Wednesday, 01 April 2015 22:25
Council - Special News
By Alexis Alexander,
After the long, harsh winter, April has finally arrived, which means GreenStar's spring voting ritual is upon us. Traditionally, GreenStar holds its annual Council elections every April. The elections provide member-owners
the opportunity to choose those individuals who will represent the membership on the Co-op's governing body in the coming year.
This year's election is a significant one, with 9 out of 15 seats open, and 11 candidates in the running. Our voting period runs from April 1 through the close of business on April 30. Votes can be cast at the Member Centers of both stores, at the Annual Spring Meeting scheduled for Friday, April 17 at the Space@GreenStar, or by mail (ballot must be received on or before April 30).
We know through our annual member-owner surveys that many member-owners have questions about the voting process — how it works and what impact the votes have on the cooperative. To answer these and other questions about voting, we've included a "Voting FAQ" below.
Why does GreenStar have a voting process?
As a cooperative, we exist to meet the needs of our member-owners who, through a democratic voting process, actively participate in decision making and in setting GreenStar policies. Counter to the world of corporations, where voting power fluctuates in accordance with money invested, every member-owner at GreenStar has one vote, so all votes are equal.
What do member-owners vote on?
According to GreenStar's bylaws, member-owners vote on the following issues: the creation and changes to the bylaws and mission statement; Council elections; the purchase, sale, or rental of real-estate property, such as a new store site, that commits the cooperative for five years or more; establishing or changing the cooperative's debt ceiling; a substantial reduction or elimination of the member labor program or associated discounts; and member-initiated referendums. Examples of past referendums passed by member-owners include allowing the sale of chocolate, poultry and fish, local red meat, and beer, provided they meet certain requirements as outlined in the referendums.
How do member-owner votes impact the Co-op?
The more member-owners who vote, the more effectively GreenStar can meet the needs of the majority of its membership. When only a small percentage of member-owners vote, we never really know if the resultant policy or action truly meets the needs or is in the best interest of the majority of member-owners. In the case of elections, Council members are chosen as representatives of the membership. Council can fulfill its function only if people vote for those they believe will best represent their needs and views.
How does GreenStar's voting process work?
Generally, votes are held in the spring and fall. The length of the voting period differs based on the purpose of the vote. The voting period for Council elections lasts at least 30 days; for bylaws and member referendum votes, at least 21 days; and for other purposes, at least 14 days. While voting periods are scheduled in conjunction with the Annual Spring and Fall Member Meetings, member-owners don't have to attend meetings to vote. Occasionally, a vote may be held at another time of year, at which time a special membership meeting is called. All member-owners in good standing who have a current mailing address or email address on file receive a member mailing that contains information about the vote and a ballot. Please note that you must sign up specifically to receive required member mailings by email. (Sign up anytime at either store location.) There are three ways to vote: in person at the Member Center in either store, in person at the annual meeting, or via mail per the instructions in the member mailing. Please note that absentee ballots must be received on or prior to the last day of the voting period. Ballots are also available at the Member Centers and at the Member Meeting. Soon after the end of the voting period, members of Council convene to count the votes. Results are posted in the stores and on the website shortly thereafter.
How can I find out more about the candidates who are running?
There are three ways to learn more about this year's candidates: Through the Candidate Statements published in the annual member-owner mailing as discussed above, through the Candidate Statements posted at the Member Centers of both stores, and during the Council Candidate question-and-answer period at the Annual Spring Member Meeting on Friday, April 17, at 5:30 pm at the Space @ GreenStar.
We hope to achieve record numbers of member-owners voting in this year's Council elections. Please exercise your right as a member-owner and vote!!