April 17th Meeting Report: One Member’s Perspective

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Board candidates at the April membership meeting

The parking lot at St. Sophia’s appeared to be packed to capacity. I decided to park on the street. Walking into the meeting hall, there was a buzz in the air. But happily it was a pleasant one. The tenseness I had internalized before entering quickly dissipated. What a difference from the charged atmosphere of recent membership meetings!
I got to greet and converse with people I usually only see at meetings. This is one of the things I value about coming together as folks committed to an ideal.

Now here are some of my observations of the meeting itself:

  • Audience voting at the April membership meetingJim’s financial presentation was to the point and fairly easy to follow. I think it laid good groundwork for the budget that will be proposed and discussed in June. His responses to members’ questions were thoughtful and respectful. In my opinion, it will be important that the to-be-hired permanent financial officer share these qualities.
  • The candidates’ presentations were a little long considering that their information had been posted for a while.
  • The voting itself went quickly and again a positive atmosphere prevailed.
  • The last part of the official meeting time was chaotic and I think that I’m the only one who made a comment and asked a question. It’s a bit of a dilemma in that meetings where board members are elected bring a lot of people but many don’t wish to stay for discussions after the official meeting has ended. I don’t know how we resolve the situation (maybe hold a raffle at the end of the meeting?) but it should be addressed.

As I stated above, I did get a turn at the mic. My observation was that we need to celebrate how we are moving forward as a cooperative and not seek to vilify former board members. The members have voted in a whole new board (with the exception of two), they have been given the mandate to govern and that is what should matter now.

Lastly, I don’t want to see all the time and money spent on the strategic planning process go to waste. There were a lot of good discussions with thoughtful suggestions made. Let’s receive another report from the Strategic Planning Committee on what’s next in order to assure the continued existence of the Honest Weight Food Co-op.

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I have been a member worker since 2005. I have been in the cheese and specialty department working different shifts over the years. My wife is also a member worker and you can say our daughter is a CO-OP baby since she's been coming there since she was 17 months (she's now ten years old).