Personnel Grievances are Private By Nature


Dear Coop community,

I don’t like to feel used.

Yet, this is how I felt during the September 27 General Meeting as members discussed the agenda item re: overturning General Manager and Treasurer Joe Holtz’s suspension. The Coop membership is unable to evaluate this situation thoroughly or fairly. Due to the right to privacy, we have limited access to the full story behind the decision. Frustrated members expressed the lack of transparency pointed to the Personnel Committee’s wrongdoing. Some suggested the Coop should have human resources on site. Anyone who thinks the role of HR is transparency has no experience with a human resources department. 

Personnel matters are not for public consumption. Employers won’t reveal suspensions, firings, or other personnel details due to liability concerns. These limitations became a main argument for retroactively overturning Mr. Holtz’s suspension.

As I looked at the screen share of a letter from the Personnel Committee to Mr. Holtz that he provided to Item Sponsors Dorothy Siegel and Gillian Chi, I wondered: can other PSFC staff members have their personnel grievances made into a General Meeting agenda item? Mr. Holtz has the support, resources and privilege while I’m sure other staff members couldn’t even fathom this course of action.

Calls to reevaluate the structures around personnel decisions are understandable. For the health of the Coop, structures should be revisited regularly. However, an attempt to bypass the structure and use members to overturn one decision is bad faith. How can we thrive when we’re being aimed at one another? Mr. Holtz can pursue the appropriate legal action if he so chooses.


Deneen Reynolds-Knott