July Council Meeting Report

from Marilyn Chase, Council President


Council accepted the 2020 first quarter B.1 Financial report as in compliance except two sub policies. These metrics are contingent upon sales and cash flow, both which are directly affected by the additional stressors and conditions brought about by the pandemic. As we continue to recover from the losses incurred during the early stage of the public health crisis, we expect to come into compliance with these sub-policies within the next 18 months.

Council appointed Brian Lynch to an open seat on the Personnel Committee as a member-at-large. Brian was appointed to GreenStar Council last fall and was an engaged and productive Council member. We are very happy he is willing to donate his time to committee work.

Council approved a six month extension to the General Manager’s employment contract, moving the contract renewal date to February. The present business environment is still experiencing many unpredictable external forces requiring continual adaptation, resulting in an ever changing environment with much uncertainty. Contract negotiations are better accomplished when business conditions have stabilized and we fully understand our financial condition.

Council updated its response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions required to protect the health of our community. We will continue to use GSuite to accomplish our work and hold web-based meetings when necessary. We have cancelled the in-person aspects of the Fall Member Meeting and instructed the GM to ensure meeting materials are made available to membership. We authorized the Membership Engagement Committee Chair to take reasonable actions to mitigate risk associated with member voting, including the suspension of the use of physical ballots and the provision of electronic alternatives, approval of sending emails to member-owners who have opted out of or not signed up for online voting. We approved an increased expenditure from the Council budget associated with the contract with Survey Ballot Systems and any changes to the voting process that may occur in connection with the pandemic. The Membership Engagement Committee Chair will report on such actions by the next Council meeting.

We also updated the General Manager’s emergency measures put into effect in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Council has requested the General Manager submit regular financial reports, as well as an Ends and Limitations reporting schedule for the 2020-2021 Council year. We authorized the General Manager to continue to make reasonable decisions and modify operational rules to address issues that arise in relation to the pandemic, even when such actions might conflict with Council policy or GreenStar’s bylaws, for the express purpose of conforming to local, state, and federal executive orders and laws. The General Manager will summarize any relevant actions to Council by email in his regular updates.

A few member-owners from Zero Waste Ithaca attended the Council meeting expressing concerns about the impact of single-use plastic and other single-use disposable materials and inquiring about GreenStar’s zero-waste waste initiatives.

Last month, we issued the following statement:

GreenStar Council Supports Black Lives Matter 

We stand in solidarity with those protesting racial injustice, and we condemn the generations of police brutality, discrimination, and systemic racism experienced by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

We must also put action to those words. We acknowledge that we have work to do as individuals, and as a Board of Directors. Council will develop an action plan that will:

  • Seek feedback from BIPOC in our community; listen, and learn how we can do better.

  • Recruit diverse voices from underrepresented communities for Council and Committee seats.

  • Create partnerships with local leaders who are already doing social justice and racial equity work.

While we have only just begun the work, so far :

  • The Governance Committee, which is charged with Council education and training, is drafting a work plan for the Council year that outlines a comprehensive training curriculum. The committee will seek to utilize local resources, and engage BIPOC community organizations to help develop and facilitate our training curriculum.

  • The Membership Engagement Committee, charged with Council and Committee recruitment, is also drafting a work plan for the Council year that includes a recruitment plan that focuses on outreach to and engagement with communities in the region.

  • The Finance committee is reviewing Council’s budget to ensure we have the funds available to cover the costs of these initiatives by cutting other costs rather than increasing the budget for the year.

  • Individually, many Council members have begun their own work by reading and sharing several recommended books, including: “Collective Courage,” “How to be an Antiracist,” and “White Fragility.” Some Council members are also planning to participate in LaDonna Sanders’ “Abolitionist Challenge.”

Next Council Meeting:

Tuesday, August 11 from 6:30-9:30 pm
Meeting will be held online — please email boardadmin@greenstar.coop for instructions on how to attend.
Member-Owners are always welcome!

The meeting agenda is posted online here 6 days before the meeting: https://greenstar.coop/council-downloads/