Board Election 2021

Feb 3, 2021 | Coop Board, Events

UPDATE 4/2/21: The election has concluded and the results are in, see this page for the details:

The Board represents and acts on the behalf of the Co-op’s owners, whose votes imply trust that the Board is representing their interests. Board members are elected to three-year terms or less* and approximately one-third of the Board is up for election each year during a period that includes the Annual Meeting. More about the Board and the current Directors on the Board of Director’s page.

Voting for the 2021 Board candidates begins Sunday, February 28th at the end of the virtual Annual Meeting and continues to run for 21 days, if quorum is not reached the vote will be extended. Owners may vote for up to six board candidates or abstain: One owner, one ballot. 

Voting will be conducted online via Simply Voting again this year, details will be sent to Co-op owners.  Additionally, voting in-store will be an additional option.  Any questions or issues about voting please contact

For Sasha Breus, organization and communication are the key elements of her professional experience, which ranges from scientific research to teaching to editing and writing. Sasha has worked in academia, nonprofits, small businesses, and as a freelancer, and believes that collaboration nearly always produces better results. Between a personal delight in good food, and the basic belief that “we are what we eat, and we all eat,” Sasha has always sought ways to be involved with local, real food. She’s worked as a baker, caterer, and farmer, volunteered with the Maine Food Strategy and Edible Island, and co-written grants for the Maine Rice Project. 

Sasha supports the Co-op because she believes that food – as sustenance, as environmental stewardship, as an expression of love – as well as community, are two critical components to a good life. She is also interested in participating in alternative modes of exchanging goods and services, including cooperatives. After being gone a decade, Sasha’s happy to return to Maine’s coast, and would be honored to be a Co-op board member to further integrate into her community. Sasha envisions the Co-op continuing to be a local gathering place of healthy food and healthy people, engaged in supporting each other by recognizing and building on shared values. 

Stephen Brimley has worked at all levels of business – from working at the Co-op stocking shelves and running the meat department to overseeing the development and management of a Native American Tribal Court, here in Maine. He has worked in the areas of economic development, conservation, education, law, public policy, criminal justice and conflict resolution. His greatest skill gleaned from his experience is data collection and analysis, which is used to guide organizational change and improvement. He enjoys working with others to creatively, yet strategically find ways to make goals a reality and to improve the effectiveness of organizations. 

Stephen’s vision for the Co-op’s future includes a greater diversity of members and ultimately an increase in the number of members. He believes for the Co-op to fulfill its mission, it needs to be made more accessible to more people. For many the cost of shopping at the Co-op is prohibitive, however, if elected to the Board Stephen would bring his skill set to the table to help analyze and creatively address this issue. 

Susan Cutting has spent the past 11 years volunteering for local non-profit projects in addition to being a homeschooling mother. She also has 15 years of experience managing international and regional non-profit environmental programs. In all her endeavors the most gratifying and enjoyable piece for her has been collaboration, often with those of differing voices, and group facilitation. She carries with her a love for nature, her family and friends, a deep appreciation and respect for this community, and a passion for protecting the Earth.

Susan and her family have been enthusiastic members of the Co-op since they moved to Belfast a decade or so ago, not only because of what the Co-op provides but also because its very thriving existence reflects the heart, soul and grit of our community. She would like the Co-op to continue to prioritize its mission to provide whole natural foods and healthy product choices at reasonable prices. These difficult times can inspire us to increase and improve inclusivity and food access while we continue to stand by the Co-op’s commitment to vendor and product choice that sustains and nurtures local and regional business.

Susan would like to serve on the Co-op’s Board of Directors, because she would like to learn more about what other members envisage for the Co-op’s future, and she is interested in exploring how the Co-op’s policies (existing or potential) can help us keep on track as we grow and evolve with the times.

