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

Clea Aguera-Arcas

Brian Bessembinders, Chair

Carey DiJulio

Jack Freal

Emily Happy, Vice Chair

Sue Spang

Gayle Sutherland

Adam Svenson

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

Gayle Sutherland
Consumer-Owner, Chair

Ellie Cohan

Aaron Chambers









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.


736 votes were cast, which represented 5.8% of the membership (Quorum, the minimum number of votes needed to make the election valid, is 5% of eligible voters)


Consumer-Member Seat: Three-year Term
Emily Happy            529 votes (72%)
Karen Stockert        198 votes (27%)

Worker-Member Seat: Three-year Term
Jack Freal               688 votes (93%)


Consumer-Member Seat: One-year Term
Ellie Cohan             547 votes (74%)
Matthew Carter       174 votes (24%)

Worker-Member Seat: One-year Term
Camille Hardeman  680 votes (92%)