2016 Board Elections Q&A: Howard Brent

Howard Brent
Howard Brent. Image courtesy Drea Leanza.

1. For leaders of organizations such as HWFC, what situations do you think require disclosure of important information to membership, and what situations do you think require confidentiality?

All financial information- reports etc. should be available by pass code on line or by request at the service desk. Board agendas and minutes should be available in the same manner. The only thing that a board should not make public is employee hearings. The board does not know how much our managers are being paid. I think they should have a voice in deciding the salaries. I would like to have every employee’s pay pass coded on line.

3. How can the Co-op survive financially without compromising its values?

Careful financial management, plus better advertising will help. I have suggested contacting all the town senior groups and inform them of our senior discount and invite them to bring their groups to the coop on Wednesdays, for shopping and lunch, only we give a senior discount on food. I also suggest that we invite all the chambers of commerce to hold their meetings at the coop. We need to get more publicity. There are numerous people who still think we are not open to the public. All our advertising should stress this. It should include our hours, phone number, web site, discounts (student- senior) etc.

4. Per the Bylaws, Members have operational control over HWFC; what does that mean for Board members? Are you in favor of the Membership having the ultimate decision-making authority?

The membership does have the final say about everything. Before the Board decides to send stupid letters to the labor department, they should bring it up at a member meeting. They need to go to the membership before creating new management jobs- For example store manager. They also need to get membership permission to hire consultants and/or task our Lawyers to do special jobs. If we had not spent a fortune on Lawyers and consultants we could have broken even or possibly turned a profit.

7. How would you empower the HWFC staff to participate in store management decisions?

Set up a desktop to allow employees to vote on all major management decisions and also to make suggestions for changes. The results of all these votes and suggestions should be displayed on the desktop on demand. There should be a Board member that is directly available to employees, unable to solve their problem with H.R.

Thank you for this forum- Howard Brent