Marilyn Chase


from Marilyn Chase, Council President

GreenStar Council News for June 2021

Appreciation for our General Manager

In my role as Council president I have many occasions to speak with other cooperative board members and board presidents. What I have learned in having these conversations is that our General Manager is highly revered among national cooperators. Terry Bowling from National Cooperative Grocers shared with me that “Brandon is one of the top co-op GM’s in the United States. He anticipates problems and seeks solutions while other GM’s are waiting to take action.” Jade Barker, a Columinate consultant who has worked with many food co-ops and their General Managers for the last 30 years told me “Brandon is one of the top ten co-op GM’s in our country. Any co-op would be happy to employ him.” This is a view that is shared widely within the Cooperative Grocery sector. 

As Council president, I also work closely with Brandon and regularly bear witness to his dedication. Brandon is conscientious, hard working, and passionate; he is committed to GreenStar, its members, and its principles. 

Prior to the pandemic, Brandon was coordinating work on the Cascadilla street store construction with a goal of relocating our west end store and operations in the spring of 2021 He was already working additional hours to monitor construction and make necessary decisions to maintain progress, while also managing GreenStar’s three retail locations.. Then the worldwide health crisis introduced a new, seemingly insurmountable layer of responsibility.  

As the restricted conditions persisted and new challenges arose, Brandon made necessary adaptations to make sure GreenStar remained open, and the Co-op not only remained solvent, but also continued to provide living wage employment to it’s 200+ staff members.

To help make that happen,  departmental directors agreed to accept more responsibility, while foregoing their own raises. In February of this year, Council unanimously voted to offer Brandon a three year contract which included a modest salary increase. Brandon declined the increase until the Co-op is able to afford increases for departmental directors and managers.

Brandon and his team have worked around the clock to protect the health and safety of our members and shoppers by ensuring proper pandemic protocols were in place at 701 West Buffalo Street while simultaneously setting up and moving to our new home. He and his team weathered economic conditions which have shut down countless other small businesses, and cooperatives – demonstrating exemplary leadership, particularly during uncertain, unpredictable and unprecedented times. 

From my seat on Council, working with Brandon and his team over the last two years has been an inspirational experience.

Highlights from the June Council Meeting

At its June meeting, Council voted to engage the GreenStar Membership in a Comprehensive bylaws review and update. This year-long initiative will begin in September 2021 and involve numerous opportunities for members to provide feedback on draft revised bylaws. The proposed draft revised bylaws will come to a Member Vote in Fall of 2022. 

Council reviewed and discussed the draft first quarter B.1 – Financial Conditions and Activities report, as well as the draft 2020 Audit report. Both items will come to the July Council meeting for a vote. 

Council also approved policy amendments and proposals, including:

  • Monitored Policy C.1 – Governing Style, finding itself out of compliance. To achieve compliance, Council  will utilize the work plan for developing strategic planning, institute results based monitoring in the 2022 Council year, and review and reference Policy Governance and Cooperative Principles, when applicable.
  • Monitored Policy C.2 – Council’s Job, finding itself out of compliance. Council has not engaged in robust recruitment for Council candidates, which does not support a healthy democracy. The Membership Engagement Committee previously drafted, and is currently executing, a comprehensive recruitment plan. Further, it was decided that GreenStar’s Ends statements are not consistent with the Policy Governance model; Council will perform a review of our Ends once the bylaws review is complete. 
  • Amended the Council Travel Procedure to clarify Council members responsibilities when attending Council funded trainings.
  • Amended Policy C.6 – Officers’ Roles to correct the date of the officers elections to align with the Council calendar beginning every January.

You can find details on these items by reviewing the June Council Agenda, available on the GreenStar.coop website. Minutes are posted to the website upon approval from Council (typically at the following month’s Council meeting).

Next GreenStar Council Meeting:

Tuesday, July 13th from 6:30-9:30 pm 

Meetings are held online. Email boardadmin@greenstar.coop for instructions on how to attend. Meeting agendas are posted online 6 days before the meeting at: https://greenstar.coop/council-downloads

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 will be recurring – taking place ahead of the GreenStar Council meeting from 6:00 – 6:30pm, every second Tuesday of the month. Email boardadmin@greenstar.coop for instructions on how to attend.