Your Co-op’s Board of Directors Role in Monitoring Our Expansion Project

Member-Owners of our food co-op may be familiar with the governance practice your board uses known as Policy Governance. Here’s a refresher, just in case. Member-Owners of our co-op elect and empower our board to act and make decisions on your behalf that are in the best interest of our enterprise. Your board is accountable to our Member-Owners. The board, in turn, has hired our general manager (GM) to run the store. Michael Faber is accountable to the board through our stated ends and executive limitation policies, which we monitor and review at our monthly meetings.

So how does this fit with our store’s current expansion? One of our GM’s current responsibilities is to manage the construction phase of the expansion. Your board takes a close look at the GM’s regular expansion monitoring reports and will have continued oversight of this project through these reports until the day the addition to the store is fully completed.

Part of our monitoring is to make certain the GM has not “caused or allowed the financial jeopardy” of our co-op. The board takes a close look at this during our monthly board meetings, and by the updates, we get from the GM. We have now added the co-op expansion project to that monthly monitoring work. Specifically, we monitor if:

  • There have been any significant changes from the original financing sources and uses of those funds in our budget.
  • There have been any significant delays in completing the project.
  • That our store is performing as it should during the expansion and whether there is enough cash on hand so as not to hurt store performance during the expansion?
  • The expansion created any negative impact on our customers’ shopping experiences?
  • There have been any other unexpected or major challenges?

If our GM reports that one of these key indicators is out of alignment, that we are not performing as forecasted, or there’s been an event affecting completion and beyond the contractor’s control has occurred, we will work with the manager to determine the impact on our co-op and the expansion project. The board’s role is to make sure the manager is taking the steps needed to complete our expansion successfully and to hold him accountable to the projections and forecasts.

Board members, like many co-op Member-Owners and shoppers, also look forward to checking out the progress when we visit the store and reading the updates sent by the store management team.

Here’s the latest photo from this week: