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,
Member, Bylaws Review Committee
There could be some changes in store for GreenStar's bylaws — but only if enough member-owners vote in October, and only if a "super majority" of them (two-thirds) vote to make the changes. The Co-op's Council will decide at its Aug. 11 meeting which proposed bylaws amendments will be sent to the membership this year.
A group's bylaws are like a City's charter or a state's constitution — containing the most basic values and rules by which it is to be guided and governed. It's considered a "best practice" for organizations such as GreenStar to review their bylaws regularly, and to propose and adopt changes as needed. GreenStar has an ad hoc Bylaws Review Committee (BRC) for that purpose. After being dormant for a couple of years, it was reactivated in March to consider bylaws changes that might be proposed in the fall of 2015, and beyond.
Currently, the committee includes four Council members (12th Moon, who chairs it, Patrice Lockert Anthony, Kristen Kaplan, and yours truly), two staff members appointed by the General Manager (Human Resources Manager Michael Hoysic and Membership Manager Alexis Alexander), and at-large member Jenny Caldwell. (Two at-large seats remain unfilled. If you think you might be interested, please fill out and submit an application — available at the stores or at www.greenstar.coop.)
Out of 581 total ballots, 49 were invalid (39 no ID at all, 1 voted for 10, 1 second ballot, 2 not members and 5 came late in the mail). 532 Valid ballots - less one empty envelope
Elected for 3 year terms:
1- Liz Coakley = 407
2- Trisica Munroe = 391
3- Jan Rhodes Norman = 362
4- Krys Cail = 351
5- Stefan Jirka = 337
For a one year terms:
6- Susan Beckley = 335
7/8-- Eric Banford = 329
7/8 - Patrice Anthony =329
9- Kristen Kaplan = 291
10- Walter Hollien = 216
11- Deborah Moore = 122
Special thanks to Laura Buttenbaum, Ellen Brown and Brian Henehan.
By Alexis Alexander,
As students return to Ithaca in late August, GreenStar will be hosting a two-week extravaganza of celebration and education. Two exciting celebratory events are planned, along with two opportunities for members and nonmembers to learn more about co-ops, including the history of the cooperative movement and its impact on local and global communities.
Topping the list of events to watch for is a performance by the amazing hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, who will be playing at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the newly renovated Ithaca Commons on Thur...