Monday, 01 July 2013 22:08
By 12th Moon,
Council held our regular monthly meeting on June 11 at 6:30 pm in The Space @ GreenStar, with a lengthy agenda. During announcements I informed Council members and staff present of the high amount of positive feedback we received after our workshop presentation at the recent Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) 57th annual conference, which brought together 450 people from 113 co-ops from around the country. Our General Manager (GM) Brandon Kane and our Membership Manager Alexis Alexander had put together a very thorough presentation outlining GreenStar's FLOWER (Fresh Local Organic Within Everyone's Reach) low-income discount program and the success of our diversity and inclusion efforts. We were extremely well-received by approximately 80 cooperators who attended the workshop, some saying they had been waiting years for something like this to be presented, and we gave all the information we could for them to take home to use in their co-ops and communities.
First on our agenda was the GM's monthly report, which showed that both stores continue to do better than expected, with Oasis having some record-breaking weeks of sales. Brandon also told us that the central kitchen and bakery project planned for our warehouse building is on track. We expect to be having a walk-through for our members in mid-July, so look for announcements in the stores and on this website. Brandon also let us know that a full audit, compiled by an outside accounting firm, should be prepared in time for our July 9 Council meeting. We were also brought up to date on the fantastic work our affiliate organization GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) is doing. They will be launching a donation drive to run from mid-June through July, so please check out their link on our website. Donations can be made at our registers, by check, or online to help them accomplish their food justice and food equality initiatives.
Our next two items, a report back from our Finance Committee on the GM's Financial Statements for first quarter 2013 and the GM's Financial Monitoring report for the same time period, which showed exemplary performance by staff, were both well received and approved.
Next we approved a proposal to enter into a contractual agreement with How Good, Inc. How Good has compiled a database of over 100,000 products that are rated on their social, environmental, and labor practices. How Good will be providing us with rating images that will be right next to the price tags on our shelves. We've been looking for something like this for years. For more information go to www.howgood.com.
We also authorized the signing of a renewal contract with Tompkins Trust Company for our overflow parking on the other side of Seneca Street, and approved an additional contribution of $1,500 toward the completion and national advertising of a documentary movie about food co-ops called Food for Change, which some of us had the opportunity to see previews of at CCMA last year in Philadelphia. For more information go to www.foodforchange.coop.
A pre-loan agreement was next authorized between GreenStar and the National Cooperative Bank (NCB) for a loan to help fund construction and equipment costs for our central kitchen and bakery project. The agreement sets the terms and conditions of a 90-month loan agreement.
With many kind and appreciative comments, we next bid a fond farewell to departing Council Members Kash Iraggi and Mark Lenzenweger. We then welcomed new Council Members Courtney Mayszak and Scott Morris. We thank you all for your service to our great co-op.
After our mid-meeting break we approved minutes of past meetings and opened up a discussion regarding annual officer elections. It was brought to our attention that a good process would include an explanation of the election process and the officer responsibilities at one meeting, followed by formal declarations of candidacy at the next meeting, at which time the voting would be held. We agreed to this process, and thus had to amend our Annual Council Calendar/Workplan to reflect this change.
We next received for review the results of the store's second annual member survey, with comparative data to allow us to look for trends in our members' responses. Overall, we are doing very well and we'll be looking to make improvements in areas that we can address.
Since making the change to a Policy Governance system of board governance, we have been quite busy writing new policies and then approving the GM's interpretations of the data to be reported. At this meeting we followed the normal procedure for receiving and reviewing a GM Monitoring report, as mentioned earlier, and for the first time we reviewed one of the policies that governs Council's work, C.6 "Officers." We found ourselves in compliance with the policy and looked to see if there were any changes to the policy that we thought were necessary. We discussed the possibility of more completely describing the duties performed by the president and other officers.
Our next proposal was to amend our policy C.7 "Council Committee Principles" to include an expectation that members-at-large on committees are to attend at least two of the three meetings held in any quarter. The proposal was approved.
A proposed form for Council Members to fill out and sign regarding any real or perceived conflict of interest was approved and will be completed by all Council Members by our next meeting.
Lastly, we authorized sending two Council Members to a Cooperative Board Leadership Development (CBLD) 101 workshop in Buffalo this July. The day-long workshop is an in-person, multi–co-op, one-day training designed to provide a strong foundation for board members. It includes presentations on cooperative values and principles, board member roles and responsibilities, basic principles of Policy Governance, and basic financial understandings. Scott Morris and Keith Babuszczak will go forth and learn as they meet other cooperators from other regional co-ops. We then adjourned our meeting at 9:35 pm.
By Dan Hoffman,
12th Moon, Kristen Kaplan, Eric Banford, Susan Beckley, Jessica Rossi and Mark Darling finished the counting in just under four hours.
412 Total valid envelopes
21 total invalid = 19- no ID, 1- first of two ballots, 1- no ballot in envelope
Also = 1- name tag, 5- 2 cent slips, 1- Member Labor Request and two wooden nickles.
Two thirds vote required to pass.
Q#1 = PASS
Q#2 = FAIL
Q#3 = PASS
Q#4 = PASS
Q#5 = PASS
Q#6 = PASS
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.
By Alexis Alexander,
I have woken to a new day, a day when GreenStar's annual Member Meetings and pancakes are defined as pure elegance and inspiration. Surprised?
The morning after our Fall Member Meeting, I'm entranced by the experience of last night. I realize how far GreenStar has come over the years, and how integral and essential a partner we are in the wider regional food movement before us. Our roots as a buying club and grain store have matured into a multimillion-dollar community-based cooperative that affords us the ability, and the responsibility, to bring "real food," as Marketing Manager Joe Romano would say, back to a broader spectrum of our local and regional community. Read more...