The Oneota Community Co-op is holding an election for three spots on its board of directors. There are five candidates on the ballot.
Earlier the current board of directors posted on the co-op's website a cover letter which said one of the five candidates, Steve Mc Cargar, should not serve on the board of directors because it would be "inappropriate for a former co-manager to oversee a future general manager."
The letter, which was addressed to all Co-op members, did not state why the board believes such a system would be inappropriate. But it does make clear the board's distaste for McCargar: "We voted at our January 2010 meeting to nominate four candidates. The fifth candidate was nominated by petition, not by the Board."
Board Vice President Steve Peterson and President Lyle Luzum have now issued a statement about the cover letter:
"The Board of Directors regrets that our words have generated controversy about the election for the Board of Directors at the Oneota Community Coop.
We have heard from members that it was underhanded and wrong to include our rationale for not nominating one of the candidates for the open Board seats in the letter that accompanied the ballot.
As Directors we are charged by the bylaws with nominating candidates for the Board of Directors. We feel strongly that it is inappropriate for recent former managers to oversee a current General Manager. So we decided not to nominate Mr. Mc Cargar for that reason. In an effort to be completely transparent, in our letter we simply restated the rationale that we said publicly at our January 2010 board meeting.
That doesn't mean we are preventing Mr. McCargar from running for the board. Instead, an alternate option is available for those who seek it: nomination by petition. That is a perfectly acceptable method of getting one's name on the ballot, and one that Mr. McCargar chose to follow. In fact, his name appears on the ballot.
Of course, we expect members will make up their own minds about who they would like to represent them and vote accordingly."
Steve Mc Cargar has told decorahnews.com that the Co-op Board has agreed to rewrite the cover letter. The website link to the previous cover letter was removed on Friday afternoon, following decorahnews.com's story and an editorial by decorahnews.com reporter Paul Scott.
The cover letter was going to be included in a mailing to the Co-op's 2,000 plus members, but Mc Cargar tells decorahnews.com the original cover letter will be removed from the mailing and the new cover letter will be substituted.