In firing Eric Stromberg, the Davis Food Co-op board of directors offered neither justification nor reason for its action. The board indicates that it wants a new direction, but has never discussed this with Stromberg, who has been at the helm of the store for 14 years.
If the board has a new strategic direction, why isn’t it being shared with Stromberg and other members? The comments by former member Bernie Goldsmith as quoted in The Enterprise only add confusion and distress. Why is he privy to the real deal and not me, a Co-op member? It appears that we have a cooperative enterprise being directed by a corporate mentality.
Stromberg has managed the co-op through the perfect storm of competition, with Trader Joe’s, Costco and Whole Foods all opening in the past several years. In addition, we are still recovering from an economic recession. Stromberg has twice directed physical modifications to the Co-op to keep it current, competitive and energy-efficient. He has always been forthright and communicative and actually keeps his office door open while at his desk.
Stromberg has demonstrated a long-term commitment that has kept the Co-op functional and productive for 14 years. His long-term commitment is obvious.
Apparently, the Co-op board, through Co-op bylaws, can dismiss Stromberg on short notice without justification or hearing. Shame on them for such high-handed and egregious actions. The board should state its case to members (who are the Co-op) and allow a vote on Stromberg’s fate.