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The Board plays a critical role in ensuring the continued success and health of this vital organization. It represents all the member-owners in developing and maintaining the vision and long-term viability of the Co-op. The Board does not run the stores, nor do they have direct control over the daily operation of them; that is the role of Management. Instead, the Board monitors the operations of the stores via Policy Governance®, a system of oversight and accountability that emphasizes values, vision, and the empowerment of both Board and staff, while clearly delineating the roles and responsibilities of each.
Want to get in involved?
The HCCS Board Election Committee is seeking candidates for the Board. Although the election is not until April 2019, we initiate the process now in order to give members time to consider running, ask questions and receive training in Board work. APPLY HERE.
Here’s a list of committees, including those that are open to members. VIEW HERE.
DATE: Wed., November 28
TIME: 6:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Hanover Board Room, Hanover Store
BOARD PACKET DOWNLOAD: COMING SOON
Board Meeting Recap — October 24, 2018
Here’s a brief summary of key issues from the October Board meeting:
GENERAL MANAGER’S REPORT
General Manager Ed Fox reported that the organization’s finances continue to track well ahead of both expectations and last year’s performance. The food stores have shown 2.43% growth in sales against budget in FY2018, for example and 2.72% growth in sales over the same point in 2017, for example. The figures for the service center are 12.17% growth in sales against budget and 19.32% growth in sales over 2017.
In addition, the consolidated transaction count for the food stores is up 4,037 over this point in 2017, and the average basket size is up $1.04 — to an average of $37.83. However, the transaction counts at the Hanover and Lebanon stores are down for the period, with Hanover’s count bearing the brint of that decline— but Hanover’s basket size is up $1.44, to an average of $43.93. At the White River Junction store, the transaction count is up 10,150 and basket size is up $1.24 — to an average of $29.04.
He also reported that the bottom line looks good. It is typical that grocery businesses don’t turn a profit until the fourth quarter of the year, and this year the Co-op’s posted loss to date is well under the budgeted amount — only $83,000, compared to an expected $254,000 — as we head into the busiest season of the year.
Ed mentioned that he has been finalizing a draft of the 2019 business plan, and once it has been shared with the board he will welcome having one-on-one conversations with board members about it. The plan and its associated budget will be discussed at the December board meeting.
He also said an employee incentive program called Pathways has been launched at all locations, and that the Human Resources department and a group of representative employees are working on developing employee “personas,” following the same model used in the recent customer experience project, to help the Co-op better understand its employees’ interests and concerns.
Finally, Ed noted that he has been in early-stage discussions with Norwich Solar Technologies, which approached the Co-op about the possibility of a solar project on the land the Co-op owns in Norwich. Ed was also sounded out about his interest in serving on the board of the Vermont State Employees Credit Union, a member-owned cooperative financial institution.
This month, the Board discussed the organization’s compliance with three policies.
The General Manager’s reports on compliance with EL 2 (Financial Condition and Performance), EL 14 (Cooperation Among Cooperatives), and GP 9 (Working with Neighboring Co-ops) were all accepted. Several members noted, however, that board members specifically could be doing more on GP 9; members who have suggestions on improvements were invited to submit them to the Governance Committee.
CDS CONSULTING CO-OP
The board has been considering engaging consultants who can advise the board on being strategic and effective. At this meeting, the board heard a presentation from Mark Goehring of the CDS Consulting Co-op — a cooperative of consultants who advise and support the work of consumer co-ops all across the country. He suggested that our Co-op’s needs could be most efficiently served through CDS’s Cooperative Board Leadership Development program. He explained how it can be structured to meet the needs of individual boards and answered a number of questions about policy governance, ends policies, monitoring reports, strategic planning, board perpetuation, how a board can best support its general manger, etc.
COMMITTEE/TASK FORCE UPDATES
Liz Blum, chair of the Election Committee, updated the board on the committee’s progress. The deadline for filing a declaration of candidacy is February 9, 2019. Liz said that tabling in stores to recruit candidates will begin soon and also reminded everyone that all board members have a responsibility to recruit qualified candidates.
Liz Blum, also chair of the Waste Reduction Committee, thanked all the board members and employees who participated in the highly successful Farm to Co-op Dinner on October 17. The presentations and discussion on waste reduction that followed the dinner were very well received by the members in attendance. Kevin Birdsey, chair of the Governance Committee, informed the board that the committee is working on streamlining the policy manual, on developing a board correspondence protocol, and on researching secure and confidential file-sharing options.
BOARD CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE MEMBER NEWSLETTER
Board members were reminded that they may provide an article to each month’s member newsletter and were encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to communicate with the membership.
The next Regular Board Meeting will be Wednesday, November 28, at 6:00 p.m. in the upstairs Board Room at the Hanover store.
