Sunday, September 6, 2015

Smells Like Bureaucratic Spirit: Down the Honest Weight Rabbit Hole Yet Again

Recently the Board of the Honest Weight Food Store decided to fill an empty Board seat by appointing Leif Hartmark to the seat left empty by the resignation of Ron Royne. Hartmark, an educational bureaucrat. had run for an empty Board seat but had not been elected by Honest Weight's membership.

Fast forward to this week. Once again a seat at the Honest Weight Food Store is open as a result of the resignation of Kelly Carrone. Once again the Board has decided not to call a special election, something that raises questions about the Honest Weight Board's commitment to the "democracy" the food store claims as one of their holiest of holies. One would assume, given the precedent established by the Board when Royne resigned and the nearest to the vote post Hartmark was appointed to the Board, that the Board would follow the "rule" it had established earlier, but no, no such logic is in play. This time the Board has apparently decided to interview two candidates, the candidate who finished nearest and the candidate who finished second nearest to those who had already passed the Board election winners post and decide which one they want to fill the vacant Board seat.

Why the change of heart? One can only guess. The candidate who finished closest to winning election is a staff member and the hegemonic clique at the Corpop have an irrational fear of staff members on the Board and an even more irrational fear that staff should not be able evaluate the powers that be even though they have done it before, apparently does not want him to fill the vacancy. According to sources the candidate who finished second closest to winning election to the Board is more their type of man just like Hartmark, Homo bureaucraticus, that cultural status group that thinks it alone has the divine or natural right to guide corporations to the nirvana or profithood.

In all of this the hegemonic clique that controls the Board apparently fills no qualms in not only refusing to call a special Board election--so much for the "democratic" part of the Honest Weight "manfesto"--but in making sure that their preferred candidate is picked to fill the Board vacancy despite the fact that he finished behind the other "candidate" being interviewed. I find all of this astonishing. Still you have got to give props to hegemonic clique of the board--Messers. Fry, Kuchera, Hartmark, and their fellow travellers. These Homo Bureaucraticus types think that they can make up a rule, follow that rule, and then discard that rule when it no longer suits their situational power purposes. And they do it all so brazenly. Presumably, they feel, and sadly I think they are right, that there will be no consequences whatsoever for their we've got the powers and we intend to use it for our own benefit. Just like in American society at large incumbents tend to get re-elected at the Coop by the few who come out to vote.

I have to say I was a bit surprised that the clique that controls the Honest Weight Board is so brazen. I also have to say that I am surprised that other members of the Board who are not part of the ruling clique are letting it happen and offering justifications such as, well if I wasn't a Board member it would be even worse (let's call it playing kick the can on Fry/Kuchera/Harmark Street or how I prolonged the inevitable). Such ideological justifications and rationalisations may help one sleep at night but they don't excuse moral and ethical culpability. Banality, sadly, is the new normal even among those who still don't think that the new boss is much the same as the old boss (let's call it a kindler and gentler version of Stockholm Syndrome, Bureaucracy Syndrome. See also the Labour Theory of Aristocracy and the Asch Experiment).

Sources inform me that the Board can appoint whomever they want to the Board according to the "bylaws" of the Corpop. But that is not the issue. The issue is ought the Board to behave in such a clearly machiavellian fashion? If the Board don't ask for a special election what does that say about the Board's commitment to "democracy". If they don't take the person who got the fourth most votes in the election after the three who were elected what does that say about the Board's commitment to "democracy", the Board's commitment to following the membership's lead--they voted Nicholson fourth--and the Board's commitment to their own policies, situational though they may be, of appointing the person with the next most votes to the Board? The obvious answer? The Board's actions clearly show that they have a very limited commitment to democracy and a very limited commitment to the actions of Membership, in this case the Board vote earlier this year. Their actions seem to suggest that they are committed to their own rather oligarchic vision of democracy, something that should not be surprising given that they are products of a narcissistic bureaucratic world in which they, like corporate CEO types everywhere, see themselves as divinely or naturally mandated to rule because of their wheeler dealer we can make money "skills". Need I point out that their "skills" have brought the Corpop to the very edge of a very slippery financial downward slope on which it now teeters? Remember the 20% solution?

The Board did what everyone knew they would. They appointed the person who finished fifth, not fourth in the most recent elections for the Board. This is interesting in a number of ways. First, the election they chose to appoint the fifth place finisher from was not the Board election that Carrone won. In other words, they picked and chose not only the candidate they wanted but the election they wanted to take him from. Second, the Board member who made such a big deal of interviewing candidates before a decision was made managed to delay the inevitable for a few weeks. Gee, well done. Third, this shows again what we already knew, namely that the discourse that Honest Weight Food Corporation is a "democracy" is utter non-sense. It is propaganda not reality.

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