The Co-op held its Annual Meeting by remote session on Saturday, April 4, 2020, at 10 a.m. Seventy people attended the virtual get-together, including eleven board members and four members of the Co-op’s Leadership Team who served as panelists.
President Rosemary Fifield opened the business meeting and turned it over to Board Secretary Emmanuel Ajavon who moved for approval of the minutes of the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society Annual Meeting held on April 6, 2019. Members in attendance were given the opportunity to vote, and the motion passed.
Emmanuel then introduced Benoit Roisin, Treasurer. Benoit covered the financial highlights of the Co-op’s 2019 fiscal year and spoke in favor of the approval of the loan that is currently being voted upon by Co-op members. He directed members to the loan information currently on the Co-op’s website and noted that four member forums will be held online during the voting period as opportunities for members to ask questions about the loan.
Benoit introduced Amanda Charland, Director of Cooperative Engagement, who opened the Member Comment portion of the meeting. General Manager Ed Fox, Interim General Manager Paul Guidone, and Director of Finance Mark Langlois were available to answer member questions submitted via the Q & A feature, but no questions that required their input were submitted.
Amanda returned the meeting to President Fifield. Four board members—Tom Battles, Liz Blum, Benoit Roisin, and Ann Shriver Sargent—will be leaving the board in May, and the president thanked them for their service. She then thanked General Manager Ed Fox who will be leaving the Co-op on April 10, saying in part, “Ed’s thoughtful and careful stewardship over the past three years has brought us the success and financial stability that we have today and that will allow our cooperative to continue to serve its members and community in the future.”
She also recognized the Co-op’s Interim General Manager, Paul Guidone, for taking over the reins at this difficult time and doing “an incredible job of guiding us into the future. We cannot thank you and your leadership team enough for all of your innovation and hard work.”
Finally, she recognized and thanked “all of the Co-op’s very dedicated employees who are the true heroes of this most difficult time. They are taking care of all of us and our community and, again, we cannot thank them enough for staying the course.”
President Fifield then closed the business portion of the Annual Meeting and turned the meeting over to board member Allene Swienckowski, Chair of the Election Committee. Allene introduced the six candidates running for four seats on the Board of Directors and gave each one the opportunity to share his or her reasons for seeking a board seat. After the candidates replied to two questions provided by Allene, the Candidate Forum was closed. Allene reminded attendees that four candidate forums will be held online during the month of April and encouraged all members to vote.