Port Townsend Food Co-op Board Elections

Port Townsend Food Co-op, 414 Kearney St., Port Townsend, WA, 98368
Open Every Day 8am-9pm
Phone: (360) 385-2883

Board Elections

Voting in the Board of Directors’ elections is the simplest way to effect change in the store that you own. By voting for the candidate(s) that most nearly match your vision for The Food Co-op, you participate in the direction that we take as a community-owned organization. We urge you to participate in the election each year so that your voice may be heard.  Annual elections are held in May. In 2015, voting by the members begins May 1 and ends May 14.


2015 Election Results

Online and paper ballots were counted Friday, May 15th, following the close of the Election period.

Two candidates ran unopposed for two seats on The Food Co-op’s board of directors.

Henry Werch and Peter Bonyun were both elected to 3 year terms.

  • 298 valid ballots were cast in the election.
  • Henry Werch received 238 votes
  • Peter Bonyun received 271 votes

Candidate Information

Henry Werch

Henry Werch1. Personal statement
For the last three years as Board VP, I’ve witnessed the Co-op’s sustained growth in membership, popularity, and potential, yet I recognize the pitfalls that can undermine this success. As a continuing member of the Board, I would like to continue to play an active role in guiding the Co-op through the challenges of inevitable change and the need to be fully accountable to its owner members, as long as I am able.
As is generally known by the Board and elsewhere in the community, my wife and I will be moving to Portland prior to the end of my three-year term, if reelected. If our Board recruitment efforts succeed in attracting two or more additional highly qualified candidates, I will consider withdrawing my candidacy rather than forcing a competitive election process.

2. Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors?
I would like to continue my Director’s role as long as I am able, so that I can contribute as much as I can to the current examination of the Co-op’s Strategic Plan and mission in Port Townsend, and how marketing plans and market position can support them.

3. Describe your interests, experience, and expertise that may contribute to the Board’s activities.
As I stated in my previous application, my business and community experience with young growing organizations has focused on sustainability, controlled growth, and fiscal responsibility. As a 16-year board member of a $45 million community credit union that grew to $145 million, I worked to maintain controlled and principled growth. Both credit unions and Food Co-ops are challenged daily by temptations to veer from principles, both must focus on sustainability, and both must be fully responsible to their owner members.

4. What experiences have you had contributing to successful group efforts?
I am particularly proud that in my first year on the Board, I contributed to the writing and adoption of the Co-op’s first successful Strategic Plan. In these last two years I assisted in the successful efforts to forge an active and collegial Board, capable of overcoming individual differences in order to achieve a unity of voice and purpose.

5. The Strategic Plan’s first long range goal is Market Position, and it includes the following strategy: Develop a long-term plan for our facility and location. What do you think should be considered in developing such a plan?
The first consideration should be sustainability, so any substantial financial investment or relocation must be evaluated in terms of short and long-term cost, triple bottom line impact, and both current and future member acceptance.

6. How would you encourage greater member-owner involvement in elections, member-owner forums and meetings?
As a board and committee member, I actively supported the Co-op’s entry in e-mail polling and elections. I believe that in the Port Townsend community, all communication efforts find themselves in a highly competitive environment, so I will continue to support aggressive outreach via all means available, electronic, print and personal in-store and in-community, to maximize member-owner involvement.

Peter Bonyun

Peter Bonyun1. Personal statement:
I have been member of The Food Coop since at least 1980 and have served on the Board once during that time. I suspect that over 80% of our family food budget is spent at the Coop. This indicates, I think, that I am a strong and loyal supporter of the Coop. I have not always agreed with some decisions. On a few occasions, over the years, I have felt that our Mission and Principles have been compromised. I have voiced my concerns to the Board and will continue to do so. Food is political and decisions will not always be popular. My personal goal will be to work collaboratively toward refining existing policies, where indicated, and crafting new ones that fully honor our Mission and Principles.

2. Why would you like to serve on the Board of Directors?
I would like to serve on our Board for the aforementioned reasons and also because I want to give back to a community that has supported me so strongly for 35 years. We are approaching a time of critical changes. I wish to be part of that decision making process.

3. Describe your interests, experience, and expertise that may contribute to the Board’s activities.
I have a very diversified background. I have been a retail business owner, licensed contractor and a county employee successfully interfacing with the public in a challenging position. I am told that I express myself well and contribute constructively to group processes.

4. What experiences have you had contributing to successful group efforts?
My experience in group process includes a former term as a Food Coop Board member. I have also served on the Board of Homeward Bound, a community land trust. For nearly 10 years I was an actively participating member of Blue Heron Builders Cooperative, managed through consensus. My training in Dynamic Facilitation gave me the opportunity to co-facilitate a Wisdom Council for the Jefferson County Department of Community Development.

5. The Strategic Plan’s first long range goal is Market Position, and it includes the following strategy: Develop a long-term plan for our facility and location. What do you think should be considered in developing such a plan?
In developing a long term facility plan I would first consider a location that is both centrally located to Port Townsend and sufficiently higher in elevation to be removed from the tsunami zone. I would favor building a new structure designed to be a cooperative grocery store, the footprint of which would contain adjacent spaces available for community education and future expansion. These spaces could be leased out until needed and would provide an additional income stream. Adequate parking and accessibility to public transportation is essential.

6. How would you encourage greater member-owner involvement in elections, member-owner forums and meetings?
Encouraging greater member involvement in the affairs of the Food Coop might start with a more extended initiation process for new members. Rather than just providing a pamphlet of facts with some history and copies of our Mission and Principles, a New Members Orientation meeting would take place once a month. This more structured introduction, Food Coop 101, would inform new members of the significant differences between a conventional grocery store and The Food Coop, emphasizing not just the rights, but also the responsibilities of cooperative ownership.


Running for the Board

A good way to get even more involved is to run to serve as Board member.  The Food Co-op relies on good leadership – people who can work effectively together to help guide the organization toward its full potential. While diverse interests, experiences, and skills are useful in board members,  the ability to listen and to work well with others is key.

To qualify as a candidate, our bylaws require you to have been an Active member or a member of the household of an Active Member for at least six months prior to being seated on the Board.

The next application period for Board Candidates will take place during February and March of 2016. If you are interested in running for the board, there are lots of ways to learn more and get involved in the mean time. Contact Board Assistant Rachel Williams at boardassistant@foodcoop.coop or 360-379-5798 for more information.

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