Monday, 01 September 2014 15:36
By 12th Moon,
Council met on Tuesday, August 12 for our monthly meeting with nine of our twelve members present, five staff members, one member-owner, and three visitors from Syracuse. Our visitors were all board members of the Syracuse Real Foods Co-op who had come down earlier that afternoon to tour our West-End store, the Central Kitchen, and our community room, The Space @ GreenStar, and they stayed for the first part of the meeting to witness our process.
Our first item on the agenda was the monthly General Manager's (GM's) Report. GM Brandon Kane reported that the repaving project at the West-End store and the new customer restrooms have been completed and that upcoming plans are to add a new express register in the store. There are also plans to make some changes at our DeWitt location, with a reset to be accomplished by the holiday season. Brandon reported that some members have requested that we no longer carry products from Eden Foods as they are following the restrictions of health-care coverage that Hobby Lobby won in a Supreme Court case. While we may not agree with their decision, we also have to acknowledge that Eden Foods has been a leader in bringing BPA-free containers to the US. Rather than pull their products, management encourages our members to vote with their purchase dollars and buy products they do support.
Next, we discussed a proposal to change the name of our satellite store from GreenStar Oasis to GreenStar DeWitt. The rationale for a name change was twofold: first, that some people in the community did not recognize that it was part of the Co-op; and secondly, that as we look toward hopefully opening another satellite store in Collegetown, the geographic reference would consistently identify the different store locations while making it clear that each location is part of the GreenStar cooperative. The proposal had first come to Council at our June meeting, but a decision was held off until we could solicit feedback from our members about the change. As most of the responses were in favor of the change, we decided that we would call the location "GreenStar Co-op at DeWitt Mall" or a shorter derivative thereof.
For our next item, we entered into an executive session discussion for real estate negotiations. Then after our mid-meeting break, we approved the minutes of our July meeting with some minor amendments.
A proposal was put forth to select tellers for the October membership vote on a member-initiated referendum asking for changes to our policy regarding restrictions on the sale of red meat at the stores. The proposal was tabled until our September 9 meeting to give our Governance Committee time to solicit volunteers from the pool of members-at-large who work on our various committees. Tellers may be Council members or committee member-workers.
We next approved the GM's revised interpretations for eight of our newer Policy Governance–style policies. These eight policies had been amended, which required the GM to make some changes to the interpretations outlining the data that will be reported on when the GM presents annual Monitoring Reports on each of the policies.
A procedural policy for receiving GM Monitoring Reports and an accompanying visual Decision Tree came up next. The process for how Council will receive the GM's reports and what possible actions could result has been one of the more confusing aspects of our switching to the Policy Governance system of monitoring the stores' performance and thereby the GM's performance. After much discussion and some confusion, we sent the proposed policy to a sub-committee of three people to work out the language and bring the proposal back to a later Council meeting.
The last item for the evening was also tabled. As we reviewed our Policy C.7 "Council Committees," we realized that, when we wrote the policy, we had indicated that only one part of the policy was to be used when monitoring our own performance; in reality, there were other parts of the policy that should also be reviewed.
We then adjourned the meeting almost an hour early.
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...