Co-op Governance

Central Co-op is a solidarity cooperative, which means we're owned by multiple classes of owners: The customers who shop at our grocery stores, and the workers who operate those stores. The voices of our owners are represented in Co-op governance via our Board of Trustees. 

The Nominating Committee (also known as the NomCom) is an owner-elected committee tasked with recruiting suitable candidates for Board of Trustee positions.

Links to learn more:

Elected by the ownership of Central Co-op and serving three year terms, this governing body appoints, hires, or promotes a company president who steers operational progress. The Board of Trustees remains the legal steward of the cooperative.

The Board is also responsible for ensuring organizational performance on behalf of all of Central Co-op's owners. This work includes developing clearly stated expectations through developing Ends; delegating responsibility for, and authority over, the achievement of stated objectives; and monitoring compliance with written policies.

Learn about running for the Board of Trustees.

Rebeccah Maskin
Board Chair
Consumer-Owner

2015 - 2018
 
Jimmy Jia
Board Vice Chair
Consumer-Owner
2017 - 2018
Shelby Summer Alexander
Worker-Owner
2017 - 2020
Brian Bessembinders
Consumer-Owner
2012 - 2019

Victor Fontaine
Worker-Owner
2017-2018

Seth McKinney
Consumer-Owner
2015 - 2018

Garland McQueen
Executive Trustee
Consumer-Owner
2017-

Cynthia Pristell
Worker-Owner
2011 - 2018

Adam Svenson
Worker-Owner
2016 - 2019

 

 

What does the Board of Trustees not do?

The Board of Trustees does not make decisions about, become involved with, or take part in any of the day-to-day activities or decisions regarding the operation of Central Co-op. The board's sole official connection to the operations of the cooperative is through the Cooperative Executive Officer.

See your Board in action! Owners are welcome at Board meetings.

Central Co-op owners are welcome to attend meeting of the full Board of Trustees. At every Board meeting, trustees are in attendance, reports are heard and decisions are made regarding the important topics facing the Co-op.

The Nominating Committee (also known as the NomCom) is an owner-elected committee tasked with recruiting suitable candidates for Board of Trustee positions. The Nominating Committee's goal is that the Board is made up of qualified and knowledgeable Co-op owners who can represent the best interests of the membership.

  • Cooperative Principle 2: Democratic Member Governance

The Nominating Committee is comprised of one consumer owner, one worker owner, and one Trustee, and terms are one year long.

Click here to learn about running for the Nominating Committee or our Board of Trustees.

Brian Bessembinders
Chair
Consumer-owner

Daniel Cobb
2017-2018
Worker-owner

Would you or anyone you know be a good candidate for the Board of Trustees or the NomCom? Drop us a line! Contact the Nominating Committee using the General Inquiries and Comments form

 

 

Online and in-store voting in our 2018 election is now closed. Ballots may be dropped off at our Annual Owner Meeting on April 22, at Washington Hall in Seattle between 5 and 6pm. Please see below

Central Co-op is a democratically governed organization. Our owners elect a Board of Trustees and a Nominating Committee to represent them, making the Annual Election a vital element of Central Co-op's governance.

  • Central Co-op Principle 2: Democratic Member Governance

Each active owner has one vote. You help choose other owners who sit on our Board and Nominating Committee, and set the long-term vision and priorities that ultimately guide the everyday efforts of the Co-op.

This year’s Annual Election will take place in-store and online from April 9 to April 21. Voting will also be open at the Annual Meeting on April 22 from 5 - 6 pm.

We will have a Voting Party at the store on Monday, April 16 from 5-7 pmMeet your Board candidates, meet other owners, cast your ballots, and enjoy snacks in this celebration of co-op democracy!

Our Annual Owner Meeting is a great opportunity for Central Co-op owners' to learn about what's going on at their co-op, vote for the co-op's leadership and meet other active members. This year attendees will also get the opportunity to enjoy a delicious meal catered by That Brown Girl Cooks!

