Monthly Meeting - 2010-01-12

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Public meeting minutes for Tuesday, January 12th 2010 at 6:30pm
Location: 1820 Pandora Street
Previous: Monthly Meeting - 2009-12-08 | Next: Monthly Meeting - 2010-02-09


Ashley S. (Facilitator), Devenne D., George L. Marco G., Mike M., Jessica M-P, Alec S., Ahmed A., Bernie K., Geoff B. (Regulator), Chris H. (Scribe)

Consensus briefing

Delivered by Ashley.



  • two Windows-less Wednesdays
    • twice a month; first and third of month
    • wide range of experience turn out at last one


December 2009
wholesale $1,426
retail: $14,016
total $15,796
wholesale: $15,423
retail: $154,405
total: $171,768
retail: $46,017
  • Warehouse Coordinator working on improving recycling revenue
  • busiest pickup; estimates 9 skids sent to The Hackery for storage; 6 skids sent to Encorp


  • group down to two members in December; staff & directors will discuss to re-vamp
  • handling time-off requests


  • two directors have stepped down; Joe and David
  • held meeting in December; delivered proposals to staff in January
  • Director's insurance finalized


  • jammed warehouse
  • network switch failure during last Windows-less Wednesday; caused by faulty switch and cable
  • security improved; cameras installed
  • safe installed


  • busy in the warehouse


  • language support in network install; large download
    • Tyler managed to update installer
    • extra step for builders
    • Q: English and French? just English
  • voip phones not integrated
  • new server being built
    • voip phones will be included


  • large orientations
    • expanding to three a week
  • lots of volunteers;
  • no-shows for day-and-a-half at start of this year


  • Ifny took vacation and Patrick away
    • George substituting for Patrick at this time

Old business

Previous commits

  • Public Forum Code of Conduct link not added to "Welcome" mail for mailing list subscribers
    • APPENDED CORRECTION: Outside of the Directors list, link added to the Code of Conduct to *every* FG list welcome message, with the exception of the Announce list since it's not participatory. Also added was a link to the FG Netiquette page and the FG Mailing List page. Confidential lists have had an additional discretion caveat added as well.
  • Public Forum Code of Conduct sent to General and Operations mailing lists
  • COMMIT: Alec will send Public Forum Code of Conduct to other mailing lists

New business

Production Coordinator Position


Presenter: Geoff

  • proposed new position modelled on Portland position:
  • primarily to work around Receiving station
  • accountant recommendations; hope to pay for itself ($6–7000)
  • concern about adding staff before current skill gaps are resolved
  • staff believe would be worth it
  • three month trial; track income to justify


  • Q1: staff sense how [missing information]??? & Q2: Portland staff [missing information]???
    • shortage of people, Volunteer Coordinator is short-handed; should be long term not short term
    • all sales through store; cover same duties but primarily receiving; prevent new staff position from being sucked in to gaps; Driver currently covering receiving
    • new staff position will help organize and utilize space; one [missing information]???, two communication with store for wholesaling
    • new staff position should understand must pay for own position; demonstrated need
    • track revenue change from new staff position
    • separate tally of sold by position is extra work to report back to general
  • understand concern need person to fill void; concerns with [missing information]???
  • confusion with finances resolved
  • store tracking, wonder [missing information]???; by staff [missing information]???; foresee problem increase in income to store or production
  • new staff position will have month of training; success or failure?
  • need some metric (measure); time delay to get figures; three month time to figure?
  • not easy and quantifiable to report
  • this is an experiment; guess it's going to work; see how it works
  • example metric: Craigslists revenue?
  • three month profitable? afford to lose by accountant; interim to [missing information]???; best guess, comfortable time period
  • position to sell things separately?; first month training, next two to recover good trend?; need to separate from staff likes someone to fill position
  • concern that no separate revenue stream to compete with store
  • Portland said "most profitable position they have"
  • misleading; waste time; staff needs to be seen to be accountable
  • if don't count cost, look at overall revenue to see if improvements; fairly good benchmarks; needs to be beneficial with too much pressure
  • trust staff; go back to accountant to see if finances are okay
  • PROPOSAL: Hire someone as a Production Coordinator for a three-month trial period after which it will be evaluated. Part of the evaluation will be consulting Free Geek's accountant to judge financial status. Make this information clear to candidates during hiring process. -- CONSENSUS
  • will reduce work among staff and endeavour to increase overall revenue

Staff Pay Raise


Presenter: Jessica

  • asked accountant about possibility of $1 raise possible; accountant suggested $0.50, assuming hiring of Production Coordinator
    • APPENDED INFORMATION: Accountant's estimation of $0.50 is entirely independent of hiring of Production Coordinator. The ability to hire the Production Coord is entirely contingent on the position paying for itself. $0.50 is based on current financial situation.


