from Kara Cusolito, Council Vice-President

GreenStar Council News for December 2021

New Year, New Council

Happy 2022! Historically the Council year has always begun in June. This year marks the first time the Council year will match the calendar year, a small change that will afford us many efficiencies, which we are quite excited about. Shifting the Council year is just one small change of many we’ve made over the last few years in an effort to clean up and update the cooperative’s governance. 

Council has much to accomplish in 2022: we will seat 4 new and 1 incumbent Council member at next week’s Council meeting, begin the search for our next General Manager, and continue our comprehensive review and update of current policies to best serve the co-op. The bylaws review announced last fall will take a backseat to GM recruitment, but is still the next large project on Council’s to-do list for 2022.

Supporting Our Co-op

The year-end holidays are historically some of the busiest weeks for GreenStar, this year being no exception. In late December we saw some of our highest days of sales in the co-op’s history. Thank you all for supporting the co-op to make this happen.

Yet as we enter the slowest months of the year – COVID continues to impact our store and our staff. The current surge in cases affects checkout lines as well as all other departments. Thank you for your continued support and patience as we navigate the newest phase in the pandemic, which is now entering its third year, and ever-changing mandates. In December, New York State governor Kathy Hochul reimplemented a mask mandate. With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant surging, we appreciate your cooperation so that we may protect our staff and our community.

Many of you reached out to Council last month to recommend the return of GreenStar’s volunteer program. We hear you! We miss the community that comes with GreenStar’s volunteer program, and we appreciate hearing from you about what it means to you and the Co-op. 

Though the program was in full swing pre-pandemic, bringing back member labor is more complex than it may seem – we are not only in a completely new physical location, new protocols need to be created and volunteers need to be retrained. Given how stretched-thin GreenStar staff is at the moment, we understand that we simply cannot bring the program back without careful planning and preparation. 

To that end- Council has begun the process of reviving our volunteer program. Later this month we will be meeting with Board and staff members from Honest Weight Co-op in Albany to learn about their experiences with continuing their volunteer program during the pandemic. We will work together with GreenStar staff to create and implement a plan that will be mutually rewarding for volunteers and staff.  

Highlights from the December Immediacies Committee and Council Meetings

At its December regular meeting, Council monitored Policy B.1 – Financial Condition and Activities (3Q21), finding it in compliance except for one sub-policy, with an acceptable plan to bring the sub-policy back into compliance.

Council also approved its own budget, reduced by 19.5% from 2021. 

Additionally, the board rescinded its contract with the cooperative consulting group Columinate for 2022, meanwhile signing onto another year of working with Neighboring Food Co-ops Association for both board and operational support. GreenStar has worked with NFCA for several years and finds the expertise and support they offer invaluable.

Council certified the Teller’s Report from the October 2021 vote, affirming that the following individuals will be seated on Council in January of 2022: Eldred Harris, Pamela Coleman, Edward Swayze, Rexx-Javier (RJ) Isley and Deborah Rhea.

At an Immediacies Committee meeting held at the end of the month, Council extended the appointment of the interim general manager team of Deb Peskin and Giles McCarty, approved the operational budget, and approved the application process of a Economic Injury Disaster Loan, a pandemic relief program through the Small Business Association.

You can find details on these items by reviewing the December Council Agenda and December Immediacies Committee Agenda, available on the Council Documents page of the website. Minutes are posted to the website upon approval from Council (typically at the following month’s Council meeting).

Next GreenStar Council Meeting:

Tuesday, January 11th beginning at 6:30 PM 

Meetings are held online. Email for instructions on how to attend. Meeting agendas are posted online 6 days before the meeting at:


Member-Owners are always welcome to attend. Come early for a Conversation with Council!

From 6:00 – 6:30pm GreenStar members are invited to join Council members for an opportunity to engage in conversation. This 30 minute period is an “open-mic” format and will be recurring – taking place ahead of the GreenStar Council meeting every second Tuesday of the month. Email for instructions on how to attend.