---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arjuna Rao Chavala <arjunaraoc(a)gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 10:00 PM
Subject: Re: [WMIN-Members] Thank you
To: wmin-members <wmin-members(a)googlegroups.com>
I am sorry to know about your decision to quit as the Executive Manager of
the Chapter. I express my sincere thanks for your contributions to
Chapter activities for over 1 year and three months, juggling various types
of roles, some of which you might have wished for more appropriate staff
or support. I am sure this has been of great help to the geographically
distributed Executive committee with diverse set of experience, membership
and the community at large in strengthening and growing the Wikimedia
movement in India.
The award by the FDC on WMIN's Annual grant request with significant cut,
would have disappointed many in the India Wikimedia movement. As some of
you may know, though I was a member of FDC, I was not party to the
decision as I had to recuse myself because of my membership and
involvement with the Chapter. Though, it might have hurt you personally,
I urge you not to feel that way, as many members and community under
the leadership of Executive Committee contributed to the process and so
many factors are usually weighed by the FDC in making the decision which
has been upheld by the WMF Board.
WMIN has faced so many challenges in its more than 5 year history
(including the time before its formation) from so many fronts. Thanks to
the support of community, well-wishers, Wikimedia foundation, WMINmembers
and fellow chapter stakeholders, it has moved forward on the path of
growth and had several achievements at national and regional levels. I am
sure that even the present challenge would be met squarely by the EC with
the active support and involvement of all.
At this juncture, I would urge the EC and you to consider all the options
with involvement of members and community as appropriate so that an
action can be finalized which will serve the best interests of the
Arjuna Rao Chavala
On Sun, Jan 12, 2014 at 4:07 PM, Sowmyan Tirumurti <tsowmyan(a)wikimedia.in>wrote;wrote:
I have decided to relinquish my role as the Executive Manager of the
Chapter, and had communicated this to the EC some time back. I guess they
did not quite like it and hence have in turn not let it out. Considering
that I stand by the decision, and mails requesting grants and expectations
of responses on these have been coming in from members of the community, I
feel this must be made public.
The Foundation has offered a grant of about Rs 33 lakhs for 2014 under
FDC. The Chapter had made a request for an amount about 4 times of this.
The grant request apparently did not inspire FDC and they have held that
the Chapter may not have the capability to administer any larger amount. At
80% growth over the previous year, they seem to feel the Chapter has
already been given a massive growth path and should be happy with this.
Given the low grant amounts we received in the past, this 'massive' 80%
growth does not mean much. It does not pay for salary for 2 people (as
planned), an office, and the mandatory quarterly face to face EC meetings
and associated travel.
Regulatory norms put a cap at 40% of the grant value on these overhead
expenses. At a grant value of 33 lakhs, the total over heads can only be
40% of 33 lakhs, amounting to about Rs 13 lakhs. This level means, we go
back to one more year of passive funds administration without much Chapter
driven events. An accountant / volunteer helping in disbursements of funds
against requests generated organically would be the model we have to adopt.
We will still need an office to comply with regulatory requirements. EC
travel may be some what uncertain when new elections bring people in
farther parts of the country. By standing down I would be helping the
Chapter in a small way to manage the expenses within the available grant.
I feel guilty of having been a burden on the chapter for a year. We did
not know our grant limited future will be so limited and my time was spent
imagining grander possibilities for a brighter future and sharing them
internally. The earlier EC dreamed big, and initiated my engagement though
as a part timer. I was to become a full timer from April 2013. This was
postponed by mutual consent with the current EC, as we expected the FDC
grant to provide for it. The FDC provides for this in principle, but not
yet by the value. So it is time to stop this wasteful engagement.
I also feel guilty of not having lived up to the expectations of the
members. The practical rejection of the new grant request (what else can we
call it when what is approved is nearly 25% of what was sought) is also a
factor for which I must take the blame. If the proposals did not appear to
be impressive, were considered to have wasteful elements, was considered to
have been built on inflated costs given the Indian context, and the chapter
is seen as incapable of handling any thing larger, and none of the
arguments in our discussions were accepted, I have to accept defeat,
because I influenced the EC towards this proposal. The Chapter deserves an
employee who can be more imaginative, and confidence inspiring. I am sorry
I failed the Chapter.
Many of you supported the Chapter's grant request during the appeal stage.
Some of you were truly participative in making suggestions for the
proposal. I think you for this. At the same time, I also wish there had
been a much greater participation from members in formulating the
proposals. There is a time and space for every comment. It was bit
disappointing to see people who did not share any constructive suggestion
in the chapter pages come and make negative remarks in the meta pages. FDC
staff seemed to latch on to the later, without any further examination or
clarification of the context. Things like this hurt. It is your Chapter.
You have the opportunity to shape it through constructive debates for the
formulation of policies. Negative sentiments cast a doubt that global
community may not understand the same way as they are understood within
I leave with the hope that the current grant may keep the Chapter active
and in the next year it will find a better support. I thank you all for the
cooperation extended to me. I am yet to complete some standard protocols.
Recent membership addition related documentation is one of them. The delay
has been due to my preoccupation with the FDC application. I want to assure
you that none of the members for whom the membership card and receipt have
not yet been physically mailed have been handicapped in their rights. The
approved members were added to the opt in mail list. I will complete the
dispatch of these documents, and closure of the grant report to WMF before
end January 2014, when I cease to operate.
I will be in touch with some of you as yet another social activity
With warm regards,
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