Providence Planning 07 18 2006

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  • Date: July 18, 2006
  • Facilitator: Richard
  • Scribe: laurel
  • Minutes Checker: Richard
  • Place: Meeting room


Richard, Liane, Jac, Seamus, laurel, Kerm

Old Commitments

  • we're waiting for an appointment to go visit the warehouse and ask questions, we will then get a report from Liane and Dave IN PROGRESS
    • Haven't heard back from Providence
  • Dave and matteo and Kerm and matteo will make drawings and revise them based on input from Kerm and Jim; then consult with other concerned parties (Action, core, etc.) to formulate proposals in an interative way. IN PROGRESS
  • (Jeanne) Outreach will have to work on a plan for volunteer outreach IN PROGRESS
    • Outreach has not met recently outside of Geek fair planning
  • Richard will look at the database, figure out what kind of data could be retrieved, and report it to Council and Providence CARRYOVER
  • Dave will take his warehouse space rework proposal to the staff, who can start implementing parts of it. DONE


Not a lot has gone on lately because of Geek Fair. We still need to get more feedback. The warehouse plan that we approved is just the first step - we need to continue to solicit people's visions on this issue.

Item: the warehouse plan requires a container outside. Neither the board nor the landlord has approved this. Liane and Seamus will check in with the landlord and the board about approval for this. Will there be problems with using the parking lot that way?

Volunteer issues

  • Richard

HR has not spoken much since last week on volunteer retention issues; they will discuss it at their next meeting.

Our data is not very good, partially because of the tendency of long-term volunteers (core and build) not to record their hours. Side note: a regular build instructor meeting to update instructors on policies would be nice.

What we have to tell council

We aren't ready to say yes or no just yet. We want to tell council about the recommendations we made last time, and that Providence has been somewhat slow in responding to us.

  • (Seamus:) we still don't have good data on costs.
  • Expense can't be calculated until we know what our changes are going to be. We need to let Council know

Our major categories of concerns (from 6/27):

  • Volunteer capacity
    • Recommendation from 7/11 meeting
    • Consideration ongoing in outreach and HR
  • Space limitations and transformations
    • Warehouse proposal passed to staff to start exploring implementation
    • More input needed for potential later phase changes
  • Cultural change resulting from growth
    • Not yet discussed
  • Expense
    • Need more data; not yet discussed

A good thing, probably: most of our recommendations so far are things that would be good for FG to do regardless of whether we go forward with Providence.

Cultural changes

We'll have to be sure that the space is livable, despite the movement of more stuff and people through it.

Small stipends (for gas or food) could help dedicated volunteers keep coming. The thing to be careful about would be running into issues where it's unclear whether we're employing people.

Super-large build workshops could be impossible to cover with volunteer teachers.

Cultural changes will be different depending on what plans we go forward with. We will need to try to envision each plan we come up with and try to figure out what stresses that will put on our culture.

If build gets even easier, then it will be much less appealing to people who come here to learn.

If we can't add more people to build workshops, we may need to add more workshops; that is, be open more. This would have the side effect of enlarging the collective, with all the potential ramifications that brings. If we decide to do Providence, we would have to consider and plan for this.

Volunteer orientation seems like something that really needs to start happening, and maybe decouple it from tours.

(Seamus:) So, is it almost time to start outlining potential directions we might take in order to sketch out financial scenarios and considering cultural impacts so that we have the data to make better decisions? We could come up with plans for if the numbers as they start coming in are favorable, neutral, or bad. Help us prepare for writing a final plan.

We need to hear back from HR & Outreach about volunteer issues. We cannot approve Providence until a plan is in place (but this should not be taken to mean that these issues should not be addressed even if Providence=no.)

New Commitments

  • Liane and Dave will go visit the warehouse and ask questions and report back IN PROGRESS (waiting on Providence)
  • Proponents of the warehouse plan will continue to seek input. IN PROGRESS
  • Outreach will have to work on a plan for volunteer outreach IN PROGRESS
  • Richard will look at the database, figure out what kind of data could be retrived, and report it to Council and Providence CARRYOVER
  • Liane will try to find out about landlord permission for container
  • Seamus will bring up the container issue on the Directors' list
  • Richard will bring hours recording processes for builders up in the staff meeting
  • Richard will present news of Providence at the council meeting
  • Seamus will bug Dave about filling in numbers in income/expense estimates

Next Meeting

  • Facilitator: Seamus
  • Scribe: Laurel
  • Minutes Checker:
  • Date and time: July 25 7:15pm
  • Place: Meeting room
  • Topics
    • the "3 part plan"
  • Meeting after that
    • Volunteer issues w/Shawn (if that works for her)