Many of you already know that the Co-op will be celebrating two full years in business this April 3. But before you light the candles, did you know that the Co-op is more than twice as old as that! Yup, April 19 will mark the 5-year anniversary of the Certificate of Organization filed with the state of NH by our founding mothers and fathers. In fact, there was a veritable flurry of activity in 2010 as these folks (many of you included!) worked to articulate our vision, draft that Certificate, and flesh-out a working set of Bylaws that would enable the Co-op to become what it is today.
That was important work, because it laid out the framework in which our Co-op conducts business. The Certificate of Organization, the Bylaws, and the NH state statute on Consumers’ Cooperative Associations are “governing” documents.
The Bylaws, in particular, articulate basic rules that define how we operate. They describe, among other things, how membership is defined; how directors are elected; the duties of officers; and how dividends are calculated and disbursed.
Many cooperatives that are much older than ours have come to the conclusion that routine maintenance on Bylaws is best practice. With this in mind, our Board of Directors has begun a deliberate process to review our Bylaws and make recommendations for improvements. The first thing we want to make sure that the members know is that this process is underway. And equally importantly, we want you to know that the process will be entirely transparent.
Toward that end, we’ve been working on laying out a timeline that will allow for ample opportunity for members and stakeholders to learn about the recommendations before we ultimately ask for your approval at our annual meeting this October. So far, a bylaw subcommittee of the board has made an initial inventory of changes that we think might be worthwhile. The good news is that there aren’t many changes — and most of them are orthographic rather than substantive. We’ve also reached out to our financial auditor, our attorney, and CDS Consulting to see if they concur with our recommendations. In another month or so, we’re expecting to have a good working draft that is ready for presenting to the membership. Please keep an eye out for upcoming events targeted for this purpose.