Sunday, 01 September 2013 21:34
By 12th Moon,
Council held its monthly meeting at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, Aug. 13 in The Space @ GreenStar.
Brandon Kane, our General Manager (GM), presented the first item on our agenda, the monthly GM's Report. We learned that the central kitchen/bakery project is on schedule and that construction should have begun by the end of August with a completion date in December. Staff will move into the new facility in January 2014. With the help of two consultants from the National Cooperative Grocers Association we will begin planning in September for redesigning to be done in both stores after the move. We were also told that the annual Ice Cream Social will take place from 2 pm "until the ice cream runs out" on Labor Day, Monday Sept. 2 in the outdoor eating area at the West-End store.
Additionally we learned that Majora Carter, renowned radio host and founder of Sustainable South Bronx, the Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training Program, and the economic consulting firm The Majora Carter Group, will be the keynote speaker at this year's Food Justice Summit on Saturday, Sept. 21. This will be the third year that our non-profit affiliate GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) has organized the Food Justice Summit. Please consider joining the Farm-a-Thon, or donating to those who will be working on a local farm, in the morning, and come to the street festival from noon to 5 pm at the Southside Community Center. For more info visit http://foodjusticesummit.org.
A proposal came from our Governance Committee next, to change our definitions of both "local" and"regional" as they relate to the products we carry and to service and equipment providers. The approved new language defines "local" as within 100 miles of Ithaca, replacing the old definition of within 50 miles. The new language defines "regional" as within 300 miles of Ithaca, replacing the old definition which included New York and Pennsylvania. This new definition of local is more the norm and giving regional a mile radius definition reflects our preference for products that do not come from long distances away.
Our next item came from our Finance Committee. The proposal, which was approved, both changed the directive given to management as to how to calculate the annual contribution to employees' 401(k) retirement plans and formally put the directive into a Council Policy Governance (PG) style policy.
The Finance Committee next brought forward a proposal to amend our existing Council compensation policy by increasing the minimum Council and committee attendance requirements, and by repealing the old policy and inserting the language into one of our newer PG policies. After much discussion and some questions about further amendments, the proposal was tabled until next month, allowing the Finance Committee to consider the suggestions made during the discussions.
We next received a proposed new PG style policy from our Ends Committee. Over the last two years, as we have changed our governance model, we have concentrated on three areas: the more day-to-day policies that define our work (PG "C" policies), our relationship to the GM and store operations (PG "D" policies), and limits to the GM on doing unwanted actions while running our stores (PG "B" policies). During this process we had delayed writing the "Ends," or "A" policies, as they are more about the direction that we envision our Co-op moving in as it strives to meet our members' and our community's needs. We approved the Ends policy brought by the committee to be published and presented to our members for suggestions and comments. (Please see p. 5 in this issue.)
Council had previously agreed to take a proposed amendment to our bylaws to the membership for a vote this fall after receiving feedback from a NY state cooperative law attorney. We did not receive the lawyer's input in time for our meeting but, expecting it soon, we scheduled an Immediacies Committee meeting for the following Tuesday to finalize the language of the amendment.
We were then led through an update session for our Policy Books, a practice we do two or three times a year, which shows the work we have been doing through all of the pages that need to be replaced, removed, or inserted.
After our mid-meeting break we approved past Council meeting minutes and moved on to our next item. The item, which was not up for a vote at this time, was the concept of allowing as many as three Council Members to fulfill their committee assignment requirements by being members of a GSCP committee. We wish to support the good work that our tax-exempt affiliate is doing, and we find that even with at least three Council Members on each of our four standing committees it would be feasible for a few Council Members to help GSCP out. The item went back to the Governance Committee for further consideration.
Our next two items were the Monitoring, or review, of two of our "C" policies, C.5 Council Code of Conduct and C.7 Council Committees. We found that we were in compliance with both policies, and recognized that we may need to amend C.7 as some job responsibilities have shifted from the Secretary to the Board Administrator.
Our Personnel Committee next brought proposed amendments to the Official Personnel Policy (OPP), which were approved. The amendments included referencing the Ombuds program in the section of the OPP that discusses our grievance procedure, and changing the process of forming of a Grievance Committee that would review an authorized grievance.
We then approved the appointment of a member-owner, Joanne Zager, to our Governance Committee. Welcome Joanne, and thank you for your service to our co-op.
Lastly, we reviewed the agenda for our upcoming retreat with Council Members, members of the Area Supervisors team and members of the Staff Advisory Board, to be held Friday, Sept. 13. Finally, we adjourned twenty minutes early. Nice going!
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...