  • compliments to accountant
  • err on side of caution, 50 cent then consider again after six month
  • 50 cent raise and Production Coordinator improves things to strengthen further proposed raises; three months; strength of recommendation of accountant
  • report from account was delivered by proponent of 50 cent raise; feeling of "stick" more than "carrot" being used
  • Q: like to hear from staff, small number (50 cent raise): how does it sound to staff?
    • not offensive. accounting numbers complex reflection
    • no problem with size and duration/delay, cautious and not foolish
  • need to decide now, major change and associated risk, and pay-off in staff and new position
  • when comes back to General with numbers makes more plausible; claw back raise would be detrimental
  • Q: previous expanding space concern? not related to topic, though affected by finances
  • staff want raise; assist/off-set travel (commuting) expense
  • Free Geek wants to be inclusive; currently below poverty line; people here have high tech knowledge; hard to find those to hire; support staff to support volunteers; motivation for $1 far greater to potential improvement
  • Q: as staff, preference to give dollar and reduce if not feasible or small increment followed by another small increment?
    • might surprise new hire
    • dollar now
    • staff quit if have to give up raise? no.
  • make sure upward trend is sustained; sense when raise was good move; prudent
  • no numbers provided; need actual statement from accountant rather than reported from another source
  • money to Free Geek unknown: grants, store; decision is based on history; important to make cautious decisions; Free Geek must exist; can Free Geek afford the raise?
  • Q: what have been past trends? finance statements are in fact increasing [rising financial revenue]
    • recognize variable income. need financial statements.
  • Q: grant money free and clear? yes
  • estimate $1500 a month increase needed
  • COMMIT: Bring numbers (associated with justifying raise) from accountant to next Monthly Meeting.
    • Possibly small summary for each monthly meeting.
  • PROPOSAL: Staff will receive a $1 pay raise effective next pay period and review the effects of the raise with the accountant after three months. -- CONSENSUS
    • APPENDED INFORMATION: Staff consensus was for an immediate $0.50 pay raise, with quarterly reviews to determine when the other $0.50 raise could be added. The accountant was clear that FG cannot afford $1/hr raise at this juncture.

Reviewing Meeting Schedules


Presenter: Chris

  • To improve attendance at meetings it is proposed that the current meeting schedules be reviewed. The current schedule of meetings will be announced on General and the other respective mailing lists, and perhaps in the Free Geek physical work space. Within the announcement, there would be the question as to whether anyone believed any dates could be changed to include more people at those meetings.


  • encourage people to sign up (subscribe) to the mailing lists
  • COMMIT: Jessica will make signage at public terminals to make people aware of the mailing lists and how to subscribe to them, and hand out small fliers regarding the same information.
  • mailing list sign up (subscribe) already included in Volunteer Orientation forms
  • need to tweak announced times for workgroup meetings
  • was discussion of morning meeting but it was just talk
  • was discussion of reducing staff meetings? decrease time meeting is taking better option.
  • Saturdays were considered good for meetings but staff rejected the idea, but would accommodate a request by enough people
  • Q: meeting notice on website? possible misunderstanding; people showing up with no vested interest in discussion
  • COMMIT: Chris will send query about meeting schedule to mailing lists (General, Build, Operations, Volunteer).
  • reservation about moving meetings around; is effort worth benefit?
  • remind people on General mailing list to bring opinions and find advocates for those who cannot personally attend


  • COMMIT: Alec will send Public Forum Code of Conduct to other mailing lists
  • COMMIT: Bring numbers (associated with justifying raise) from accountant to next Monthly Meeting.
  • COMMIT: Jessica will make signage at public terminals to make people aware of the mailing lists and how to subscribe to them, and hand out small fliers regarding the same information.
  • COMMIT: Chris will send query about meeting schedule to mailing lists (General, Build, Operations, Volunteer).

Next meeting

  • Facilitator: George L.
  • Scribe: put out major call!
  • Consensus briefer: Name