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All of the Boards of Directors interviewed had a meeting every month. Members

see service on the Board of Directors as a great responsibility and take it very seriously.

One informant said, “We are responsible for the cooperative and its money. If we don’t

do our jobs, the cooperative suffers.” Indeed, problematic members of the Board of

Directors can have negative effects on a cooperative. At least one informant from each

cooperative except Protección could remember instances where a member of the Board

had embezzled money or acted dishonestly. Villa Santa elected an entirely new Board of

Directors because of embezzlement. Some cooperative members, of course, are looked

up to as leaders. These individuals are elected to Board positions repeatedly over the

years, although not successively. One informant from Protección said that he had held

each position on the Board of Directors at least twice. This seems common, especially in

the smaller groups.

The Board of Trustees is widely neglected in the study cooperatives and in

cooperatives nation wide. Only two cooperatives, Villa Santa and Protección, reported

having active Boards of Trustees. Membership on the Board of Trustees has a lower

status for cooperative members. An informant from Cooperativa Guadalupe said of the

Board of Trustees, “Most of us don’t really know exactly what the Board is supposed to

do. Watch the Board of Director meetings? Someone said that we should verify the

accounting and records, but not all Board members can read, and only two people in the

cooperative know accounting.” One ex-member of the Guadalupe Board of Trustees

said, “I just didn’t have time to go to meetings to do what? We don’t even know what we

are supposed to really do or if we can.” These are statements heard repeatedly about

Trustee Boards. In theory, they should serve a valuable function of ensuring

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