Board of Directors Candidates

Background

Thank you for your interest in becoming a director! Serving on the board is a rewarding experience as it offers directors an opportunity to participate in their consumer-owned food co-op in a more meaningful way. It is also a great way to learn more about the co-op’s community impact while playing a key leadership role in ensuring that we thrive for many years to come.

Board Structure and Responsibilities

The Merc Co+op is governed by a Board of Directors that is elected by member-owners of the co-op. The board is directly accountable to the ownership for the activities and accomplishments of the cooperative. Specifically, it is responsible for:

  • Interacting with owners to understand their needs, values and visions for The Merc Co+op.
  • Developing, monitoring and revising a body of policies that guide the General Manager and board to achieve outcomes that are consistent with our owners’ values and vision.
  • Ensuring, through consistent monitoring mechanisms, that management achieves the goals set by the board and that the board operates according to its established processes.
  • The board fulfills its responsibilities through a system of governance called Policy Governance as originally developed by John Carver. Learn more about Policy Governance at www.carvergovernance.com.

Eligibility and Expectations

  • Eligibility, expectations and qualifications of board membership include:
  • Being an owner in good standing and being at least 18 years of age.
  • Stating all potential conflicts of interest on application and not having an overriding conflict of interest.
  • A three-year commitment to the board.
  • Familiarity with and adherence to The Merc Co+op’s Bylaws, Policy Governance and Code of Conduct.
  • Preparation for and active participation in monthly board meetings.
  • Attendance at board training sessions and the Annual Co-op Meeting.
  • Ability to understand financial statements with training.
  • Access to the Internet and availability to respond to frequent board work-related online communications.
  • A willingness to take responsibility for board duties and to work together with understanding, mutual support and respect.
  • An ability to keep information and materials confidential.
  • Integrity, flexibility and common sense.
  • Elected board members who wish to serve as board officers must undergo a background check.
  • Co-op staff members are not eligible to serve on the board.

Director Qualifications and Required Commitment

The Merc Co+op is seeking board candidates who are:

  • Interested in learning about and supporting cooperative values and principles.
  • Willing to participate actively in discussions.
  • Good at working in a team environment that prefers to make decisions by consensus.
  • Willing to delegate areas of decision making to others and hold them accountable for results.
  • Willing to set aside any personal agendas to honor the diversity of owner perspectives. 
  • Willing to take on a “servant-leader” role and serve The Merc Co+op through active engagement.

Without question, governing an organization effectively is a serious commitment. Board members are expected to prepare for and actively participate in board meetings and stay engaged between board meetings, owner events and occasional training sessions. The board is a team, sharing responsibilities in a way to make its work a manageable part of members-owners’ lives. The term of a director lasts for three years.

Serving on The Merc Co+op’s Board of Directors: What to Expect

Meetings are normally held on the first Monday of each month in The Merc Co+op’s Community Classroom or the conference room. Dinner is provided before the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. and ends between 8:30 and 9 p.m.

  • Directors need to check their email at least twice a week and respond to board electronic communications. This should be done daily the few days leading up to a meeting. 
  • New directors attend a one-day orientation that requires out-of-state travel and at least one overnight stay.
  • All directors attend an annual board retreat that is typically one whole day.  
  • Attendance at owner events is expected.

Below is an example of the time you can expect to spend in a given month:

  • Meeting preparation –  about 2 hours
  • Monthly board meeting – 2.5 to 3 hours
  • Committee work – 0 to 1 hour 
  • Misc. (writing for Owner Co+nnection blogs/newsletters, email communication, professional development, tabling at owner events, retreat preparation) – 1.5 to 6 hours monthy

= Total hours of work: 6–12 hours monthly

Board Election Timeline

The co-op conducts elections using electronic and written voting. If possible, we need your completed application in advance of the deadline to allow time to prepare the electronic materials. 

  • Saturday, April 22 – Applications available online and at customer service. Board members available during Owner Appreciation Days or via email for questions regarding board roles and responsibilities.
  • Monday, May 8, June 5 or August 7 – Candidates encouraged to attend board meeting at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, August 2 – Application deadline. Send responses to candidate questions to Board@TheMerc.Coop to be published online at www.TheMerc.Coop.
  • Early August (date TBA) – Candidate interviews. The board meets with the candidates to explain the work of the board and answer questions. Candidates will be contacted by a board member to arrange interviews.
  • Sunday, October 1 – Sunday, November 5 – Elections. Ballots accepted in-store and online. 
  • Friday, November 10 – Annual Co-op Meeting with announcement of successful candidates.