News and Views
A Proposal To Change the Election Cycle for Board of Directors
Feb. 18, 2014
In a continuing effort to reinvigorate the election process, increase voter participation, and owner access, the Outpost Board is proposing to change the annual board election date from October to April.
This would require our owners to approve one-time extensions of the time-frame in which Outpost must hold annual board elections and the terms of current board member terms by six-months. A vote to approve or reject an extension of current director terms to change the election cycle will be conducted in a two-week election period between March 16-30, 2014.
Current State of the Nomination and Election Schedule
Every year, the Outpost Board undergoes an eight month board nominations and election cycle. Beginning in February, the Nominations Committee begins identifying, targeting and soliciting potential candidates to apply to run. Over the next few months, candidates submit their applications and attend a board meeting. Once the candidates are approved, a three-month campaign period commences before the election finally arrives in October and new board members are finally seated in November.
The reason why the nominations and election cycle is so long is because it was created to ensure that election and candidate information could be published in the now defunct Exchange magazine. Back then, the magazine was the primary way to connect owners to board candidates and so this extended cycle was created to give our staff the adequate time to make print deadlines.
Why We Want to Change the Election Cycle
We believe that our long nominations and election cycle is outdated and inefficient because it dissipates owner interest and attention, creates an unnecessarily long process for candidates, and requires continued, prolonged engagement and management by the board’s nominations committee.
Furthermore, in the current election cycle, new board members are seated in November after all of the annual planning decisions are made, strategic initiatives decided, and fiscal and budget decisions are finalized. With the election moved to April, new board members would be seated in May and would then be able to participate in making these important planning decisions for our cooperative.
We also believe that with a shorter overall cycle, we will be able to drive increased owner engagement and connection to the candidates.
Our Vision for the New Election Cycle
Here is what our refreshed election cycle would look like:
January: The nominations and election cycle would kick off with our Annual Report, which we will use to promote the call for nominations. In addition to the traditional nominations committee recruitment, we will also utilize the Sounding Board Blog and the Board newsletter to promote the call for applications.
February: We will be accepting and vetting applications, and begin the work of finalizing the slate of nominees by mid-February. We hope to be able utilize the annual meeting to introduce you to your candidates for the board.
March: If any potential candidates were not officially accepted, they would be able to utilize the petition period in March to collect the owner signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.
Depending on scheduling, we would plan to hold a candidate forum for you to get to know your candidates for the board.
April: Two-week election period.
May: New board members seated.
What We Need From You
Section 4.3 of our bylaws requires board elections to be held annually and that board directors are elected to three-year terms. Since we have been holding our annual elections in October and we are proposing hold our next election in April 2015, and in April thereafter, we will need a one-time extension of the annual timeframe in which we must hold board elections.
Since all current board directors were elected in October, we will also need a one-time extension of the terms of the current board directors by six months to align with the new election cycle. Newly elected or re-elected board members in April 2015 will have their terms automatically conform to our bylaws.
Section 4.3 also requires candidates who are opting to petition for candidacy to submit their petitions 45-days before voting commences. This requirement was also based on outdated publishing schedules and today, actually reduces the amount of time petitioners have to gather signatures. For example, if the new election cycle is approved, this provision would require would-be petitioners to submit their signatures even before they were notified that they were not accepted on the official ballot.
In our efforts to expand owner access in the election process, we will be seeking to reduce the 45-day requirement to submit signatures prior to an election period to the minimum time needed to ensure that any petition candidate could be included in the ballot.
We hope that you will approve these changes during a special election, taking place between March 16-30, 2014
Learn More and Talk to Us About This
Election Refresh Listening Session: March 11, 2014 6:30 – 7:30 pm
Outpost Capitol Dr. store meeting room
State Street store seating area
Special Meeting of Owners: March 18, 2014 6:30 – 7:30
Bay View store Community Room
Frequently Asked Questions: Click here for a pdf of the most frequently asked questions.
Email your questions to us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Voting period: March 16 - 30, 2014
Sounding Board Has Moved!
The Sounding Board column is now a blog! Check our bloggers page for frequent updates.