Voting for the 2024 Board candidates begins
Sunday, March 3rd, 2024 at the end of the Annual Meeting.
Scroll Down to Meet The 2024 Candidates!
Owners may vote for up to seven board candidates or abstain: One owner, one ballot. The election will run from March 3rd, 2024 until March 24th, 2024, if a quorum is not reached the vote will be extended.
Owners may fill out a paper ballot in the Co-op or they may vote online. The link for online voting will be emailed after the end of the Annual Meeting. If you have not received an email invite to vote: please vote via the paper ballot in-store AND/OR make sure your Owner account has the correct email address at Customer Service.
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 5159; therefore we will need 516 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.
Three candidates are running for five open seats; four of which are three-year terms and one of which is a one-year term. In accordance with the Belfast Community Co-op Bylaws, among the winning candidates, the top vote-getters will be elected to the longer terms.
The election and addition of three director candidates would bring the total number of directors to eleven.
Any questions or issues about voting please contact email@example.com
Todd Bluhm: I joined the Co-op in 2017 without much consideration; it just seemed the thing to do. Since then, my perspective has shifted dramatically as I’ve given the matter more thought and benefitted from the Co-op’s efforts to educate its owners. Yes: a vibrant, fair, local, and sustainable food economy is vitally important. By nature, businesses must prioritize profit. That’s fine for some areas of the economy, but food is too fundamental to be bound up in that model. If we do not protect and nurture community-driven efforts to manage our own food supply, then we will suffer. The suffering could come through poor nutrition, through local money being vacuumed up and transferred to a far-away corporate headquarters, or by having local alternatives to unreliable global supply chains strangled out of existence. What a great thing it is to live in this area and already have a thriving Co-op. I’m excited to protect and nurture it. I strive for awareness and balanced approaches to problems and challenges. I am inquisitive and detail-oriented, and a fair writer/editor. Although not an accountant, I can follow budgets. I understand the need for strategic vision, listening to my constituency, broad oversight, and accountability. In my past career as a federal employee, I managed and led large and small teams of employees (up to 100) with considerable budgets. I became very familiar with the regulations, best practices, and leadership principles needed to make such organizations run well, encourage bottom-up creativity and responsibility, and ultimately be accountable to their mission. I served on the board of a cooperative recreation/dining facility for two years. Through that experience, I learned how to create and maintain an effective relationship between a board and the operational realm of the general manager, and with the membership. I also learned I’m there to use my skills to serve the established policies of the organization in a consensus-driven environment, not to chase whatever whim crosses my mind or the mind of any other board member at any given moment.
Charles Sterbach: I am new to the community, having recently moved to Belfast from the Orlando, FL area. After more than forty years in the legal profession both in the public and private sectors, I can appreciate the value of community service. I am excited about finding the appropriate place in my new home community, and I believe the Co-op can provide an excellent means to employ all knowledge, skills, and experience. I have been a business lawyer for about four decades, and have a business degree from the University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School, a law degree from Rutgers University, and a tax degree from the University of San Diego. In addition, my years as a business attorney allow me to evaluate financial and management issues for many kinds of enterprises. In the past, I have served on a Water Conservation Board, taught as a part-time faculty member at Phoenix College in Arizona, coached little league ice hockey in Arizona, worked at a no-kill pet adoption center in Texas, served as a team with my certified and insured therapy dog in Florida. I learned years ago that all forms of community service can provide far more spiritual riches to the individual than he or she could ever give to the community. Although I have never been a member of any co-op, I fully appreciate the value that such an organization (and its leadership) can bring to its community.
Valerie Tate: During my first term on the Co-op Board, I was very proud to serve with others who stepped up to make hard decisions; and to lead a successful capital campaign that generated more than $1.5 million in loans from our Co-op Owners for our long-needed building renovation. I’m very excited about the attention we can now give to strategic planning for the future while maintaining oversight related to the renovation and more immediate decisions. My special concerns for the future include food security, environmental sustainability, transparent governance, support for farmers, and support for Co-op workers. There’s a steep learning curve when joining a board for the first time. Since I’ve served on the Co-op Board for the last several years, I’ve gained a foundation in our Cooperative Principles and Values, our Bylaws and Ends, policy governance, modified consensus, our fiduciary responsibility, and more. My career began as an RN at a hospital in an underserved community. I became a labor leader of nurses. When I retired, I was the coordinator of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare, supporting the leadership of 85,000 RNs nationwide. I believe that where there is conflict, there’s a respectful way to find common ground. My experience with organizations has deepened through service as a Co-Clerk of the Belfast Area Friends Meeting and member of its Ministry & Counsel Committee; as the Campaign Committee chair of the Waldo County Democratic Committee; and as a member of the Owner Engagement Committee and the Board of Directors of the Belfast Community Co-op. I’ve learned that it takes a village! There are amazing skills and abilities in our community and we just need to keep asking our friends and neighbors for their participation.
The Co-op would like to extend a warm and heartfelt thank you to the director at the end of their term: Sasha Breus.
Our outgoing director, along with all those who have served on the Board in the past, have spent countless hours in service of the Co-op and their expertise, perspectives, and professionalism will be greatly missed. We wish them all the best in their future endeavors.