Thursday, 03 April 2014 18:47
By 12th Moon,
Council held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 11 in the Classrooms @ GreenStar, with twelve of fourteen Council Members, five employees, and one member-owner present. Council has had a full contingent of fifteen members until recently, when Angela Zhang resigned for personal reasons. We will miss her contributions to Council, but as you will read later she has applied for a Member-at-Large seat on our Finance Committee, where she has served for the last two years.
After agenda review and announcements we received the General Manager's monthly report from our GM, Brandon Kane. Brandon informed us of the schedule for the transition to the new central kitchen facility. We have received the Certificate of Occupancy for the building, and staff will be training on new equipment, then moving into the new space very soon. We expect that obtaining the needed licensing for the Community Room/Space @ GreenStar will take a few more weeks. By May we should be able to rent the Space out for events. Brandon also reported that the work being done by staff doesn't stop there, as plans are being made for renovating the Classrooms and then reconfiguring the Dewitt Mall store and the Deli/former classroom area of the West-End store.
Brandon updated us on the Open Book Management implementation progress. He reported that staff members across departments are engaged in the necessary financial training, and the weekly meetings have fostered a positive understanding of the relationship between departments and of their labor and financial differences. The report also showed the continuing success of the FLOWER program and the well-received U-Pick 10% Off member appreciation day.
We next received the GM's B.1 4th Quarter and Year-End 2013 Financial report. We accepted the report as being in compliance with policy. The report showed that GreenStar is healthy and stable even with all of the renovations, kitchen design, and furnishing expenses. We ended 2013 with gross sales of $18.25 million. Job well done, staff.
Council next made the formal decision to extend our lease for the West-End store location for another five years. The extension is part of the lease agreement we have had with the owners.
I next reported back to Council on the Immediacies Committee meeting held in conjunction with the Executive Planning Committee meeting of Feb. 25. At that meeting, the final language of proposed amendments to our Conditions of Membership Policy 2.6 was approved. These policy changes related to members who had outstanding debts to the Co-op.
Utter chaos followed next as we performed the ritual of updating our Policy Books. Our Board Administrator (BA) handed out copies of all documents that had changed since our last update a few months ago. We were also provided with a chart of what to replace, add, or remove. Then it was a mad rush to open and close the three-ring binder and remove and/or add and then close back up repeatedly for about ten minutes. We are reminded that this task is the fruit of our labors over the past few months. Special thanks to our BA, Alexis Self, and Council Member Dan Hoffman for all the work of compiling the updates.
After our mid-meeting break, we accepted the minutes of our Feb. 11 Council meeting with few amendments. We then moved on to approve a proposal from our Personnel Committee to perform an evaluation of our GM in accordance with the terms of his contract. The Personnel Committee will oversee the evaluation, which will use an online survey tool. Our BA will create the survey and our consultant from the Cooperative Board Leadership Development co-op will retrieve the raw data and compile it for Council. Anonymous responses will be sought from Council Members, managers, Staff Advisory Board members, and any staff members who work directly with Brandon.
The next agenda item was brought by our GM and the Governance Committee. The GM's Interpretations for Policy B.15 "Cooperation with Other Cooperatives," which had been vetted by the committee, were approved — bringing us to only one more policy interpretation to receive and a few to amend. It looks like we will be ready to start the 2014-2015 Council Calendar year with our Policy Governance system in place and full Monitoring Report schedule to begin.
An application for a Member-at-Large seat on our Finance Committee came from member-owner and recently resigned Council Member Angela Zhang. We readily approved her appointment and welcome her in all capacities in which she serves our co-op.
Selecting attendees to two upcoming conferences came next on our agenda. Four Council Members were selected to attend the annual Consumer Cooperative Management Association's 2014 conference in Madison, Wisconsin in June. We also selected three Council Members to attend the annual Business Alliance for Local Living Economies conference in Oakland, California, also in June.
Lastly, we found ourselves in compliance with most of our Policy C.2 "Council's Job." We recognized that we were out of compliance with one section of the policy as we have not yet started the formal Monitoring Report schedule, and we plan to be in compliance when the new Council calendar year starts in June.
And then we were done for the evening, once again having conducted a good meeting and finishing prior to the scheduled 9:30 pm — at 8:47 to be specific. Many thanks to all who are on this GreenStar team. It's great working with you all.
By Alexis Alexander,
In October, member-owners have the opportunity to vote on six bylaws changes being proposed by Council. GreenStar's bylaws, the rules that govern the internal management of the Co-op, were originally established when GreenStar was incorporated. According to our bylaws, one of the essential rights of member-owners is the ability to vote on the creation and changes to the bylaws and mission statement.
Unfortunately, GreenStar, like many co-ops, suffers from very poor voter turnout relative to the number of member-owners. For instance, only 5 percent of member-owners voted in th...