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Letter to the Editor: A Clarification from the Co-op

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Hunger Mountain Co-operative is a member-owned grocery store that has served our community with good food and helped build local, sustainable food systems since 1973. As a co-op, we are responsible to communicate to our member-owners information about how their co-op is being run and what sort of financial shape it’s in. Unfortunately, Carla Occaso’s story “Hunger Mountain Co-op Picks Two GM Finalists” in the June 12 issue of The Bridge misrepresented a conversation among council members, during a council meeting in a way that gave an incorrect impression of the Co-op’s finances, which are healthy. 

The conversation was about an anticipated 30% overrun in spending on governance, a line item which is 0.3% of the overall Co-op budget. In this year’s overall Co-op budget, numbers for the first nine months show that the net income has been over 300% of budgeted expectations; this has resulted in profit sharing with employees for each of the three quarters so far, and we anticipate one for the fourth quarter as well. 

The Co-op as a whole is in excellent fiscal shape. The Council monitors the Co-op’s fiscal health in part through “Preparedness for Future Opportunities Benchmarks.” The numbers presented to the council at its June 11 meeting showed the Co-op far exceeds the basic benchmarks for fiscal preparedness. 

Thank you for accurately reporting the seven responses the Co-op has already made to the sexual harassment issues that came to light last year. I’m happy to report that the planned next response, sexual harassment training for every employee, is well underway, with at least 50% of our staff already trained. 

The headline of the June 12 story was on the search for a new general manager (GM). I am confident that the new GM, when hired, will take the helm of a financially healthy grocery store that is working hard to ensure everyone can feel safe and respected at work. 

Carl Etnier, Hunger Mountain Co-op Council President


Letters to the editor represent the opinions of the authors and do not reflect the opinions of The Bridge. Submit your letter by email to editor@montpelierbridge.com. Preference is given to submissions by those who live in central Vermont, should not exceed 300 words in length, and may be edited for brevity and accuracy.

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