by Jeff Gold, Board President
One of the benefits of being a BriarPatch Co-op owner is being able to cast a vote in the election of our Board of Directors, an annual event that takes place in the first half of May.
BriarPatch Directors are responsible for the oversight of operations and the long-range planning for our Co-op. Four Board positions are open this year, and four excellent candidates are presently running for election. Three of them are currently serving on the Board – Alan Weisberg, Lew Sitzer, and Mark Fenton – and a fourth candidate, Richard Drace, has been a longstanding owner. I encourage you to read their statements in this issue of The Vine, and to meet them at Candidates Night, which is scheduled as part of the regular monthly board meeting on April 24th.
While this election is uncontested, since there is the same number of candidates as there are positions, your vote is still important, both to make known your support of the candidates and to exercise your rights as a co-op owner.
With this upcoming election, I would like to recognize one of our board members, Malaika Bishop, who will be leaving the Board after completing two terms. Malaika has recently served as Board Secretary as well as the Chair of the Owner Engagement Committee. We have appreciated her leadership role and her passion for the Co-op during her years of service. We would like to extend to Malaika our support for her future community endeavors in agriculture and in our public schools.
I would like to share with you some of what the Board has accomplished in the last few years. Three years ago, we reformed the Board’s committee structure and changed a Board member’s term of service from two years to three. These two changes have created greater stability, continuity, and mutual understanding amongst board members. This, of course, translates into better action on behalf of all of us. Two years ago, the Board developed a comprehensive strategic plan that provides guidance for co-op operations and programs. More recently, the Board adopted a governance model whose specific policies clarify the roles and responsibilities of Management and the Board. These major steps have helped develop the kind of board leadership that furthers the BriarPatch Co-op’s vision statement: “…we seek to be a leader in social, environmental as well as fiscal business responsibility, among both local businesses and food co-ops nationally…”
I would also like to acknowledge our general manager, Chris Maher, whose support and positive working relationship with the Board during the last three years have been essential to the changes we have made.
On behalf of the entire Board, I want to express our appreciation of all BriarPatch owners for their trust and their votes of confidence. I would also like to express my deep appreciation for my fellow Board members for their commitment to our co-op, and the many hours they have devoted to the responsibilities of governance.
The Board’s work is never “done,” and we have a busy schedule ahead that includes welcoming our newly elected and returning board members, and selecting new officers in May. We have developed a yearly calendar that includes a fall retreat, quarterly educational and training sessions, and our annual ‘harvest dinner’. We welcome your input and invite you to join us at our monthly meetings.
by Jeff Gold, Board President