Council Hears PG Reports; Approves Co-op Film Donation and Kitchen Consultant

By 12th Moon, 

Council President

11-5-12thMoon-72dpiCouncil held our regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13 in The Space @ GreenStar. During announcements we were informed that our affiliate GreenStar Community Projects has organized a networking event to bring together as many as seventy-five people from local organizations concerned with food equity issues. The event, entitled "Feeding Our Future: Building Community for Food Equity & Sustainability," will take place over two evenings, Nov. 29 and Dec. 13, and is designed to get all of these folks together at the same table, as the four-hour program each evening will include food sharing as well as information and networking.


Brandon Kane, our General Manager (GM), presented his monthly report next, and told us that both stores are doing very well; we survived another very busy tenth of the month; and we are preparing for the holiday season. We also learned that the installation of a new additional walk-in cooler for the West-End store may well have to wait until after Thanksgiving because of shipping delays. The annual staff satisfaction survey will be going out to all staff soon and there will be both a managers and assistant managers meeting and an all-staff meeting in the second half of November.

Brandon next submitted the Third Quarter Financial B.1 Report in the new Policy Governance (PG) format that we have been transitioning into. The report was referred to our Finance Committee for review and report back next month. The PG format of reports, called Monitoring Reports, starts with policies that Council has approved, then the GM writes his interpretations of the policy and what data he will use to report, and presents this to Council for approval. This system should provide Council with the data it needs in a consistent way that makes it easier to compare years of data. As we are still in this process of transitioning, our next agenda item was to vote on a set of the GM's interpretations for another policy.

Interpretations for Policy B.2, Budget and Planning, were presented by Brandon and, with few amendments, Council approved them. Our Governance and Monitoring Committee has been working with Brandon to identify the data that best informs Council and our members for these different policies, allowing more time for discussion than at a regular Council meeting. To date we have approved interpretations for eight policies.

Next on our agenda Brandon submitted a Monitoring Report for Policy B.2, Budget and Planning, which used the pre-Council amendment and approval interpretations. It was asked that he resubmit the report next month, adjusted to the amendments agreed upon.

The GreenStar 2013 Budget was presented for discussion and was referred to our Finance Committee for review. The 2013 budget will be brought back to our December meeting for approval.

We next approved a donation of $2,500 to Home Planet, the producers of the co-op documentary film "Food for Change." Last June, at the CCMA conference in Philadelphia, most of us attending had the opportunity to watch clips from the unfinished film and found it to be a great informational documentary about the rise and fall of food co-ops in America over the last 100-plus years. By late spring we hope to have a copy of the full, completed film for community viewing. (For more information please see

A proposal to sign a contract with Commercial Kitchen Consulting (CKC) out of Binghamton came next. We have been looking at the possibility of creating a central kitchen and bakery in our building at 700 W. Buffalo Street. CKC consultants would help assess our needs, create architectural drawings and necessary schematics, help identify and source "green" equipment, as well as help select and oversee the construction firm. The contract was approved with the contingency that we would first receive a positive feasibility report on the project.

Elisabeth Harrod, our Grand Keeper of The Policy Book, next led us through an update to our policy books, removing outdated material and inserting new or amended policies and procedural documents. Always a good opportunity to review the work we've done over the last few months and make a pile of paper to recycle.

After our mid-meeting break, we amended and approved minutes of our October Council meeting and then appointed applicant Maribeth Rubenstein to fill an open member-at-large seat on our Governance and Monitoring Committee. Welcome to Maribeth, and thank you for volunteering your service to our co-op.

We next reviewed a contract with the National Cooperative Grocers Association's Development Cooperative (NCGA/DC), which assists co-ops across the country with expansions. We discussed the possible needs for their services if we are to open a second satellite store in Collegetown, and/or if we were to expand into a new, larger West-End store. We expect an opportunity to have discussions next month with one of the consultants from NCGA/DC to help ascertain the appropriateness of our contracting with them for these services.

For our last agenda item, receiving the results of our recent GM Evaluation survey, we entered into Executive Session and discussed the results and the "Findings Report" that we will be producing for next month's Council meeting.

  • 04.10.15

    By Dan Hoffman,
Council Member

    2013 Dan Hoffman12th 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

    361 YES,

    12 NO

    Q#2 = FAIL

    222 YES,

    147 NO

    Q#3 = PASS

    311 YES,

    61 NO

    Q#4 = PASS

    331 YES,

    22 NO

    Q#5 = PASS

    340 YES,

    30 NO

    Q#6 = PASS

    366 YES,

    7 NO

    GreenStar 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,
Membership Manager

    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...