Northwest News

NWCA faces decisions on bylaws

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Northwest Civic Association members attending the annual meeting April 17 will consider proposed changes to the code of regulations that governs the organizations.

In some cases, the changes proposed by President John Ehlers will rescind amendments adopted in 2010.

Last week, Ehlers said the most significant would return the requirement for association members and trustees to live within the city of Columbus corporation limits.

Such a residency requirement was first adopted in 2007, but the changes made in 2010 under a previous board president did away with it, according to Ehlers.

"We need to correct that," he said.

At the most recent board meeting earlier in the month, Ehlers described many of the 2010 amendments as "not in the best interests or the organization."

Limiting NWCA membership to residents of Columbus was imposed in 2007 at the behest of Columbus City Council members, according to the board president, "because we vote on matters that come before council and affect the city, and so the City Council thought it only appropriate that those individuals recommending to councils be residents of the city."

Another change made three years ago and now on the chopping block was the addition of a second vice president to the board of trustees.

Ehlers said the existing language could be construed to require that someone hold that office.

"That's certainly not necessary," Ehlers said.

"We certainly have the flexibility if we want to have a second vice president that we can do that, but it shouldn't be required."

Still another of the 2010 amendments up for revision was the one that switched the director of the Ohio State University Airport's position on the board to a nonvoting one.

"I feel, and the rest of the trustees agreed, that our relationship with the airport is significant enough that we would like to keep that relationship as part of our code of regulations, so we're going to recommend that the members vote to rescind that," Ehlers said.

Two other 3-year-old aspects of the code of regulations scheduled for consideration involve communication.

One would require trustees attend meetings in person in order to participate, rather than "by means of authorized communications equipment," as the code currently reads under Article IV.

"Most deliberative bodies do not allow trustees to phone in their participation," Ehlers said.

He recalled the method was tried at one time, but it turned out to be "quite disruptive."

"We don't allow proxy voting," Ehlers added. "We don't allow in-absentia voting.

"Well, we do now, but we don't intend to."

Another change would permit use of the civic association's website as a means of distributing written notice to members, along with email and regular mail.

The other changes up for consideration April 17 involve what are now called student interns serving on the board of trustees.

For one thing, Ehlers said they would be called "student trustees" if his revisions are adopted.

"I think that's a better reference, and we would just like to make it official," he said.

The 2010 changes allowed students on the board to vote as trustees but not to vote as members in general. Ehlers said he thinks they should be able to cast votes as both, which is the case for adult trustees.

Finally, text added in 2010 limits student participation to those attending Centennial High School. While Ehlers said the current board values the decades-long relationship with the Northwest Side's public high school and wants to continue it, he's going to propose that board membership be opened to students from charter, parochial and private schools as well as those who are home-schooled.

The annual meeting, at which trustees are also elected, will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Room 213 of Meadow Park Church of God, 2425 Bethel Road.

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