Sunday, 03 June 2012 00:25
By 12th Moon,
Council met on Tuesday, May 8 in The Space @ GreenStar with a full agenda. During our allotted time for opening announcements, I presented to the Chair of our Membership Committee, Ethan Winn, a member-initiated petition that I had recently received for a change to our bylaws. The Membership Committee is charged with receiving member-initiated petitions for referendums or bylaws changes. They then verify signatures as those of current members and evaluate the content of the requested change for legality and adherence to our bylaws and procedures before making a recommendation to Council for action.
Brandon Kane, the General Manager (GM), presented his monthly report next. Brandon reported that both stores are doing well and both are expecting some scheduled projects to be completed soon. Recent new hires have led to a lot of training and adjustments over the past few weeks, but now we have a full management team and some friendly new faces. An exciting improvement planned for the West-End store will result in the loss of our "rain collection system" in the entrance foyer — as the roof leak will be fixed.
Brandon also reported that the Collegetown Crossing developers have been asked to have an independent parking study done to present to the city planning board before it can evaluate the developers' request for a parking variance. We also learned that there may be a local food producer interested in leasing the middle section of our building at 700 West Buffalo Street. Management is also considering the potential value of finishing the north end of the building to better accommodate larger community gatherings. Looking forward, Brandon said that managers were working to craft a policy for small loans to be offered by GreenStar to local food producers (something we have done sporadically in the past) as a way to provide more local offerings to our community and to further a local living economy.
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 11:36
By 12th Moon,
Council met on Tuesday, April 17 in The Space @ GreenStar. We received one member's comments and then moved on to the General Manager's (GM) monthly report. Brandon Kane, GM, was attending a National GM's conference in New Mexico and could not be present, but his report informed us of improvements planned for the air conditioning and a recent reset to accommodate a new hot and cold food bar, both at Oasis. We learned that additional parking, north of The Space, has been cleared for our staff to use on busy days. Improvements have also been made to our waste and recycling practices and we are now obtaining half of our electricity needs from renewable resources. The report showed that our finances are better than budgeted and our membership numbers continue to grow.
We next passed two resolutions: to change the authorizations of managers with access to our bank accounts, due to the hiring of a new Finance Manager; and to have a manager able to make changes when the GM is not available.
Staff have been creating a more informative Annual Report this year that is intended to provide our members with much more information about the good things that GreenStar is doing in our community and within the co-op world nationally. Rather than the usual four-page report, this year's plan is to produce a much longer piece, which will also cost more than had been budgeted for. A proposal was approved to go ahead with the longer report, which will better inform our members and also solicit email addresses, allowing future reports to be sent out electronically to save paper and mailing costs.
Sunday, 01 April 2012 17:28
By 12th Moon,
On March 13 Council met in The Space @ GreenStar, enjoying the spring-like weather, with four of our declared Council candidates in attendance. I'd like to remind you to exercise your unique opportunity as a GreenStar member to vote during the month of April. Please review the candidates' statements and proposed Bylaws changes (these are also posted in the stores and included in the Spring Member Mailing which was also sent to members' homes). Also be on the lookout for our GreenStar Annual Report in its new format this year. This will be available at the Spring Member Meeting, chock-full of good news about our co-op.
After beginning our meeting with a round of introductions and a few announcements, we moved on to receive the monthly General Manager's (GM) Report. Our GM, Brandon Kane, reported that both stores and the warehouse building will be receiving improvements to their refrigeration units and Oasis will be getting a salad bar and expanding its hot bar offerings. He also reported that he has been working on a business plan for a possible GreenStar satellite store in the Collegetown Crossings development, to assess the viability of the project, which is contingent on the city's approving variances. At the West-End location, a revitalized "Delicatessen @ GreenStar" was introduced to our customers in March, and negotiations are underway for additional nearby store parking. Sales at both stores are above budget, a testament to the ongoing careful efforts of our staff members. Last month, Council was introduced to our new Operations Manager, Sara Paulison, former Grocery Manager at the West-End store, and this month we learned that Joe Marraffino was hired as the new Finance Manager. Joe was appointed to Council at our November 2011 meeting and has subsequently resigned to accept the Finance Manager position. All of us on Council wish you luck in your new position, Joe, and thank you for your continuing service to our co-op. We also heard that both our regular memberships and FLOWER program memberships continue to grow. We currently have a total of over 8,000 members, including over 300 member-workers. Soon the findings from the recent membership survey will be made available. Great work all around— thanks to you, all of our staff.
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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
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...