Monthly Meeting - 2007-12-11

From FGWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Public meeting minutes for 2007-12-11 at 6:30pm
Location: 1820 Pandora Street
Previous: Monthly Meeting - 2007-04-07 | Next: Monthly Meeting - 2008-03-11



  • Facilitator: Sean
  • Regulator: Sabina
  • Scribe: Jeff
  • Minutes Checker: Ifny


  • Ashley
  • Sabina
  • Sean
  • Simeon
  • Jeff
  • Sam
  • Mike G
  • David
  • Ifny
  • Patrick
  • Paul



  • Ashley researched local ISP/T1 options. He has identified possibilities but hasn't contacted them yet because he doesn't know what he's authorized to do.
COMMIT: draft a request-for-information letter to send to ISPs, mentioning that we're a non-profit -- ASHLEY and Communications WG
  • Scott was supposed to contact VCN re: CAP funding, but he wasn't at the meeting.

Automated Donations

  • Sean looked into setting up automatic monthly donations.
    • It would not be cheap to set up: $150 setup plus transaction fees (doing it all on one day each month is $10 + 1.25%/transaction, doing it on any day of the month would be $75/month).
    • The financial institution needs to be sure that we're reliable, since there is liability; they would like us to be around for 2 years and/or would want security in the form of a locked deposit to build a credit history with the bank and so they can take money out of there if cheques bounce.
    • Having a security deposit also protects us since they can just take money from that if a cheque bounces, rather than dipping into our operating funds.
    • Sean said another option would be post-dated cheques which could be forwarded to the bank for them to handle. Sim noted that there are still liability concerns here (e.g. we cash a cheque, spend the money, and then find out that the cheque has bounced).
    • Sean noted that part of the point was to have this set up in time for Christmas, but it would only be ready a week before the holidays at most.
    • David said we're not ready to lock funds and all that. It would be better to push PayPal as a donation option. Patrick said that you can do automatic monthly donations via PayPal. Mike added that we should compare the PayPal overhead vs. the overhead mentioned by Sean.
  • COMMIT: make a graphic to advertise the PayPal option on the website -- IFNY


  • Ifny, Sabina, and Sim had a commit from the last meeting to put together some documentation for doing orientations (especially safety), both as a cheat sheet and a take-home document (and online).
    • Ifny said there is a draft, it just needs to be vetted by Sim and will be ready by the time the volunteer programs start up again in the new space on Jan 8.
    • Sim said you can also get new people to sign it to prove that they have been oriented (audit trail).
    • Ashley suggested that we put the evolving documentation on the wiki. Sim pointed out that we need to have an official version and a formal procedure for revising it.
    • Paul said we could put an official version up as a PDF with a revision number/date, and keep editing it in wiki form.
  • COMMIT: float a draft to the general list for comment -- IFNY
  • COMMIT: finish documentation by Jan 8 -- IFNY, SABINA, SIM, and whoever wants to help


  • The monitors are mostly gone -- you can see the back wall! Ifny said we'll figure out exactly what to do with the monitor fees in the new year, once we've moved.


  • Ifny reported that the Communications WG met about publicity.
    • There is a poster advertising the move, designed to be posted to get the word out about the move. We also have some business cards with our old address on the front and a map of the new location on the back; we will print up a new batch with the new address in January. If you're interested in helping to poster, please let Ifny know and get involved with the Communications WG.
  • Sean added that it would also be helpful to blog about this online (or whatever) to raise the profile.
    • Paul said we should have a huge announcement on the main page. Ifny said this is on the todo list.
    • Ifny said we'll also be putting up a banner on both sides of current bldg to indicate that we've moved and where.
    • Patrick suggested adding a reminder in the footer of all emails and other notices that go out (including all the mailing lists).

COMMIT: help with postering -- SABINA


  • Ifny said we have a real need for helpers to answer phones, oversee receiving, etc. They'll be especially important during the move, both to arrange the move and to keep things running before and after. We are trying to schedule volunteers (not just have people float in).
  • There was much discussion of helper training and classification.
    • David said helpers need to be well-trained or go through frequent reviews -- a monthly training session, perhaps -- to ensure they're competent.
    • Patrick said we need to have a set of criteria for what they need to be competent at; certification levels might be useful. Ifny cautioned that we don't want to get too formal because it's lots of work to maintain; on the other hand, it's useful to know what people's skills are (and not everyone has to do everything -- we can pair people up rationally and do shadowing), and to define core skills that everyone needs to have.
    • David said there should be a clear distinction between answer-the-phone helpers and adoption-program helpers, because different skill sets are involved.
    • Sim said helpers do need to have training to some sort of standard and there should be a paper trail. A training night is a really good idea.
    • Ifny pointed out that helpers are not core volunteers (helpers would not be left in charge of the building, for example). She expressed concern about a hard division between office helpers and adoption helpers (or whatever). Skill sets could represented by 'badges' for different areas, after a quick assessment or


    • Patrick said there is a baseline of knowledge that all helpers need to share. Among other things, this helps newbies start to feel comfortable in what they should know, and creates a sense of belonging.
    • David said it's not an issue of inequality to separate office and warehouse helpers: they are separate areas of responsibility and we shouldn't expect all helpers to be able to do everything; it's better to have specialized volunteers. It's a lot of pressure on the newbies to throw them in without proper training, and it makes a lot of work for others to fix the mistakes after. A baseline is important but it makes sense to specialize beyond that, and we really need to develop that.
    • Paul agreed with David generally. Standardization is important and specialization makes sense. That said, it should be possible for people to move among different specializations once they've had proper training.
  • Ifny observed that documentation plays an important role here. Also, to clarify, she doesn't think everyone has to do everything, it just doesn't have to be a dichotomy (office vs warehouse). It sounds like there should be regular training night or two 1-2 times/month.
    • David said documentation has mostly been written: just cut, paste, and edit from the Portland wiki.
    • Ifny sad we also need office volunteers ready by the first week in the new space (before the adoption/build volunteers come in). David disagreed: getting the adoption/build assembly-line going is more important.
    • Sean SUMMARIZED the discussion: A baseline of knowledge is important for all helpers; we will support specialized roles but allow people to switch. There was agreement with this.

