Friday, 01 August 2014 17:01
By 12th Moon,
Council was in the dark for most of our meeting on Tuesday, July 8 as a storm took out power and blew down trees around town. We met in The Classrooms @ GreenStar with nine of twelve Council Members, three staff members, and our Board Administrator present. Through the threat of tornadoes and high winds we proceeded, moving high-priority items first, and managing to hang in and complete our agenda for the night.
First, we approved a proposal to bring a member-initiated referendum to our member-owners for a vote in October. The petition to conduct a referendum came to Council in May and, if approved by our members, would change some of the guidelines currently in place regarding the inspection of farms selling meat to GreenStar, as well as increase the mileage limit within which farms must be located in order to sell meat at the Co-op.
Next, we approved the content of our fall membership mailing and three membership meetings to be held in October. A Member Forum will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Thursday, Oct. 2 at The Space @ GreenStar for discussion of the above-mentioned referendum. An Open Mic meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 7 in The Classrooms @ GreenStar as a venue for members to bring suggestions, comments, and ideas to Council's and staff's attention, and will give another opportunity to discuss the referendum. Our Fall Membership Meeting will take place from 5:30 to 9 pm on Friday, Oct. 17 at The Space.
Our annual officer elections, which had been postponed from last month, came next. Congratulations to Chris Negronida, our new Vice President, Bob Rhea, our new Treasurer, and Jessica Rossi, re-elected as Secretary. Thanks to my fellow Council Members for electing me as President again.
Co-op member-owners who serve on our committees as Members-at-Large are seated until July of each year. Each year we ask those serving if they wish to continue for another year; if they do, we vote during our July meeting on their continuance. All of our Members-at-Large were re-appointed. We also approved the appointment of Jules Hojnowski as a Member-at-Large of our Membership Committee. Thank you, Jules, for volunteering to help out.
At this point, we went back to the earlier items on our scheduled agenda and discussed the monthly General Manager's Report. Brandon Kane, our General Manager (GM), was on vacation, but our Finance, Human Resource, and Membership Managers were all in attendance to answer questions. Brandon's written report stated that the Area Supervisors (AS) Team, consisting of all fourteen department managers, had reevaluated the Co-op's 2014 capital budget expenditures and that he was submitting a revised capital budget later on in our agenda. The revisions called for delaying two West-End store projects until 2015 — the Prepared Foods reset and Member Services desk. The desire is to finish projects already scheduled — the addition of a second customer bathroom, repaving the parking lot of the West-End store, and improving the grounds around The Space, The Classrooms, and the administrative offices. The two delayed projects, if started after these other projects, would likely run through the holiday season, which management wants to avoid. Improvements at the Dewitt Mall location will continue as planned.
I reported back to Council next regarding an Immediacies Committee meeting held in conjunction with our regular Executive Planning Committee meeting. An Immediacies meeting is called when an item is too time-sensitive to wait until the next Council meeting. The item which came to us was a pair of amendments to the new lease we had approved for our occupancy of the planned development of the Collegetown Crossings building, with GreenStar's second satellite store as its first-floor anchor. Both were contingencies that would allow either party, GreenStar or the developer, to terminate the agreed lease if either party could not secure the necessary loans by the end of this year to complete the projects.
We then discussed and approved the revised 2014 Capital Budget mentioned above, and also received a revised GM's B.2 Budget and Planning Monitoring Report, which we approved. The minutes of our June meeting were approved with slight amendments.
Our next two proposals were both tabled until next month and were sent back to the Personnel Committee for suggested amendments. The first was a procedure and a visual guide for our process to follow when receiving a GM Monitoring Report. The requested changes would further detail possible next steps associated with different scenarios if the report was found to be incomplete or out of compliance without a proper plan to bring about compliance. The second proposal is an outline of things expected of those who serve on Council. These Council Member Expectations were sent back to be annotated as to where the expectations are found, whether in policy, the Co-op's bylaws, or New York State law.
Next came monitoring of our adherence to policy C.5 Council Code of Conduct. There having been no infractions over the last year, we found ourselves in compliance with the policy and then moved on to the last item for the evening, our Policy Book update, led by our Board Administrator. We then ventured out into the aftermath of the storms, and, fortunately, all had a safe journey home.
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...