The Co-op’s Board of Directors seated five new members in February. This unprecedented level of change creates new opportunities. On March 11, we came together as a full board for a multiple-hour working session to accomplish these goals:
- Get to know one another and build working relationships.
- Discuss what will serve as our priorities.
- Engage board members in meaningful work, rejuvenate committees and appoint board members to leadership roles on committees.
- Review topics that have occupied the public narrative of our organization including the election, CSI report, and proposal by the Co-op Members for Democracy.
In sharing our personal stories about what led us to board service, we learned we have more similarities than differences. Many of us have personal transformations related to food and grew up on farms or in working class communities. Each of us draw on the values learned from these experiences.
The first priority we have as a board is transparency, trust, and healing. We recognize this process takes time. We agree to enter discussions with open minds and a sense of humility. Another priority is expansion. Many of the values expressed in the Co-op’s Ends Policy hinge on growth. Expansion enables the economies of scale required to reduce prices and increase accessibility to our products. Finally, we seek to be more outward facing with more member engagement and outreach to underserved communities. Engagement requires time and resources of all parties, so we must strike a healthy balance in creating opportunities that are mutually productive to both the organization and members.
The 2016 election, and events that transpired since, have caused division between some members. The consensus of the board is to be transparent about information related to the paper ballots. This includes publishing the counts of the ballots and the reasons why any ballots could not be counted.
It is not our intention, nor do we believe it would appropriate governance, to reverse the decisions related to counting votes and the resulting terms of the seated members of the current board. We will focus our energies on filling our one vacant board seat while thinking ahead to the upcoming election.
We reached consensus to release the CSI report, which details the investigation of our 2016 election. In the interest of transparency, while protecting the identities and reputations of the persons interviewed, the report will be redacted.
As a board, we are excited to serve the members and work together on the issues we are passionate about. We are actively thinking about how to make the best use of the limited time between monthly board meetings, and how to engage more members in meaningful ways. We look forward to communicating more about the progress we make.