Charles Pattavina, M.D. is a semi-retired emergency physician, residing in Winterport. Most of Dr. Pattavina’s career was spent practicing emergency medicine and simultaneously leading clinical departments. He attributes any successes he has had to a collaborative style of leadership and management. He has many years of experience on both nonprofit and for-profit boards, which includes an inner-city charter school in Providence, Rhode Island, a for-profit healthcare facility in Massachusetts, the Rhode Island Medical Society, and the Maine Medical Association. He served on the board of the American College of Emergency Physicians from 1997 to 2003. This organization awarded him the 2010 Mills Award for Outstanding Contributions to Emergency Medicine and the 2018 Council Curmudgeon award for being honest and willing to speak about elephants in the room. He served as President of the Maine Medical Association from 2016 to 2018, the only person known to have spanned three calendar years as President, living or dead. 

Dr. Pattavina has been a Co-op member for about 10 years and watching the Co-op adapt to COVID-19 and adopt responsible precautions to keep its staff and community safe reinforced his enthusiasm for being a part of this organization. He would like to help the Co-op continue to adapt to meet the needs of the community in the future. He claims no particular expertise in the Co-op’s lines of business so he would bring to the board his perspective and experience as a customer and community member. While the board is ultimately responsible for what happens at the co-op, he knows the board does not manage it. The board hires a qualified leader to hire other people and operate the co-op within established policies. If he wanted to manage the Co-op, he would apply for a job and fully expect not to be hired. 

Since 2007, Heather Selin and her husband Dave have owned Earth Dharma Farm, an off-grid commercial organic vegetable farm and vineyard in Jackson. In addition to being a stellar weeder and spinach picker, she currently works remotely for Canada’s federal department of health, the culmination of a 30-year career in tobacco control. She has led strategic policy to reduce tobacco use in non-profit organizations, governments, and international organizations, including the CDC and the World Health Organization. Heather is highly skilled in strategic analysis, legislative and regulatory process, and written and oral communication, including facilitation. She has served on the Co-op board of directors since 2018, during which time she held the office of president of the board for one year and led the process of the recent revision to the bylaws.

Heather would like the future of the Co-op to reflect what the Co-op’s owners want, and what the community needs. However, she strongly believes that the Co-op must remain a downtown business anchor; the Co-op must continue to work to attract a more diverse customer and owner base; the Co-op must make capital investments to remain viable and relevant; and the Co-op must continue to put healthy, local and organic food at the forefront of its business. 

Heather sees the Co-op as a community center that draws together energetic and hopeful people, and facilitates networks that have an impact beyond the Co-op. As a board member seeking a second term, she will certainly contribute to institutional board memory and support a new generation of Co-op leaders.

Valerie Tate began her career as an RN on the staff of an inner-city hospital in an underserved community. She became a labor leader of nurses, first as a volunteer, then in elected offices, and finally on staff. At the time of her retirement, she was the coordinator of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare, supporting the leadership of 85,000 nurses nationwide through labor-management initiatives, legislative campaigns, and political organizing to improve workplace health and safety, patient outcomes, and professional satisfaction. 

She is trained in ontological coaching and experience has shown her that, where there is conflict, there’s a respectful way to find common ground. 

Valerie would like to do more as a volunteer to increase accessibility to good quality affordable food; support fairness for food workers; level the field for disenfranchised people to own and operate their own farms; and promote sustainable farming practices. Joining the Co-op board would give her an opportunity to both learn and contribute. She would like to help the Co-op to effectively and efficiently sustain and build on its efforts to support our local food economy; to respect the knowledge and skills of its workers and purveyors; to promote the joy of good health through good nutrition to everyone in our region; keeping economic and environmental considerations front and center. 

This election is not contested. For a duly-called vote to be valid, ten percent (10%) of members in good standing must take part. Our current count of member-owners in good standing is 4,297; therefore we will need 430 member-owners to cast their ballots. Candidates must receive a number of votes equal to at least 25% of the total ballots cast to be declared elected.

Six candidates are running for six open seats; five of which are three-year terms and one of which is a two-year term. In accordance with the Belfast Co-op Bylaws, among the winning candidates, the top vote-getters will be elected to the longer terms.

The election and addition of six director candidates would bring the total number of directors to thirteen, the maximum number allowed by the bylaws.

See you at the Annual Meeting February 28th, 2pm!  

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