Tuesday, 01 July 2014 18:45
By 12th Moon,
Council met on Tuesday, June 10 in The Classrooms @ GreenStar for our regular monthly meeting with nine of twelve Council members, four staff, two Council-elect, and one member-owner present. During our announcement period we heard that our affiliate GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) would host another community networking event in The Space @ GreenStar on Thursday, June 19. We also learned that Britton Dougherty resigned because of her busy schedule working on an organic farm in Interlaken. We will miss her bright and enthusiastic contributions and thank her for her service.
During our member comment time, we heard a request for signage in the stores asking shoppers to curb their cell phone use at the registers and in the dining areas. We also heard complaints regarding the brewing of coffee in our stores and the condition of the coffee grinding area in the Bulk section at our West-End store after customer use.
As is normal, our first item of business, the General Manager's (GM) monthly report came next. Our GM, Brandon Kane, reported that staff are already getting many requests for use of the renovated Space @ GreenStar and that a recent GSCP fundraising event was a big success and a good test of our ability to cater a large group at our facility. Brandon said that liquor license renewals were approved for both stores and that the application for a liquor license for The Space was almost complete, and he hopes for it to be approved by the end of July. He reported that staff will be improving the signage on and painting the façade of The Space, as well as making improvements to the parking lot.
Brandon further reported that renovations will be taking place at both stores. The Dewitt location will be renovating the area that previously housed the bakery into offices and back-stock storage. The West-End store will be receiving a second customer restroom, which will necessitate the temporary closing of the one we currently use. During construction there will be two portable toilets in the parking lot for customer use. After the new restroom is up and operational, repaving of the parking lot will be next (in stages, so as to be less disruptive). Brandon also reported that sales have risen from a low in the first quarter of this year and that staff participation in our Open Book Management (OBM) program has helped to cut some expenses and bring our gross income back up to budgeted predictions. This growth will be very important this year as we also got hit with an estimated $100,000 bill for uncollected past sales tax. During a sales tax audit it was found that when we transitioned to a new computer system back in 2008, some deli and grab-and-go items were not listed as taxable, as they should have been. This tax bill will be offset, we hope, by the continued successes of staff and the OBM program to identify areas for savings and improvements. On a happier note, we learned that total memberships are for the first time ever above 10,000.
Next, I reported back to Council regarding an Immediacies Committee meeting held in conjunction with our regular Executive Planning Committee meeting on May 27. The original agenda item was to discuss real estate negotiations but that item was not ready yet. Instead we received and approved a proposed reallocation of $17,000 to complete the additional restroom project for the West-End store.
We then received the GM's 1st Quarter Financial Monitoring report, which we found to be complete, submitted on time, and in compliance with policy. We received and approved a proposal to amend the 2014 budget to include capital expenditures that were budgeted for the 2013 renovations to The Space and for the central kitchen, but were not invoiced until the beginning of this year.
A proposal to change the name of our Oasis store to GreenStar at Dewitt Mall came next. It's felt that the Oasis name does not identify the store as part of the Co-op, and, with our West-End store and proposed Collegetown stores being identified by location, a name change would both create consistency and help identify the store as a co-op. This discussion was tabled until our August meeting to give us time to receive member-owner feedback. (For more information see Joe Romano's article on page 2 of this issue.) A new lease agreement for the proposed Collegetown Crossings development came next. After the city made some zoning changes to the area, the developers had to redesign the structure, as they lost 15 feet off the back of their planned building. The lease was approved and should be signed by the time you read this, with plans for us to be moved into our new store by July 2016.
After our mid-meeting break, we approved the minutes of our May meeting (with some amendments) and moved on to thank and send well wishes to our two retiring Council Members, Melissa Blake and Scott Morris. We also welcomed our two newest Council Members, Ellen Brown and Sam Frederick. With the seating of new Council Members and the beginning of our Council calendar year, we held our annual disclosure of conflicts of interest, signing statements relevant to that. These will be available on the Council Documents section of the website and will be entered into the Policy Books at both stores.
Officer elections had been postponed until July at our May meeting to give us more time to inform newly elected members of the duties and expectations of officers, and to give additional time for candidates to submit any information they may wish prior to the voting next month.
Lastly, we reviewed our policy C.6 "Officers" and found ourselves in compliance with our policy. We did note that the description of the Secretary's job may need amending, as our Board Administrator, rather than the Secretary, prepares the minutes of our meetings as noted in the description.
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...