator (B. Fireside) discussed our philosophical perspective on working with such a group & then decided to meet in 3 smaller subgroups for logistical purposes with the full group meeting as the occasion warranted:

    West/South siders (Oak Park)
    Chicago (N Chicago)
    North Suburban (Evanston)

    We're reaching out to those not in attendance to see if they're still interested & which sub-group will work best for them. All groups meeting again within the next 2 weeks.

    We received notice that the board has reconsidered the Nov 30th deadline in the interest of meeting until we have a good working document as opposed to turning in whatever we were able to accomplish by Nov 30th. Good start.

    A good assortment of people, couple of lawyers, some folks with non-profit experience, folks with negotiating experience, folks with board experience. I see some very positive things coming out of this group.

  7. I hope the recent volunteering record puts to be the chronic, and inaccurate, belief that "they just want to usher." The May election had about 11 candidates for 6 positions, we've had two grants committees in the last few weeks, the bylaws working group had over 30 volunteers, and we've got two other committees that are staffed. That actually doesn't look like "no one cares" to me.

    Bravo Saints! You're needed and welcome!

    The bylaws working group will do, hands down in my opinion, the most important work this year. They will architect a viable structure and governance standard that, after the Illinois Not for Profit Act (and 501(c) 3 IRS regs and Illinois Secretary of State Governance and our filed incorporation Articles of Incorporation) are THE mandatory law under which this organization will thrive. The bylaws, unlike standing rules which can be changed at any time by the Board without concurrence of the membership, the bylaws can only be amended with direct membership approval. Bylaws are adopted in the Illinois Statute with the weight of mandatory law - it's no incidental or insignificant document.

    Not only The Saints, but to some degree our performing arts communities which we support, are looking to you. The membership is confident and completely behind your work!

  8. The southwest side BLWG met this past weekend & made some good progress. The other two subgoups will be meeting this coming weekend. We (southwesters) plan on having a preliminary report of what we accomplished (including suggestions for how to structure the proposed bylaws) submitted to B. Fireside by this Friday so that it can be shared with the other 2 groups before their meeting. This way they can see where we were going and decide if it's a direction that will benefit them. We have our next 2 meetings scheduled and anticipate that they will be as productive as our first meeting.