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,
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,
As students return to Ithaca in late August, GreenStar will be hosting a two-week extravaganza of celebration and education. Two exciting celebratory events are planned, along with two opportunities for members and nonmembers to learn more about co-ops, including the history of the cooperative movement and its impact on local and global communities.
Topping the list of events to watch for is a performance by the amazing hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, who will be playing at the Bernie Milton Pavilion on the newly renovated Ithaca Commons on Thur...