Council Meeting Report: Council Approves Amended Collegetown Lease, Authorizes Funds for Solar Array
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 22:20
By 12th Moon,
Council held our regular meeting on March 10 at 6:30 pm in The Classrooms @ GreenStar with twelve of fourteen Council Members, five staff members, and seven member-owners present. After introductions, a statement of preparedness by Council Members, and announcements, we heard from a few of the member-owners present. Concern was voiced regarding a proposed petition that would ask for a binding referendum vote by our member-owners. The referendum would, if passed, require GreenStar to stop selling certain products from Israel or companies the petitioners say benefit from but harm Palestinians. For more information, see my article and separate statement in the March GreenLeaf, or a statement by Council posted at both stores' Member Centers.
General Manager (GM) Brandon Kane brought the first agenda item of the evening, the monthly GM's Report. Brandon reported that continued cold and snowy weather led to a slow start for the year, much like last year, while staff have been tweaking the newly introduced Member Deals program. Brandon also reported that he will be presenting at a Co-op Café event in March and at the annual Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) conference in Boise, Idaho in June. It is an honor that GreenStar has been asked to present at the last three CCMA conferences; we must be doing something right. He told us to expect final designs for the Collegetown store equipment and layout to be completed soon, as well as a Member Survey that ends April 1, no fooling. He and the Facilities Manager have been receiving quotes to have a large array of photovoltaic panels mounted on our annex building roof. More will be heard later regarding the proposed project. At our DeWitt location, a register is being moved to the rear entrance and the stairway to the basement will be covered over, opening the center of the store. Brandon also reported that a new Finance Manager has been hired to replace Joe Marraffino, who is headed to the Democracy at Work Institute to work as their Rural Cooperative Developer for the Northeast. Many thanks to Joe for some great reworking of our financial reports to Council — we wish you the best. Welcome to new Finance Manager Erik Amos, who comes to GreenStar after five years of supporting Wheatsville Food Coop in Austin, Texas in their reporting, data integrity, and information technology needs. Erik, it's great to have you increase your commitment to our co-op, and congratulations.
Sunday, 01 March 2015 00:00
By 12th Moon,
On Tuesday, Feb. 10, Council held its regular monthly meeting in the Classrooms @ GreenStar with eleven of thirteen Council Members, four staff members, and five member-owners in attendance. During agenda review, we tabled one item and added another, then moved on to announcements and member comments. A few member-owners shared concerns regarding a petition that is being written and circulated by members of the Central New York Committee for Justice in Palestine (CJP) that would call for a membership vote on a binding referendum calling for GreenStar to stop selling certain products from Israel. Those speaking at our meeting strongly disagreed with the concept and expressed concerns that GreenStar may be negatively affected by CJP tabling in our West-End store.
There has been some misunderstanding by some GreenStar member-owners, who have thought that GreenStar is associated with the CJP petition. Many do not fully understand our referendum process. Our bylaws give member-owners the right to collect signatures on a petition that calls for a member vote on a referendum as long as it follows the rules and forms as prescribed in our policies. Council, by a two-thirds majority vote, can reject a referendum petition after it is received, but only on grounds specified in the bylaws: if it lacks the required number of valid member signatures; if it is not in the form required by Council per Policy 2.7; if its passage would be inconsistent with the bylaws; or if its passage would be legally or fiscally irresponsible. To date, Council has not seen a final version of CJP's petition and we don't expect to receive it until sometime in March or April.
Moving on to our first item of business for the evening, we received the General Manager's (GM) monthly report. Our GM, Brandon Kane, reported that register receipts are now phenol-free, using vitamin-C–based coating instead of BPA or BPS, and that the new Member Deals program is being well received. Staff is currently working on the planning and design of the future Collegetown store, and is upgrading meat and beer refrigeration units in the West-End store. Renovations are being planned for the DeWitt store that include adding a new register at the rear store entrance and, if practical, covering over the stairway to the basement that is in the middle of the store. An exciting, but long-term, project is the redesign of shelf price tags to indicate as much educational information (vegan, gluten-free, local, How Good rating, etc.) about a particular product as possible, as well as update the unit pricing for consistency across departments.
Sunday, 01 February 2015 20:47
By 12th Moon,
Council held the first meeting of the new year on Jan. 13 in the Classrooms @ GreenStar with eleven of twelve Council Members, four staff members, and four member-owners in attendance. During announcements it was reported that Council Member Keith Babuszczak had resigned since our last meeting as he has moved from the area, and a Member-at-Large on our Personnel Committee resigned because of family and work responsibilities. Appreciations to you both for your input and service to our Co-op — we wish you the best.
Our first agenda item came from our General Manager (GM), Brandon Kane, presenting the monthly GM Report. In the report, Brandon gave an overview of the ups and downs experienced during 2014 and then an outline of plans for the year ahead. With all of the construction projects of last year behind us — creating our central kitchen, catering department, and a large gathering space, repaving the parking lots, and adding a second restroom to the West-End store — the focus this coming year will be on planning and preparations for a Collegetown store.
The second item on the agenda — proposed amendments to our Collegetown location lease — was first moved toward the end of the meeting and then referred to an Immediacies Committee meeting called to coincide with the Executive Planning Committee's regular monthly meeting on Jan. 27. The amendments were necessitated by changes in the building design and an unresolved location for refrigeration compressors. Once the compressors have a home, we should be able to move forward.
- Council Meeting Report: Council Seeks Candidates for April Elections; Approves 2015 Budget
- Council Meeting Report: Meat Referendum Vote Certified, Stores' Budget Discussed
- Council Seeks Additional Members — Join Us in Serving the Co-op
- Council Receives Reports and Annual Member Survey Results; Presents Council Budget
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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...