Thursday, April 10, 2014

Elections In Our Co-operative

In 2008, I had the good fortune to serve with an engaged, lively and intelligent group of WSM owners on the WSM Elections Task Force, whose remit was to design rules for elections to the WSM of Directors, and more widely, to explore what could be done to increase owner involvement in democracy within WSM. That work is now carried forward by the WSM Elections Committee.

At the beginning of May, that Committee will issue a formal call for candidates for the election in 2014 of one Consumer-Owner Director and one Worker-Owner Director to the WSM Board. A good time to reflect on co-operation, democracy and elections within WSM.

I submitted a document to the Task Force at the beginning of its deliberations with some thoughts of my own. I think the Introduction ('What is a Co-operative?') is as relevant today as it was then, in terms of wondering what sort of co-op WSM is, and how we would like to see elections, democracy and decision-making operate within WSM.

The full document can be found here. As to its title, ah, you had to be there!!

The full discussions of the Task Force are minuted here. Yup, those Notes from an Individual would have been from me.

I am especially happy I took the time to submit the first Note. It set out how I believed the Task Force should operate in terms of openness, transparency and inclusivity.

To a very great extent, we succeeded in the latter regard. And I think the template that we established continues to serve as an excellent example of how our co-op should operate, when doing so at its best. Whether it is operations, the corporate office management team, the Board or the standing Elections Committee.