Sunday, 03 June 2012 00:25
By 12th Moon,
Council met on Tuesday, May 8 in The Space @ GreenStar with a full agenda. During our allotted time for opening announcements, I presented to the Chair of our Membership Committee, Ethan Winn, a member-initiated petition that I had recently received for a change to our bylaws. The Membership Committee is charged with receiving member-initiated petitions for referendums or bylaws changes. They then verify signatures as those of current members and evaluate the content of the requested change for legality and adherence to our bylaws and procedures before making a recommendation to Council for action.
Brandon Kane, the General Manager (GM), presented his monthly report next. Brandon reported that both stores are doing well and both are expecting some scheduled projects to be completed soon. Recent new hires have led to a lot of training and adjustments over the past few weeks, but now we have a full management team and some friendly new faces. An exciting improvement planned for the West-End store will result in the loss of our "rain collection system" in the entrance foyer — as the roof leak will be fixed.
Brandon also reported that the Collegetown Crossing developers have been asked to have an independent parking study done to present to the city planning board before it can evaluate the developers' request for a parking variance. We also learned that there may be a local food producer interested in leasing the middle section of our building at 700 West Buffalo Street. Management is also considering the potential value of finishing the north end of the building to better accommodate larger community gatherings. Looking forward, Brandon said that managers were working to craft a policy for small loans to be offered by GreenStar to local food producers (something we have done sporadically in the past) as a way to provide more local offerings to our community and to further a local living economy.
The GM's First-Quarter Financial Report was next on our agenda. It showed that the stores are doing very well. The report was referred to the Finance Committee for review and a report back next month.
We spoke next of the possibility of leasing approximately 30 additional parking spaces nearby for staff use. The parking spaces could also be utilized for extra customer parking, especially during busy times such as the 10th of each month. We also utilized some of the time allotted to discuss Council members' tabling at the stores to facilitate better connecting with our members and hearing their ideas and concerns.
As we continue with our transition to the Policy Governance system of board governance, we addressed a few items still needing clarification. Under our new system, we'll be receiving monthly reports from the GM that address the concerns and desired outcomes related to individual policies — which currently means those we wrote earlier this year and late last year. The GM brought a first list of the benchmarks (or interpretations) he proposes to use in his reports for a few different policies. We discussed these and made some suggestions for changes as to what we want the GM to report on. Later in our meeting, we amended and approved a Calendar/Workplan for the June 2012 through May 2013 Council year, which sets the schedule for the reports we'll receive from the GM and the Council policies we'll review each month. We also discussed possibilities for the process and procedures we will use to compile and review the annual reports for an accumulative evaluation of the GM's performance and for our own self-monitoring. This is a very different system from the one we've been using, and we have not yet come to a final decision.
We next received an update on the plans and activities that our affiliate organization GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) has been working on. We learned that they're planning another walk-a-thon fundraiser this September with a block party to follow. They're also coordinating with other local organizations that have a goal of food justice and equality for all to sponsor a food justice summit the following day.
During the evening, three agenda items were tabled to next month's meeting: an application for a member-at-large to fill a committee seat, the minutes of our March meeting and an ongoing discussion of the expectations we have of anyone who becomes a Council member.
A proposal came for GreenStar to contribute toward the expenses of a Council member who attended the annual Business Alliance for a Local Living Economy (BALLE) conference recently held in Michigan. We had discussed the BALLE conference during our budgeting process and deemed it a valuable event for us to send a participant to, and we had allocated funding from a general training line in our budget. The proposal was approved and we agreed to consider this for inclusion in our budgeting for 2013.
Approved next were the Tellers' Report and Certification of the results of the vote counts for both the proposed bylaws amendments and the annual Council elections. All ten sets of recommended bylaws changes passed, and we'll be seating four new Council members at our June 12 meeting (two re-elected incumbents will continue their service. (See the complete election results beginning on page 1.)
Lastly, we formalized an agreement with our new Ombuds, and we selected a newly elected Council member to attend this year's Consumer Cooperative Management Association conference (in place of a Council member who had been slated to attend but offered to give up his spot to a new Council member). The conference will take place this month in Philadelphia.
2013 Election Menu
By Dan Hoffman,
GreenStar's plans to open a third store, in Collegetown, hit a big bump last month, when the City's Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) denied a set of variances sought by the property's owners, throwing the future of their project into limbo. The new store won approval from the Co-op's Membership last year, but the lease for the space was contingent upon the developer's securing the variances by March.
The Co-op's serious exploration of the idea of a new store in Collegetown began in 2011, when Josh Lower — who, with his father, Bill, own...
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