Over the past two years, Golden Growers Cooperative held virtual Annual Meetings in order to protect our members from the possibility of COVID-19 infection. Obviously, this is not our preferred way to interact with our membership on an annual basis.
Accordingly, we modified our meeting procedures to allow full participation for every member while still adhering to our bylaw requirements. For instance, all members received ballots in the mail to vote for Directors along with return envelopes, and, based on advice of counsel, ballots received were counted toward our quorum. The good news is that we had more votes cast in each of the last two elections than in any of prior ten elections.
We recognize, however, that bylaw requirements to allow a ‘nomination from the floor’ would be nearly impossible to effectively or fairly administer. For instance, a roll call vote would not be confidential and we would need to verify that a mailed ballot had not been received from members voting. Further, the floor nominated candidate would be disadvantaged by all of the mailed votes cast prior to the annual meeting.
Recognizing these problems, the Board is reviewing bylaw amendments that are likely to be proposed to the membership by mail in January. Amendments would include:
- Nominations for Director are limited to petitons filed within three weeks of the annual meeting
- Ballots will be mailed with the Annual Meeting notice
- Ballots are officially counted toward the quorum
- Any member may vote by mail in Director elections
- Sections related to the transition period to reduce directors from 15 to 9 will be removed
While we do anticipate an ‘in-person’ annual meeting for 2022, assuming COVID-19 is under control, and members are protected, this bylaw proposal will assure that we are prepared for anything that might come our way.