Tuesday, 02 October 2012 22:32
By 12th Moon,
Council met on Sept. 11 in The Space @ GreenStar and went through a long agenda of items in record time, finishing by 9:15! After introducing ourselves and stating our preparedness for the meeting, we heard from a member-owner about her concerns regarding whom to speak with when she has issues at the stores.
Brandon Kane, General Manager (GM), next presented his monthly GM report which updated us on the progress staff has made toward preparing for expansion, including compiling the necessary information to be submitted to our members for the upcoming votes regarding both the leasing of a second satellite store in Collegetown and the proposal to change our current two-percent discount to a Patronage Dividend system. (Information regarding the Patronage Dividend and Collegetown Expansion votes will be mailed or e-mailed, to those who have elected that option, and posted in the stores.)
Brandon also reported that an advisory committee of staff members will be drawing up plans and equipment lists to assess the needs and costs for an expansion project that would give GreenStar a central kitchen and bakery in our building at 700 W. Buffalo Street. In conjunction with the kitchen project, changes to both stores will be planned along with a renovation of The Space @ GreenStar to accommodate larger public events. Because of the work being planned for The Space, we will no longer be accepting requests to rent to the public until after renovations have been made.
Brandon's report showed that both stores are doing well and that we now have 8,700 member-owners, of whom 400 are FLOWER program members. Some staff are participating, with staff members from AFCU, in a series of "Talking Circles" conducted by the Multi-Cultural Resource Center.
The next two items came from our Finance Committee. First, a Report Back on the GM's "B.1 Report," or 2nd Quarter Financial Report, which was determined to be complete and submitted on time and as showing exemplary performance and higher than expected sales growth. The second item submitted for discussion was the first draft of a Council 2013 Budget. The draft will be further discussed at the Finance Committee meeting on Thursday, Sept. 27, and brought back to Council for our Tuesday, Oct. 9 meeting.
An update report came next from our non-profit affiliate, GreenStar Community Projects. Preparations and budgeting for the Sept. 22 Walkathon, festival and Food Justice Summit were GSCP's current focus. While they had raised more money this year than at the same point last year, they were still short of their goals. They projected an exciting day for all who would participate, especially the staff and Council members who would be walking in the Walkathon.
I presented a report back from an Immediacies Committee meeting held Tuesday, Aug. 28, at which we decided the final wording of the Patronage Dividend proposal going to the membership for vote this fall; we also rescheduled the 2012 Fall Membership Meeting from Friday, Oct. 19 to Thursday, Nov. 8 (instead of having a special Membership Meeting at that time). We also proposed that Council postpone the Membership vote and associated mailing regarding proposed changes to our members' Capital Contributions until the Spring 2013 Membership Meeting and revisit the proposal regarding the grandfather clause; and that we schedule both the membership vote regarding a proposed Patronage Dividend system and the membership vote regarding opening a second satellite store in Collegetown for the 2012 Fall Membership Meeting (and an associated absentee voting period from Nov. 1 to 30). Council approved both proposals.
Last month, Council approved asking the membership to vote on whether or not GreenStar should open a second satellite store in Collegetown at 307 College Ave. This month, we approved the wording of the vote, which you should receive, with associated ballots and information, around Nov. 1.
Minutes of our June and July meetings came for amendment and approval next on our agenda. The June minutes were tabled to next month as some attachments were not current, and the July minutes were accepted.
As we're still making the transition to our new Policy Governance style of working with the GM and management, we approved a proposal from our Personnel Committee to conduct an annual GM evaluation using the same process we have been using for a few years. Next year, we hope to be monitoring the store and GM performance through a different system of specific monthly reports, compiling the results over the year. To that end, our next agenda item included three sets of "GM Interpretations," the data that will be submitted in future reports, for three of our new policies that require annual reports. All three sets were approved.
We entered into Executive Session briefly to discuss real estate negotiations.
Our Policy Review Committee brought a proposal for three new Procedural Policies pertaining to member-initiated petitions and votes. The PRC believes new, well-written procedures could result in more clarity and a more "member-friendly" situation, where all the "rules" for each type of member initiative are conveniently collected in one place. Council approved the three new policies and repealed the three corresponding old policies.
Selection of six Councilmembers to perform Teller duties for the upcoming November voting period came next on our agenda. A big thank you to all those who volunteered. Please remember to vote during November and to attend the Fall Membership Meeting on Thursday, Nov. 8. Look for other informational Member Forums to be announced on our website and in postings at the stores.
Our last agenda item for the evening, and one that at least three member-owners present were waiting for very patiently, was the selection of two of three applicants to fill two empty Council seats. Council voted to seat both Colin Meeks, a staff member, and Keith Babuszczak. Welcome and thank you for volunteering! Thank you also to Patrice Lockert Anthony for volunteering. Please remember that open Council elections are held every spring.
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...