Monthly Archives: November 2011

Electronic Communication

Many boards of retail food cooperatives rely heavily on electronic communication tools to handle logistic and administrative matters and to share and store board documents.   For a board with strong communication skills, properly used electronic tools facilitate the administrative details of board service.  For boards working to build trust and communication skills, email in particular can create or add to misunderstandings. Electronic Communication basics: [...]

Policy Governance Implementation

This Field Guide outlines the basic steps, timeline, and critical factors for successful implementation of Policy Governance (sometimes referred to herein as “PG”). When implementing Policy Governance, it is important to move forward relatively quickly in order to not lose momentum, while taking enough time to make thoughtful and informed decisions.   Main Steps for Implementing Policy Governance Investigate – Learn about Policy Governance [...]

Bylaws basics

How Do We Know If  We Have the Bylaws We Need? To meet our needs, bylaws must allow for smooth functioning of the coop's internal governance processes while being consistent with both our owners' values and with the relevant laws. Bylaws are the means by which the owners delegate authority to the board.  Under that authority, the board ensures that the co-op meets owners' [...]

Building a Positive Board Performance Culture 2 of 2

Building a positive board performance culture takes continuous work and vigilance on the part of the board. Part I explored the vital concepts of Shared Understanding of the Job of the Board & Shared Expectations for Board Performance, but every year boards have an election and end up with a ‘new’ board. This provides the board with the opportunity to take advantage of a [...]

Audits & Reviews

An essential part of a co-op board’s fiduciary duty is the annual external monitoring of their co-op’s finances and financial systems. This Field Guide introduces a process for making important board-level decisions about the two standard types of external monitoring: audits and reviews. Choosing audits or reviews An audit of financial statements is a thorough examination of the cooperative’s financial statements, allowing the auditor [...]

Board Compensation

  Updated: September, 2018 Directors of food cooperatives have a position of great responsibility. Should directors be reasonably compensated for shouldering this responsibility on behalf the co-op’s owners? What counts as reasonable compensation? What is the best way to provide compensation? Here are some ideas to help you in your own decision making.   Why compensate directors at all? A food cooperative is a [...]

Elections

Was your last Board election a thoughtful exercise in democracy in which members chose a well-qualified set of directors that add value to the Board and to the co-op? More than anyone else in the cooperative, the Board itself is responsible for ensuring that the answer to this question is “Yes!” Elections should be neither mundane nor contentious, but should honor and reinforce the [...]