Bylaws Updates

A summary of changes to the SORO NC bylaws since 2006.

2020 Bylaws Updates

Telephonic meetings, vacancies, Board censure and removal, posting requirements update

Passed by the SORO NC Board June 18, 2020; approved by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment June 25, 2020.
Download the 6/25/20 approved bylaws

  • Changes to definitions of Board composition (Article V).
  • Use of telephonic meetings and changes to recusals (Article V, Section 3).
  • Clarifications to the staggering of terms (Article V, Section 4).
  • Changes to process for filling vacancies; interim appointments serve remaining time of term; vacant seats may be filled on an at-large basis after 60 days (Article V, Section 6).
  • Updates to Board absence policy (Article V, Section 7).
  • Changes to Board censure and removal processes (Article V, Sections 8 & 9).
  • Clarification of officer roles and eligibility (Article VI)
  • Clarification of meeting types, agenda-setting process, origination of motions, and posting requirements (Article VIII).
  • Elimination of quarterly Executive review of finances (Article IX).
  • Clarification of acting role of Parliamentarian (Article XII).

2018 Bylaws Updates

Land Use training requirement and map update

Changes made by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to comply with new rules passed by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners (BONC). Approved by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment August 1, 2018
Download the 8/1/18 approved bylaws

  • Adds requirement that Boardmembers must complete ethics and funding training to vote on land use related matters. (Article XIV, Section 2).

2015 Bylaws Updates

Agendas, Grievance Process, Code of Conduct, and Board Training Requirements

Changes made by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to comply with new rules passed by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners (BONC). These and remaining 2014 changes approved by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment September 1, 2015
Download the 9/1/15 approved bylaws

  • Clarifies that agenda posting be in compliance with BONC posting policy (Article VIII, Section 3).
  • Amends process to allow grievances by Boardmembers under certain circumstances (Article XI).
  • Adds requirement that Boardmembers comply with BONC Code of Conduct (Article XIV, Section 1).
  • Prevents boardmembers from voting on funding-related items unless they have first taken ethics and funding training (Article XIV, Section 2).

2014 Bylaws Updates

Appointment Periods, Absence Policy, Executive Roles and Responsibilities, and Criteria for Holding Selections

Passed by the SORO NC Board May 15, 2014; approved in 2015 (see above)
  • Clarifies the language on the 60 day blackout on appointments before and after an election (Article V, Section 6).
  • Amends NC absence policies and the process for removing a boardmember for excessive absences (Article V, Sections 7 and 9). 
  • Creates Corresponding Secretary role as an Executive position (Article VI, Sections 1 and 2; Article VII, Section 3).
  • Reduces the minimum mandated window for posting minutes and financial reports and removes election/selection co-ordination from the Secretary's duties (Article VI, Section 2).
  • Expands the circumstances under which the NC may hold a selection (Article X, Section 6).

Conversion of Org Seat to At-Large

Passed by the SORO NC Board May 15, 2014. Approved by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners May 18, 2015
Download the 5/18/15 approved bylaws

  • Changes the number of Organization seats to three and the number of At-Large seats to five (Article V, Section 1 and Bylaws Attachment B).

Stakeholder and Seat Definitions

Changes made by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment to comply with new City ordinance. Approved by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment January 26, 2014; retroactively affirmed by Board vote May 15, 2014
Download the 1/26/14 approved bylaws

  • Removes factual basis qualification from stakeholder definition and includes new community interest stakeholder category (Article IV, Section 6).
  • Removes voting restrictions for community interest stakeholder (Bylaws Attachment B: Seat eligibility matrix).

2012-3 Bylaws Updates

Amended and approved by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment August 6, 2013
Download the 8/6/13 approved bylaws

Stakeholder and Seat Definitions, Appointment Periods, and Selection Contingency

Passed by the SORO NC Board May 20, 2013
  • Changes stakeholder definition to specifically include organization and school involvement, so that those stakeholders do not fall under factual basis (Article IV). Change denied by DONE; stakeholder definition set by City ordinance.
  • Brings consistency to definitions of School and Organization seats (Article V, Section 1 and Bylaws attachment B: Seat eligibility matrix).
  • Restricts Board from appointing a person to a vacant elected seat within 60 days before and after an election (Article V, Section 6).
  • Allows for circumstances where an entity other than the City Clerk is designed by the City to run NC elections (Article X, Section 6).

