A Proposed Amendment to the GHI Bylaws Would Limit Member Approval of Major Financial Expenditures



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GHI’s Board of Directors has asked members to consider an amendment to the bylaws that expands the conditions under which it can spend money and sign contracts without first obtaining member approval for the transactions.


What Would Change?

Under GHI’s current bylaws, Article VIII, Section 8. Purposes for Which Funds of the Corporation May Be Used, the Board is limited to: 

Spending GHI’s money on “expenses incident to taxes, insurance, financing charges, operations, management, maintenance and repairs, necessary additions to and replacements of property, and the repurchase of the equity of withdrawing members.”

Membership approval is required for all other spending.


The proposed bylaws amendment would:

Expand the Board’s independent spending authority by adding the words “and for such other purposes as may be authorized by the Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws.”

Reduce the membership’s opportunity to approve or reject spending if the Board deems it to be already “authorized by the Articles of Incorporation or these Bylaws.”

Fail to clarify which additional spending purposes the Articles of Incorporation or Bylaws would authorize.


Sources: https://www.ghi.coop/content/viii-financial-regulations and https://www.ghi.coop/sites/default/files/attachments/news/Proposed%20Bylaws%20Amendment.pdf


Why Does This Matter?

According to the October 8, 2018 GHI E-News about the proposed bylaws amendment, Board members are concerned that their inability to buy property without first obtaining a membership vote to authorize the transaction is a hindrance to future transactions.

Given the specific nature of that concern, the proposed bylaws change (if approved by members) would grant GHI’s Board much more freedom to use the co-op’s money for real estate purchases and more without a membership vote.


Consider the following as you think about the proposed amendment and discuss the idea with your family, friends, and neighbors:

  • Members would lose a direct say in major transactions that could tie us to years of spending obligations, loans, ongoing expenses, and result in increased member fees.
  • Technology can speed up member voting to provide the Board with business agility and member authorization.
  • Future Boards may not include the same Board members you know and trust today.


What’s Next?

The Board of Directors accepts member comments through Friday, October 26, 2018.

The Board will then consider if any changes should be made prior to submitting the proposed bylaw amendments to the membership for a vote during the 2019 annual membership meeting on May 9, 2019. ​Mark your calendars now to attend this meeting!


Take Action Today (before the comment period ends on Friday, October 26, 2018)

  • Email your comments to mgmtoffice@ghi.coop
  • Deliver your comments in person at the receptionist’s desk in the Administration Building at 1 Hamilton Place
  • Mail your comments to GHI, Attention: Manager’s Office, 1 Hamilton Place, Greenbelt, MD 20770


Stay Informed

  • Attend Board meetings to ask questions when members are invited to address the Board during the visitor and member comment period.
  • Inform your friends and neighbors about this critical issue and encourage them to make comments.

Join our chat on our Discord here: Proposed Bylaws Amendment Chat

Share the flyer with your family, friends, and neighbors: Bylaws Amendment Flyer FINAL

Please be aware of our Comment Policy. Further information can be found in the About section.

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