Sunday, 04 August 2013 22:09
By 12th Moon,
Council met in The Space @ GreenStar at 6:30 on July 9, with thirteen of our fifteen members in attendance. After our introductions and statements of preparedness we all individually filled out a copy of our new Conflict of Interest forms and submitted them to our Secretary for posting and archiving.
The first regular item was the General Manager's (GM) monthly report. Our GM, Brandon Kane, updated us on progress toward realizing our central bakery and kitchen. He told us that the bidding process for equipment was almost completed, and that the construction bids were still being negotiated with an emphasis being placed on having the general assembly/meeting space completed as soon as possible in order that we may begin to use the space for our meetings and for public gatherings. Our community is in dire need of a large gathering space. Brandon brought a request from the Area Supervisors (AS) team, consisting of all fourteen department managers, that Council look to redefine our definition of local and regional. Local is currently defined as within fifty miles and regional includes goods grown or produced within New York or Pennsylvania. Both classifications require at least eighty percent of ingredients to be sourced within these geographical limitations. The requested change would define local as within 100 miles and regional as within 300 miles.
Brandon also reported that we are working with How Good, Inc. (www.howgood.com), a product rating service, to produce GreenStar-specific tags over the next two months. In the future, How Good will have a shopping app for customers, and GreenStar will be a test point for a service kiosk that will show Co-op-specific products and the details as to why they received their rating from How Good. (See the article on page 1 for more details.) Brandon also reported that we have signed onto the Non-GMO Project's retail initiative (www.nongmoproject.org). This means there will be info in our stores available for customers regarding products certified as GMO-free and what foods to avoid. We will also be testing a phone app that can be used to shop GMO-free.
Our next three items were interrelated. First, we approved an adjustment to our Council Calendar/Workplan for June '13 through May '14 to move the submission of information for our Spring and Fall Membership meetings, and any associated mailings, to a month earlier for this and subsequent years. We then authorized a proposed bylaws change, which would set conditions for member equity to be returned to a member, to go to a membership vote in October pending review by a NY state cooperative law lawyer. And, finally, we approved an informational Member Forum and open mic meeting, to discuss the proposed bylaws change and to serve as a forum for member-owners to air suggestions and comments, to be held Monday, Oct. 7 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. We also approved the content of the Fall Member mailing and the agenda, time, date, and place for our Fall Membership Meeting as Friday, Oct. 18, tentatively to be held at GIAC.
We next approved the seating of Members-at-Large on our committees for the Council calendar year. Prior to our mid-meeting break, we went into Executive Session to discuss and approve a request to terminate a member-owner's membership for unacceptable behavior in our store.
After our break, we approved past Council minutes and moved on to elect officers for the coming year. I am honored and pleased to report that all four current officers were reelected for another term: Tara Gross as Vice President, Chris Negronida as Treasurer, Jessica Rossi as Secretary, and myself as President. Much appreciation to this team for the work accomplished last year and the service to our co-op for another year.
A proposal for as much as $600 for the purchase of a laptop to be used by our Board Administrator (BA) was approved next. The newly expanded workload for the BA and the sometimes conflicting scheduling requests to use the GreenStar floating laptop led to this decision.
Our next item, our review of our own adherence to the conditions of Policy C.5 Council Code of Conduct, was tabled as we had exhausted much time on some of the previous discussions and decisions.
The next item on our agenda, a proposed amendment to the Official Personnel Policy regarding the grievance process, was pulled from the agenda by the Personnel Committee as they were going to suggest further amendments, which requires time for staff to review the proposals and make comments. The time saved was well spent, as a request had come from the GM the week before to move funds from two different lines in the stores' 2013 budget to other lines to cover the costs associated with improvements to the West-End store's parking lot and to upgrade our stores' computer software to include a new inventory module. Both requests were approved.
Next the date and time was set for a Council, AS, and Staff Advisory Board Retreat to be held Friday, Sept. 13 to discuss current market trends and conditions.
Lastly, we made a correction to the bylaws as we had found that when we had taken an amendment to the member-owners for a vote, which subsequently passed, we had missed updating a reference to the same issue that was amended in another section of the bylaws. We found that the member-owner vote clearly identified the change approved but that this second reference had been overlooked.
Finally, after a very hot summer's eve, we adjourned about ten minutes late. Much appreciation to all Council members and staff attending for bearing with the weather and another long agenda and meeting. Your work for our co-op does not go unnoticed; thank you.
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...