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,
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...