What kind of B.O.D. do you want?

Board President, Richard Drace

Board Directors Richard Drace and Alana Lucia meet with shoppers this Valentine’s Day on the patio.

Each year in May, all current owner/members of BriarPatch have the opportunity to select three of the nine members of our Board of Directors. With everything else going on in your life, you may ask, “Why should I bother to vote?”

Over the years, most of you haven’t, yet slowly but surely, we’re seeing that change for the better. Last year, we celebrated quite an increase when almost 10% of our 7,500 currently paid-up owner/members did vote.
10%!! We’re boasting about 10%??

Well, it’s better than we were doing, and better than many other co-ops do, except when there’s some controversy that energizes a push for change. And as much as we’d like you to vote, we’d prefer not to create a controversy just for that purpose.

We’ve had a history of long-serving directors, few candidates each election cycle, and few voters. We’d like to believe it’s your satisfaction with how things are going that keeps turn-out low. We could try to congratulate ourselves that the co-op’s in the very best of hands; that you’re all for staying the course; for business as usual; steady as she goes – but even a highly functioning board needs to refresh its home page on a regular basis (I think I just set a record for clichés in one sentence).

To be a highly functioning board, we must thrive on a blend of continuity and fresh vision, and a cross-section that represents the age, gender, and cultural background of our co-op community. In our more recent elections, we’ve had some veteran directors choose to retire and more candidates choose to run. Now we’ve got a pretty good mix of younger and (ahem) “mature” directors. We’re currently one-third female (yes – room for improvement). Ethnically? – well, Kwong Chew, one of our directors, likes to point out we now have one and one-half Asians on the board.

This May, you all will have six candidates to pick from for three open positions: Rachel Berry, Richard Drace, Mark Fenton, Susan Gouveia, Lee Perry, and Jeffrey Williams. Two of us are incumbents and four are new faces. I sincerely thank all of you who have applied, and our Board Development Committee and BriarPatch staff for great outreach. And I thank those of you who expressed interest but chose to wait for a later date to consider serving on our board (be warned – we’re coming after you next year).

Besides a stronger candidate pool, we’ve seen the difference our switch to on-line voting has made. It’s now s-o-o-o easy: If we have your email or snail-mail address, you’ll receive a link that takes you to our election website page where you can easily cast your vote – just like that. If we don’t have your info, you can send it to us via this link:
http://www.briarpatch.coop/vote-2018/. You’ll also be able to vote right in the store.

Please don’t presume that your favorite candidates are shoo-ins. On-line voting benefits candidates who campaign well on social media. Other candidates – perhaps those “mature”? – rely on more traditional approaches. You’ll see lots of prompts in the store during the election cycle (May 1 – May 15). Hopefully, you’ll run out of excuses not to vote, so – – –
Just Do It!

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