On democracy, and good governance, and all that

In the past few days I have exercised my member’s right to vote for board members of both Leeds Building Society and MEC, the Canadian outdoor equipment cooperative retailer (if you’re asking, I’ve been a MEC customer a number of times while visiting Canada).

Leeds Building Society offers the usual unsatisfactory British building society experience of having uncontested Board elections. MEC by contrast has a lively democracy: ten candidates for three board places. Admittedly only a small percentage of the membership tends to vote (last year 47,000 members voted out of several million), but I reckon it’s a cooperative member’s responsibility to do so… even if I do live several thousand miles from MEC’s head office.  I hope I’ve voted for candidates who will help MEC continue to thrive.

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One thought on “On democracy, and good governance, and all that

  1. So what do you think about the way the Co-operative Transitional Council has ‘protected’ its own interests ( and positions) by:

    1. Implementing candidature qualification periods ( 3 years) that excludes ‘new-blood’ brought to Co-op membership after watching how badly the current Co-op membership representation performed. It’s as if the ‘Old-Guard’ wants to protect its position rather than protect the Co-op!

    2. The failure of ALL the Transitional Council to stand for re-election.

    3. The ‘stupidity’ of a Vital5 strategy that is not ‘fit’ for purpose and is a device to take the Co-op into private ownership.

    4. A key element of Vital5 is: “Repairing the plumbing!” As the Co-op has been ‘tribal’ it has a proliferation of different systems. Standardising these will ne nigh impossible because of ‘vested’ interests. To standardise such system will cost ( I estimate) over £500m.

    Where is this money to come from?

    The timescale for such improvement is 2 years maximum.

    As the Co-op is, I don’t think it will survive another 12 months.

    Reason?

    Duplicated shops on the same High Streets, duplicated systems ( overmanned), duplicated deliveries ( shops on same High Street delivered to from different hubs), inter-Co-op competition ( Tribalism as opposed to Federalism).

    The major problem is a membership Council that is just not up to the job. It doesn’t possess the in-depth knowledge of Retail ( objectively). It is ‘fannying’ around focused on implementing a John Lewis Partnership model when it should be assisting the exec with the generation of cost savings.

    I have identified £200m of ‘soft’ cost savings but the membership exec just doesn’t want to know.

    Can we see what this Transitional Council is being paid?

    Yours sincerely,

    Tom Reynilds.
    tpcreynolds@hotmail.co.uk

    Reply

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