Friday, 08 February 2013 16:47
By 12th Moon,
Council met Jan. 8 at 6:30 pm in The Space @ GreenStar for our regular monthly meeting. During our time for announcements we heard that the second evening of the "Feeding Our Future: Building Community for Food Equity & Sustainability," organized by our affiliate GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP), was a great success. We hope the two networking events will lead to more communication between different organizations in Tompkins County. To that end, GSCP will be working to organize similar networking events as often as every other month. We also learned that GreenStar had contributed $1,550 to Shaleshock to cover the cost of one of the four buses that took local residents to Albany on Wednesday, Jan. 9 to protest fracking at the annual State of the State address given by Gov. Cuomo. GreenStar also provided goodie bags with snacks and signs for those attending the event.
General Manager Brandon Kane (GM) in his monthly report told us that he expects that 2012 will have been the best year since 2003 in sales and accomplished projects. Brandon outlined our progress transitioning to our new policy governance system, establishing GSCP as a strong organization in our community and actively pursuing several expansion initiatives. The Space @ GreenStar, 700 W. Buffalo St., will house the winter Ithaca Farmers Market each Saturday starting Jan. 12 and lasting through March. The Space will not be rented otherwise while work is being done to establish the needs and viability of constructing a centralized bakery and kitchen as well as a large public assembly area that could hold as many as 300 people.
The next item on our agenda was a proposal to delay presenting to our members for a vote a change to our Capital Contribution structure. This annual member investment is currently $9 plus a $1 processing fee. Earlier we had decided to bring a proposal to members during the spring voting period, but after the results of the vote against patronage dividend and some continued disagreement about how to handle the situation of those members who have reached full equity, we decided to postpone bringing this forward until we did more information sharing with our members.
An item involving a new contract with Sushi With Gusto, the preparers of the sushi sold at our stores, was tabled until next month, and another item was added. Council approved a proposal to send three Council members to the "It Takes a Region" Conference in Saratoga Springs, NY on Feb. 11-12. The conference sponsored by the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group, (in their words) "... is the conference for everyone doing food system change work! Together we'll build on exciting efforts underway in our region in production, distribution logistics, research, food access and nutrition, policy advocacy and more."
Next, we approved an application for a Member-at-Large seat on our Membership Committee from member-owner Eric Hathaway. Welcome, Eric, and thank you for volunteering.
We next approved paying for the additional travel-related expenses associated with my attending a one-day conference in April of this year held in St. Paul, Minnesota. The conference is organized by the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) and will bring together for the first time both GMs and Board Presidents from as many as 128 co-ops across the country. NCGA will pay for travel expenses and a two night stay in St. Paul for both Brandon and me.
Our next item, first discussed last month, was a lengthy proposal to incorporate the present GM Job Description into our new policies and repeal the old job description concurrent with the beginning of a new contract of employment with our GM. This proposal was lengthy as it amended nine of our policies, added two new policies, and required amendments to our Official Personnel Policy. The proposals were approved.
Regular session minutes of our Dec. Council meeting were presented, amended, and approved before we took our mid-meeting break. After the break, we discussed the upcoming Council elections and recruitment work planned. There will be two informational opportunities for members who would like to learn more about what it entails to be a member of Council. The information sessions will be held in the West-End store classroom on Jan. 15 and Feb. 11 at 6:30 pm.
A new contract with NCGA Development Cooperative to assist in our expansion planning was next up for discussion for the second month. As the Ithaca City Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) has not made a decision regarding requested variances by the developer of the Collegetown building we wish to have a second satellite store in, we tabled the contract discussion until March and added a proposal to amend our lease agreement with the developer, extending a contingency in the lease that the BZA will make a determination by its March meeting rather than its February meeting. The proposal was approved and we're all crossing our fingers, hoping the city officials will see the benefits this project will bring to Collegetown.
Our last item for the evening was the final tweaking of a new contract of employment with Brandon Kane. The new contract agreed upon will be for 18 months starting Feb. 7 and was amended to reflect the repeal of the old job description. Many thanks and appreciations were expressed for the great work Brandon and staff have done over the past year and a half.
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...