Council 2006 03

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  • Facilitator: Vagrant
  • Scribe: Pete
  • Minutes Checker: Wren
  • Date: March 15, 7:15 pm
  • Place: Free Geek meeting room


Vagrant (facilitator), Craig Wickenberg, Pete Forsyth (scribe), Rev Phil, Tall Wes, Marie D (board), Mark Burns (Portland Community Media), Wren (board), Laurel (board), Matthew (staff), Kerm Jensen, Dave H (staff), Bill Shepherd, Richard S (staff), Rick (staff), Sophia (intern), Bobby K, Steve (staff), Shawn

Old Commitments

  • Marie & Phil will create a video that can go on the web, etc. (by March 3rd Thurs) CARRYOVER (will be done by April 20)
  • Martin, Wren, Clout, Wes will convene to do needs assessment for blind linux distro. Martin will send email to schedule a meeting DROP (until after martin comes back)
  • everybody give feedback on Media Kit DO IT! DONE! DO MORE IF YOU LIKE!
  • Dave and/or Oso will email council list with more info about Free Geek Gresham very soon. DONE
  • recycling and action committees will develop a plan to make sure tools are safe CARRYOVER


Thrift Store Report

Rick's report

Sales are gradually increasing. Efforts by the Reuse committee, and the addition of Sam the intern, have contributed.
It's still hard to keep up with the flow of items into the store.
Many items are being re-priced.
The wall next to the classroom is nearing completion.
New shelving and other sprucing-up are going well.

Pre-Build Report

Richard's report

Things are fairly smooth.
a little short of good systems to keep Eval 2 busy, but not too bad.
main problem: Recycling getting backed up, also culls from warehouse and rejects from whitehole. Lots of hard to stack systems. these problems likely to be short lived.
Intructions under lots of revision lately. Keeps them up to date. This briefly led to them getting overly complicated, but that's been solved.
Attempting to get folks that have done a shift or two to teach newbies. That seems to be working well.

Build Report

Vagrant's report

Vagrant has been filling in for Martin for 3-4 weeks.
box production/supply is faster than demand for boxes. lots of old systems have been cleaned from build area. main limitation is shelf and storage space.
very strong core of volunteer instructors and assistants, largely explains bountiful production.
storebox specs went up a little.
persistant networking troubles since switchng to 2.6 kernel for imaging process. some effort to fix, but mysteries remain.
dave recently updated build documentation. Burden of maintaining both freekbox3 and ubuntu distro makes it difficult to properly document either distro process well. Constant source of confusion for builders and instructors. too frequently, we are suggesting that people ignore bits and pieces of the documentation, which gradually develops into a technical myths and legends culture, rather than a process of education.

ASS Report

Vagrant: things have been difficult, and we've been busy.

Free Geek Gresham

Oso's report


Dave and I are meeting with Ken Manske, of Gresham Chamber of Commerce, and the Optimist Club.

  • They (the City of Gresham, the Chamber of Commerce and the Optimist Club) would like to be in a supporting role, letting FG take the lead in getting things actually working. Ken happy about community council component.
  • a lot of community support.
  • a couple of potential spaces.

Next steps:

  • FG-Gresham working group meeting scheduled (already happened by now?)
  • Oso, with input from others, will work out budget/time line proposal.
  • Dave will talk to Jesse (City of Gresham) about their level of support.
  • community meeting scheduled for Wednesday, March 1. (how did that go?)



doesn't have as much detail as he'd planned. Bank has been in transition, they've made some errors which slow us down. Alana (?) who has bookkeeping experience will be coming in to help Richard. So, better numbers by next month.

We've paid down all but $3000 of debt to a recycler we're moving away from (Total Reclaim)

Jan and Feb have been good. About $16,000 March so far from front desk and thrift store.

  • Marie: Has the $10k reserve been dipped into?
  • Richard: Not intentionally. It has occasionally been accessed for technical reasons related to bank errors, but immediately replenished.
  • Matthew: Are things good?
  • Richard: yes. We have paid down most debt.

