Tuesday, 01 January 2013 22:30
By 12th Moon,
Council held our monthly meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11 in The Space @ GreenStar with nine of our fifteen members in attendance; evidently we are not immune to the flu and colds of the season.
During announcements we heard of the success of the first of a two-evening event organized by our affiliate GreenStar Community Projects. The events, entitled "Feeding Our Future: Building Community for Food Equity & Sustainability," are networking events designed to bring together as many as seventy-five people from different local organizations concerned with food equity issues. The second evening was held Thursday, Dec. 13. It is hoped these events will lead to more communication between different organizations in Tompkins County.
Our first item of business was the monthly report from our General Manager (GM) Brandon Kane. Brandon reported that the stores did well during the Thanksgiving crunch, even though we sold out of turkeys (for the first time ever) and were in the middle of the fall voting period. He also reported that the construction of a second walk-in refrigeration unit had begun at the West-End store and that research work has started for a feasibility study required by Council prior to getting the go-ahead for construction of a new central kitchen and bakery in our building at 700 West Buffalo Street.
Brandon also reported that Cooperative Development Services (CDS) is continuing to help us develop a 10-year pro forma financial projections for our present stores and all anticipated expansions (kitchen, Collegetown, and West-End store). This work will be a critical tool in evaluating the various components of a multi-year expansion plan. It will also provide us with the information needed to approach lenders for assistance in funding these projects. We should expect to see the results and review the pro forma report this month or next.
Our Finance Committee next presented a Report Back on the GM's B.1 3rd Quarter Financial Report, which was found to be complete and in compliance with all policies and sub-policies therein and recognized the report as showing exemplary performance and higher than expected sales.
We next finalized the 2013 GreenStar Operating and Capital Budgets, which project total sales for the year above $18 million, with almost $300,000 being given as two-percent discounts at the registers and a net profit of around $88,000. We then received the GM's revised Report for Policy B.2 Budget and Planning, which was accepted as submitted on time and in compliance with all associated policies.
Next came the Tellers' Report regarding the vote count for the November membership votes. The proposal to open a second satellite store in Collegetown received 583 Yes and 237 No votes. There were two proposals to initiate a Patronage Dividend (PD) system to replace our current two-percent discount at the registers: the proposal to amend our Bylaws for a PD system received 393 Yes and 403 No votes, and the proposal to set policy for PD received 371 Yes and 447 No votes. The Tellers' Report was certified by Council.
A discussion came next regarding the future archiving of the current GM Job Description as we continue our transition to a Policy Governance system of Board Leadership. Before we archive the job description we want to make sure that all of the requirements that we want to keep from the current version are included in our new policies. We hope to have this process completed for our February Council meeting.
We next amended and approved minutes from both our regular November meeting and our Executive Session portion of that meeting.
Brandon then presented his interpretations, which define the data to be collected and reported on, for another new PG policy, B.5, or Treatment of Customers. The interpretations had gone through initial review by our Governance and Monitoring Committee and they were approved without too many questions or amendments. We have now approved the GM's interpretations for more than half of our new policies that require a GM report.
A discussion and review of a contract with the National Cooperative Grocers Association's Development Cooperative (NCGA/DC) came next. The contract could be for consultants from NCGA/DC to help us with any combination of expansions currently being considered — the central kitchen and bakery, the Collegetown satellite store, and/or a larger West-End store. A representative consultant from NCGA/DC was to be presenting and answering our questions at the meeting, but it was decided that it would be better and more informative if he were present to answer our questions after we receive the ten-year pro forma report mentioned earlier.
Our last item for the evening was held in Executive Session as we finalized our evaluation of our GM and considered amendments to the current contract of employment with Brandon, as it must now match our new PG structure and policies.
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
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,
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...