Co-op governance

ROC-NH logoIt is often said, “If you have a question on how the co-op is controlled, read the bylaws and you will probably find the answer.”

The bylaws are one of the two founding documents of a cooperative and the first place to look for information on co-op management. If a member has a question on the voting process, look in the bylaws. The same is true for questions on the definition of a member, financial controls, home sales and board and member meetings. Many provisions of the bylaws are regulated by New Hampshire law, with the Consumers’ Cooperative Association laws (RSA 301-A) the most relevant.

The most important requirement of 301-A is that a co-op must be democratically controlled, with a one-vote, one-member system. In the case of New Hampshire's resident-owned communities, this means that each member-household has one vote.

Board of directors

The bylaws state that the members will elect a board of directors to carry out the community's day-to-day operations. The duties, responsibilities and scope of authority of the board is clearly stated in the bylaws. They also specify how board members are elected, and how a board member can be removed from office or appointed in case of a resignation.

The board appoints committees to take on the many tasks of running the co-op, including screening new members, applying for grants for needed repairs and planning the annual meeting.

The board and the appointed committee members must adhere to the co-op’s bylaws and rules, as well as to local, state and federal laws. They are also co-op members, and are accountable to their fellow members. They must run the co-op in a fair, consistent, democratic and businesslike manner.

Learn more about cooperatives.
Learn more about how committees work in resident-owned communities.
Learn more about the rights and responsibilities of members of resident-owned communities.

ROC-NH is a program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. and a ROC USA® Certified Technical Assistance Provider
ROC-NH is a registered service mark of ROC USA®, LLC