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Letter: Independent Investigation at the Co-op?

To the Editor:

I was at the Co-op’s annual meeting, and I am one of the members whose curiosity is aroused by the allegations of employee complaints. The management acknowledges it needs to make changes, as it has hired a staff member whose title is “professional development.” Management has said as much in letters responding to such allegations and has said it is addressing the issue.

However, if management isn’t taking care of personnel (and stories are leaking out from both past and current employees that their complaints were not taken seriously); and if the board isn’t going to stand up for the employees against the management, then it is up to the owners — who are, in fact, the members — to do so. The board and management are not the owners. They have said they had “long meetings addressing this concern.” But the board and management cannot investigate themselves. This would mean that are no checks and balances in the process.

The final comment, made by a member at the meeting, was simply an appeal that “we want this matter looked into independently. It is the only way to be fair, and to keep testimony confidential.” The management seems intent on confusing employee confidentiality with its own desire to keep the issue secret. But we want this matter looked into properly and openly. How about a Survey Monkey where it’s completely safe to collect the evidence? I think this might be preferable to the outside group formerly hired by the Co-op management. There is a clear conflict of interest here. The final comment of the evening, from that same voice of reason and deference, asked that the issue not just fade away.

Victoria Fullerton