The Board of Directors have been working over the course of the last year to produce and finalize a set of policy documents for the NC Zen Center. Included with these documents is a revised set of by-laws. These documents have now been published on the Center’s website under the Governance tab, and are the current operating documents of the Center.
A number of these documents, such as the Confidentiality Policy and the Conflict of Interest Policy, will be new to many members, as they have never been in place until now. However, all of these documents are standard operating documents for small nonprofits , and need to be in place for the Center to be in compliance with statutes and with best practice guidelines. They don’t constitute changes to existing policies as much as they constitute the formalization of what are considered standard operating procedures. As with all aspects of the organizational structure of the Center, these documents are subject to review, comment, and revision by the membership.
The bylaws have had some significant revisions to reflect recent developments. Among these changes, the committee structure has been codified as part of the by-laws. The policy documents have also been incorporated as adjuncts to the by-laws.
Substantial changes were made to the bylaws concerning the positions of Director and Abbott. The position of Director, co-equal to the Abbott, has been established, to be filled at a later date. The lines of authority and responsibility have been more clearly delineated between Operations and Religious Affairs, in order to maintain a clear separation of powers in the organizational structure of the Center, and to insure a resilient and transparent chain of responsibility and authority.
Another major change reflects the Board’s effort to clarify, expand, and enshrine the authority of the membership with regard to the governance of the Center and in relation to the Board of Directors. The goal here is to clarify the process whereby the voting membership is involved in the Center’s decision-making processes. Clearly established is the ability of the voting membership review and to challenge virtually any decision made by the Board, and the process whereby such a review or challenge may be carried out.
These documents and revisions represent a substantial investment of time by the Board, which included discussions with members of our sangha, reviewing similar documents from other centers similar to ours, soliciting information and support from the leaders of other centers, and reviewing and studying guidelines, statutes and publications about non-profit governance in general. All of these documents are subject to revision in the future, but it is our hope that they will provide a firm organizational foundation for future growth and development.
On behalf of your Board of Directors,
Jason Dowdle, President