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
 

Brian Bessembinders, Vice Chair Consumer-Owner
2012-2021

Bill Bielby
Worker-Owner
2020-2023

Carey DiJulio
Consumer-Owner
2019-2023

Jack Freal
Consumer-Owner
2019-2021

Emily Happy, Board Chair
Consumer-Owner
2019-2022

Miguel Rodriguez
Worker-Owner
2021-2022

Gayle Sutherland
Consumer-Owner
2018-2021

Catherine Willis Cleveland
Executive Trustee

 

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
 

Carey DiJulio
Consumer-Owner, Chair

Ellie Cohan
Consumer-owner

Greg Smith
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

The votes are in, and now’s the time to celebrate you and the massive impact you’ve had in your Central Co-op community this year! 

 
There is plenty to be proud of, and we're presenting the brightest spots of 2019 and 2020 in a 15-minute video. I invite you to join me, and members of our Board, as we reflect on our cooperative community. And you won't want to miss the music & dance clips from the Drive-In Movie Nights at our new Tacoma store! Click here to watch our 2020 Annual Meeting video.

A written Annual Report acts as a companion to the video, and provides a deeper dive into the stories we tell there. Click here to read our 2019 Annual Report.
 
We are also pleased to announce our new Board and Nominating Committee members that you have thoughtfully chosen as your leadership. With 710 ballots submitted and counted (reaching quorum required 641), please join us in congratulating our newly-elected candidates: 
 
Board of Trustees
Carey DiJulio, Consumer-Member
Bill Bielby, Worker-Member
 
Nominating Committee
Ellie Cohan, Consumer-Member
Greg Smith, Worker-Member
 
Please enjoy a moment to celebrate your community impact through our virtual Annual Owner Meeting and Annual Report! We offer our deep gratitude to you for supporting your Central Co-op locations in both Seattle and Tacoma.

Know that we look forward to seeing you soon!

With much appreciation, and wishing you good health,
 
Catherine Willis Cleveland
CEO, Central Co-op

 

 

Voting FAQ

 

When to vote

This year’s Annual Election will take place from October 5 to 18.

The three ways to vote

  1. In person at the Co-op. There will be ballot boxes at both locations.
  2. Online. The link to vote online will be active from 12 a.m. October 5 until 11:59 p.m. October 18.
  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 October 18 to be counted.

How Do I Vote Online?

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. 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.

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: October 5.
  • 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.

How the candidates get seated to the Board?

On the Board, we have one worker-member seat open, and one consumer-member seat open. There are two candidates running for each of these seats, please vote for up to one candidate for each. The candidates who win the most votes in each race will be seated to three year terms, assuming they receive more than 50 percent of the total votes. Any open seats after the election will be filled by a Board appointee.

How the candidates gets seated to the Nominating Committee?

Both the consumer and worker seats are open. There are two candidates running for the worker member seat, please vote for up to one candidate. The candidate who receives the most votes will be seated to a one year term, assuming they receive more than 50 percent of the total votes. There is a single candidate for the consumer member seat. Please vote for this candidate if you would like them to be seated to a one year term. In order to be seated, they will need to receive an affirmative vote from more than 50% of voters. Any open seats after the election will be filled by a Board appointee.

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.

Is the election the same for Seattle and Tacoma?

Central Co-op is a single cooperative with two locations. All Central Co-op members are participating in the same election regardless of which location we happen to shop at more regularly. Together, we are selecting which candidates we feel will best serve Central Co-op at both of our current locations and strategically guide us, collectively, into the future.

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 (at) centralcoop (dot) coop.

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 (at) centralboard (dot) coop to find out more about serving. Beginning in January, you can visit our website to get application materials for the 2021 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.

When will election results be announced?

Due to the Coronavirus, we will not have an in-person Annual Meeting this year with election results announced at the end. Our Annual Meeting will be available for viewing online on Sunday October 18. Election results will be announced as quickly as possible after the conclusion of our election. Results will be sent out as an email to our members and will also be available online and posted in both stores.