Home News and Features Seven Vie for Four Open Co-op Council Seats

Seven Vie for Four Open Co-op Council Seats

Photo courtesy of Hunger Mountain Co-op.

Montpelier’s Hunger Mountain Co-op has seven people vying to fill the four open seats on its council. According to the website hungermountain.com, the seven people nominated to run are Billy Donovan, former council member Carl Etnier, Kristian Connelly, incumbent Steve Farnham, incumbent Catherine Lowther, Elizabeth Jesdale, and Erich Zeichner. Only the names are listed on the website, with no contact information or candidate details at this time. 

Complete candidate statements will be curated and released by a Hunger Mountain Co-op employee on Friday, Oct. 20, said Hunger Mountain Co-op Council President Eva Schectman on Oct. 14. Schectman said she encourages all members to vote in this year’s election based on the information they receive, since there are around 10,000 members and typically only 400 to 500 members vote in council elections. 

“It is important to have the membership vote,” Schectman said. “There are a number of people who participate in the process of getting council members elected and it would be great if there would be more … (it would be) more of a reflection of the members.”

Once open seats are all filled, the council has nine members elected by the membership, and one staff representative elected by co-op employees. The general manager also sits in on meetings, but neither the general manager nor the staff representative have voting rights on council matters. Schectman has been president for two years, with this being her fifth year on the council.

The election will be held during a two-week period starting on the date of the annual meeting, Nov. 9. The meeting is scheduled to occur from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at VCFA’s Alumnx Hall, according to information in the Oct. 2 council meeting packet. Voting will be open from Nov. 9 through Nov. 26, Schectman told The Bridge, so “co-op members have more than two weeks to decide who to vote for.” 

A ballot committee oversees election proceedings. Committee members are R.J. Adler, chair; Barbara Korecki; Deb Messing; Deb Robinson; and Rowan Sherwood, staff member, according to Oct. 2 packet information. They are responsible for monitoring tallying procedures and recommending procedural updates as needed. They also make sure voting adheres to the bylaws, participate in the tally, and certify the results.

The annual meeting on Nov. 9 will start out with an hour-long dinner before the welcome and agenda begin, according to packet information. Dinner and dessert will be provided by Joe’s Soup, while beverages, including water and coffee, will be provided by the co-op. Co-op members may attend in person or by Zoom. Speakers on organic farming and discussions on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion have been planned as part of the proceedings.

After dinner, grant awardees will be announced, employees will be recognized, and the community award will be presented. Schectman and interim General Manager Mary Mullally then will present annual reports and field questions and comments. Onion River Community Access will videotape the proceedings.

Council elections are scheduled to begin around 7:10 p.m., with candidate statements offered to attendees. At this time, voting procedures will also be explained. Finally, closing the meeting will be a raffle and thank-yous followed by a post-meeting slideshow and presentation.

In order to attend, members must register either in-person at the store, or on the website.