PT Food Co-op

The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, Port Townsend, 98368
Port Townsend
Phone: (360) 385-2883

FAQs: Running for the Board

Board members at the June 2016 Board retreat on Whidbey Island.

The Food Co-op board members at a June 2016 retreat on Whidbey Island.

Have you thought about serving on the Board of Directors of your co-op? As a democratically governed cooperative, The Food Co-op is seeking members to run for the board in our upcoming election. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions that might help you decide if this opportunity is a good fit for you.

Our board works hard, has a lot of fun, and as you might imagine, we eat pretty well! Come to our next board meeting Tuesday March 7th, 5:30pm at The Food Co-op Annex (2110 Lawrence Street) to check out what we do and join us for dinner. You can also email or call 360-379-5798 to schedule a coffee date with a current board member. Candidate applications for the 2017 election are due Friday March 10th. See below, or for details.

And now for those Frequently Asked Questions!

What is the Board of Directors and what does it do?

As the representative of our members, The Food Co-op’s Board of Directors is an important link between the members and the Co-op. The Board’s role is a high-level one: We craft long-range strategies that bring the Co-op into alignment with our stated Mission and Principles. The Board uses a management system called Policy Governance. This system is designed to help the Board focus on the larger policy issues of the organization rather than be involved in day-to-day decisions. We work closely with the General Manager, who implements those strategies in the day-to-day operations of the store. Each month, the GM reports on various aspects of those efforts, keeping the Board informed of how we are moving towards the ends we have established.

What does the Board NOT do?

The Board does not involve itself in operational details. We do not make decisions about what we stock, the specifics of personnel issues, or the layout of the store. The Board governs by declaring, through its policies, the results it wants and the actions it wants the General Manager to avoid while achieving those results.

What are the qualities and abilities that are needed for a Board member?

The Board seeks candidates with constructive and creative leadership skills to contribute sound reasoning and judgment to the Board governance process. A good board has a wide variety of interests and experience.  Key attributes are:

  • Integrity—Zero tolerance for unethical behavior.
  • Collaboration—Recognize the difference between productively participating in discussions and counter-productively dominating deliberations through the volume or length of comments. Able to work with other members to create workable compromises.
  • Participation—Speak out and actively participate in Board and committee deliberations.
  • Focus—Make relevant, informed comments focused on the specific aspect of the issue being considered. Able to stay on topic.
  • Strategic Thinking—Able to see the big picture and be future oriented.
  • Commitment—Committed to the success of the Food Co-op and its Mission and Principles.

How much time must I commit?

The Board holds one regular meeting for three to four hours on the first Tuesday of each month. In addition, every board member must join at least one Board committee, which usually meet monthly. Board members are expected to attend occasional retreats and member meetings and are highly encouraged to attend various board leadership and training opportunities. In all, you can expect to devote at least 15 to 20 hours a month to Board service.

Board members are expected to commit for the full term to which they are elected or appointed.

Where are Board meetings held?

The regular Board meeting is held at the Co-op Annex, located at 2110 Lawrence Street, next door to Crossroads Music. Meetings start promptly at 5:30 pm. Committee meetings and retreats may be at other Port Townsend locations. We strongly encourage all candidates to attend at least two of our Board meetings prior to the election.

What compensation is there for serving?

  • Board members receive a $49 food credit every month of Board service. The president receives a monthly $200 cash stipend, and the other officers (Vice President, Secretary & Treasurer) receive a monthly $150 cash stipend. If your compensation exceeds $600 in the year, you will receive an IRS form 1099 to report your compensation.
  • Board members are entitled to special order/bulk order discounts. Currently the discount is “cost +10%” for food, non-food items, and supplements, except for single-order items from UNFI.
  • In addition, you will receive the good feeling of contributing to the success of our democratically run food co-op and you will experience the satisfaction of working with a Board of passionate, skilled leaders.

Why is it important that I attend at least two Board meetings before the Election?

Observing our meetings will clarify and demonstrate the Board’s governance role and will give you a good idea of what you can expect should you serve. You can also dig deeper and read our bylaws, mission and principles, policy register, and strategic plan at

When will elections be held and how many seats are open?

The annual election is from May 1st through May 14th, 2017. For this election, there are three (3) Board positions available. Two of those positions are for a three-year term. One is for a one year term. Of the three candidates elected, the one with the lowest number of votes will be appointed to the one-year term.

Can I run for the Board if I work for The Food Co-op?

Our bylaws allow for up to one employee of The Food Co-op to serve on the board at any given time. Because there is currently an employee of The Food Co-op serving on the board for a term lasting until 2019, there is not an opportunity for another employee to run for the Board in this election cycle.

OK, I’ve decided to run – now what?

It’s time to complete the candidate application process. You will submit a brief personal statement that addresses a list of questions, and provide a photograph. Download the application form from our website Email the completed form, along with a current photo of yourself, to by 9:00pm Friday March 10th 2017.

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