Thank you to the people who organized the Zoom General Meeting held on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. It is good to keep an open forum so that Members can be informed about operations at the Coop. This is a useful tool to provide updates via committee reports, on financial matters and general information regarding the Coop. However the technology is not robust enough to allow for replacing the in-person discussion and voting on proposals and issues.
While we were able to participate via Zoom video last month, this month we were not able to sign on. Another person during the meeting described the identical problem we had, where Zoom did not accept our email address and/or password.
Without the video we could not see the poll questions or polls, and following the issues by voice only was more difficult without seeing people and their faces or even the simple name in a screen box. When it came time to vote, we were not able to vote in confidence on the phone, it was confusing to determine if we were voting on an amendment and how to cast a Yes or No vote. For households with a single computer but multiple Coop members, only one member can vote and not in private.
We suggest that until a robust viable solution is available for people using video and/or voice to attend, that future meetings restrict the agenda to committee reports and operational issues. Voting seems especially problematic using only a non-video connection.
We urge the Coop to continue to explore how to hold a remote meeting while Covid restricts our physical attendance. But we firmly believe that this not a replacement for attending and voting in-person and especially for those that use non-video means to attend.
Again thanks to those that worked hard on finding and implementing a technological solution. As retired Network Engineers, we understand the challenge. We just don’t believe that the current solution supports the ideals of Coop democracy at this time.
Stewart Pravda and Cathy Monblatt