Tuesday, July 22, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Co-op referendum sought

By
From page A12 | March 09, 2014 |

The following is a copy of a letter to the Davis Food Co-op board:

In light of your recent actions, I would request that you consider a referendum. I humbly request that you offer the members of the Co-op an opportunity to vote now on your decision to change the Co-op’s direction and to fire Eric Stromberg, general manager.

I firmly believe that this vote will provide you with the feedback you need to understand how the members feel about your new direction and strategic plan.

I also request that the vote be held at your earliest convenience, which should be before Eric’s termination.

Andrew Newman

Davis

Letters to the Editor

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Discussion | 6 comments

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  • Jim LeonardMarch 09, 2014 - 8:23 am

    The Coop board a few years ago took it upon themselves to violate a core principal of the Coop: member democratic participation and rule. Enough signatures were gathered on a petition by members to have their initiative voted on by the membership; the board stopped the initiative from being voted on. The board itself derives its powers from the Coop democracy; it staged a coup and so far has succeeded. Before the board puts forth a referendum about whether to reinstate Eric or not, it needs to reinstate democracy at the Coop. The original initiative needs to be voted on by the membership. Only after that initiative is either approved of or defeated will the board be able to VALIDLY do anything at all.

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  • Ryan KellyMarch 09, 2014 - 8:48 am

    So, it is being asked that employees at the co-op be subject to a popularity contest to keep their jobs? It would appear to be mean to vote to let him go, so I would expect every one would vote to keep him, unless they had a personal beef. This is why we don't vote on hiring or firing people.

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  • Alan MillerMarch 09, 2014 - 2:52 pm

    WHAT initiative?

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  • Ryan KellyMarch 09, 2014 - 5:05 pm

    I think he's talking about the campaign to stop stocking any products from Israel as a statement/protest against politics in Palestine.

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  • Chris DMarch 09, 2014 - 10:02 am

    Before demanding a referendum, co-op owners should demand legal proof that the board acted within its rights in firing the manager, as they claim to have done per their terse letter on the matter. Co-op members vote for the board and delegate management oversight to them, within the allowances of the bylaws. If they acted within their rightful powers per the bylaws, then owners who disagree with their decision should push for a recall to replace them.The current board is different from the one that blocked the initiative around the boycott of Israeli goods. Was there any recall effort then? I moved to Davis after that occurred and have only read the history, which does not indicate efforts to remove the board members. Honestly, having been a member-owner and shopper at several co-ops, I realized early on that DFC really does not function like a democratic co-op or otherwise seem responsive to member-owners. It just feels like Costco since the major member benefit avoiding the surcharge on the already-high shelf prices. I continue to invest my share requirement only because my member application fee is a sunk coast and I'll get my share investments back, so it would just increase my costs at this point to drop my membership and pay the non-member prices. Disappointing that this trivial financial benefit, rather the co-op's values (or lack thereof), is my motivation to stay.

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  • Ryan KellyMarch 09, 2014 - 12:20 pm

    Then a change in direction is probably in order. The last referendum was directed at punishing a foreign country with religious ties to part of the local community and Co-op membership. This one is focused on whether to retain or terminate an employee. We can't be selective about these things. Either allow these kinds of votes every time a member calls for one and live with the inevitable alienation of parts of the membership or elect a Board that will follow bylaws and manage the Co-op and stay focused on its original purpose.

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