Menomonie Market’s owners elect the Board of Directors (BOD) at the annual general ownership meeting held each fall. The co-op has 7 directors who each serve a 3-year term. There are open positions each year and any co-op member can be nominated to serve.
Menomonie Market operates under a system called Policy Governance, developed by John Carver in the 1970s. In this system, the only employee that the Board of Directors (BoD) oversees is the General Manager (GM). The GM, in turn, oversees all other employees and the overall operation of the store. The main job of the BoD is to hire and monitor the GM, communicate the needs and desires of the membership into a “plan”, and make sound financial decisions for the co-op.
To assure that the GM is operating according to the values of owners, the BoD creates policies that the GM is required to follow. The GM is responsible for two kinds of policies: Ends Policies, a vision of what the BoD sees as the ideal result of the co-op’s operation, and Executive Limitation Policies, a description of actions and conditions the BoD requires the GM to avoid in operating the co-op (i.e. unwarranted financial risks, poor working environment, etc.).
Board members commit to confidentiality, attending regular and special meetings fully prepared, sharing ideas, acting in a professional manner, attending training sessions, taking on leadership, serving on committees, and avoiding conflicts of interest. Serving is voluntary; however, board members receive a monthly stipend of $50 credit at the co-op ($100 for the President) and receive the satisfaction of serving a growing organization that provides the community with quality products and education. Board members have a voice in shaping the future of the co-op while working with a group of people who share a commitment to a democratic process and a sustainable local economy.