Your co-op, August 2005

This article was originally published in August 2005

Board report

PCC’s Board of Trustees met on June 28. The 2004-2005 board completed its business by hearing reports from the Finance and CEO Task Forces. The 2005-2006 board was officially seated and unanimously elected Bob Cross to serve as this year’s chair. Cross was elected to his third consecutive term on the board in this year’s election.

Departing board members Kathy Barry and Mary Simon were commended for their outstanding work and commitment to PCC over the past three years. Barry has chaired the Finance and Board Development Task Forces. Simon served as board chair for 2004-2005 and led the board’s efforts to overhaul both the Articles of Incorporation and bylaws.

Incoming board chair Bob Cross notes, “Both Kathy and Mary have been stellar board members, always prepared and engaged. Mary’s steadfast leadership in steering the review and update of our governance documents will benefit PCC long into the future. It is an honor to succeed her as chair.”

PCC bylaws require the board to name one of its members to serve on each year’s nominating committee. The board selected Bill Roach to work with the committee that was elected by the membership in June.

Also on the agenda was the board’s annual presentation from legal counsel on the legal and fiduciary responsibilities of the trustees. The review included an examination of the Washington statute that governs board conduct, as well as the guidelines set out in our bylaws.

Next board meeting

The next scheduled board meeting is Tuesday, September 27 at 5 p.m. at the co-op office. Member comments will be hard at 6 p.m.

Nominating committee looking for candidates

PCC’s nominating committee is looking for experienced and talented candidates to run for the PCC Board of Trustees. The members of the nominating committee are Taso Lagos, Kim Norton, Bill Roach, Paul Schmidt and Deanna Theiss. Over the next six months, these PCC members will recruit and screen qualified candidates to run in the next board of trustees election in spring 2006.

Any active PCC member may apply for board candidacy. Three positions are open for election each year and each trustee serves a three-year term. If you are interested and have not attended a board meeting, consider doing so in September to meet the current trustees and see the board in action. If you have any questions about the trustee position, or wish to receive an application packet, call Janice Parker at 206-547-1222 or email Applications will be accepted until early December.

What are Ends policies?

The PCC Board of Trustees works by a method called the Policy Governance® model. The board translates into policy language the goals they have for PCC. These goals-oriented policies are called “Ends” and they speak in broad terms to the board’s current and long-range visions for PCC.

The board worked this year to refine our Ends policies to make sure they comprise the overarching goals of the co-op: to maintain a balance of economic, social and environmental responsibilities while providing high quality, healthful food, and educating members and patrons on healthy living topics.

It is management’s job to drive our co-op to fulfill these Ends. Management reports to the board each year on its understanding or interpretation of the policies. Based on that interpretation, management reports on the actions it has taken to comply with the policies. The board decides whether management’s interpretation of each policy is in line with the board’s intent and then decides whether management’s report demonstrates compliance with the policy.

At least once each year, the board publishes the policies in the Sound Consumer and they are always posted on our Web site. Following is the current Ends policy language with an example of management’s interpretation and reporting process. The board and management welcome your ideas and questions.

Global Ends

PCC exists to create a cooperative, sustainable environment for our members and patrons in which the natural and organic supply chains thrive.

  • Ends A: PCC members and patrons will have access to high-quality, healthful food that is fairly priced.
  • Ends B: PCC membership is a respected and valued choice.
  • Ends C: PCC has a local focus.
  • Ends D: PCC members and patrons are well-educated in matters of healthful foods, healthy sustainable living and the cooperative business model.
  • Ends E: An inherent part of PCC’s business is the balance of economic, social and environmental responsibilities.

Excerpted from management’s March 2005 Ends policy interpretation.

Management interprets “cooperative environment” in this global Ends policy to mean that PCC will continue to operate a healthy business as a consumer cooperative and will be supportive of other cooperative endeavors that it has opportunity to interact with, both locally and nationally, especially as those interactions provide value for our members and patrons.

Excerpted from management’s March 2005 Ends policy report.

PCC completed the past reporting year in strong economic health, recording sales of almost $90 million and earnings of almost 2 percent. Virtually every key measure of balance sheet strength remained strong as well, holding to levels that were similar or better than those reached in the previous year. These measures demonstrate PCC’s strength, and thus, capacity to continue on its mission of operating as a consumer-owned cooperative well into the future.

Prudent decisions related to support of other cooperatives, such as our ongoing practice and offers to share our systems (e.g., data management seminar, customer service program) and staff talent with other cooperatives, reinforce our commitment to broader cooperative success, even through other businesses.

For instance, PCC deliberately reached out to other cooperatives and natural food retailers across Washington state by sharing informational display and campaign materials for letter-writing campaigns on issues affecting sustainability of our food system. This friendly exchange of information and materials helped nurture a cooperative spirit, making us stronger when we work together.

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