By David Sibley, Council Member
As the many pieces of the West End relocation puzzle fall into place, GreenStar’s need for competent, committed individuals willing to serve this vital community resource as decision-makers, and as stewards of our cooperative’s grand vision, grows. The Co-op’s mission to serve its member-owners, and to be a leader in the movement toward a just, egalitarian, and sustainable society, is supported by a critical responsibility of the 15-member GreenStar Council: to recruit people from our membership to serve on this governing board. Qualities of an effective Council member include:
• a commitment to cooperative values and principles
• a belief in the importance of GreenStar’s vision
• a capacity to get along with and work with others on challenging, long-term projects regardless of differences of opinion or style
• life experience, training, and skills relevant to Council’s responsibility to serve GreenStar owners and monitor management, especially financial and analytical expertise
• a willingness to show up, shoulder responsibility, and do the work necessary to make informed decisions
• an interest in governance and policy
• an understanding and acceptance of the clear line between Council responsibilities and the General Manager’s operations
• a sense of humility and humor, and an understanding that nothing that is truly worthwhile is ever easy
In order to ensure achievement of the immediate goal of relocating the West End store, and to make meaningful progress toward the long-term goal of better serving a growing membership and the broader community, we, the current members of GreenStar’s Council, encourage and invite our fellow owners to get involved by serving on Council, or on a Council committee. For GreenStar owners uncertain about choosing to connect with the Cooperative on a deeper level than the weekly shopping trip, my experience over the past two years might be persuasive.
I am a new Council member (seated in July 2018) currently serving on two committees — Governance and Bylaws & Policy Review — with previous service on the Patronage Rebate committee in 2017. The time I’ve spent in Council and committee meetings (for me, typically about 12 hours per month, including preparation) has been educational and fulfilling in many significant ways. These meetings offer regular, wonderful opportunities to get to know other devoted co-op owners, staff, and Council members — all of whom earned my confidence and respect for their commitment to GreenStar’s vision. I gained an understanding of the inner workings and challenges of our cooperative organization, and a sense of accomplishment as we debated important issues and made consequential decisions. The benefits of serving GreenStar as a Council member also include a 15.5 percent discount on purchases and a small monthly stipend to support preparation for and regular attendance at Council and committee meetings. Council appoints “at-large” members who have applied to serve on a committee, and active committee members-at-large receive the 8 percent member worker discount for a 2-hour commitment per month.
GreenStar’s Council is always seeking owners with relevant skills and experience, including experience serving on a board of directors, but any earnest Co-op owner willing to get familiar with GreenStar’s governance and do the work at hand can contribute significantly to Council’s three main and ongoing tasks:
1) listening to and responding to GreenStar’s owners; 2) monitoring the General Manager without micromanaging; and 3) long-range planning for development and realization of GreenStar’s mission. If you are a GreenStar owner interested in participating in this rewarding confluence of loyal Co-op owners and meaningful work, please submit a Council Candidate Application by March 1, or get a Council Committee Application, which you can fill out and submit at any time. Applications are available at all GreenStar locations and on our website. Elections for Council members will take place in April.
GreenStar is on the threshold of the biggest move, by far, in its history. The search is on, right now, for Co-op owners ready to give their valuable time, intelligence and talents to ensure that we continue to make sound decisions true to our core values, so that our jointly owned business thrives in a competitive environment throughout and beyond the transition to a larger anchor store. On behalf of GreenStar’s Council, I thank you for considering taking part in the important work ahead.