Sunday, 01 December 2013 21:24
By 12th Moon,
Utilizing our newly designated classroom space, in the former Enterprise car rental building, Council held its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12 with all fifteen members in attendance. We quickly moved to the first business item on our agenda, the General Manager's (GM's) monthly report. GM Brandon Kane reported that staff are busy constructing next year's stores budget as they prepare for the holiday season. Both the budget structure and operational monitoring procedures are being updated to accommodate our soon-to-be-functional central kitchen and bakery, as well as our renovated Space @ GreenStar. With the bakery vacating the Oasis store and the West-End classroom having moved across the street, plans are being made for the renovations of those two areas. Meanwhile, construction continues on schedule for the kitchen and community spaces in the warehouse building. We are still anticipating that the Space will be ready for the Winter Farmers Market in January, and the kitchen/bakery will be ready for occupancy in February.
Brandon also told us that products certified by the Non-GMO project at both Oasis and the West End have now been labeled. This is an ongoing project as more products become certified. "How Good" labeling has been delayed by a few weeks as we discovered a formatting error on the tags when we began to place them on our shelves.
Brandon next submitted the GM's B.1 3rd Quarter Financial Report, which was referred to our Finance Committee for a report back next month. Our next item was a report back on the GM's Compensation Report. It was found to be complete and submitted on time, and shows our commitment to our employees' benefits.
Our next item was the presentation for review of the GM's 2014 Stores Budget, with a final version expected for our December meeting after review by the Finance Committee. The budget projects a minimal profit after the expenditures for our renovation projects, including equipment purchases for the bakery/kitchen, community space upgrades, and establishing a formal classroom and meeting rooms in the vacated Enterprise building. All of these improvements are expected to benefit staff, add retail space, enhance customer experience and class offerings (including cooking classes), and extend bakery/deli/catering services. They will also result in the largest public meeting/event space currently available in Ithaca.
We next received an update from GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) reporting that they raised $2,746.96 during their Farm-a-Thon and fundraising this fall. Last summer, Council approved matching donations of up to $5,000, so we approved releasing $2,746.96 in matching funds to GSCP.
For our next agenda item, we moved into Executive Session to discuss a real estate matter. After that we amended and approved minutes of our October meetings (regular and executive sessions) and of the Fall Membership Meeting. We then went back into Executive Session and terminated a member's membership for shoplifting.
After our mid-meeting break, we received and certified the Tellers' Report regarding the October membership vote on proposed amendments to our bylaws allowing for the reimbursement of member equity. The bylaws amendments were approved by our members by more than the two-thirds majority needed; of 260 valid ballots cast, 15 were invalid, 185 were "Yes" votes and 75 were "No" votes.
A proposed Council Self-Evaluation survey came next on our agenda. The form and specific questions were presented by our Personnel Committee and drew much discussion. Most of the discussion centered around questions that would be asked of every Council Member about all other individual Council Members, which has not been done in the past. The rest of the survey, which dealt with how to evaluate Council as a whole, drew some suggestions as to specific questions. The survey was sent back to Personnel Committee to incorporate some of the suggestions and bring this item back in December.
We next reviewed our Policy D.2 Accountability of the GM as part of our ongoing self-monitoring, to see if we are in compliance with our own policies. D.2 is a short and general policy, and many Council Members found it hard to assess our compliance; so the policy was sent to our Policy Review Committee for review and possible amendment.
Our Personnel Committee brought the next item, a listing of expectations of Council Members gleaned from all our existing policies, bylaws, and procedures. The list is meant to help inform members, and future candidates for Council, of the expectations regarding performing duties as a Council Member. There was much discussion about the amount of content and where some of the expectations came from. Also, there was discussion as to whether this document would become a policy or an appendix item to hand out to prospective candidates. This was also tabled and sent back to committee.
Lastly, we performed a ritual that's becoming more common, the updating of our Policy Book. Our Board Administrator led us through a process of removing old policies that have been updated or amended, and replacing them with newer versions, as well as adding in new policies. It has always been a good indicator of all of the work that we've done since the last update, as noted by the pile of paper to be recycled. And then we adjourned and went out into the cold and dark.
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...