Monthly Meeting - 2009-02-10

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Public meeting minutes for Tuesday, February 10th 2009 at 6:30pm
Location: 1820 Pandora Street
Previous: Monthly Meeting - 2009-01-13 | Next: Monthly Meeting - 2009-03-10


  • Attendance
  • Consensus Briefing

Old Business

  • (Priority) PEDAL proposition
  • (Priority) Staff wages stuff (see also budget meeting outcome item)
  • Outcome/approval of budget meeting discussion
  • Credit card policy update
    • If no new developments, then something done about it?
  • Accountant/Bookkeeper update
    • Call for bookkeeper put out to all places commited? (Sean)
    • New Contacts? (Sean, Karen, Rick)
    • Old uncontacted contacts contacted? (Sean)
  • What's happening with the hackery space (IIRC did not get discussed in depth at previous GM -Afinesmith)
  • Outcome of 2009 budgeting discussion
  • Final education coordinator posting approval
    • Approval of position modification with Vancity (to not include handling hardware grants)
  • Any discussion on Ryan's replacement/Software workgroup meeting?
    • If nothing, could be scheduled
  • Codesprint
  • Staff discounts


New Business


Attendance: Luke, Ifny, Sim, Sean H., Stephen, Megan, Bernie, Chris, Simon, Bruno, John, Etai, Karen


  • Facilitator: Sean H.
  • Scribe: Luke
  • Notes checker: Stephen/Ifny
  • Regulator: Megan


  • Attendance
  • Consensus Briefing (By Etai)

Old Business

Accountant / Bookkeeper


  • Sean H. & Ifny have been chatting online with a bookkeeper candidate
  • Rates are ~$40/hour, can work from here or at home
  • Professional, has a good resume, but hasn't work for a non-profit
  • Ifny proposes that we hire the bookkeeper
  • Sean H. will help with the transition, but eventually an employee will need to coordinate with her to provide oversight.
  • Discussion proceeds around who should provide oversight, what kind of oversight will be needed.
    • We need someone on staff to handle the money, to do bank deposits
    • We likely need one director to be the main point of contact for reviewing the bookkeeper's work
    • All directors should be familiar with the financial reports
  • Sean H. doesn't mind helping with finances up until the AGM
  • Megan asks if we have done any record checks on the candidate. (No)
  • Sim says it sounds reasonable to proceed with the hire
  • Policies will be worked out as we go, though we'll doc policies as we go.
  • Ifny suggests that we ask if she's bondable and go from there. Also see about references.

  • Sim suggests that we develop policies on how we handle employees/contractors that deal with our finances.

Proposal: Hire her provisionally, ask her if she is bondable and give her full access once we determine her bondability.


  • We've got an accountant identified, but haven't had a chance to meet with them.
  • We'll arrange a meeting with the accountant.

Credit Card

Contingent on accountant, so this item is skipped.

Directors Insurance

  • Megan++ volunteers to fill out the form for directors insurance.
  • Ifny asks that the application be sent this month.


  • We have temporarily rented an additional room at the Hackery.
  • Megan suggests that we would want to consider renting a space for staff for "office work".

Remaining discussion is deferred.

2009 Budget

Reported by Sean H.

  • Had a incomplete first meeting, equipment problems and the group wasn't very prepared.
  • No meeting minutes left
  • Sean H. created a draft budget (it is not complete)
  • Megan suggests we need a more active finances workgroup
  • Megan suggests that a budget should be created after a shared vision for organizational goals has happened.
  • Sim suggests we should have a budget soon, before the AGM.
  • Luke suggests we prefix the strategic planning session with a retrospective on FreeGeek Past

Proposal: Have a strategy meeting at 1pm on 8th of March

COMMIT: Megan will send out the details and create an agenda.

Educator Coordinator Posting

  • Lots of resumes and good candidates
  • Deadline is Feb 14th
  • It would be very much appreciated for directors to help during interviews
  • Please talk to megan about helping cover while interviews are going on.

COMMIT: Ifny will post interview dates/times

Regular Items


Report by Ifny.

  • RMS was here
    • He left us a signed book!
  • We had a story in the Vancouver Sun, Tyee, and Shared Vision
  • Earth day is coming up, we've got invitations
    • Ifny needs your help!
  • Vancouver Sun is doing a hardware drive for us
  • FG is on the advisory panel for the Electronic Stewardship Association of BC
  • Linuxfest Northwest - April 25 & April 26
    • Bruno volunteers to take some FG schwag down


Report by Sean H.

Financial Report for January

  • We received our grant from vancity this month, which inflates numbers
  • Net income ($69k)
  • Net expenses (13k)
  • $42k came from the grant
  • Gross revenue would be $27k w/o grant
  • Net revenue would be ~$13k
  • Record month, Store made $16k
  • Our wholesale business has been growing
  • We're starting to figure out to split wholesale and regular revenue streams
  • Recycling ~$10k

Ifny points out that we're a vendor of "inferior goods".

