If You Can’t Find Time To Vote – Don’t Cry For What You’ve Lost.

We can do better than this.

This Cooperative Corporation has over 25,000 members.

Only 837 of them voted in this recent election. Of those who voted, NONE of them knew the seriousness of our predicament because the accounting allowed by the General Manager was so abysmal a real number only appeared last month.

Why not just let them muddle on through?

This is a question recently posed by a contributor. I, also, lived in that mindset, and felt the exact same way two months ago. However, across that period of time I have stumbled across the coop newsletter from March. In it, the current General Manager, Melanie Bettenhausen, was expounding the exact same excuses (“trimmigrants down”), and promoting the same weak plan forward, (that was, “hope” and “borrow more”).

In the interval since that newsletter, [where she bravely announced the dropping of her three year remodel project of a building we don’t own!] nine months has passed – and the business continued to lose an average of roughly two thousand dollars a day. Year-on-year we are down $733,000. I am not saying that Melanie and Colin are not bright people. But it’s plain that they are grossly inexperienced and have shot our wad. It’s not reasonable to keep them at the helm. It’s like the advertising person who wrote the great travel brochure for the cruise ship was voted in to be captain. Who cares why or how that happened! A $110,000 salary can buy a genuine manager. We need one immediately.

Why immediately? When your bank account runs dry and the bills continue, it’s called bankruptcy.

To let these two borrow more money to stay open and “hope” things improve is folly.

Even if the County economy is shrinking, one thing is for certain, – the local competing grocery organizations do not have books that looked as ridiculous as those of the North Coast Co-op. It took me sixty days of dogging these meetings to even finally see real numbers. It was like pulling teeth. What a fiasco!

Furthermore it is inarguable that the genuine people who work in the financial end of the local competetive grocery businesses certainly know the definition of “cost of goods sold”. And this is the part that convinced me we cannot wait:During pointed conversations in the November board of directors meeting it was obvious that Melanie Bettenhausen did not know the definition of cost of goods sold. This was brought out in questions by Diane Sharples, a member and local professional accountant/tax specialist. Then the following week, during the financial board meeting, it came out, further, that Colin Fiske, also, did not know the basic formulaof cost of goods sold.

Anyone who has ever filled out, or seen, an IRS Schedule D knows what COGS is. It appears that neither of these people have operated a business before. This is our 30 million dollar a year company folks. 200 employees. Families. Jeez…

Recordings of these events are possible to listen to on the archive tape. This is no attempt to belittle these two folks. They are highly intelligent and talented people, but they just don’t know what they are doing – and only now, $733,000 down, – they are learning what the words mean. BUT WAIT!… This person gets paid 500 bucks a day! . It’s a disgrace and an insult to the membership, -we- , the owners.

Fiske and Bettenhousen have deliberately kept the horrible facts hidden and now they want to borrow more money and sell more shares to stay open. It may be necessary, but they will honestly have to step aside.

The situation MUST change, so a recall ballot is being organizedbecause the board of directors, under the guidance of the Colin Fiske, the President, will not remove her.

The members should now plainly understand: if you don’t vote – don’t cry over what you lose.

12 thoughts on “If You Can’t Find Time To Vote – Don’t Cry For What You’ve Lost.

  1. As a worker I found it very stressful to be micro-managed by incompetents without vision. Nor was there any real reason to respect the “higher ups” making 3x as much as other highly competent workers. It appears they have no clue of how to support the the sales, no understanding of pricing or merchandising.
    To be paid like that without any experience is a slap in the face of those who worked there did a great job for our community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let it all hang out Nicole ! Ventilation is what we need. I’ve never seen the salary spreadsheet, so I can’t bear witness to your claim. But I certainly bear witness to your pain. I’m sorry. And there are folks that can’t say they’re sorry, but they are.


  2. K. Waters knew how to manage the market/workers and was excited to work here. I watched as he realized it was probably as corporate as safeway… and, in my opinion, he was the best manager we had, since the GM’s (K.R.) team was in constant turmoil (with the Union) and there wasn’t any security. Many could see the writing on the wall when the current GM and her managers took over, I left it wasn’t a good place for me to work anymore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my opinion
      The corruption has been going on since Kelly Reece and Kevin waters
      They were padding the numbers back then as well.


      1. Just to be clear, in my investigation so far I have not found anyone padding the books. I have found that the books were improperly kept. And allocations were moved around at will. The testimony that the books were so poorly kept is that these managers didn’t even know they were in such trouble until the cash was no longer in the bank.


  3. Now that everyone knows what’s going on the votes should be a lot different. Thats what I hope for.
    -Coop employee for 10 years

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your input. I have no idea how the voting will go. Not everyone knows yet. Time is on our side, there. But time is not on our side regarding the financial health of our Coop, and hope is too emotionally expensive. Spread the knowledge, instead.


  4. Murphys is doing just fine with the current economy. How is it that they can have 5 stores up and running no problem?
    2 stores in arcata alone!
    It’s clear to me that this is solely mismanagement nothing else.
    They can try and blame the cannabis industry or whatever else.
    But what it comes down to is complete incompetence and lack of knowledge on how to run a business.
    The people that run the coop and keep it going are the workers and dept heads they know how to run a business and do a great job it’s always been in my experience that upper management always gets in
    the way.
    – coop employee 10 years

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Also management has been letting the arcata store fall apart…
    Leaking roof, leaking equipment, things breaking down left and right.
    And they still continue to throw money at the eureka store hoping for more sales, to a building they don’t even own!
    They should buy the rays in McKinleyville if they really want to compete.
    Eureka just does not have the right clientele for the coop.
    But Trinidad and mckinleyville just might?


    1. Good points, wonder why none of these opportunities have been looked at?
      I agree with you about the middle managers they are the talent who should be supported by the upper management.


  6. 1973. “There is a cancer on the presidency”. That was Richard Nixon

    2018. “There is a cancer on the Co-op.” This is Melanie Bettenhausen. She should be like Nixon and bow out gracefully. Maybe in 30 years people will say complimentary things about her tenure. Not!!

    But she does need to be replaced immediately.


    1. Two things: Richard Nixon was a master of politics. He got taken down because of underlings who got caught in burglary. Melanie cannot be called a master, nor is she a burglar. Nor is she a cancer. Please take note that this site is not for ad hominem attacks. Otherwise, everyone appreciates the input.


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