Sunday, 04 October 2015 10:37
By Dan Hoffman,
GreenStar member-owners are the only ones who have the power to change the Co-op's bylaws, the organization's most basic and important document. There is an opportunity to do so (or not) during this month — at the Fall Member Meeting, at the stores, or by mail.
GreenStar's Council has established an ad hoc Bylaws Review Committee, which started meeting again earlier this year, after being inactive for at least two years. Council had referred a couple of issues to the committee, which identified several more on its own. In August, Council voted (unanimously, except in the case of #2, below) to send the committee's six recommended bylaws amendments to the membership for a YES or NO vote on each of the following questions:
1. Should the Co-op be allowed to use a withdrawing member's refundable equity contribution [which could be up to $90] to pay off any outstanding debt the member has to the Co-op (such as for bad checks)?
2. Should all Council candidates and members be required to satisfy any requirements associated with operational licenses maintained or sought by the Co-op (such as to sell or serve alcohol)?
3. Should Council be allowed to conduct closed executive sessions for two additional topics — possible litigation or contract negotiations?
4. Should the composition of Council's Immediacies Committee be changed to match that described in Council policy, and that of the Executive Planning Committee?
5. Should the use of gender-specific pronouns (such as "he" or "she") be eliminated in the bylaws?
6. Should three "clerical errors" made when the bylaws were amended in 2010 be officially corrected?
Much more information on the proposed amendments, including detailed explanations, pro and con statements and voting instructions, are available in the Fall Member Mailing, which all current members should receive in the mail by October 6. Members can vote up until close of business on Oct. 31 at either store, by mailing in the ballot from the Mailing, or in person at the Fall Member Meeting, on Friday, Oct. 16, at the Space.
Tuesday, 15 September 2015 18:39
By 12th Moon,
Council held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 11 in the Classrooms @ GreenStar, with eleven of fourteen Council Members, three staff members, and one member-owner present. After introductions and Council Members' statements of preparedness, we replaced an item on our agenda that was not yet ready with a proposal to move budgeted monies from one line to another in the store's 2015 Capital Budget.
The first item on our agenda was the monthly General Manager's (GM) report. GM Brandon Kane was absent, attending a GM conference in North Carolina organized by the National Cooperative Grocers, so in his place our Operations Manager, Sara Paulison, updated us and answered questions. She reported that ground had been broken at the Collegetown site of our third store, and that everything should be in order to open that location by late summer of 2016. She also reported that, by the end of August, we should be closing on a loan from the Cooperative Fund of New England to outfit the Collegetown store. We're waiting to hear back from the National Cooperative Bank (NCB) regarding a loan request to refinance our property at 700 and 702 West Buffalo Street. The NCB loan and refinancing savings will make it possible for GreenStar to own a 130-kilowatt photovoltaic array in an off-site location in Tompkins County. A location has not been identified yet, but an array this size would provide about half of the electricity used at our 700 West Buffalo location, including the Central Kitchen.
The GM's report informed us that GreenStar will operate a "Pop-Up Co-op" at the Magnaball Phish festival in Watkins Glen at the end of August, and, if all goes well, we'll be looking to do the same at other venues in the future. Two new positions have been created and filled in the Central Kitchen/Bakery for a Catering Coordinator and Assistant, with the expectation that dedicated staff will help grow our catering business.
Monday, 03 August 2015 22:45
By 12th Moon,
Council met Tuesday, July 14 in the Classrooms @ GreenStar at 6:30 pm for our monthly meeting with twelve of fourteen Council Members, three staff, and three member-owners present. During announcements, we heard that Council Member Ellen Brown recently gave birth to a happy, healthy daughter — congratulations, Ellen!
General Manager (GM) Brandon Kane presented the first item on our agenda, the GM's monthly report. Brandon reported that the focus for staff recently has been on expanding our BASICS Program, everyday low prices, and both the Member Deals and Flash Sales programs to provide our member-owners with more great products at the lowest prices possible. Brandon also reported that GreenStar was very well received at this year's Consumer Cooperative Management Association's annual conference in Boise, Idaho. Brandon participated on a panel that opened the conference with a discussion of how Co-ops can be more inclusive of people from all parts of our communities, especially people of color. During the conference, many attendees from co-ops around the country sought our advice on many issues, as GreenStar is seen as a leader in many areas of our business.
Brandon and Finance Manager Erik Amos spent much of their time during the past month compiling a ten-year financial plan to submit to the two cooperative lending institutions that are helping us with equipment purchases for the Collegetown location as well as a large solar array we hope to have in place later this year. Staff have also been working to create new shelf tags for the products we sell that will have symbols informing shoppers if the products are vegan, Fair Trade, produced by a co-op, local, regional, GMO-free, organic, etc. Our Central Kitchen staff have been creating new dishes and expanding on our hot-bar offerings, so look for new yummies at both stores. The Membership Department is now offering co-op info sessions for our member-owners. I attended the first one on July 9 in the Classrooms, and it was great and very well received — I recommend it to everyone to learn about the history of cooperatives in this country and the general business model. Well done, Membership. The next session is scheduled for August 24 at 7 pm in the Classrooms.
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By Alexis Alexander,
In October, member-owners have the opportunity to vote on six bylaws changes being proposed by Council. GreenStar's bylaws, the rules that govern the internal management of the Co-op, were originally established when GreenStar was incorporated. According to our bylaws, one of the essential rights of member-owners is the ability to vote on the creation and changes to the bylaws and mission statement.
Unfortunately, GreenStar, like many co-ops, suffers from very poor voter turnout relative to the number of member-owners. For instance, only 5 percent of member-owners voted in th...