Your comments are always welcome. Feel free to send an email president [at] coopfoodstore.com (HERE).
Thomas graduated from the University of NH with degrees in Philosophy (BA) and Education (Masters). Attended the Gemological Institute of American and holds the title of Graduate Gemologist. Currently, Special Education Teacher in the Lebanon school district. Work experience in the private and public sector and entered the teaching profession later in life. Spending most of working years in retail as sales manager of family’s wine/liquor brokerage company and gaining experience in sales and merchandising. The sales force worked very closely with grocers in NH, Maine and Vermont. In addition, having past experience serving as a board member on a variety of boards over the years. For example, served on Rockingham Community Action, as well as the Board of Commissioners in Rockingham County. Tom feels that the fabric of a community is woven with threads of community service. At the end of the day, you are judged less by what you have gained and more by what you have given. Term ends 2020.
Kevin has worked for the Co-op since 2002. Most of that time having been in the Front End department at the Hanover store, currently he can be found at the Community Market. When not working, Kevin is a student and assistant instructor at White River Budokan, a traditional martial arts school in White River Junction. Having spent his adolescence and early adulthood in Hanover, Kevin now lives in Lebanon. Term ends in 2019.
Liz Blum, Vice President:
Co-op principles and values are important to Liz Blum and that is why she serves on the Board. Liz is a retired Occupational Therapist. She worked in many settings in Vermont and New Hampshire: Visiting Nurse, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and clinics. She likens occupational therapy to a jigsaw puzzle because it concerns problem solving and putting the pieces into place. Liz was a member of the Boston Women's Health Collective that produced the groundbreaking book: Our Bodies, Ourselves. She has been an advocate for universal, single-payer health care for 30 years and continues to work for it. Liz has served on a number of Boards including the Norwich (VT) Selectboard and the Norwich Board of Listers. She is on the State Committee of the Vermont Progressive Party. In the summer you may find her riding her bike or in the garden. Term ends 2020.
William Craig, President:
William is a writer and educator. He is the author of Yankee Come Home: On the Road from San Juan Hill to Guantanamo, and teaches writing at Dartmouth College. Many in the Upper Valley remember him as a former Valley News writer and editor. He is a former Headrest staffer and board member. You can find him playing bass in bands around the region. Term expires 2019. Term ends in 2019.
After 22 years as a Co-op employee, Rosemary retired from her position as the Co-op’s Education Director in 2015. Prior to joining the Co-op’s staff, she worked in clinical pathology at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and cancer research at Dartmouth Medical School, and, with her husband, Don, owned Vermont Everlastings, growing certified organic perennials, annuals, herbs, and dried flowers. She has served on the boards of several area non-profits as well as the Norwich Farmers Market and the Thetford School Board, and also enjoyed several years on the board of Cooperative Development Institute, an organization assisting consumer cooperatives, worker cooperataives, and resident-owned housing cooperatives across New England and New York. She began her cooperative involvement in 1971 as a young mother portioning out raisins and oatmeal as required by her buying club in Madison, Wisconsin, and has lived in the Upper Valley since 1974, where she was thrilled to find a full-fledged food co-op with a real storefront and paid employees.
Worked in the art and film world, as a publicist, photographer, picture researcher and producer until bringing up her children, by far her most creative project. Now catching up with the digital age, she works as a freelance writer and artist for public awareness campaigns. She lives in Norwich, Vermont, and volunteers for the Rapunzel Project in an effort to bring it to the New England states and to make it available to all. Term ends in 2018.
One of the owners of Scratch, a yarn shop specializing in fine fiber and indie-dyed yarn located in downtown Lebanon. She’s currently serving on the Arts & Culture Taskforce, is also the Farmers’ Market Coordinator for the City. Jessica has spent the last fifteen years as a small business owner, and has been directly involved in local food production and farmers markets since 2011. She lives in Lebanon with her family, their four dogs, many chickens, and a surly rabbit
Dana Cook Grossman, Secretary:
Dana is the director of publications emerita for Dartmouth Medical School, where for 25 years she edited the award-winning quarterly magazine Dartmouth Medicine. Since 2011, she has been a full-time freelance editor and writer; her clients include PBS Nova, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Association of American Medical Colleges. She's also been very active in civic affairs, including chairing the Thetford, Vt., School Board. Dana and her husband, Dan, have lived in Thetford since 1972 and been members of the Co-op since 1973; they have two grown daughters and four grandchildren. Term ends in 2019.
