Cooperative Principle #2: Democratic Member Control

One of the primary benefits of member-ownership is the opportunity to help shape the co-op by participating in the election of your board of directors, whether running for a seat on the board, voting, or serving as a volunteer in the process. Volunteers can join the Elections Committee or help at the Annual Meeting itself. Democratic member control is what separates us from a typical grocery store and it’s where you get to show your pride in ownership, helping shape the future of our co-op!

This is an exciting and critical time in the co-op’s history, as we are coming ever closer to meeting the thresholds that will allow us to open. As of this writing, we are over 700 member-owners strong and growing. While membership is building, we are concurrently working diligently on securing a site, after which we will conduct a member loan campaign, hire a general manager and do all that’s necessary to open our co-op.

We operate under “Policy Governance,” a board operating system established by John Carver, which emphasizes values, vision and the empowerment of both board and staff. It enables the board to focus on the big picture and long-term vitality of the co-op by defining clarity of roles and expectations, delegating authority to, and monitoring the accomplishments of, its delegate, currently our project manager, and eventually the general manager, once he or she is hired.

We are seeking potential candidates to run for and fill three open seats on the board of directors, with elections taking place at our Annual Meeting in May. The new board members will serve a three-year term (2013-16) beginning in June.

What are the requirements for running?

Board members must be member-owners of the East Aurora Cooperative Market in good standing without a substantial conflict of interest resulting from an affiliation with any enterprise that is in competition with the co-op. Once elected, board members must sign a statement of agreement and publicly disclose any potential conflicts of interest. Regarding personal qualifications, board experience is helpful, but not a prerequisite. More important are: willingness to work closely and cooperatively with the other directors; commitment to providing the time and energy necessary to accomplish the board’s objectives and fulfill the required term; the ability to learn quickly; and possessing organizational skills.

If you’re interested in running, we ask you to fill out the Board Candidate Application, available as a download at the bottom of this post. This information will help the membership make an informed decision regarding the Directors they elect.  Please email your completed application back to the Nominations Committee at [email protected] no later than February 28, 2013.

Once the Nominating Committee has received applications, we will meet with the potential candidates and then submit the proposed slate to the board for approval in March. Next, ballots will be prepared and mailed to member-owners about a month prior to the annual meeting which is scheduled for May 16, 2013. While elections will take place at the Annual Meeting, ballots may be cast prior to the Annual Meeting by mail or in person at the Mini Market and of course, at the Annual Meeting itself. The announcement of new directors will take place after the Annual Meeting.

Please contact us at [email protected] if you:

  • have any questions about the board
  • would like a board candidate packet
  • would like to serve on the Elections committee

If you would like to volunteer at the Annual Meeting, please contact Kathy Mason at [email protected].

Downloadable 2013 EA Co-op Board Packet: 2013 Board Packet MASTER 02.07.13