 

 

Voting FAQ

When to vote

This year’s Annual Election will take place from April 9 to April 22.

The four ways to vote

1. In person at the Co-op. There will be ballot boxes at our Seattle location from April 9-21.

2. By mail. Mail your completed ballot to:

Central Co-op

Annual Election

1600 E Madison St

Seattle, WA 98122

Ballots must be received by April 21 to be counted.

3. Online at www.centralcoop.coop. A link to vote online will be available through our website and will be active from 12 am April 9 until 11:59 pm April 21.

On the voting website, your username is the email address we have on file for you, and your password is your co-op owner number. Please contact us if you need to add or update your email address, or would like to know the email address we have on file.

4. In person at the Annual Meeting on Sunday, April 22 from 5 to 6 pm. Assuming we meet quorum, the election results will be announced at the end of the meeting.

Am I Eligible?

  • Only active owners in good standing may vote. This means that you:
    • Are the owner of record (you’re not on someone else’s account)
    • Have shopped at the Co-op in the last year
    • You are current in your equity. You’re current with your equity if you’re either paid in full or don’t owe any equity the day that voting begins: April 9. If you’re not sure if you owe equity, please stop by the Central Services desk in Seattle, or email info@centralcoop.coop and we can confirm your equity status for you.
  • Worker owners are eligible to vote if they are current with their equity and have worked more than 20 hours a week on average for the previous six months.
  • Please note that our Tacoma based owners are considered active if they made a purchase at Central Co-op or the Tacoma Food Co-op in the 12 months prior to the closure of our 6th Ave location; or, if they have joined the co-op in the past 12 months.

 

How do the Trustees get seated to the Board?

On the Board, we have one worker-member seat open, and one consumer-member seat open. Please vote for up to one candidate for each. The candidates who win the most votes will be seated to three year terms, assuming they receive more than 50 percent of the total votes.

How does the Solidarity model impact voting?

The simple answer is that there is no change to how you vote. All owners have a vote for all open seats. The seats are now assigned to specific member classes, but voting is not. So please cast a vote in each race.

How do I vote anonymously?

On the ballot, you are required to write your name, owner number, and signature. If this is a concern for you, you can cast an anonymous ballot by voting online.

The fact that you voted online will be verifiable; however, the contents of your ballot will not be associated with your owner number. If you need assistance with voting online, please contact us at info@centralcoop.coop.

 

I shopped at the Tacoma store, can I still vote? How do I vote?

All Central Co-op owners are encouraged to vote in our annual election. Even though there is not currently an open location in Tacoma, all active members of Central Co-op that are current with their equity are eligible to vote regardless of where they live. For the purposes of this election, eligibility will be based on the date that the 6th Ave location closed for our South Sound based members, or if you have joined in the past 12 months.

For anyone that wants to vote and isn’t able to come in to the Seattle store or attend the Annual Owner Meeting, ballots can be mailed in or cast online (please refer to question 1 for more complete details). Please note that your Central Co-op member number is slightly different than your Tacoma Food Co-op member number: all TFC member numbers begin with ‘406’ and up to three leading zeros, so TFC member #1 is now Central Co-op member # 4060001.

 

How do I run for the Board or Nominating Committee in next year’s election?

If you have this question, you’ve already taken the first step – decided that you’re interested! Now that you know you’re interested, please contact the Nominating Committee at nominatingcommittee@centralboard.coop to find out more about serving as well as enable us to keep you posted about opportunities to available to our candidates. You can also visit our website to get application materials for the 2019 election beginning in May. Thanks for your great question, we hope you decide to apply to run!

What is quorum?

Quorum is the minimum number of votes we need for the election to be valid. At Central Co-op, the quorum is five percent of eligible voters.

We hope you vote in every election!
Our democratic structure is one of the aspects of our business that differentiates us from traditional grocery stores. We encourage all owners to participate in this important part of the life of our Co-op!

 

The Candidate Application and Application Packet are now available for our 2019 annual election will be available soon!
Find out about running for the Board of Trustees and Nominating Committee.