1. Would you consider implementing election procedure like those used by MEC? Why or why not?
We are in the process of implementing a Director endorsement process so our answer would be yes we would consider it. In a large retail coop that is increasingly complex, understanding the skill sets of director candidates and evaluating them is increasingly important. In addition, with a membership in excess of 300,000 I think members are looking for more information on the slate of candidates they are considering each year in the elections. As a Director, I cannot count how many times during an election campaign that I get asked by members about which candidates they should vote for. I think an endorsement process is an unbiased way to guide members and at the same time assists in having the diversity at the Board table that is critical to good governance and decision making.
2. How does your co-operative recruit new directors? Could recruitment be improved?
We do have good interest in our election process every year so from that perspective there is strong interest in the organization. We do encourage people to run where we see gaps that need addressing and this has been successful at times. That said, the nature of the democratic process does mitigate the effectiveness of these strategies. We have also brought independent un-elected candidates on to our Board as advisors from time to time where we see significant gaps that need to be addressed. This has resulted in interest in our coop as in one example they ran and were elected. The process is a bit ad hoc tied to an identified need but I think it is important to balance the need against the need to be open and democratic.
3. How do you ensure your directors have the skills needed to successfully participate on the board?
We strongly encourage Board training and we are formalizing specific budget availability for directors to enhance their training beyond the programs that are available through FCL.