Monthly Meeting - 2014-11-18
Attending: Nigel, Robert, Trevor, Kricket, Sidney, Jodi, Mike F., Michael D., Mike G., Roxana, Michele. Guest: Mac.
1. Appointment of facilitator and scribe (See By-laws Part 4.18)
Nigel Cornwall, facilitator / Trevor W. McKeown, scribe
Michael D explained the consensus model where everyone has an equal say, a discussion leads to a proposal which is then read by scribe. A decision by consensus requires that all agree, with any who disagree either recorded as standing aside (abstaining) or blocking. Blocking requires an explanation and a counter proposal.
2. Adoption of agenda with two hour time limit: by consenus.
3.1 Finance: Retail sales up, deficit forcast reduced, wholesale down, income up from last year if employment grant included in total although a year end deficit of $25,000 is forecast. Recommendations: no immediate cost savings available short of cutting staff which is not considered an option. Work is required to increase retail sales, possibly through ebay sales, to promote increased donations, and to solicit for grants.
Jodi suggested that Ifny's research may be of value but Michael D. replied that no results or reports had been forthcoming from her work. Sidney promoted an aggresive solicitation of local municipality grants and volunteered to write applications. Michael cautioned that this is a time-consuming process while Nigel reported that he has approached a local society to assist.
Mac asked about options for relocating premises but this is not a short term option with current finances. Michael D noted the current economical rent situation. Nigel referred further planning for expansion to the board.
3.2 Budget: nil report
3.3 Grants: nil report
3.4 Build / Production: nil report
3.5 Health and Safety Mac submitted a list of health and safety incident reports to the board. Tripping accidents are up but the simple solution is to keep floors clean and walkways clear.
3.6 Warehouse: Michael G. reported that pallets are piling up.
3.7 Software: In the face of 14.04 complaints Free Geek advise is to not upgrade or to reinstall 12.04. Michele will add warning to retail sales info and Michael D will post to fg-announce
3.8 Volunteers: There was little response to the Hallowe'en costume party. Volumnteer scheduling is being revamped and we currently have lots of volunteers. A a location is being sought for our Christmas party planned for 20 December,
Laptops: Mike F. reported that laptop production is steady. He is researching the purchase of new batteries. Sidney suggested Doctor Battery in Richmond.
3.9 Store: Currently, sales to date for the year are $4,000 below sales this time last year. Stock is being posted to Craig's List. The lack of skilled volunteers is problematic, and wholesale sales are down significantly.
3.10 Wholesale nil report
3.11 Hardware Grants: Michael reported a high demand for hardware grants. Nigel counciled due dillegence in screening for appropriateness.
3.12 Education: The Surrey Public Library will reissue a brochure in new year promoting our help night at Gilford Library. Michael F. noted that the Wednesday Help Night continues to be popular.
3.13 Events / media nil report
3.14 Intergalactic nil report
3.15 Marketing: Sidney will be making phone calls to municipal governments and corporations to solicit donations and support.
4. New business
4.1 Trevor noted there were currently eight directors and proposed an increase to nine to allow the appointment of a Safety Lead.
Discussion Michael D believes that the role can be filled by a volunteer, not a director. Mike F. saw no reason to increase the number of directors. Trevor noted that a volunteer does not have the perceived authority of a director. Proposal was blocked and facilitator directed Mac to research role of safety officer and report to directors.
4.2 Nigel proposed to establish a charitable foundation for Free Geek at a cost estimated at $5,000 over the next six months to a year.
Discussion Kricket expressed concerns over spending money when revenues were down. Sidney and Michele noted that requests for a charitable tax number were frequent and such status would increase donations. Consensus reached to proceed to apply for charitable status.
4.3. Michael D. proposed that alternatives to the Consensus Model that do not empower individuals to the detriment of the group be researched and presented to members.
Discussion Michael D. noted that consensus model originated with Religious Society of Friends and Alcoholics Anonymous but he does not believe that it works well in larger groups. Jodi expressed concern that the consensus model defined Free Geek's non-corporate structure. Roxane averred that other models do not necessarily lead to a corporate structure. Consensus reached to research alternatives.
4.4 Budget for 2014, review of sponsor recognition policy and use of fg-general mail list were deferred due to time limit.
5. Adjournment at 8:30
Scribe: Trevor W. McKeown