A Co-op Food Store employee since 1994, Ed started at the Hanover Co-op Food Store as Manager of the ‘B.I.N.’ Department (Bulk, International, & Natural Foods). An active part of much Co-op growth since, becoming a Co-op Merchandiser at the start of the Lebanon Co-op Food Store in 1997. To broaden his Co-op experience and service, Ed was elected to the Co-op’s Board in 2003 and served for two, 3-year terms until 2009. In addition to merchandising, in 2014 Ed took on the Co-op’s category management co-ordination responsibilities and also became the Co-op’s liaison to the National Co-op Grocers, a 148 food co-op co-operative with over 200 stores in 38 states and combined annual sales of nearly $2 billion and over 1.3 million consumer-owners. Co-operatives working together is the only way to ensure our continued success serving our members! Starting up again as a Board Director in 2016, he has been active with committee work to improve the Board’s new director election process. Term ends in 2019.
Benoit Roisin, Treasurer:
Benoit is Professor of Engineering Sciences at Dartmouth College (under the name of Benoit Cushman-Roisin, having hyphenated his wife’s name to his for all professional activities), where he has developed new courses in sustainable design and industrial ecology. Some of his students’ projects have been adopted by the Co-op and the Town of Hanover to reduce their environmental footprint. He is the author of three books and is working on a fourth. In addition, Roisin maintains an active consultancy in water issues and energy efficiency. He has volunteered his expertise for several non-profit organizations, including The Haven and COVER. He has served on the Co-op’s Board of Directors intermittently since 2003. Term ends in 2020.
Ann Shriver Sargent:
Ann has spent most of her life living and working and raising her three children in New England. For the past 29 years, she has been a business owner, designer, and buyer in the home furnishings/interior design field. Currently, she is co-founder and president of Porte-cochère, a membership based service that connects premium and luxury furnishing manufacturers and prequalified interior designers. Ann’s vision for Porte-cochère is the outgrowth of her belief that companies committed to quality in design, integrity of materials and a commitment to building long-term professional relationships will find valued partners in the design community. Ann lives with her husband 4 horses, 4 goats and dog on a farm in Norwich Vermont. Term ends in 2020.
Jessica Saturley-Hall is the owner and founder of the Upper Valley Compost Company and the New Hampshire Compost Company, which provide residential and commercial composting services and consulting. Jessica received her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Dartmouth College and her MBA from Cornell University. She has spent fifteen years working in the food, agriculture, and grocery businesses, and has held positions in new product development, marketing, and operations. Jessica lives in Lebanon with her husband, Harrison, and their two dogs.
Responsibilities of the Board
The purpose of the Board, acting on behalf of the Co-op’s members, is to set strategic long-range direction, hire the General Manager and monitor organizational performance.
Specific responsibilities include:
- Representing all Co-op members in determining and demanding appropriate organizational performance.
- Ensuring adequate communication between members and the organization, including working mechanisms to determine member needs.
- Ensuring that members are well-informed about the nature of the cooperative, the activities conducted by the cooperative, and the results it achieves with respect to its Ends Policies.
- Ensuring that members understand the industry of which the cooperative is a part and can consider the activities of the cooperative in the context of relevant markets.
- Ensuring that members understand the different interests and stakeholders that exist within the cooperative.
- Ensuring that the cooperative continually analyzes changes in its membership and its environment, regularly revisits Ends-related issues in light of such changes, and innovates to meet changing member needs.
- Producing written governing policies that, at the broadest levels, address each category of organizational decision.
- Evaluating General Manager performance against Ends and Executive Limitations policies on a regular basis.
- Monitoring Board performance and providing effective leadership using the Policy Governance process.
- The Board is not involved in the daily operations of the stores. Board members have a duty to represent the member-owners at large and not a particular constituency and to act in the members’ best interests, consistent with the Co-op’s values, principles and policies.
Responsibilities of a Director
Directors are fiduciaries of the cooperative and shall at all times conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the cooperative values and principles.
Each Director must:
- Inform him or herself so as to be able to carry out the foregoing.
- Be committed to perfect or near-perfect attendance at Board meetings.
- Be willing to serve on at least one Board subcommittee.
- Be familiar with the Co-op’s bylaws and governing policies.
- Be willing and able to prepare for, and actively participate in, monthly Board meetings.
- Be able to attend Board training sessions, the annual retreat, and the annual member meeting.
- Be able to understand financial statements (training provided).
- Be willing to take responsibility for Board duties and work together with understanding, mutual support, and respect.
During their terms in office, Board members and their spouses/partners receive a 20 percent discount on store purchases and a 10 percent discount on auto repair service and related parts, subject to the restrictions and eligibility requirements noted below. The discount amount is taxable income for board members.
The following products are NOT eligible for the 20 percent discount:
- Annual case lot sale items
- Motor oil
- Fedco orders
Products purchased by the case, which are not part of the annual case lot sale, will receive the 20% discount only; the normal 5% “case discount” will not apply.
Nourish. Cultivate. Cooperate.
193 A St.
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