Council 2008 10

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When: Oct 15, 7:15 pm
Place: FG meeting room
Facilitator: Ian
Scribe: Laurel
Minutes Checker:
Attendance: debi, alan (observing), cliff, will, rfs, eugene, jon, paul, laure1, ian, ann, matteo (late, left early)
Last meeting:


  • Dave email council about value #s: see council list DONE
  • Seamus: BAN research ONGOING
  • Seamus: Chat with Jon DONE
  • Anne: Board page bio DONE


Some changes in recycling. More school groups coming in. Some price drops due to economic stuff, see discussion later. Reconfigured the lobby. Hired Renee as front desk intern. In the process of hiring sales coordinator. Ali has gone back to school & is now part time. Have set up a rotating Ombudsman position among staff.

Still planning on the experiment of opening the store on Sundays from just before Thanksgiving to right around Christmas. Store and community marketing/outreach are expected to be important as the economy suffers. The prebuild intern we were looking for has been postponed as a priority since we've covered those hours in other ways. We could use a "paper pusher person" to manage our outside accounts. See group minutes.

Priorities group talked about the "Plan B" of what happens when things go south, economically. See below.

  • Council orientation materials

Laure1 is still looking for feedback on the Council Orientation document. Please look at it and get her feedback, or she shall never print it out.


Economics 1"uh-0"1 (NEW)

OH MY GOD THE WHOLE ECONOMY IS FALLING APART WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!?! We are starting to see some effects of the economic upset. Steel prices are going down because banking system meltdown is preventing purchases. We don't know how that will develop in the future.

How will this effect our long-term plan of gaining control of a building? Will donor money be available? Will the building no longer be in danger of being sold? Will we be able to get financing in any way?

See priorities group minutes for their thinking on potential measures.

Q- Have the staff talked about what to do as our budget gets smaller?
A- Not specifically, yet. It will be a good thing to have a plan in case the budget gets too tight.
Q- Are there any experts we can consult with about our financial situation?
A- Sandy (who ran for the board) gave some advice on retirement plans.
Debi will ask around Quaker circles to see if there's anyone with wisdoms to offer us. She could use some general questions to share with the people she knows.
Q- What is likely to happen to the prices of materials that we sell? How do we find out? Would it be worth it to hold on to some of it?
A- Holding onto it is probably not a great idea, given our space restraints and the bulkiness of the material. We don't know what will happen with the materials in the future, though. Our recycling income is not a huge chunk of our income, so the small amount that this would potentially gain us wouldn't be significant.
Comment- If real estate is about to hit bottom, maybe this will be a good opportunity to pick up a building.
Comment- We should try to be hyper-sensitive to smallish changes that could help us understand potential trends.
Q- What happens when there are more volunteers? Does that lead to more expenses?
A- We'd probably have to open an extra day, and it could led to other greater demands on staff. Staff is our greatest expense.

We do have a good pad of about $100k in the bank, which could keep us for a few months in the case of income flatlining.

This conversation will be ongoing in a number of different groups. Keep thinking about what we can and should do to keep Free Geek healthy, and don't forget that today is Global Handwashing Day.


  • Seamus will do research on BAN (ONGOING)

Next Meeting

  • Facilitator: Laurel
  • Scribe: Anne
  • Consensus Training: Oso
  • Minutes Checker:
  • Reporters to other meetings?
  • Date and time: Weds 19th Nov