Monday, 03 February 2014 00:11
By 12th Moon,
Council met on Tuesday, Jan. 14 in the Classrooms @ GreenStar for our first meeting of the year, with 12 of our 15 members, a number of Co-op staff, and three visitors in attendance. We heard that GreenStar had contributed one of four buses that took community members to Albany for the governor's State of the State address on Wednesday, Jan. 8, to express their desire to continue a moratorium on hydrofracking in New York. This and other community donations made it possible for almost 70 high school students from New Roots and LACS to attend the rally. We received much appreciation from the rally participants and the schools.
Brandon Kane, our General Manager (GM), presented the first item of business, his monthly report. Brandon informed us that total gross sales for last year were above $18 million for both stores combined. We also learned that the renovated community space and central kitchen projects are on schedule with the hopes to have them fully functional by the end of March. Brandon reported that member feedback about the switch to a "U-Pick 10% Off" day from the "10% on the 10th" sales day has been overwhelmingly positive. He also reported that staff will start utilizing an Open Book Management process this year, which will give more ownership to staff over the performance of their departments. Brandon also informed us that the Living Wage adjustment for this year brought the Co-op's lowest-level pay rate to $11.80 an hour.
The next item on our agenda set the date for our Annual Spring Membership Meeting, which will be held Friday, April 25 in the Space @ GreenStar, with the introduction of Council candidates and other presentations. We then approved holding a Member Forum/Open Mic meeting, as an opportunity for members to express their concerns, ideas, and suggestions, for Thursday, April 10, also at the Space. We then approved the Council content for the Spring Member Mailing.
We next approved a proposal that in part said: "Consistent with its previous position in opposition to hydrofracking in New York State, the Council supports the efforts of the Towns of Dryden and Middlefield (and others) to use the power of home rule to prohibit hydrofracking within their municipalities, and therefore agrees that GreenStar Cooperative Market, Inc., may be listed as a "friend of the court" (amicus curiae) in support of the defendant towns."
Our next agenda item, an executive session item regarding an individual, was tabled until the end of the meeting so that we wouldn't have to ask our visitors to leave until the end. We then approved amended minutes of our December meeting and approved minutes of a December executive session without amendments.
Our Governance Committee brought an application from a member to be seated as a Member-at-Large on our Personnel Committee, which we approved. Welcome to Marie Benner-Rhoades, and thank you for your service to our co-op.
The next agenda item, receiving results of our Council Self-Assessment Survey, was tabled until next month as the survey had not yet been completed by everyone.
Results of an annual staff survey were distributed and referred to our Personnel Committee for review. Survey result comparisons and an associated monitoring report from the GM should come in October.
After our mid-meeting break, we selected attendees to a Cooperative Board Leadership Development (CBLD) "Co-op Café" seminar in Keene, New Hampshire. We decided to send as many as four Council members and two committee Members-at-Large. The Co-op Cafés represent a great opportunity for board and staff members to meet others from northeast co-ops and to compare notes, make friends, and network.
We then monitored our own compliance with two of our policies, C.0 "Council Global Commitment" and D.0 "Global Council Management Connection." We found ourselves in compliance with both policies.
Our next item was a proposal to join the list of local businesses that are opposed to a LPG/LNG storage facility to be constructed utilizing existing excavated salt caverns under Seneca Lake. The proposal drew much discussion with many questions as to the direct and associated dangers or problems perceived around such a development. Next month, we will further discuss the issue and hope to have more information presented to support our signing on against this storage and associated processing and transporting of gas from local wells.
For our last item, which had been tabled earlier in the meeting, we entered Executive Session to discuss a personnel issue.
And then, in a notable exception to the norm, we adjourned our meeting at 8:31 — yes, Eight Thirty-One — rather than the scheduled 9:30.
Thank you all for a proficient and productive meeting again. "GreenStar Rocks" because of you all: Council, staff, member-owners, and the Greater Ithaca population.
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...