In my stint as Cooperative Development Specialist II assigned in various Provinces of CAR, I am thankful that some cooperatives invited us during their Regular General Assembly Meetings. My experience was further enhanced when I was requested to be assigned at the Regional Office under the Adhoc Supervisory and Examination Unit now renamed as Regulatory Unit. I am grateful to my partner in this column for the trust and confidence especially in the delegation of some functions like representing him during General Assembly Meetings of cooperatives or invitation of some local government units and other private entities related to cooperatives, tourism and socio-economic concerns.
My interaction with different cooperative leaders, local and national officials and employees nurtured my competencies in dealing with people. During General Assembly Meetings some tough questions are raised that require attitude, skills and knowledge. To some it might be easy, but the need to have facts at your fingertips especially on issuances related to cooperatives and governance and management problems encountered by different types of cooperatives. Some cooperative members display their attitude against their fellow members and to some extent to the Cooperative Development Authority. The real challenge is on how to put things in the right perspective without hurting people.
Regular General Assembly Meetings are conducted annually and there is a need for officers and Management Staff to report to the General Assembly. I observe that some cooperatives are not aware on the contents of their by-laws as manifested by the activities undertaken during General Assembly Meeting. Often, the Order of Business provided under the by-laws is not totally followed. Deviations are observed especially when many guests are called to witness or grace the occasion. This is when cooperative officers and employees allot more time for visitors rather than on the presentation and discussions on the accomplishments, issues and concerns and plans, programs and activities of the cooperative. While it is part of the social responsibility of cooperatives to involve other people in the realization of its vision, mission and goals, there is a need to balance and prioritize the business meeting. In the conduct of General Assembly Meetings there are certain points that must be addressed and it must be part of the Agenda. Normally, the CDA prescribe templates on the provisions of cooperative by-laws with mechanics related to how cooperatives should run a business meeting. An order of business to be followed form part of the by-laws and the latest provisions include the following: a. Call to Order; b. Proof of due notice; c. Roll Call; d. Reading, consideration and approval of the minutes of the previous meeting; e. Presentation and approval of the reports of the Board of Directors, officers, and the committees, including Cooperative Annual Progress Report and all other required reports; f. Unfinished business; g. New business; i. Election of directors and committee members; ii. Approval of Development and/or Annual Plan and Budget; iii. Hiring of External Auditor; and iv. Other related business matters h)Announcements; and i) Adjournment
All cooperative officers, management staff and members are encouraged to read their respective by-laws for them to appreciate the provisions related to the conduct of meetings. Knowing the provisions of the by-laws can facilitate the resolution of issues and concerns related to operations. It is my belief that if all cooperatives will follow the provisions on the Order of Business during General Assembly Meetings lesser problems will be encountered. Equally important is the need to adhere to good governance through transparency, fairness and accountability of officers and management staff. Well informed members will appreciate the activities that can lead to higher patronage and increase in capital build-up.
In closing, I would like to extend my best wishes to all August born individuals. I cannot enumerate all your names as I am afraid I might miss to write them all.