Response to MacLeod’s letter about OPALCO | Letter

Mr. MacLeod’s guest column “The ‘c’ in OPALCO?” in the March 30 edition confuses the business and political ends of a cooperative.

Members of cooperatives assume that business will somehow continue while they focus on the political aspects of the organization which in the case of cooperatives are touted as democratic institutions. But cooperatives are first and foremost business enterprises, and those responsible for its continued existence (and hopefully success) cannot be ruled by the loudest opinions or complaints of individual members. The board and management have to consider the cost and effect of giving a member information. Management looks at this decision as a business matter; it has to. The member feels politically ostracised if management decides that either the expense (management/employee time expense) or the ultimate purpose of the inquiry (to build a backfire among members to prevent or deter a board decision) don’t justify a full response to the demand. The board and the manager run a cooperative; the members don’t.

The efficient continuance of the business for the benefit of all members precedes in importance any member’s demand for special attention or information. Frustration of such demands do not justify personal attack.

Bill Appel

Waldron Island