  • That's why sales are up despite economic situation.

Staff Reports

  • Need help with HR
  • Hard for staff to discipline each other
  • Luke asks how Directors can help
  • Sim says the lack of formal proceedures around HR makes the problems difficult.
    • Sim suggests formalizing the HR policies we have
  • Interviews are starting on Feb 17th

COMMIT: Luke to send out HR workgroup meeting announcement to fg-general.

  • Wednesday Feb 25th at 6:30pm
  • John does not work at FG anymore.
  • Have a new employee (hired for a 3 month contract) in the Store. His name is Tyler. Store is doing great, we're happy with how it's working now.

Have a new employee (hired for a 3 month contract) in the Store. Store is doing great, we're happy with how it's working now.

New Business


Brief review:

  • We served PEDAL with notice earlier this year.
  • The Joint Space Committee will be meeting with PEDAL soon.
  • Sim asked why we hadn't had Join Space Committee meetings since August.
    • Ifny says everyone has been busy, neither side has set about calling a meeting

Consensus is reached on maintaining our current course of action.

Staff Wages


  • Ifny looked into benefits:
    • Because we are a non-profit, we can't get a group rate, so it's individual
    • ~$1600/month for ~6 full time employees
    • (Ifny has full details on the situation she investigated)
  • We have reached general consensus to proceed with benefits.
  • If other people want to look into alternative sources of health insurance, that is encouraged
  • We want to set a deadline on when to proceed with benefits, if no other sources are found, we'll proceed with Co-operators.
    • Deadline is March 1st for alternatives

We will proceed with benefits after March 1st. Staff can choose which plan.

COMMIT: Ifny to ask Co-operators about suspending benefits, and how that would work, should we need to.

Salary vs Hourly

  • Discussion was chicken/egg wrt budget meeting
  • Sim notes that a single person with no dependents requires $24,000 to live in Vancouver above the poverty line.
  • Sim notes that we're paying people hourly for a fixed rate of hours, as a historical hack.
  • Sim suggests that we need to either pay people salary, or to track hours.
  • Sim proposes that we pay staff hourly, and track hours. Staff would be expected to work the 33.5 hours, but work up to 40 hours.
    • Would help with these meetings, and help dis-incent over-working.
  • Ifny says that staff has been working towards to track hours better. (Salary or not).
    • Work should be capped at 40hours, and overtime should only be worked with permission, staff should be paid for meetings the attend.
    • Ifny explains the history of how we came to our current wage structure
    • Ifny proposes salary system
      • work is performance based, we work according to salary anyway
      • simpler to track
      • solves current problem with new hires expecting to work 33.5 hrs, which does not reflect reality on the ground. 33.5 hrs is arbitrary & has created confusion.
      • staff would work between 33.5-40hrs per week, with overtime only with permission. provides flexibility.
      • need HR dept.
      • we need to protect fulltime staff from burnout, hire more staff
    • Ifny believes that the salary system would allow more full time people to be hired.
  • Megan feels like she's been hired, and has been working an hourly job, but she feels her job doesn't really work that way.
  • Sim doesn't like using salary as justification to have people work many hours, and that salary provides more flexibility.
  • Sean H. says it doesn't matter so much what the paycheque value at the end of the month is, it's more important that they're being paid the same for the same amount of time.
  • Bruno says that each person is different, in his experience each person is paid hourly, but the people consider that differently - some think of themselves as on salary (flex work hours), others consider themselves 9-5.

(There was a lot more to the above points and many other points raised - it was too hard to participate in the meeting and to really capture the extent of the discussion.)

Consensus is reached to give the HR Working group authority to make a decision on the hourly vs salary issue, and to proceed with shifting wages to $24,000/year, pending budgetary review.


Partially addressed as part of the above discussion. Is a broader topic for a different meeting.

BAN e-Stewardship

Report by Ifny.

As e-Stewards, we will need to pay licensing fees and sign a licensing agreement to use the logo and name.

COMMIT: Ifny to post or send the licensing agreement. (perhaps via Stephen)

Sim says that he considers the audit process (regardless of BAN) to be a Good Thing, and key to our organization.

Sean H. says that the BAN approval is tied to our mission.

Consensus is reached to pay BAN the fee.

Directors requested to see the BAN licensing agreement.

Consensus is reached to budget for the auditing, but to revisit the topic when that time comes.

COMMIT: Ifny will submit the licensing agreement and cheque.

Staff Discounts


Extra Space

  • Adam called around to look for extra space to store several skids

Consensus is reached to rent extra storage space.

  • Luke suggested talking with the Recycling Alternative for the use of their Biodiesel vehicles for transport.