Monday, March 18, 2013

@MEC director election endorsements: David, David & David

Members are voting in the Mountain Equipment Co-op board of directors election until March 28, at Here's how I plan to vote and why:

Board of Directors (vote for up to 3):

1. David Goldsmith
2. David Wartman
3. David Wexler


MEC member Dru Oja Jay emailed 5 questions to all candidates, and compiled responses in a handy colour-coded chart here. My top priority is his question #1:
1. In an open letter (available here) signed by over 350 people, "MEC Members for a Democratic Co-op" said that recent modifications to the bylaws, which give the MEC board the power to approve or deny members who wish to be candidates for the board based on criteria they set was "not an appropriate power for democratically elected directors" and creates a "conflict of interest." As a board member, would you work to change this? If so, how?
My second priority is his question #4:
4. Another cooperative principle MEC has committed to is "Member democratic control," which states that "Co-operatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions." Currently, the board does not consult the membership about any decisions outside of board elections and special resolutions, and contact information for board members is not available on the web site. Do you think that MEC's current behaviour is consistent with this principle? If not, what should be done?
My candidate ranking 1-2-3 above is based on Dru's colour-coded assessments of candidate responses to those two questions.

If you care (as I do) about gender diversity (not to mention first-name diversity), you may want to vote for my fourth pick, Judy Martin, instead of one of those three Davids.

(MEC should facilitate member sharing of this info by simply having an online candidate forum instead of continuing their clumsy email Q&A system, which I critiqued last year.)

Special Resolutions:

#1: NO

#2: YES

#3: YES


#1 is proposed by the MEC Board, and would transfer too much power from members to the Board, by rule changes including:
  • Increase the number of members required for submitting a resolution, from 5 to 500.
  • Let the Board unilaterally reject any member resolution for any reason, without submitting it to member vote.
  • Transfer the power to screen director candidates, from the nominations committee to the Board itself.
  • Place the nominations committee explicitly "under the guidance of the directors."
This is the most important vote on the ballot, in my view. I explain why in this article published today in the Vancouver Observer.

#2 and #3 are proposed by two groups of MEC members. I don't feel strongly about either of these resolutions, but I do feel strongly about member democracy so I will vote for them. I thank these MEC members for stepping up and doing the work to draft and propose these resolutions. It will be much harder for members to do this in future if resolution #1 passes.

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