Selection and Terms for Officers, Chairs, and Liaisons

Passed by the SORO NC Board October 18, 2012
  • Sets deadline for selection of officers, chairs, and liaisons at the second Board meeting after an NC general election/selection, and allows for partial terms in the event of a vacancy (Article VI, Section 3).
  • Sets officer, chair, and liaison terms at two years (plus a pro-tempore extension if elections are delayed), beginning after the meeting at which they were appointed (Article VI, Section 4).

2011 Bylaws Updates

Approved by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment February 29, 2012
Download the 2/29/12 approved bylaws

Official Actions, Eligible Voters, Alternative Selection Process, and Secretary Duties

Passed by the SORO NC Board October 20, 2011
  • Further clarifies how an official action is taken, removing an inconsistency about minimum required vote and adding information about abstentions and recusals. (Article V, Section 3).
  • Limits factual basis stakeholders to voting for At-Large seats only (Bylaws attachment B: Voting eligibility matrix).
  • Allows (but does not mandate) the NC to hold an alternate public selection process in the event the City Clerk is unable to conduct an election. (Article X, Section 6).
  • Adds chairing the Board Development Committee to the Secretary's duties (Article VI, Section 2).

SORO NC Zone Boundaries

Passed by the SORO NC Board September 15, 2011
  • Sets new zone boundaries for the NC (Article III, Section 2).

SORO NC Boundary Adjustment

Unanimously approved by LA City Council September 6, 2011
  • Officially changes the SORO NC boundaries to include the area between Westside NC and SORO NC (Article III, Section 1). This overturned key portions of BONC's August 2, 2011 denial of SORO's adjustment petition. As a side note, this was also the first time an NC appealed a BONC ruling to the City Council.

2011 Bylaws Overhaul Project

In late 2010, the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners approved a measure requiring all Neighborhood Councils to adopt a common Bylaws structure, including a standardized table of contents. BONC also included language suggestions in their template to help NCs develop consistent and legally valid policies.

The Board of Neighborhood Commissioners approved the Board's draft on September 6, 2011 with changes.
Download the 9/6/11 approved bylaws

Specifically, BONC changed:
  • Changed the NC borders and zone definitions per the City Council's direction. Note that it differs slightly from the language approved by the City Council and passed by the Board nine days later. (Article III, Sections 1 & 2)
  • Removed language about loss of quorum, which conflicted with BONC policy. (Article V, Section 2)
  • Removed language regarding applying the Board's grievance process in regards to the City Charter, the Plan, local ordinances and/or state or federal law. The City Attorney ruled that the Board does not have jurisdiction to review such matters. (Article XI)
  • Added the phrase, "pursuant to the Brown Act," as the Board must follow the Brown Act in any type of removal of stakeholders from Board meetings. (Article XIV, Section 1)

Board draft

Passed by the SORO NC Board March 17, 2011 / Submitted to BONC for approval March 21, 2011
Download the 3/17/11 draft bylaws

Bylaws Update Reference Documents

Based on BONC's templates, the SORO NC ad hoc Bylaws Committee developed a proposed revision to the Council's bylaws. This version was been completely restructured by the working group to conform with BONC's template. Throughout, many small changes were made to the language in our old bylaws, and in some cases, the Committee opted to use phrasing and content suggestions from the BONC template.

This is a list of the major policy changes the working group suggested. However, this is not an exhaustive list, and you should compare the previous version of the bylaws to this proposed revision for yourself.