Annual Report is on the wiki, it's worth a look. Good representation of last year (some detail still unknown from December.)

Old Business


Oso went to a meeting last week.

April, big meeting coming up with all big electronics company. We have a big chunk of time to do a presentation/fundraising pitch. Arranging with Mayor to give a presentation. Oso, Richard, Shawn, Dave will be involved.

Space: several under consideration.

City of Gresham has been very helpful, as has the Portland Optimists Club.

New Business

Senior Discount proposal

Pete presents on behalf of Oso.

We have a temporary discount March 21 to 31. Should we make it permanent? Let's discuss a bit, but not look to decide tonight since Oso isn't here.

senior discount proposal (Oso)

  • Rick: the discount cannot be combined with other discounts.
  • Phil: does this diminish the value of existing discounts?
  • Vagrant: let's not discuss details here.
  • Marie: what's the justification?
  • Pete: fixed income, seniors are valuable here, many have tech experience and lots of time on their hands.
  • Matthew: this looks like a sales promo, doesn't need a major philosophical justification.
  • Wes: let's include disabled people.
  • Phil: Wes, how about develop a separate proposal, and bring it to a future meeting.
  • Richard: Let's table this, let's check in afterwards and see how it went. Have the staff talk this over and give a recommendation to Council next month.

Board Vacancy

richard presents

Bob Griggs resigned via letter to Oso. He's too busy, he's still going to volunteer, no bad feelings.

Bylaws say Council should appoint someone to the vacancy. (no required timetable.)

We shouldn't decide tonight, maybe 2 months from now is a good time frame (Richard's opinion.)

This is the first vacancy we've had since new bylaws.

We have a timetable that is intended for regularly scheduled elections, but we should roughly follow it in this case.

Bob had a 2 year term, so the replacement will be a 1.5 year term.

  • Dave: nominations tonight, and decision next month?
  • Richard: lets get feedback from current board, and see what the needs are. Let's take the time and do it right, rather than rush it.
  • Pete: Was there a specific skill Bob brought to the board?
  • Marie: Bob had a lot of nonprofit experience. (OMSI, OPB...)

New Director Agreement

  • Richard: we have a lot of young energy, and have lost one of two people with lots of experience. Maybe we should look for somebody with lots of experience. There may be other factors as well.
  • Mark: should we post something? (internal? external?)
  • Richard reads timeline from wiki. Board Election Checklist
  • Some questioning of Richard's proposed time line (election in two months)
  • next board meeting is April 3
  • Attending members of current board is fine with it.
  • Richard: according to bylaws, council must announce what we want in the board. What do we want in a board member?
  • Laurel: agrees that experience is desirable. Also, legal experience is desirable.
  • Marie: agrees. Also, experience with other nonprofits is good. What the IRS requires, expectations of members, etc.
  • Mark knows a web site that he will find.
  • someone from inside? from outside?
  • Pete: we have lots of representation from inside.
  • Laurel: but they gotta "grok" our consensus style deal.
  • Mark: PAWC people?
  • Matthew: diversity? we have good M/F balance, but do we also want more racial diversity?
  • Marie: there's some self-selection. No worry about an authoritarian. Somebody looking to "take over" is not likely to be attracted to Free Geek board to begin with.
  • Richard: there was reluctance for Treasurer we need somebody with financial experience?
  • Marie: that would be helpful. CPA, or just somebody with that kind of experience.

Receiving position

Dave presents proposal.

exploratory advanced receiving position (Matthew) is ending March 24.

Committee wants to go back to "job experience" intern position. 24 hour intern, 4-5 hour days. Paid, not a member of the collective.

Matthew: we shouldn't have internships (???) collective = management. We should not have "employees" who are not members of the collective.

Free Geek has no management and has no labor. (lots of puzzled looks from other council members) Well, it's managed by the labor.

Dave: we have internships to help people build resumes.

Matthew: (scribe did not understand, cannot paraphrase)

Pete: can we keep proposals separate so we can all keep track?

Laurel: What problems is Dave's proposal looking to address?

