Meeting notes from November 2009 MFPL Leadership Committee Meeting

(these notes were taken initially at . Many thanks to Richard Darst for providing this service)

testing, testing

we just did introductions:

josue, mallory, christi, amy, daniel, hilary, liz, alfredo, jamie, louis

we are reviewing the agenda. 4 proposals: USSF, Consulta Hemisferica,

USSF - we are doing a lot more than last time. political leadership is something we are engaging in, actively participating in and leading conversations about free and open source software, etc

Consulta Hemisferica - conversation about APC, association of progressive communities, of which we are a member. 30 active members in APC, 3 million dollar budget, members worldwide. hilary and alfredo are the mfpl reps. APC does provide funding for projects. possibility of support for this project.

Techie Congress - gathering of techies, drawing up a techie bill of rights, presenting that to the movement

Resource shift - currently all labor is volunteer based. this is a proposal to change that.

Mallory - is there any mention of world social forum?

Josue - is there a plan for getting dollars to support any of the proposals?

Makani is tuned in and about 45 min away : (

Everyone has been reading the Main Report - is where the collaborative democracy tool lives. there is a need to make the page more accessible, but it does work.

Christi - capacity? talking about a paid staff person will help with that. but we need to talk more explicitly about that

Recruitment - thru techies is the most stable source. no other recruitment happens in a consistent way.

challenges with orgs not seeing mfpl as a membership organization.

conversation about the main report

daniel references the "bitterness" reflected in the comments about the radical techie list. he feels that the list is an incubator and that there is no data collection to reflect that memberships come from the list.

financial report - we are in the black - between 5k and 10k in the bank

bad news - cushion is the same we had 3 yrs ago. expenses have increased though. cash reserve is approaching monthly expenses.

plan to grow in order to take advantage of economics of scale has not happened. expansion created dual costs. each member is using more computer resources. more projects means more websites. email accounts have increased (receiving, scanning for viruses). increased use of tools like drupal, which makes more demands on infrastructure.

support requests have diminished a little, surprisingly.

2010 outlook - bandcom contract up in august 2010. telehouse contract up in 2011.

finances - profit / loss is for 2008. we break even every year. the $15,000 surplus is illusory. includes theoretical receivables.

is there a point when you write these things off and take them off the books? tedious and does not happen as much as it should.

riseup is the one exception to hosting without membership dues. one of the founders, micah, moved to nyc. one of the costs of our colocation servers is shared with riseup. more than $300 a month, based on the number of servers.

membership has slowed down.

Reconvening after lunch to discuss the proposals

We started with the USSF proposal. Alfredo asked for proposed language. Do we want to expand the current proposal to incorporate forward movement on the World Social Forum. It was suggested that we incorporate the WSF proposal in the Consulta Hemisferica. Christi talked about the Latin America Solidarity track as something that might be incorporated into the USSF proposal. Another suggestion was to incorporate recruitment into the USSF but a number of folk thought we should develop a specific proposal around recruitment. this will constitute a fifth proposal.

It was also clarified that there can be no hiring until the server colocation shift in August 2010 unless we get other resources.

USSF. It was suggested that we do not revise the USSF proposal. The group approved the proposal by consensus.

Consulta Hemisferica. Given the discussion re: resources, it was proposed that we add language to approach APC for resources for implementation. Amy has had initial conversations re: funding availability. Conversation with Karen Banks seemed to indicate that there might be limited funding available for projects. Amy suggested that we get clear re: what we're doing and what we're asking for. We will need to develop a proposal.

Christi raised concern that the Consulta is soon after USSF. Is there the capacity to do this?

Jamie: there are good contacts in a few key places (including Belem and APC) to help host and move this work. As a worst case scenario, this could be leveraged for a collaborative democracy workshop with 7-10 sites -- not quite a Consulta Hemerferica but could be a build up toward the Consulta. This would help keep some momentum going. One challenge is how much of a role should the USSF play given the need to make sure that the US does not dominate/tell the rest of the countries what the program will be. If there are additional resources, there are opportunities to build on the solidarity networks as well as organizers from these countries, and even the cadre of international participants at USSF so that even if we engage at the USSF, there would still be strong leadership and presence from outside of the US. Best case is that we will have resources to fund someone to do full coordination and do the Consulta full on.

Christi asked if the plan was to still do the Consulta after the "worst case" scenario? Is that too much?

Moving forward,we need to pay attention to the capacity issues. Alfredo will be the person most likely to do the project, if there are resources. Alfredo would like to do more of this work but there needs to be resources because it will be replacing paid work.

Question: are the co-directors asking for the LC to get into the day to day decisionmaking re: whether or not they should jump into this regardless of resources. what kind of direction are you all seeking?

Jamie and Alfredo clarified that they are seeking guidance on prioritization and use of resources -- the distinction being that the LC is not being asked to manage the project. Hilary asked if there were any other things that folk wanted from the LC?

Alfredo: Appreciating the fact that the LC is really engaged already, they are trying to be mindful of that.

