Board of Directors Elections
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.