Sunday, April 27, 2014

Hear @Coast_Capital vote results at AGM Wed April 30

Coast Capital Savings Credit Union's Annual General Meeting of members is this week:
DATE: Wednesday April 30.

TIME: Registration & refreshments from 4:30pm. Meeting starts 5pm. Cutoff to register 5:15pm, but members can still enter the meeting.

PLACE: Sheraton Guildford Hotel, 15269 – 104 Avenue, Surrey. Free parking for members attending AGM.

WEBCAST: Live at this link.
It should be an exciting AGM this year, because we'll hear the results of the battle for the hearts and minds of Coast Capital members, between the incumbent Board and some challengers (whom I support). You can see what it's all about in my March 16 blog post.

See you there!

Friday, April 25, 2014

@MEC pretends to be a #democracy -- AGM report

Mountain Equipment Cooperative announced its director election results at the 2014 Annual General Meeting yesterday (April 24). While claiming to be improving the election process, the incumbent board now exercises great control over who gets elected. Not only do they put their candidate recommendations on the ballot, but they also prevent some candidates from being on the ballot at all.

For this year's election to fill 4 director seats, the board recommended these 8 candidates:
Ellen Pekeles
Dale Mills
Gord Howe
Doug Brownridge
Daniel Blanche
Tamara Paton
Jonathan Gallo
Bill Gibson
They also allowed onto the ballot these 6 candidates, whom they did not recommend:
Jake Burlet
Pat Maher
Stephanie Bird
Bob Brent
Alex Beaskow
Tom Webb
These 4 were announced at the AGM as having been elected:
Ellen Pekeles
Tamara Paton
Jonathan Gallo
Daniel Blanche
As you can see, only "recommended" candidates were elected. I've documented elsewhere how boards can and do use on-ballot recommendations to ensure that the only candidates who get elected are those that do not challenge the incumbent board. This reduces the board's accountability to members, which opens the door to corruption.

The board chair claimed at the AGM that these recent election rule changes are "good governance" recommended by "experts". The "expert" he cited is often hired and paid by boards, and often gives advice to increase boards' power. I emphasized the obvious self-serving bias in a letter to FICOM, the regulator for B.C. credit unions: It is natural for directors and their payees to say: "To improve governance, we should give more power to directors."

But the MEC board has gone much further than the credit unions I wrote to FICOM about. As we saw last year, they used their new power to prevent a highly qualified candidate from even getting onto the ballot. So we only get to choose among candidates who don't rock their boat.

I thank Melissa Fong for sharing this quote from Noam Chomsky in a recent tweet:
"The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."
One of the fundamental principles of co-ops is: "Co-operatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members". Which raises the question:
Is MEC a co-op?