Last year, the Co-op Council created the Bylaw Committee to “develop and implement a plan, involving member input, to revise the Co-op’s bylaws into clear, concise, comprehensive language, consistent with applicable law.” The committee’s twice monthly meetings were publicized and open to the public, and the meeting notes are accessible in hard copy or online at www.hungermountain.coop/council-meetings-resources.
The preliminary results of the committee’s work are now available, and we encourage you to discuss them with us at upcoming public forums (see below for dates). The highlights of the proposed revisions include:
- Re-formatted and edited the full body of the existing bylaws. Re-organized as necessary; simplified and clarified confusing sections; eliminated unnecessary language.
- Amended the voting procedures at member meetings for those topics where current bylaw language is confusing. The proposal incorporates both a meeting and then a period of ballot voting lasting at least two weeks.
- Changed Council elections to start at the annual meeting, so members have a chance to meet the candidates there, rather than conclude the elections at the meeting.
- Clarified criteria for Council’s use of executive sessions.
- Clarified that there are nine seats on the Council, plus one employee representative.
- Changed the percentage of votes needed to amend articles warned for vote at a member meeting from the current 90% for bylaw amendments and 50% + 1 for others to 2/3 for all articles.
- Required the Co-op to facilitate ongoing dialogue among members, not just engage in one-way communication to members or a back-and-forth with members.
- Eliminated the possibility of the Council involuntarily terminating a person’s membership.
- Lowered the threshold for a petition drive to hold a special member meeting to 150 signatures, from the current 5% of membership (which would be more than 400 now).
The committee has not achieved consensus on some proposals, including the following, about which we are seeking members’ opinions:
- Should principles of cooperative enterprise be included in the bylaws or simply be elsewhere in Co-op information?
- Should information about employee compensation be available to members?
You can read the full text of the proposed revised bylaws here.
You can also read a version of the proposed revised bylaws with more detail, proposed corrections and changes that were made, here.
The council is looking to our members to provide feedback on the proposed changes. You may send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or give them at the next round of discussion forums in the Co-op’s community room. Check back for the dates and times for those forums, which will be posted here soon.
If you have any questions, or would like us to contact you when the forum dates are scheduled, you can reach us at email@example.com or 802-262-3202
Council Bylaw Committee,
Carl Etnier (Chair), Cheryl Conner, Jed Davis, Steven Farnham (Council member), Scott Hess (Council president), Stephanie Kaplan, Sue Zekas; with Rob Barossi (Staff), Kari Bradley (Store Manager)