Voting in Board Elections: It Matters!
I’m writing this on the eve of our Annual Meeting & Party, which officially kicks off the Willy Street Co-op Board election cycle. The Board, staff, and Owners have a LOT to celebrate this year: the successful opening of Willy West, surging sales at both locations, offering our first patronage refund, launching our Principle 6 (P6) campaign...really, I could go on and on. We’ve developed a lot of great relationships on the west side and our meeting is a fantastic opportunity for all Owners, old and new, to come together, have fun, and learn a little more about our Board candidates for 2011-2012. In this issue of the Reader, you’ll find the candidates’ statements and platforms. We ask that you take some time to learn about who is running and cast your ballot by August 16th at 6:00pm. Why, you may ask, is this so important? Does my vote really count? Good question! Every single vote counts (only one vote per Ownership) and your participation in the election is key. Here’s why:

Because it’s your right...
Whether you have a family or an individual membership, you own equity in Willy Street Co-op and have a say in how it runs by voting for a representative on the Board. One membership=one vote. Board members are another way YOU have a voice in how Willy Street Co-op shapes and achieves its goals. You have an opportunity to choose a representative that reflects your values and objectives for Willy Street Co-op.

Because it’s your responsibility...
Isn’t it enough that you shop at the Co-op and pay your fair share? Well, that’s one part of Ownership, but the direction that Willy Street Co-op takes is steered by the Board in accordance with our Ends policies. The Board also manages the General Manager, who, in turn, manages all operations and staff. Whether it’s deciding to open a new store, making sustainability improvements a priority, or partnering with local farms, the Board you choose directs staff to make choices that directly impact you and your community. Take a few moments to evaluate each candidate on her/his strategic vision for Willy Street Co-op, her/his communication style, how she/he plans to connect with Owners and what skills she/he brings to our table. The small investment of time today will come back at least tenfold in a strong, healthy Board helming a vigorous, thriving Willy Street Co-op years into the future.

Because it’s fun...
Candidates are running for the Board because they love Willy Street Co-op, value its place in Dane County, and want to share their time and talent. They’re your neighbors, friends and colleagues. There’s no cutthroat, zero-sum game in cooperative policy governance; we’re all in this together, supporting each other and working toward our mission of creating “an economically and environmentally sustainable, cooperatively owned grocery business that serves the needs of its owners and employees.”

Because it’s easy....
A paper ballot is included with this month’s Reader and you can also vote online at www.willystreet.coop. We have three open seats, so you may choose up to three candidates! Each candidate has contact information with their statement, so feel free to contact them with any questions or concerns you may have.