Common House Committee Mandate

Common House 2017-02-20


The Common House Committee is responsible for maintaining the indoor space of Great Oak's community life, overseeing policies, budgeting, programming, and creating a welcoming shared space. The committee will work collaboratively to make decisions, and they will follow Great Oak's standard three-bid process for financial commitments exceeding $500.


The Common House Committee is a standing committee, with a budget, empowered to make decisions, as per the original agreement of Feb 17, 2003 at


1. Explain as precisely as possible (like a job description):

Our Mandate: What did the community ask us to do?
The basic scope of the Common House Committee includes everything to do with the common house except those things that fall to Buildings Committee (mainly exterior maintenance and fire suppression maintenance) and those things that Meals Committee is responsible for. (Meals Committee tends to be responsible for those aspects of the Common House that relate to our meals program.) We also include the Workshop in as far as we select a manager in the work process who then handles all details of the Workshop.

Our Mission: What is our global task in service to the community?
Our mission is to create/maintain a welcoming shared indoor space for the multiple functions of our community life.

Goals: What are we responsible for? What aren't we responsible for?

There are three major areas of focus: 1) oversight, 2) maintenance, 3) design (and redesign)

Areas of responsibility within our oversight may include: setting policies for use of the common house, reviewing proposals for changes and spending, budgeting, and possibly doing some programming (events, activities, etc.) Also to manage the Office rentals, advertising for new tenants, ensure that new and continuing tenants sign new leases each year, and that tenants comply with the terms of their leases, such as by annually providing proof of insurance. When tenants are in arrears, the Finance & Legal and Common House committees will work together to resolve the issue.
Areas of responsibility within maintenance may include: Cleaning; Interior maintenance (painting, floors, furnishings, kitchen, etc.); Equipment maintenance (furnace, a/c, water heaters, fans, appliances, fire system...); Replenishing supplies (bathrooms, kitchen, guest room); Security: lock & unlock, check windows; Repair and replacement of long term items such as flooring and counters and remodeling of rooms; Creation of lists of tasks for Community Work Days. (Note some cleaning is done by Work Skills currently in 2016.) As of 2017 the committee is also responsible for overseeing a work position with responsibility for the community office.
Areas of responsibility for design (and redesign) include planning and budgeting for changes to the common house infrastructure and usage.

What is expected of committee members?

Committee members are expected to attend regularly scheduled meetings once or twice a month wherein decisions are made and policy is set. There is much work that supports the functioning of the Common House and is assigned through the work system. The committee will occasionally seek assistance with one-time tasks, such as meeting a repair person, by putting out a call to the community for volunteers, but if none are available this responsibility will fall to committee members. Occasionally committee members will lead projects that require extra work outside of the meetings.

Common House committee convener will:
- Make sure that meeting dates are set
- Send meeting reminders to committee members and go-talk inviting folks to attend
- Make sure meeting times are posted on monthly calendar
- Make sure an agenda for the committee meeting is prepared. (This may be delegated to another committee member)
- Move the group through the agenda during meetings. (This may be delegated to another committee member)
- Make sure minutes are taken at meetings and communicated to the community in a timely manner. (This may be delegated to another committee member)
- Make sure that Monkeys are tracked and communicated (This may be delegated to another committee member)
a) A monkey is an assigned task
b) The convener should be aware of who is working on what and remind people as needed
c) Monkeys are recorded in meeting minutes
d) Monkeys should be reviewed at each meeting so the group can evaluate and revise as needed
e) A well-formed monkey answers Who, What, When, and Why
- Make committee reports at community meetings, if needed. (This may be delegated to another committee member)
- The role of convener may be rotated among members of the committee
- All committee members share responsibility for accomplishing agreed upon tasks

Objectives: What projects/proposals are we currently working on? Do we have timelines for various tasks?

The laundry room flooring will be replaced with concrete enamel by the end of the 2017 fiscal year at a cost that fits closely with the reserve fund allocation amount.
Redesign of the kitchen is being done by a joint Meals / Common House committee work group.

How will committee govern itself (facilitation)?

An agenda will be presented or created at the start of the meeting. Then followed and minuted. The convener will be responsible for calling the meeting and making sure it is facilitated and minuted - ideally these latter tasks can be delegated.

How will committee make decisions?

The committee will take a collaborative approach to making decisions in our committee meetings with a priority on consensus among the committee members. A collaborative approach would include such things as surveys to determine how the community feels on a subject and strawman proposals that the community can react to.
The Common House Committee follows Great Oak's standard three-bid process for financial commitments exceeding $500. The committee may occasionally forgo this process in cases where the purchase is substantially similar to other purchases from the same vendor and it seems advantageous to continue the relationship with that vendor. Such exceptions will be noted in committee meeting minutes.

How do we communicate with the community?

Minutes will be sent to the community-wide email group within one week of each committee meeting. We will acknowledge or answer all incoming email from Great Oak members to our group email account within 72 hours.

Process Comments:

No stand asides, no blocks.