Collective Agency council members met yesterday for the first regular weekly meeting in a long time: me, Fitz, and Emanuel. Resh assisted. It was fun and interesting.

The main thing for me that came up is: “Everybody is worthy of being here, within the community guidelines/terms of service.”
Members who act within the community guidelines/terms of service, belong here.

Meeting notes from civics and council:

* * * Who is here and how:

Some suggestions have been made, and are being explored, about do we want to require additional terms of service, do we want people to have to be within our community mission statement most of the time, do we want everybody here to be people most members want to go out to social events with, do we want me to judge people? and the answer I’ve gotten is no, don’t ask that, the community guidelines are good. #3 could be much clearer, but the others are good and enough, is what I’m being told.

Do most members expect this is a place to work on and talk about things we’re passionate about and really into, where people say hi? Yes. Do we ask for that to happen always, or to require everyone to usually do that? No.

On the WorldBlu democratic survey a couple months ago, we rated best for “Fairness + Dignity” and worst for “Reflection + Evaluation”. Fairness and dignity is a strength to apply here to reflect and evaluate what we can do even better.

The main thing that came up is: “Everybody is worthy of being here, within the community guidelines/terms of service.”

I think one of our greatest strengths is also members being friendly. If you’re working or don’t want to talk and someone says hi or asks you out to lunch, just “confront with respect” (how you’d like to be told when you’re doing something someone else isn’t up for). There are some little cards on top of the mail slot that say “Ask me what I’m working on” on one side, and “I’m working!” on the other. Or more verbally, could figure out when you don’t want to be interrupted, and tell people “When I’m eating lunch / when I’m sitting over there / when I have my headphones on, I don’t want to be talked to, or even invited to lunch” (or whatever is true for you). I think every person here tries to be considerate and is, but no one can read minds, so respectfully saying what’s on your mind can be helpful. (I’m doing that now.)

* * * Notes from past two civics:

The role of council was discussed at the past two civics meetings. Features of the council desired by members are (I think this is everything we talked about):
3, or 5 members
for the Community Organizer to lead the Council similar to an Executive Director, or for the Community Organizer to be led by the Council similar to a General Manager
pay, or not pay
for each or most council members to have specific roles/areas of responsibility (President, Secretary, Treasurer), where the Council members choose their roles after being elected
for members to be on the Council
for Council members to be “faces to go to” here, to do visible hands-on work that gets results, everybody on it always working to represent the interests of all members, and to communicate with members
to supportively challenge the Community Organizer
to do due diligence
to be elected yearly
to have a constancy of attendance, extra responsibility compared to other members
to be one of the houses in our two-house democratic system, requiring more than 2/3rds majority vote by each to make a new rule.
* * * Council meeting yesterday:

Yesterday I chaired, Fitz typed notes, Emanuel facilitated, Resh assisted. We all provided perspective. Emanuel suggested (and Fitz and I agree) the goal of Council until June 15th is to work to:
1. clarify and update the wording of the founding documents (constitution, terms of service, including the community guidelines)
2. evaluate the meeting and member rates (talk about why do we have scholarships, is that policy achieving a goal)
3. hold elections
We spoke about some members being concerned whether they belong here, and I remembered “everyone is worthy of being here within the community guidelines/terms of service”, and to speak with clarity and strongly about this core strength. I am thrilled we had a fun/interesting/supportive meeting. We will work on clarifying constitution/terms of service wording this week and talk next week.

People being paid here from Collective Agency funds are me, Resh, Emanuel, and Fitz. (I offered council members pay at 4 hours a week: 1 hour for meetings, 3 hours for visible hands-on work such as writing seen by members, done here. In elections, likely candidates can choose whether they’ll be paid or not, and that will be fascinating.)


Alex Linsker
Collective Agency’s Community Organizer
(503) 517-6900
Tax and Conversation’s Statewide Community Organizer
(503) 369-9174

(503) 369-9174 mobile (503) 517-6901 fax
322 NW Sixth Ave, Suite 200, Portland, Oregon 97209

Written by Alex Linsker