HOW DOES IT WORK?
Every adult who lives in the co-op is a member. All these resident members form the general membership, the highest decision making body in the co-op. Members of a co-operative are required to attend 3 or 4 Members Meetings held each year. Policies, by-laws, housing charges, elections for the Board of Directors and decisions affecting the entire membership are considered and voted on at these meetings. To deal with day to day decisions and because of confidential nature of some decisions, the general membership delegates decision making power to a Board of Directors who are elected from the resident membership. The Board of Directors collectively are the legal representatives of the co-op.
The Board of Directors meet regularly to deal with governing, i.e. decision making within the bylaws and policies of the co-op as set by the general members. The Board, in turn, sets up volunteer committees to share the work.
Although volunteers are an important part of the management structure at Almise, the Co-op has a full-time staff to handle the day to day implementation of the strategies and tasks of running a large complex. The full-time staff include a Manager, an Office Administrator, live-in Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent.
An important feature of co-op living is the relationship between staff and residents. The Board directs staff in the co-op and the Board makes decisions unlike traditional landlord/tenant relationships where residents have little or no input into how the building is run. Members influence the decisions that are made at Board meetings, in the committees and vote at general meetings of the whole membership.
Resident Members in a co-op do not sign a lease. In a co-op, Members sign an Occupancy Agreement which is not for a fixed term, but rather allows the Member security of tenure. Members occupancy rights may be terminated for non-payment of rent or for major infractions of the co-op's by-laws. This is fair and democratic because the Members themselves have a say in approving the by-laws and decisions to terminate occupancy are made by the Board of Directors.