In Memoriam: GHI Tree Stump Rings Dated

It seems to me that over the last few years, GHI has been forced to remove more larger trees than usual in close proximity to my North End home. A beautiful, large tree in the common area just outside of my garden side yard was one of these larger trees. I am a little sad every time I look out and notice its stump after more than 20 years of watching it grow and mature.

As I was walking my dogs one day, I observed tree removal workmen struggling to remove pieces of what must have been a large tree to a nearby truck. I did not arrive in time to see the tree before they cut it down and removed its limbs.  The circumference of the these tree sections was large enough to make me curious about how large a stump remained, especially as I saw prodigious amounts of sawdust left near the inner walkway. Some workers were still clearing up brush and smaller pieces of wood, and I had to keep moving, so I decided to find the stump another day.

Continue reading “In Memoriam: GHI Tree Stump Rings Dated”

2nd International Co-operative Principle: Democratic Member Control

Introduction

The second international co-operative principle is democratic member control:

“Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions. Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership. In primary cooperatives members have equal voting rights (one member, one vote) and cooperatives at other levels are also organised in a democratic manner.”*

Since the earliest days of the co-operative movement, democratic member control has been a defining characteristic of co-operatives. From the founding of the first co-operatives, democratic member control applied to all members of the co-operative, which was a very radical idea in the mid-nineteenth century. Even more impressive, this principle applied to women as well.

Continue reading “2nd International Co-operative Principle: Democratic Member Control”

Member Spotlight Series: Episode 2

Our new Member Spotlight series debuts with videos focusing on those who are active in Members United.  Learn more about who we are and our backgrounds as members in GHI. Future videos will feature interviews with other members of GHI and the Greenbelt community.  

Missed Episode 1?  Watch it on our YouTube channel here.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube to get notified when future videos are released.

Interested in becoming more active with Members United or being featured in a future video?  Reach out to us at wearemembersunited@gmail.com to find out how you can become more involved.

GHI Board of Directors Requests Member Comments on Three Proposals

Introduction

The GHI Board of Directors has requested member comments on three proposals before the Board. The proposals are briefly explained below with links to PDFs that contain more detailed discussions of each proposal. Member comments should be sent to the manager’s office at 1 Hamilton Place, Greenbelt, MD 20770 by paper or e-mailed to mgmtoffice@ghi.coop. The due dates for each proposal are different, and are provided in each of the summaries below.

Item 1: Catch-up Contributions Paid by Members at the Time their Additions are Enrolled in the Addition Maintenance Program

This request for comments concerns proposed catch-up contributions to be paid when a member enrolls their addition in the GHI Addition Maintenance Program. Comments on this proposal should be submitted by Monday, January 13, 2020. See above for where to send comments.

The Board proposes that with effect from March 1, 2020, members should pay catch-up contributions at the time that their additions are enrolled in the AMP, towards the future repairs of plumbing, electrical, and miscellaneous structural components, and that these rates would increase by 2.5% per year for every year after 2020 [emphasis added]. The AMP task force computed the catch-up contributions based on cost data obtained from an addition maintenance reserve study report that a consultant prepared in 2018.

The PDF containing the table of charges can be found at:

https://www.ghi.coop/content/table-catch-contributions-towards-future-repairs-plumbing-electrical-and-miscellaneous

Item 2: Proposed Revisions to Section X: Improvements and Alternatives to the GHI Member Handbook

While some of the proposed changes are to make the existing regulations clearer and more succinct, these proposed revisions do include substantive changes to existing regulations. Anyone considering adding an addition or other home improvement should read these proposed revisions carefully. Note that there are proposed changes to several of the definitions of terms used in Section X. Comments should be submitted by Friday, February 7, 2020.

The proposed revisions to Section X can be found in a PDF at:

https://www.ghi.coop/content/member-comments-requested-re-proposed-revisions-section-x-improvements-and-alterations-ghi

Item 3: Finance Committee’s Recommendation to Install Doors on 47 Open Garages

This proposal would most directly affect members who currently rent open garages and members who want to rent a closed garage for parking. Comments should be submitted by Friday, February 7, 2020.