Article V

  • Section 1: Because minors may not vote for funding motions (per the City Attorney), the age for running for most seats has been increased to 18.
  • One of the School seats has been changed to Board appointment, rather than general election, with an age range of 15-18 at the time of appointment. This is to create a single-year seat for a local student—effectively increasing the number of students who are able to hold the seat—and brings the bylaws into line with what has become NC custom. A person who wants to serve longer than a single year may be re-appointed, of course.
  • Section 2: Quorum has been raised to 13, from 11. This is a simple majority of the 25 Board seats, and makes it easier for us to have ad hoc meetings (which could then have 6 Board members).
  • Section 4: Term limits have been eliminated.
  • Section 5: Reinforces that members must be an active member of at least one official NC committee
  • Section 7: Establishes a criteria for removal of members who chronically miss meetings. Members may, with Board approval, request up to 6 months of excused leave per elected term.

Article VI

  • Adds additional duties to VP and Secretary positions.
  • Changes order of succession to VP > Treasurer > Secretary, with the thinking that it's hard to run a meeting and take notes at the same time.
  • Clarifies election and removal process for officers.

Article VII

  • Defines the two types of committees to closely follow the Brown Act's definitions.
  • Restricts voting in committees to confirmed members. Board has to vote to confirm our own members: again, to get Boardmembers to commit to being on at least one committee. Stakeholders can be added to standing committees by vote within the committee itself. Ad hoc committees cannot have stakeholders as voting members per the Brown Act, although stakeholders can attend and consult.
  • Now requires that minutes and attendance be taken in committees.
  • Clarifies the removal process for Chairs.

Article XII

Article XIV

  • Reminds us that we should be doing a yearly self-assessment.

2008 Bylaws Updates

These changes were passed over the course of a year and approved by BONC on August 7, 2009. See the meeting motions and minutes for more detail.
Download the 9/7/09 approved bylaws

Grievance Process, Information Distribution, Officer Responsibilities and Removal Process

Approved by the Board August 13, 2008
  • Clarified the grievance process (Article XII, Sections 1 and 2)
  • Loosened communication restrictions to allow Committees to distribute factual information (Article XI, Section 7, Item 1)
  • Defined responsibilities for the NC officers (Article VII, Section 7, Item 1)
  • Established a process for removing those officers (Article VII, Section 7, Item 2).

Grievance Remedies

Approved by the Board June 11, 2008
  • As a result of a grievance brought against SORO NC, revised to require that the Board make a good faith effort to post materials to the website in a timely manner (Article VIII, Section 1, Item 1)
  • The Board should also avoid scheduling meetings at times when a significant portion of its Stakeholders wouldn't be able to participate (Article VIII, Section 2, Item 1).

Election Process, Standing Rules, and Language Tweaks

Approved by the Board February 13, 2008
  • Incorporated provisions provided by DONE to create staggered terms and allow the City Clerk to run the 2010 NC election (Article VII, Sections 1-5).
  • Also cleared out all previous standing rules and brought consistency to overall language.

Reconstituting the Board

Approved by the Board November 20, 2007
  • Revised to include a process for reconstituting the Board membership if it falls below the minimum quorum level (Article VIII, Section 8).

2006 Bylaws Updates

Approved by the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment June 30, 2006.
Download the 6/30/06 approved bylaws

Addition of Zone 10 to SORO Boundaries

Approved by the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners May 16, 2006
  • Changed the outer borders of the NC to incorporate Zone 10 at the northeast corner (Article III).
  • Updated Board composition and the definitions of the residential districts to include Zone 10 (Article VI, Sections 2 & 3).

Other Changes

  • Added "ancestry" to the list of categories protected against discrimination, per the City Attorney (Article IV, Section 3).
  • Amended the Board composition language, per the City Attorney (Article VII, Section 1).
  • Clarified election timing and process, including a minimum age for voters (Article VII, Sections 3-12).
  • Clarified Board quorum and number of votes required to take action (Article VIII, Section 7).
  • Included a process for reconsidering a motion (Article VIII, Section 9).
  • Removed meeting attendance restriction for stakeholder voting in action committees (Article XI, Section 4).
  • Clarified financial accountability procedures, per the City Attorney (Article XIII).
  • Streamlined Board process for amending Bylaws (Article XIV, Section 1).