Wednesday, May 7, 2014

An Open Letter to the Honest Weight Food Co-op Members...

I have had several members of the Honest Weight Food Co-op tell me that for them the elections held on Sunday 27 April for the Coop Board were tainted. And to tell you the honest truth, I agree in large part with these sentiments. Valid questions can be raised about the elections that took place at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Albany for five positions on the Honest Weight Food Co-op Board. The reason for this is simple. Lynne Lekakis's remarks about the dangers of having too many staff people on the Board, a point in part valid given that staff already have representation on the Board and too many might, MIGHT, make Board operations problematic, was undermined by Lekakis's discussion of the issue in an almost McCarthyesque way. All Lekakis attack mode strategy ended up doing, in my opinion, was to taint the election which followed.

Beyond the issue of staff on the Board one must ask why Ms. Lekakis singled out Board members who were staff for singular condemnation when other even more fundamental issues needed to be addressed when it came to Board candidates. Why did Ms. Lekakis, for instance, not raise the issue of whether candidates for the Board had prior relations with members of the Leadership Team, a leadership team the Board is supposed to act as a check and a balance on? Why did the moderator not ask this critical question of each of the candidates? This is clearly an issue that goes more directly and crucially to the heart of conflict of interest at the Coop.

It is for these reasons that I think the Board elections in April need to be declared null and void, a new meeting called for new Board elections, and a moderator who is familiar with Honest Weight and with the broad issues of potential conflicts of interest at the Coop needs to be hired to ask questions of those candidates who wish to stand in new Board elections. Anything other than this means that the Board as presently constituted might and certainly can be seen as the product of an unfortunately tainted election.

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