Governance Review Council Welcomes Three New Council Members

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GRC members
GRC members obligingly pose for a photo prior to their meeting last week. Left to right: Chris Gockley, Judith Brink, Jeff Marden and Tom Spargo. Sandy MacKay, Council Chair, was not in attendance.

Three Honest Weight Food Co-op (HWFC) members were elected to the Governance Review Council (GRC) during the October 23rd Membership Meeting. Judith Brink, Thomas Spargo, and Chris Gockley will join the other two GRC members to begin their three-year terms.

Simply put, the role of the five-member council is to practice good governance. Given last year’s heated debate over HWFC’s proposed Bylaw changes regarding Member-Owner status and the broader issues and patterns affecting the co-op landscape across the country, the GRC will play a pivotal role in defining a vigorous, democratic approach to best practices within our Co-op culture.

The three candidates presented an overview of their roles within the GRC before the October 23 General Membership Meeting. Judith Brink, a former Greenfield, Massachusetts Co-op member and an HWFC member since 1999, is a firm believer in the democratic process, locally and nationally. Ms. Brink has played an active role in the Member-Owner Orientation program. She envisions the role of the GRC as a prime example of democracy in action. She also sees her new GRC role as a real catalyst of involvement among Co-op members. “After last year’s impasse over the status and role of Member-Owners,” she commented, “I want to help ensure that we don’t end up in that same position again. Without a solid governing body in place, an objective ally to speak up for Member-Owners, where would we be today? Without the GRC, we would have lost last year’s battle.”

Thomas Spargo, HWFC member for 18 months, and former New York State Supreme Court Justice, formerly consulted on Honest Weight’s Bylaw revision process. His motivation for serving on the GRC is simple enough. “There were three openings on the council and only two candidates running,” he explained. As a Member-Owner in the cheese department, Mr. Spargo became attracted to the overall good spirit of Honest Weight. In addition, Mr. Spargo commented that he was thoroughly impressed with the way in which the GRC handled difficult questions from Honest Weight Member-Owners in 2015, during the upheaval last fall. “The GRC adds sustainability and longevity for Honest Weight, and that is precisely what our community needs as we look ahead to the tasks before us,” he remarked.

Finally, Chris Gockley, an HWFC Member-Owner since 2014, is a former teacher, and will join the other four GRC members with a focus on making the Bylaws more transparent to the HWFC community. “The GRC represents the real strategic pathway toward a sustainable Co-op,” Mr. Gockley commented, “and I look forward to working with the Bylaws, along with other council members, as we move ahead.”

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Thomas Washington is Head Librarian at the Albany Academy for Girls. He has been a Co-op member since relocating to Albany from Washington, DC in 2015.