Friday, 28 February 2014 15:55
By 12th Moon,
Council met Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 6:30 pm in the Classrooms @ GreenStar for our monthly meeting. After announcements and amending the agenda to include an application for a Member-at-Large seat on one of our committees, we received the monthly General Manager's (GM) report.
Our GM, Brandon Kane, reported that the renovated Space @ GreenStar and the Central Kitchen are on schedule for a mid-March move-in. The Space is currently housing the Winter Farmers Market on Saturdays from 11 to 2, and visitors have been very appreciative of the renovations. We also learned that the National Cooperative Bank closed on a loan to GreenStar and that those funds are now available to us for the renovation projects; further, the process for acquiring all of the licenses and permits for being able to rent out The Space is underway but likely to take some weeks.
Brandon also told us that the placement of How Good product-rating tags at the West-End store is about 25 percent complete, delayed by a busy beginning of the year, and that the change to a U-Pick 10% Off day has made everyone happy and less stressed on the tenth of each month (though I do miss the themed costumes of the staff).
Our next agenda item, which was approved, was a change to our Annual Council Calendar to move all four yearly B.1 quarterly and year-end financial reports back a month. The financial reports prepared for Council have become more detailed and are often difficult to prepare on time for the agenda packet. For the 4th Quarter and Year-End 2013 financial reports, we will have the reports go to our Finance Committee first and then come to Council for a vote, rather than having Council refer the reports to committee and receive them back the following month.
A proposal to amend policy 2.6 "Conditions of Membership" was referred back to our Membership Committee with further amendments suggested after much discussion.
Next came a proposal for GreenStar to join the Business Coalition of Gas-Free Seneca in opposition to the storage of LNG/LPG in abandoned salt caverns under Seneca Lake and the associated transportation and storage infrastructures. Peter Arena of Gas-Free Seneca spoke to the objections to the plans and answered our questions. Council voted to join with the other 180 or so businesses in the coalition.
We next had a discussion about the living-wage increases for 2014 and how they are calculated for different businesses using different models. We then addressed the item added to our agenda earlier, a proposal to appoint Olivia Armstrong as a Member-at-Large on our Membership Committee. Welcome Olivia, and thank you for your service to our co-op.
After our mid-meeting break, we approved the minutes of last month's meeting with some small amendments. The selection of tellers for our spring Council election came next, with six Council members volunteering for the duty. Thanks to you all.
The next agenda item, receiving the data from our Council Self-Assessment Survey, was referred to our Personnel Committee to produce findings to bring back to Council. The data had been collected by our Cooperative Board Leadership Development (CBLD) consultant of last year. The next item was a discussion to select the best weekend for our annual retreat with our new 2014 CBLD consultant in October. The 25th won.
A proposal to make some amendments to our election policy came from our Governance Committee. The amendments were discussed and approved. Our final agenda item was our self-monitoring of our compliance with one of our policies, C.1 Governing Style. We found ourselves in compliance for the previous 12 months.
Prior to adjourning the meeting, we discussed the upcoming Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) conference and the annual Consumer Cooperative Management Association conference, which are both scheduled at the same time this year (June 11-14). A proposal to select some Council Members to attend one or the other conference will come to our March meeting.
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,
In October, member-owners have the opportunity to vote on six bylaws changes being proposed by Council. GreenStar's bylaws, the rules that govern the internal management of the Co-op, were originally established when GreenStar was incorporated. According to our bylaws, one of the essential rights of member-owners is the ability to vote on the creation and changes to the bylaws and mission statement.
Unfortunately, GreenStar, like many co-ops, suffers from very poor voter turnout relative to the number of member-owners. For instance, only 5 percent of member-owners voted in th...