The group decided to review all of the proposals and identify priorities. The Techie Proposal is an outlier structurally so it was bumped up in the discussion. There needs to be clarity re: time it would take to implement.

Josue: Given the level of political development on techie's list, how comfortable would co-directors be with doing the necessary political development? The shift and impact of the political development will depend in large part on the time invested. Is there the time to invest on the front end?

Alfredo believes that there could be a shift forward after a good, strong call (not muscle, just clarity).

Jamie: there's a minimalist and maximalist perspective -- we have options. We can still get value if we do the minimalist work (i.e., 50 people at a USSF session).

Liz: Is there an interest in hooking up with other labor sectors/building connections?

Alfredo/Christi: Real value in limiting it to techies

Christi: there are timeline considerations. these tasks need to be organized along a timeline taking into consideration that staff is not scheduled to be on until August. Maybe it makes sense to focus more sharply on recruitment during and after the USSF.

Mallory: We should put recruitment and outreach into every proposal.

Christi: We should do both - incorate outreach in every piece AND have a separate, more cohesive proposal.

Josue: agreed, reiterating that we need to have a separate outreach proposal in addition to incorporating it into every proposal

Liz: Focus outreach and identify key groups and targeted materials. Leverage USSF workshops and consider interns.

Resource shift.

Daniel: We should really consider keeping the redundant server given the Yes Men challenge. It doesn't mean that we are completely protected but it made a difference.

Jamie: we have six servers now and could still keep redundancy in the servers under the current proposal. There are still vulnerabilities including the remaining servers don't all have the bandwidth as the upstream provider we are leaving.

Amy: Are there other options?

Jamie/Daniel: yes, we can either move all the servers to some place new. we can move everything to Telehouse and negotiate a deal. Move everything to Bandcon but although they are cheaper but the service is awful and hard to navigate. Another option is to go to Telehouse in Staten Island

Mallory: we do have alternative hosting models and as progressive tech organization there are other things we can do.

Jamie: this proposal was written primarily to address the financial issues (growth and revenue slow down) and the vulnerability related to not having a staff person to address tickets, etc. this proposal is not necessarily clear as it was the hardest to figure out the various scenarios ad options.

Christi: What's the timeline for when you need to know?

Jamie: There is significant labor issues - reassigning IPs, moving the servers. All of this has to be considered. If we found a colocation that is still with Hurricane Electric, we could avoid reassigning IPs. So far, have not been able to find a more reasonable site with Hurrican Electric.

Alfredo: Remember that Hurricane Electric was the one that cut off 300 members. Must be considered given the grief. they are bad news.

International colocation has some legal and other implications that must be explored.

We will table the resource/paid staff proposal until Jamie and Alfredo further develop the proposal.

Outreach proposal

Josue proposed a more directed campaign with leaders serving as organizers. Everyone identifies at least five people to talk to and recruit. we can use CvCrm to track and support folk.

Christi suggested that we supplement this with direct email appeals and other solicitations.

Mallory: there are some ideas from last year -- a downloadable "badge" for websites to show their support, print ads

Louis: Connect with networks like RTTC, PBN and GGJ and even the Inter Alliance Dialogue and ask them to recruit; domestic workers union

Makani: Could provide CD support to these networks to help with their collaboration work. Good window of opportunity between now and USSF. Gather testimony from groups for proposals, the web, etc.

Liz: there are other networks that need this kind of support like solidarity economy and identify needs that can be addressed

Amy: There needs to be very targeted work with these groups so that we are clear about needs, political goals, specific ways we can collaborate

Josue: It's a real challenge to have the org depend on membership as its primary source of funding but work on it pushed back to August. That is problematic and needs to reconsidered.

Liz: there should be a plan for the year leading into the USSF

Louis: we need to build better ties with media justice, net neutrality and put more time into having these political discussions so that we can get clearer about how to frame our work, etc.

wrapping up, we are looking at what we should be sure to approve/move before we go.

  • Consulta: Do we need to add language re: ensuring that there are resources available to do the work? Level of work is minimal unless new resources gets added
  • the leadership committee voted unanimously for the co-directors to continue serving in that capacity. Yay!!!!

Next steps:

  • develop a proposal for the Consulta by December 15th to go to APC and Christi's r.... friend
  • a subcommittee of the leadership group to identify resource possibilities for consulta and membership as fundraising perhaps even general support (Christi, Hilary, Makani, Amy and Josue and Liz on recruitment)
  • Daniel will develop a plan for more efficient use of co-location resources with Mallory exploring other models, etc.
  • A short survey of members to identify needs and potential ways of building/recruiting
  • In the next 30 days, develop membership plan specifically (Josue will take lead with support/back up from Liz, Makani, Christi)
  • Jamie and Alfredo will refine the resource shift plan in the next 60 days
  • Louis suggested that we do a call in the next 30 days to further flush out the political analysis
  • Resource call to plan out proposal on Friday, December 4 at 4pm
  • A note will be sent to the list with dates in the next week to schedule the political analysis call

Meeting adjourned at 4:35pm with gratitude and appreciation for all

Last modified 11 years ago Last modified on Nov 22, 2009, 2:28:46 PM