This excerpt taken from the SWY DEF 14A filed Apr 12, 2006.
STOCKHOLDER PROPOSAL REGARDING CREATION OF A FORMAL MECHANISM FOR DIALOGUE BETWEEN INDEPENDENT DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS
The Company has been notified by the New York City Office of the Comptroller, 1 Centre Street, New York, NY 10007-2341, on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the New York City Employees Retirement System, which owns 516,668 shares of Common Stock, that it intends to present the following proposal for consideration at the Annual Meeting:
WHEREAS, the board of directors is meant to be an independent body elected by shareholders and charged by law with the duty and authority to formulate and direct corporate policies; and
WHEREAS, in 2002, the Board of Directors of the New York Stock Exchange, recognizing the need to improve corporate governance, proposed a listing standard to empower non-management directors as a more effective check on management, and to facilitate direct communications between shareholders and the non-management directors; and
WHEREAS, in an August 8, 2003 release pertaining, in part, to disclosure of companies procedures for shareholder communications with the directors, the Securities and Exchange Commission stated that Providing security holders with disclosure about the process for communicating with board members would improve the transparency of board operations, as well as security holder understanding of the companies in which they invest; and
WHEREAS, a January 1994 study entitled: Improving Communications Between Corporation and Shareholders: Overall Findings and Recommendations, prepared on behalf the New Foundations Working Group, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recommended several mechanisms for direct communications between directors and shareholders. Among the recommendations were:
WHEREAS, we believe that the creation of a means for direct communications on corporate governance matters between shareholders and the non-management directors would benefit the company through constructive discussions of perspectives, enhanced understanding, valuable feedback, and the fostering of meaningful links between directors and the shareholders by whom they are elected;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLED: that the shareholders request the board of directors to establish an Office of the Board of Directors to enable direct communications on corporate governance matters, including meetings, between non-management directors and shareholders. The office shall report directly to a committee of the non-management directors.