Board 2006 10

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  • Date: October 11, 2006 5:30pm
  • Facilitator: laurel
  • Scribe: Oso and Jon
  • Minutes Checker: Seamus and laurel
  • Place: Acme


Laurel - FGB/facilitating
Seamus - FGB
Marie - FGB
Jon - FGB
Wren - FGB
Matteo - FGV
Richard - FGS
Dave - FGS
Oso - FGS/FGB/scribing
Aaron - FGV (late)

Board Business

New Director

Jon is welcomed, Seamus wondered which position (term length) he should take
BOARD AGREES - 2 years. The council will elect a 1-term director at its next meeting.

We do not have a lot of orientation materials for new board members. We have a book but don't know where it is at the moment. RFS will look for it.

Marie will send links to board info.

Lar: FG board is unique, many things that are traditionally part of the board responsibilities are handled by the Council. Also, we use consensus.

Further questions can be sent to the email list.

Officer election

See the bylaws for more information on officers and their election.

  • Chairperson: wren
  • Treasurer: Seamus
  • Secretary: laurel

We discussed increasing the responsibilities of the secretary to include reviewing council minutes and asking clarifying questions to make sure the records are understandable and complete.

Seamus says that the procedures related to budget are still in development, but improving steadily. For the sake on continuity, he will continue in the Treasurer position.


Mt. Hood Grant

see directors list archives for discussion and context

  • Oso describes some changes in proposal which lower cost to FG, so total now is under $10k ($9636). Also, less "after" requirements (rather than a instructor afterwords [i.e. paid], more of an apprenticeship). Oso stressed that Mt Hood is not as scary as it may seem, more warm fuzzy. They are making sure things are cool in order to keep their funder happy. Oso asked for another board member to accompany him to Mt Hood to get story from them, not just through him.
  • Some concerns raised: is the in-kind hardware line item equipment we would otherwise be selling or granting? Render farm has been mentioned as a possible extrabudgetary expectation. "Scope creep" is concern... if more high end machines are needed (that could have been sold in store), is this manageable?
  • There is a discrepancy in hours listed between the application and the job description? 24 vs 30, which could have a significant impact on the budget. Source of this discrepancy is unknown, we don't know if the 6 hours are supposed to be project hours or FG floor shifts.
  • Oso is leaving; is there time/energy/money for this project without him? Oso says: budget contains money for construction supervision (for someone else), Nathan and Steve are both qualified. He would be able to assist with reporting duties that he would have held.
  • Proposal made to return the issue to the council's spending priorities subcommittee for review in the light of more information. Proposal overturned.
  • Further discussion about scope/ambition and the length of the project.
  • More discussion after budget report. There are some concerns about some contract wording/items ("primarily open source software"). These seem workable, given a rewrite, but the big feeling is that this is a long, large project that would impose a lot of long-term obligations on FG.

CONSENSUS: Project is too ambitious for the resources available.

Budget Report

Review of the budget prepared by Seamus and Richard. Last quarter was close to expectations except that we didn't buy some of the big ticket items we'd planned to. Forward budget reflects a lot more input than in the past from staff about staff needs, so it includes a lot of new speculative spending. Budget will settle in as staff figures out this communication and their actual needs. Big change ahead, Nathan advocating facilities improvement (e.g. wiring up to code, etc). Some of next few quarters' big spending is more one-time (think "buying something", says Seamus), so not so bad (on-going).

We need more staff: can we afford it? The budget would suggest perhaps not, but there are reasons to believe we can. Oso's departure frees some hours that don't need immediate refilling. We have considerable savings at the moment. The budget includes a 5% payroll growth each quarter. Also the budget has historically been very conservative on income and expense predictions. Oso points out that for the laptop coord, "more hours means more money".

Dave wants hiring/priority committee to reconvene to consider all this plus some ideas he has about other revenue input.

CONSENSUS: Adopt the proposed budget, and expand it to provide for a Laptop Coordinator (full-time staff position) and an Office Coordinator (also full-time staff position). We recommend that Council come up with a better long-term solution to manage priority and needs in order to inform board of future budget expansions/needs. There may be room in the near future for more budget expansion, so this is a relevant consideration.

Credit Card progress

Richard suggests a merchant services outfit that First Tech pointed us to. Contract seems good, less restrictive than many, does not require a single co-signer (better reflects the structure of a nonprofit). We can have this in place soon. Sounds Good. Richard and Shawn have been doing good research.


New Business

Board's role and actions in fundraising

  • Marie has handouts. Background: made 'welcome to free geek' video to help spread the word, as not everyone can come take tour of free geek, etc.
  • Suggestions (expanded on handout):
    • make a personal stretch donation
    • show video to 50 people
    • get them to show to others
    • write what free geek means and send for holidays, asking for $
    • use friends etc to get community groups to show dvd
    • track who gave $ and send thank yous
    • is "for now", need big picture for future

Also, laurel's sister (events coordinator at a larger nonprofit) has offered to help if FG decides to do a more formal fundraising event.

Oso's new job

Oso has accepted a position as the president of a startup e-waste recycing LLC, and will be starting in about a month. He will continue to be involved in the Free Geek board and council and grants group, as well as being available for information and events. We congratulate him!

The question of possible conflicts of interest arose, and his response was that they might arise in time, but are not likely to be large or frequent. The company will not be competing for drop-off or public computer recycling, but instead for larger corporate contracts. If FG does corporate contracts, our share of that market will necessarily be small, and Oso does not expect that there will be direct competition. Other potential relations: this company will be set up for grinding, and we may contract with them in the future; FG may be able to pick over unsold systems before they are recycled.

At this point, all of this is theoretical, so we are not worried about conflicts of interest just yet.


  • Marie - find/send links to Board legal responsibilities, procure DVDs for directors.
  • Seamus - sign credit card paperwork
  • RFS will seek the board responsiblities book (Chapter x)

Next Meeting

  • Facilitator: Wren
  • Scribe: Laurel
  • Minutes Checker:
  • Date and time: 2nd wed in january (January 10)
  • Place: Meyer Trust meeting room?