Staff Meeting - 2009-10-30

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Staff Meeting Minutes – Friday October 30th

Attendance: Ifny, Jessica, Geoff, Tyler, Jamie

Scribe: Geoff


0) Going out of business (Finance Meeting Report)

Ifny – There were a lot of questions and not many answers at last night's finance meeting. We need someone to look at and analyse our financial numbers. Some of us are trying, but we don't have anyone with regular time, so we'll have to pay our accountant. We're overspending on wages due to not budgeting enough. The finance committee feels we can't afford a raise, and that we'll need to work as much of the holiday as possible. A couple months ago we were $6000 short for the month. This is an accelerating and we're not sure when it started yet. This last month we were between 11 and 12 grand short. If this trend continues we'll be broke by April, although if that happens we'll need to liquidate before then, so we'll be out of business even sooner. I'm fairly surprised that it’s got this bad this fast. It’s certainly not the Store's fault – there are issues across the board, some to do with the market that we haven't quite figured out. Staff needs to look at 2 things: we may have to take a pay cut, and/or we may need to lay off staff.

Jessica – What kind of pay cut are we talking about?

Ifny – A dollar an hour.

Jessica – Can I suggest we all decide to take a pay cut right now?

Patrick – Personally I need some time to think about it. I'm really tight right now with travelling every day.

Tyler – I think we need to look at the data a bit more before we make a quick decision like that. I'm interested in helping look at the numbers myself.

Jessica – I feel like we need to try something. All this was brought up at the Finance meeting with no suggestions.

Ifny – Looking at the numbers is a good first start. Maybe staff should take next week to think about a pay cut, and talk to their families. One thing we can do right now is stop shredding discs. That costs us $500 a months. Our storage unit is another $280 a month. We could look at cutting benefits which I really don't want to do.

Tyler – I'd hate to see the benefits package go, and I don't even get benefits.

Ifny - We could also stop paying money for lawyers in regards to dealing with former staff. The other thing staff could really do to save time, which is money, is stop fighting with each other.

Jessica – Those are good ideas for cutting costs, what about improving income?

Ifny – We could start selling aluminum again.

Patrick – We could reduce the discount for volunteers and even staff like Portland does. Also get debit.

Geoff – In Courtenay they charged for receiving things like monitors.

Ifny – We need to get a debit machine right away too. Not credit card, because it’s too easy for people to cancel a card and then we're on the hook for it.

Jessica – I feel like we have thousands of dollars worth of stuff in the warehouse that could be sold. This is no fault of the store, we just can't physically get this much stuff in there. Maybe another member of staff or a volunteer could be putting stuff on Craigslist or something like that.

Ifny – We should probably move on, but I'll commit to putting out some requests for donations going into the holidays.

Jessica – In the case of lay-offs who or what could be cut?

Tyler – I think we should keep thinking about this and move on to the rest of the agenda.

Ifny – Last point ... the market has changed and desktops are out ... laptops are in. Portland makes their money partly on laptops, and also on exporting desktops, which FGV has never done. It’s a bit dicey to send stuff overseas where it'll end up in the land-fill.

1) Staff Selling Personal Equipment / Providing Tech Support

  Geoff had a serious fail a couple of weeks ago when a potential customer was asking him about Mac laptops. He said we didn't have any a few times, and then the fellow asked about a personal laptop of his. Unfortunately he said yes, which was wrong to be selling personal stuff on company time, but then a week later he came back to ask about problems he was having, so he spent 15min talking to him about it.

Geoff committed to writing up the policy against doing this. Jessica committed to showing Geoff how to add to the wiki.

2) Pickups – One month trial evaluation.

Mike would like to increase his pickups to 2 days. He will co-ordinate with Jamie so we don't get swamped and make more work for ourselves. A point has been made about contacting donors in a timely manner. We are losing really good clients by not being able to get to them quickly enough. Our non-Mike clients need priority and attention.

Jessica committed to helping Jamie finish client agreement sheets in regards to things that donors can and can't send to us.

3) Skejulinator Update

Ifny - Richard from Free Geek Portland has offered us Skejulinator (which he wrote). It is fully integrated into the Free Geek database. We can just do an update.

Tyler committed to getting Joshua on this.

4) Customer Service

Ifny - We need to really be supporting customers buying things from us, because they're not just

  Buying some tiny piece of junk, they're starting or continuing a relationship with us. We need to
  Consistent, but we also need to make people happy and support Patrick is being able to be

Patrick – I have no problem with that, as long as customers aren't abusing the system. Sometimes for example people bring in their own ram and try to say it was from us when there is no green sticker.

Ifny – Most people are good (potential) customers. It’s not many who are trying to abuse the system.

  We need to make people feel better about coming here – making them feel like we care about     what they care about.

Tyler – To paraphrase, it’s about the way we tell someone we don't have what they're looking for.

5) Job Description

Ifny – This point was about spheres of influence. We don't work in our own sandbox; nearly every decision involves more than one person. We will all commit to review each others' job description and offer suggestions of anything we see other staff doing that isn't on their list.

6) Client discussion

Ifny – We stopped taking all stuff from XXX after the accident in the warehouse, but another office of the same organisation has asked us to reconsider. It’s an independent branch. HR wants to support whatever staff decide.

Jessica – Can we talk about this next week when Jamie is here?

Tyler – Agree ...offices are talking to each other, which is good. We haven't heard anything more from the first office, so let's wait.

7) Business Proposal from the Hackery

The Hackery would like to offer us storage space. They would also like to purchase our stripped cases. Additionally if we're strapped for space they would consider letting us take deliveries there at the same price.

Jessica – What assurances would we have that cases etc ...would be disposed of ethically?

Ifny – There aren't any restrictions on steel, aluminum, or even the plastics on cases.

Tyler – We'd have to strip any little tiny bit of circuit board.

Ifny commits to checking the Basel convention on the tiny pieces of circuit board in the cases.

Jessica – We'd also have to remove the floppies.

There was consensus on the 3 items in the Hackery's business proposal.

8)Jessica's English Teeth

Jessica needs to take a personal day off.

9) Receiving

Mike observed a few things about receiving: Volunteers were leaving donation stuff on the table and doing other little things.

Jessica committed to making a sign prioritizing things like keeping the stairs clear,

Mike asked about the laptop policy. When receiving gets a laptop, do they give it to staff in the warehouse? Or in the Mezz?

We want volunteers to bring laptops into the Mezz, where they're supposed to be kept, because they have hard drives in them.

The logging of laptops was not something brought to the staff group, it was started by a couple of staff on their own. If we want to have a logging procedure it can be brought to the staff group.


Jax had a great proposal to sell the Museum collection. He agreed to help us with it. We could potentially use the Hackery's space to sell it.

Tyler – This should go to General for it to be moved forward. Also, are we selling it all? Or the excess? Because we'll miss out on the potential income from movie rentals.

Ifny – That's irregular and unpredictable, plus we're hurting for cash right now.

  We need to be out of our storage space by no later than the 20th of November

11)Client relationship discussion

Getting back on track with one of our clients.


We have a safe. Operations suggested we could ask our awesome steel-working neighbour to bolt the safe into the wall.

Who should have the combination? Currently Ifny has the combo. Should it be one staff and one director? It should be those who are doing deposits. Christine?

Jessica – Is there any reason not to have a director with the combo?

Ifny – We have piles of passwords, from the totally banal to the essential. We should have a master list, kept somewhere (like a safety deposit box).

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