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June meeting highlights

  • The Board made two changes to policy. The Living Wage Committee recommended that the Board change Policy B1: Staff Relations, Compensation, and Benefits Policy to follow the CGIN (Cooperative Grocer’s Information Network) Living Wage model, rather than Dane County’s. The Patronage Refund Committee also recommended changing a policy, specifically Policy B8: Membership Policy, to allow for the possibility of Patronage Refunds in the future.

  • The Board also approved the FY2010 Governance, Operating and Capital budgets, which were recommended by the Finance Committee. In conjunction with the budgets, the group discussed a number of challenges facing the Co-op in the year to come, including the extensive street construction on Williamson Street beginning in April 2010.

  • The Board discussed the strategic goals it created at its annual retreat, and brainstormed ways to continue to plan for both the long and short term needs of the Co-op!

August meeting agenda

  • The Board will be convening to count votes from the 2009 Board elections—be sure to VOTE by August 18th!

  • They will also review a great deal of reports at their August meeting.

Ongoing projects

  • The Board’s one standing committee—the Finance Committee—reviews monthly financial reports at each of its meetings.

  • Expansion opportunities in the greater Madison area continue to be explored—stay tuned for more details!

  • The Patronage Refund and Non-Owner Surcharge Committee, having recommended a policy change to the Board that allows for patronage refunds to be distributed in the future, now continues to look into the advantages and disadvantages of the non-Owner surcharge.

Owner Forum

  • Do you have a concern that you would like the Board to address? Want to offer some constructive feedback? Just want to know who the heck your Board members are? Well, the next Owner Forum will take place on Tuesday, August 18th from 5:30pm–6:00pm at the information station (across from the bulk coffee area) or in the portico (right outside the front doors). Come meet your Board representatives and make your voice heard!

Remember, you can always catch play-by-play Board minutes at:


So, what is one of the easiest and at the same time, one of the most important things that you can do for your Co-op today?

The answer? Vote! Cast your ballot for the people you would like to see elected to the Board of Directors.

Participating in the governance of our business by voting for the Board of Directors is one of the benefits of Co-op ownership. And unlike “publicly owned” corporations, where you get more votes depending on how much money you have invested, every Owner of Willy Street Co-op has one share and one vote.

But, why is it so important to vote for the Board?

The Board of Directors is nine people elected by you, the Owners, to oversee this business that we all own together. The Board hires a general manager to take charge of the operations of the store. The Board sets goals and monitors the performance of the business. It doesn’t get involved in the day-to-day running of the store, but it establishes policies that set guidelines about how the store should be operated. The Board, in conjunction with the management, engages in strategic planning to set the course for the future of our Co-op. In addition, the Board has a responsibility to you, the Owners, to protect the assets that you have invested in the business.

This is an important job and not one to be taken lightly. Board members have significant legal and fiduciary responsibilities that require a commitment of time and skill. A good Board member needs to be honest and competent and open-minded. They need to be enthusiastic about the mission of the Co-op and able to work well in a group. They need to be able to dedicate the time necessary to prepare for and attend Board and committee meetings. A sense of humor helps a lot, too!

Your job

Your job as an Owner of this business is to carefully consider the candidates that are standing for election to the Board and to pick the ones that you believe will best represent you and your interests. This isn’tsomething that you should just leave for others to decide for you. The people that are selected to be Directors will have a profound effect on what happens to this business and you should have your opinion counted in this important decision.


New this year will be the option of casting your vote online. But whether you fill out a paper ballot or an electronic one, the most important thing that you can do today is to vote.