As member-owners of Raft River Co-op we’ve seen “Make Your Voice Count” numerous times the past several months in relation to the upcoming Annual Meeting and election of board members. I find that phrase “very interesting” especially since changes were made to the policy about members attending board meetings and were approved June 2019 by the board.
The old policy basically states that the Cooperative encourages input from the membership at meetings of the Board of directors and all regular meetings were open to any active member of the co-op except during executive sessions.
The revised policy adds the following: “A Member desiring to address the Board of Directors shall obtain, from the General Manager/CEO or Board President, a Board Meeting Request Form and submit the completed form to the General Manager/CEO or Board President ten (10) days in advance of the Board meeting, in order to be placed on the agenda. The General Manager/CEO and Board President will review the Request Form and the Member will be notified at least 24 hours prior to the Board Meeting whether or not their request has been approved, and if so, the amount of time allotted. Fifteen (15) minutes will be allotted unless prior authorization has been given.”
“If approved, the Member’s right to speak during the Board Meeting shall be limited to a presentation or questions concerning the specific matter(s) which the Member set forth in the Request Form. The Board will hear such presentation(s), including asking questions that it deems appropriate, but will not discuss, respond to, or take action on the Member’s presentation until after the member has retired from the meeting room. After due deliberation and appropriate action, the Cooperative’s legal counsel, General Manager, or a designated Board Member will inform the Member as to the Board’s disposition of the Member’s matter.”
“Under no circumstances will a Member impair or interfere with the conduct of a Board Meeting. The Board reserves the right to exclude any person(s) from any Board Meeting at any time to ensure objectivity of all matters under consideration by the Board and freedom from prejudice or harassment of Board Members, employees, legal counsel, or other Members of the Cooperative.”
That is a highly significant and concerning change to the policy! We can still attend, but we are not allowed to speak unless approved ahead of time at a board meeting of OUR company!
Considering the “business decision” the management made, and the board approved, in December 2018 of eliminating, without warning, a long-time employee’s job and the fact that a large number of concerned members attended several board meetings after that, it does not look like they want us to Make Our Voices Count after all! Have they forgotten that the Members OWN the company and that the Board is responsible to the Members?