It's pretty embarrassing that regional Wikimedias have better governance standards than the (extraordinarily wealthy) international Foundation. 

I don't understand how  the Tides/Wikimedia general counsel believes that the conflict of interest of Maria has moved directly from being Board chair to being a paid consultant for an undisclosed amount "would be shortly mitigated by her stepping down from her trusteeship for unrelated reasons".

On Fri, Jun 25, 2021 at 12:25 PM Dan Garry (Deskana) <> wrote:
On Thu, 24 Jun 2021 at 12:56, Chris Keating <> wrote:
Thanks for the detailed comments. However, still, this doesn't really help that much.

From your email it seems that over several months the WMF has created a new role which just happens to be ideal for its outgoing Chair to fill, and indeed could scarcely be filled by anyone else because it so closely relates to the Board's priorities.  

If this is allowed to happen then it raises serious questions about whether Board members make decisions about the WMF's priorities in order to create consultancy posts for themselves. As it happens I don't believe that is what has happened here, but one could be forgiven for drawing that conclusion. There is a clear appearance of a conflict of interest. And there is a real risk of undermining the credibility of pretty much any decision the Board might take in future, if people - the community, donors or the media - start to believe that those decisions are being taken because Board members will be eased into paid positions to implement them. 

No amount of reassurances that conversations happened in a particular order can avoid this. The letter and indeed the spirit of the WMF's conflict of interest policy may have been followed. But the object of the WMF's conflict of interest policy has not been achieved, quite the opposite. One can follow a policy and end up making the wrong decision, and that's what's happened here.

I agree wholeheartedly with Chris's eloquent comments on this situation. What has happened here is very inappropriate, and deeply troubling.

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