The membership in attendance at tonight’s meeting of the Holley-Navarre Water system voted 12-3 to amend the bylaws to allow for absentee voting and positive identification on ballots. Up to this point, proxies have not been positively identified per water system staff attending the meeting.
According to the Holley-Navarre Water System bylaws, members can make a motion to amend the bylaws by a “majority vote of the members present at any regular meeting of the corporation.” The water department attorney will validate that the vote taken tonight was valid.
The motion below was originally made by Bob Hartley, but he withdrew his motion when he was met with opposition by some of the board members who felt they weren’t prepared to entertain the motion, though it was not their motion to entertain – according to the bylaws. Laurie Gallup put the motion back on the table for the membership.
Proxy voting by the Holley-Navarre Water System has been under fire for a minimum of 16 years. The bylaws state that voting by proxy is allowed, however, they do not state what kind of proxy or that proxy is the only way to take votes for water system board members.
Of note, 900 votes out of a total of 1,100 votes in the 2015 election were controlled by two people due to proxies. In the 2014 election, 548 members voted out of a membership of 14,000 and nearly 500 of the 548 votes were via proxy. When members of the water system gave up their proxy to a board member, they also gave up their vote.
The flyer circulated at the meeting stated – verbatim:
We, the members of Holley Navarre Water System, wish propose the following amendment to the bylaws of Holley Navarre Water System as described in Article XIII (13) of the By Laws. This article states that the by-laws may be amended by a majority vote of the members present at any regular meeting of the corporation. As this is and has been a regular stated meeting of the board of directors of the corporation for some time now we believe this is the proper forum for this amendment.
We wish to propose Article VII (7) section 5 be amended to read:
Each member shall have only one (1) vote and the vote of each member shall be equal to that of every other member. Voting by proxy and absentee shall be permitted, with positive identification as prescribed by the board of directors. It shall be required that ten (10) members of the corporation must be present in person at any annual meeting to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, shall be permitted, but it is required that ten (10) members of the corporation must be present in person at any annual meeting to constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Further updates will be available in the Nov. 5 issue of Navarre Press.