COMMIT: arrange a training session for Eval on Monday Dec 17 @ 7pm -- DAVID

Emergency Goto Person

  • Ifny said there should be a bright vest or some other easily-noticeable way of finding who the go-to person in case of emergency, anytime the shop is open.
  • Mike said that people might take it off or whatever; what about a list of names? Ashley suggested that a big alarm button could be used to grab the go-to person's attention.
  • Patrick noted that if an emergency happens, people panic easily, so we need a really obvious way of finding the go-to person. This will be brought to OHS WG.


  • Ifny presented a timeline for the move:
    • Dec 15: dismantling ends
    • Dec 17: helper training
    • Dec 18: last day recyclables get picked up
    • after Dec 18: packing
    • Dec 22: last day open
    • Dec 27: moving day. A truck is booked, but it would be handy to have other vehicles handy to move volunteers around. The phone at the current space will be cut off on the 27th
    • Jan 3: reopen in new space. There was agreement that there won't be a Windowsless Wed on Jan 2 after all. There will no longer be an overlap period where we occupy both spaces concurrently.
    • If you can help on 27th or other days (e.g. packing week), please email Ifny/David and/or sign up on the clipboard (even if you've already committed). You can help out even if you can't do heavy lifting.
    • Sean asked about a rent party. Ifny will try but makes no guarantees. Getting a liquor license wouldn't be hard but organizing and publicity is the harder part. Paul noted that there's lots of competition for parties at that time of year.
    • David said it would be really good to just have a fun event: no big pressure, just keep it low-key. Sat Dec 29 was suggested as a good day for a party.
    • We will leave tables and chairs here during the move and bring them to the new space after the party.

COMMIT: organize party -- IFNY COMMIT: help with Dec 29 rent party -- SABINA, SEAN

Skids/pallete racks

  • David asked for authorization to spend money on a skid-strapping system that involves heavy-duty plastic "zap straps"; it will make the move safer and quicker, can be reused in future, and would cost a few hundred dollars.
  • Ifny asked if CFS could loan us something. David said it's cheap enough that we can just buy it, since it will be useful in the future and we'd have to replace it if we borrowed and damaged it. He'll price it out. Further discussion was DEFERRED.

COMMIT: look into renting another pallet jack -- DAVID

  • Ashley asked if there is a group working on organizing the new space. David has a floor plan. Ashley is interested in helping.


  • Sean gave a financial update.
  • Financial information has been exported from FGDB, and our records as a whole have been moved from spreadsheets into GNU Cash.
  • We made $4800 in retail, $200 in donations, and $6400 total in Nov: this easily meets expenses and we are $1000 ahead of yearly expenses.
  • We owe $1100 in taxes (mainly extra GST from retail in Nov). We have $4400 in bank, but do still have liabilities (e.g. David's loan).
  • Sean said we still need an accountant, for current books and for taxes. David said we should find someone with OSS (GNU Cash) experience.
  • Lots of support for keeping our books free & open. Patrick warned that we need to get a real, experienced accountant (CGA or whatever the appropriate designation would be). A local person with nonprofit experience will be preferred.

COMMIT: post an ad to Craigslist, FG mailing lists, VanLUG, Raincity, FreeTheNet etc. -- SEAN


  • VanLUG has invited us to their Xmas party on Fri Dec 14.
  • FG had a table at Citizens for Kyoto event outdoors at VPL on Dec 9.
  • Ifny said we should have a big event for the new space. We'll figure this out once the shop is up and running.


  • Ashley mentioned that there is new, DMCA-like copyright legislation coming up, and asked if FG should be involved in any way.
    • There was agreement that we can help to raise awarenes in the shop and on the lists. Patrick said discussing this stuff is a good idea: it helps people connect to important issues and feel they can make a difference.
    • There was agreement that FG will not announce a formal position on political issues like this, since we don't want to drive away support by being strident and taking sides. Also, it's not our mission.


  • Ryan mentioned that minutes from general and WG meetings should be more easily accessible. There's a fg-minutes list which is never used.
  • Sean asked if you can post to the wiki via email. This might help to automate making the minutes available. Having minutes available via RSS would be nice. Sim said even just using the fg-minutes list would make it easy to automate stuff and would be a single source for the minutes.
      1. COMMIT: make minutes more accessible, automate posting -- PATRICK


  1. COMMIT: draft a request-for-information letter to send to ISPs, mentioning that we're a non-profit -- ASHLEY and Communications WG
  2. COMMIT: make a graphic to advertise the PayPal option on the website -- IFNY
  3. COMMIT: float a draft to the general list for comment -- IFNY
  4. COMMIT: finish documentation by Jan 8 -- IFNY, SABINA, SIM, and whoever wants to help
  5. COMMIT: help with postering -- SABINA
  6. COMMIT: arrange a training session for Eval on Monday Dec 17 @ 7pm -- DAVID
  7. COMMIT: organize party -- IFNY
  8. COMMIT: help with Dec 29 rent party -- SABINA, SEAN
  9. COMMIT: post an ad to Craigslist, FG mailing lists, VanLUG, Raincity, FreeTheNet etc. -- SEAN
  10. COMMIT: make minutes more accessible, automate posting -- PATRICK