Matthew: Why is this job limited enough in scope that it is not a "collective" position? This is a radical change...(IS IT? lots of puzzled looks)

Dave: we have never had a receiving collective member, so this IS the default action, not a radical change.

Rick: way back, the store intern was intended for resume experience. Exploratory intern is a newer concept. As far as I know, internships were all intended as short-term, non-collective positions.

Steve: interns have rights as any other Oregon worker.

Richard: there are two fundamentally different kind of things that we have called internships. "Exploratory internship" are high-level, exploring new positions at free geek. "Job experience" internship might be people who don't have the experience or aptitude for full collective membership. So the clearest thing Richard is getting from Matthew, is "maybe the Receiving position is not a good place to put somebody who is not at the level of a collective member."

Most exploratory internships we've had have ultimately led to a job opening. Often, (as Steve or Michael W), that intern has ended up in the job.
Matthew would like to have another collective member. Receiving is an important area, on par with Build, Recycling, Reception. We should have a collective member there.

Dave: (long explanation, scribe was not able to understand/paraphrase)

Pete: Everyone who has spoken up to now is a current or former staff member. There seem to be lots of issues involved, but they're not being presented in a way that non-staff can follow along. If Council's supposed to make a decision, we need clearer presentation of the issues involved.

Phil: there's a major theft-potential issue in Receiving, which is a concern. It's important to have someone trustworthy.

Marie: Dave, this is intended as a time-limited position? But this is a key position. Why should it be temporary?

Dave: We dont really know where things are going with Receiving, so we don't want to make a long-term commitment. We want to reduce the manual-labor aspect of the job.

Richard: there is a job-experience internship at the front desk. The position is permanent.

Marie: But why should the turnover be built into the position? It sounds like it's intended to serve the person, not to serve Free Geek.

Wren: we want to help people build resumes, and we want it to be available to many people.

Marie: Does that really serve Free Geek best?

Laurel: best to have some continuity, not an internship.

Marie: this is many people's main point of contact with FG.

Shawn: under the proposal, this person would work 20 hours/week on the floor, other half is covered by existing staff.

Mark: is there a desire to save money built into this proposal? It seems like this person is the "face of free geek", so it's an important position.

Dave: lots of people do receiving.

Phil: there are core members, even unpaid interns in receiving, who would like to do this.

Rick: this is a reason why it needs to be a "people person".

Matthew: it's naturally a physically strenuous job, high-stress, interacting with public and unexpected donations. We need somebody good.

Vagrant: many limited-term interns have been paired with a collective position (front desk, store.) These internships have been successful; maybe the pairing is a key component.

Pete: do we need to make a decision tonight?

Richard: Matthew's done 3/21 or 4/11. (depending how his time off is considered)

Pete: in the future, if discussion and decision need to happen all at once, the presentation needs to be a lot cleaner.

Richard: you're right, and that's staff's fault.

Richard: let's summarize between now and next month, discuss on list and person-to-person. Staff will patch something together till then.

(no official call for consensus, but people seemed agreeable to Richard's suggestion.)


Our lovely new plants were stolen!! boo hiss!

Crash will be shown on Movie Night tomorrow.

next meeting

Council 2006 04
facilitator: phil
scribe: pete
location: Free Geek meeting room

New Commitments

  • Mark will announce a web site he's aware of about board nominations.
  • If the Board has additional comments on what Board member qualities are desired, they will post to the Council list.
  • All will think about possible Board nominees, and refer them to New Director Agreement.
  • Pete and Richard will post something to the Council list about Receiving position.
  • Bobby and Pete will discuss a coupon (Lifestyles NW) for senior discount.
  • Marie & Phil will create a video that can go on the web, etc. (by March 3rd Thurs) CARRYOVER (will be done by April 20)
  • Martin, Wren, Clout, Wes will convene to do needs assessment for blind linux distro. Martin will send email to schedule a meeting DROP (until after martin comes back)
  • everybody give feedback on Media Kit DO IT! DONE! DO MORE IF YOU LIKE!
  • recycling and action committees will develop a plan to make sure tools are safe CARRYOVER