Michael Snow wrote:
The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is October
3-5 in San
Francisco. Some of the matters on our agenda include:
*the upcoming online fundraiser (tentatively to begin end of October or
beginning of November)
*progress on the audit for fiscal year 2007-08
*the path toward "sub-national" chapter organizations
*along with that, some additional housekeeping related to chapter business
*Wikimedia's role with respect to open standards, especially for
*the role of the advisory board
A few issues are things we basically should be wrapping up, like the
work. Some things we're checking in on but results will probably not
follow quite immediately. For example, the audit committee meets earlier
in the week so the board will have a little more information when it
meets, but I don't think we'll be done to the point of approving audited
financial statements. We'll handle that by email and wiki in the weeks
And finally, some of these topics are big-picture issues we need to
discuss, but aren't always ripe for outcomes just yet. It may be
starting or reopening a conversation. We touched on the advisory board
back in April, but ended up with more work to do on restructuring the
board itself, so we're picking back up on that subject. And as I
indicated earlier, there are many issues we can explore around file
formats and open standards. I particularly want to stimulate some
community discussion in that area to help the board, so I'll address it
separately in a little bit. In the meantime, please let me know if you
have any input you would like the board to consider within the framework
of its agenda for this meeting.
Thank you for sharing with us the Foundation agenda.
I'd like to make one comment and ask four questions.
Chapters (subnational organizations)
I am aware that it is a hot topic, and that it should somehow at some
point, move forward.
However, don't you think it would have made sense to wait until the two
chapter seats and Frieda's seat have been replaced before holding such a
discussion and perhaps making such decisions ?
The current board is made of members, none of which has ever been a
member of a chapter. That does not strike me as the most informed
company to make a decision engaging the international part of our
I can not help notice that the replacement of Frieda as board member is
not planned in the board agenda. I do not remember having heard how
Frieda will be replaced. Either the board has no idea and in this case,
would not it be nice to put that topic on the agenda ? Or the board
actually plan to decide on a replacement and if not at that meeting,
when does the board plan to make that decision ?
If you actually plan to discuss this point, I think the community, who
originally elected Frieda, would love to know.
Additional housekeeping related to chapter business
This sentence strikes me as very mysterious. What does that mean ?
If we talk about "business" in its strict definition, I'd like to point
out that in the past 9 months the business-legal professional team has
been set up, most of the business-wmf relationships have not been
officialized (eg, Wikimedia France is still waiting for an authorization
to print tee-shirts). In my view, in an internet environnement which is
changing very fast, 9 months seems like eternity. How does the board
feel about that ? What does the board intend to do about that ? Does the
quality of relationships the Foundation has with its partners matter to
you ? Do you consider the chapters are partners at all ?
If that's the point you are actually planning to discuss, I am sure
chapters would be very pleased that you contact them at some point so
that they can share with you their thoughts.
Related topic. Part of the job of the board is to set into place a
management (the ED), and then to regularly evaluate the job of the
management. Of course, such an evaluation can only be honestly done when
the management is given a collection of measurable goals to reach. When
I quit the board, Sue had been there for a year. She was originally
hired for six (6) months, which means that she need now an evaluation of
the job done in the past year, and much more seriously need new goals,
on which the board will base its evaluation of HER job next year. I know
that Jan-Bart was working on such a document, but even so, I would
imagine that the final result would need to be discussed and approved by
the entire board. I doubt this would happen only by email. Given that
Sue has been in need of such feedback and contractual agreement for now
roughly 9 months, why is this not on the agenda ?
If this topic is actually on the agenda, but was not specifically listed
her, I think it is worth mentionning it publicly.
One of the values of the organization is transparency. I'd like to point
out that resolutions and board meeting minutes have not been published
since June. That is... since I stopped doing it :-) Still, a meeting was
held in july and decisions made. Nothing has been published. I also
remember various discussions end of spring to identify solutions to this
issue (such as asking a staff member to be in charge of such publications).
It seems an important point to me. Beyond the expectations from the
community to see public minutes, I'd like to point out that the audit
requires providing minutes. Either minutes have been written and the
board should discuss how they could be published within a reasonable
time frame. Or minutes have not been written and the board should
discuss how to make sure that decisions taken by board will be recorded
in the future.
Again, I appreciate you sharing the agenda with us and raising the
discussion about file format. I just thought that I would share in turn
with you my own expectations and questions.