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
 

Shelby Summer Alexander
Worker-Owner
2017-2020

Clea Aguera-Arcas
Worker-Owner
2018-2021

Brian Bessembinders
Board Chair
Consumer-Owner
2012-2019

Garland McQueen
Executive Trustee
2018-2021

Sue Spang
Consumer-Owner
2018-2020

Gayle Sutherland
Consumer-Owner
2018-2021

Adam Svenson
Board Vice Chair
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.

Learn about running for the Nominating Committee
 

Shelby Summer Alexander
Worker-Owner, Chair

Ellie Cohan
Consumer-owner

Camille Hardeman
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

2019 Elections

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.

 


BOARD OF TRUSTEES CANDIDATES

Consumer-Member Seat: Three-year Term
Emily Happy
Karen Stockert

Worker-Member Seat: Three-year Term
Jack Freal
 

NOMINATING COMMITTEE CANDIDATES

Consumer-Member Seat: One-year Term
Ellie Cohan
Matthew Carter

Worker-Member Seat: One-year Term
Camille Hardeman

 

This year’s Annual Election will take place in-store and online from April 15 to April 27. Voting will also be open at the Annual Owner Meeting on April 28 from 5:00 - 5:30 p.m.

We will have Voting Parties at each of our stores where you can meet your Board and Nominating Committee candidates, meet other owners, cast your ballots, and enjoy snacks in this celebration of co-op democracy:

Pearl Street Voting Party & Hard Hat Tour
Saturday, April 20
1:00 – 3:00 pm
4502 N. Pearl Street, Tacoma

Madison Street Voting Party
Wednesday, April 24
6:00 – 7:00 pm
1600 E. Madison Street, Seattle

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. 

 

THE FIVE WAYS TO VOTE

1. In person at the Co-op. There will be ballot boxes at our Seattle location and at the voting party April 24.

2. In person at the Tacoma Voting Party. We will have ballots and a ballot box at our Voting Party in Tacoma on Saturday April 20 from 1 – 3pm. You will also have a

chance to meet candidates running in this year’s election as well as a chance to get a sneak peak inside the new store!

3. 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 27 to be counted.

4. Online right here! This link will be active from 12 a.m. April 15 until 11:59 p.m. April 27.

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.

 

5. In person at the Annual Meeting on Sunday, April 28 from 5 to 5:30 p.m. Assuming we meet quorum, the election results will be announced at the end of the meeting.

 

VOTING FAQ

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 15. 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 interim.

 

HOW DO CANDIDATES GET SEATED?

In our two contested elections, the candidate that receives the most votes will be seated to the Board or Nominating Committee so long as they also receive a majority of the vote. In our two uncontested elections, each candidate must be affirmed by a majority of voters to be seated. Should any of the four races end without a candidate meeting these requirements, the seat will be filled by a Board appointee. Trustees are elected for three-year terms; members of the Nominating Committee serve for one year.

 

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 paper 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 interim.

For anyone that wants to vote and isn’t able to come in to the Seattle store or attend the Pearl Street Voting Party, or 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 A POSITION IN NEXT YEAR’S ELECTION?

If you have this question, you’ve already taken the first step—realizing 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. This will also enable us to keep you posted about opportunities available to our candidates. Beginning in May, you can visit our website to get application materials for the 2020 election. 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.