Sunday, 05 January 2014 11:02
By 12th Moon,
With winter upon us, Council met in the convenient new Classrooms @ GreenStar on Tuesday, Dec. 17, with nine of our fifteen members, five visitors, and various staff members in attendance. We made one amendment to our agenda, for the sake of our visitors: we moved an Executive Session item to the end of the meeting, so that we wouldn't have to ask anyone to step out into the cold unnecessarily.
Our first business item came from Brandon Kane, our General Manager (GM): the GM's monthly report. Brandon expressed how busy the stores get during the holiday season and how much anticipation there is for all of the changes the Co-op will see in 2014. Brandon asked us to come to the first Winter Farmers Market, on Saturday, Jan. 11, to see the newly renovated Community Room, formerly known as The Space. He expects both the Community Room and the Central Kitchen to be ready for occupancy in February. He also reported that plans are being made for renovations to the Classrooms, formerly the Enterprise car rental facility, and at both stores. Brandon also reported that member-owners have been expressing appreciation for the new U-Pick 10% discount day of your choice, a switch away from the hectic and crowded 10% on the 10th sales day.
Our next item came from the Finance Committee, a Report Back on the GM's B.1 3rd Quarter Financial Report, which the committee unanimously recommended that Council accept (we did). We then received the GM's B.1 3rd Quarter Financial Monitoring Report, which we found to be timely, complete, and showing compliance with all pertinent policies and sub-policies.
The GM's 2014 Stores Budget was submitted for approval next and was subsequently approved after acknowledging the support we get from our member-owners and staff members. The budget projects gross sales for 2014 of almost $19 million after discounts of over three quarters of a million dollars are given to our member-owners. Brandon informed Council that, while the budget was well researched, there are aspects of the Central Kitchen, Community Room, and store renovations that are not easily predictable, so he expects to utilize the Rolling Budget policy to adjust the budget, with Council approval, during the year if necessary.
We next received an update report from our tax-exempt affiliate, GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP). Last September, GSCP held its third annual Food Justice Summit, and has been sponsoring "Feeding Our Future" networking meetings every other month to bring people and organizations involved in healthy food equity together to share ideas and successes. For 2014, GSCP is planning to separate the Food Justice Summit from the Farm-a-Thon and hold the Farm-a-Thon in April. A Friday, Feb. 14 concert with the Blind Spots is set for February in our new Community Room — stay tuned for more details.
Our Membership Committee next brought a proposal for an additional section to be added to the Conditions of Membership policy. The amendment allows for the GM to recommend to Council that a membership be terminated, after due process, for consistent failure to make good on bounced checks and associated bank charges or other monies due to the Co-op. The new conditions were approved after minor changes to the proposal.
Approval of November's meeting minutes, with some amendments, came next, and we then took our mid-meeting break. After the break, we slightly amended and approved a proposed Ends policy, the last Policy Governance policy needed to complete our set of new policies. The suggested Ends policy had been published for member feedback, and we received some input that affected the final version brought to Council. We waited to write the Ends policy last, as it deals with the Co-op's projected outcome, or why the Co-op is here, whereas the other policies deal more with everyday activities.
An annual Council Self-Assessment proposal came next from our Personnel Committee and, after some significant amendments, was approved. A poll of all Council Members and staff and Members-at-Large who serve on Council committees will be conducted over the next few weeks, with the results to be compiled by our consultant from Cooperative Board Leadership Development (CBLD). We hope to share the results with our members in March.
Brandon presented another set of interpretations for one of our new Policy Governance policies, B.14 Legal Matters and Contracts. We approved the set of interpretations, which outlines the data fields that the GM will use in future Monitoring Reports to Council.
Our Governance Committee next proposed a set of amendments to our "Official Rules & Forms for GreenStar Member-Initiated Petitions," which was initiated by some confusion over the wording in a referendum sent to membership vote last year. The amendments were approved and we hope will result in less confusion with future member-initiated referendums.
Two of our "D" policies, those that describe Council's job, were presented for our self-monitoring. We found ourselves in compliance with D.3 Delegation to the GM, but found ourselves out of compliance with D.4 Monitoring of the GM's Performance, as we have not formally started the sequence of Monitoring Report reviews (because we're still deciding on the GM's interpretations that define what information the GM will use in future reports). We expect to start receiving GM Monitoring Reports starting in June, with the new Council calendar year.
Two quick items came next: first, we selected attendees to January CBLD workshops, and then we repealed our policy 3.19, which had officially moved Council meetings from the second Tuesday of the month if it fell on the 10th, because of the busyness of our 10% on the 10th sales days.
For the last item on our agenda for the evening, we moved into Executive Session to discuss a real-estate issue. And then we adjourned and went out to brave the cold and snow.
Wishing all a wonderful and productive new year — enjoy.
By Dan Hoffman,
GSCP Board Member
GreenStar Community Projects (or GSCP, the Co-op's non-profit affiliate) recently announced its choice to fill the group's Staff Support position, which has been vacant since October. Holly Payne, a long-time resident of the Ithaca area and GreenStar member-owner, was hired from among more than 30 applicants, and started the job in February. Holly has also worked for Cooperative Extension, the Cayuga Watershed Network, and Building Bridges, and has worked in both Chile and Mexico.
Holly will assist GSCP with its effo...