At present, there are 277 rental garages (excluding those owned by the Parkway Apartments) within our community. Forty-seven of those garages are open. GHI’s Board of Directors requests that members submit comments regarding the desirability of installing doors on all open garages, as the Finance Committee recently recommended.

To review the basis of the Finance Committee’s recommendation, read the PDF found at:

https://www.ghi.coop/content/member-comments-requested-re-finance-committee%E2%80%99s-recommendation-install-doors-47-open-rental

Member comments should be sent to the manager’s office at 1 Hamilton Place, Greenbelt, MD 20770 by paper or e-mailed to mgmtoffice@ghi.coop.

 

Highlights of the First GHI Succession Planning and Emergency Backup Planning Task Force Meeting on Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Introduction

The first meeting of the Succession Planning and Emergency Backup Planning Task Force took place on Tuesday, November 5, 2019. The new Task Force is co-chaired by Tom Adams and Amy Odegaard. Stephen Holland and Montrese Hamilton are co-secretaries.

Backgrounds of the Members of the Task Force

Tom Adams is retired and has extensive experience as a non-profit transition and succession consultant. He has lived in GHI for 6 years. Amy Odegaard has experience as a project manager for various government agencies. Frank DeBernardo has fifteen years of experience working with a national non-profit and has participated in succession planning projects. Tim Murray currently advises a foundation on fundraising and has prior experience consulting with non-profits. Montrese Hamilton has experience as an HR generalist and recruiter, HR librarian, and book publishing specialist.

 

GHI Board Treasurer Chuck Hess is also a member of the Task Force. The Board liaison for the Task Force is Stephen Holland. Maesha McNeill is the Staff Liaison.

  Continue reading “Highlights of the First GHI Succession Planning and Emergency Backup Planning Task Force Meeting on Tuesday, November 5, 2019”

Succession Planning and Emergency Backup Planning Task Force Meeting: Tuesday, November 5

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On July 25, 2019, the GHI Board of Directors passed a motion to establish a task force to recommend a succession and emergency backup plan for the General Manager position.  This task force is scheduled to have their first meeting on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 at 6:30pm at the GHI Administration Building.

Why this Matters:
  • The General Manager position is essential to the proper functioning of a healthy cooperative.
  • While the Board of Directors has the authority under the GHI Bylaws to:
“Appoint, assign the duties of, and determine the salary of a general manager, who shall assume administrative control of the business of the Corporation” (see Article V, Section 4 on p. 10 of the bylaws);

The Membership, at membership meetings, has the responsibility under the GHI Bylaws for:

“determining policies of the Corporation” and for “exercising final authority on all matters vitally affecting the Corporation” (see Article IV, Section 9 on p. 8 of the by-laws)
The GHI Bylaws may be found here.

Continue reading “Succession Planning and Emergency Backup Planning Task Force Meeting: Tuesday, November 5”

Community Beautification Program: Does It Apply to Common Spaces?

common-space-sidewalks-e1571422331845.pngThe Community Beautification Program (CBP), also known as yard inspections, takes place every year beginning in late spring. Members’ yards are inspected to ensure that they are meeting “minimum upkeep standards.” This year, after revisions to the program, 1,379 units failed their first inspection thereby requiring a second inspection to determine if the citation was corrected.  As of the September 3, 2019 Community Beautification Interim Report, 3,470 citations were issued during the first and second inspection.

It is hard to believe that 85% of units aren’t meeting the minimum upkeep standards. When walking around GHI, the egregious violations that I have observed are few and far in between. In fact, it tends to be the same units consistently year after year, and these units have most likely already been identified by GHI.  So how is it that 85% of units are violating what is considered to be “minimum upkeep”?  Where is the breakdown in the CBP inspections? Continue reading “Community Beautification Program: Does It Apply to Common Spaces?”