Prospective board members: travel sponsoring.
bryce at bryceharrington.org
Thu Mar 21 01:41:55 UTC 2019
On Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 08:12:27AM -0400, Rob Clark wrote:
> On Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 7:39 AM Luc Verhaegen <libv at skynet.be> wrote:
> > On Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 12:15:46PM +0100, Luc Verhaegen wrote:
> > >
> > > The only person that i have seen mentioned by name is jake. The rest is
> > > just a number and a total amount. There is no public record of anything
> > > else.
> > >> ...
> > > Thank you for answering this question. This is not clear to any
> > > outsider, or member, looking in.
> > >
> > > > This is all in the IRC logs and meeting minutes.
> > >
> > > No, this is not. Some very superficial things are. But nothing more.
> > >
> > > In this case, i am pretty sure that this is not deliberate, but it still
> > > is the reality that this has not been fully public.
> > >
> > > Sure, but again, both members and sponsors deserve full transparency.
> > >
> > > Also, i just stumbled over this while looking for travel support for
> > > speakers: why was last years treasurer report due after the elections?
> > > I have seen talk of a treasurer report in the summaries now, but none
> > > seems available for the upcoming elections.
> IIRC last year the treasurer report was delayed simply because of the
> time it took to get a report from SPI because we needed to confirm
> their records matched ours (I believe they were switching over to a
> new system, or something like that.. the treasurer probably remembers
> those details better than I do)
That's basically correct, although it was not due to switching systems,
but that their old system was done manually. I suspect the timing was
also due to a need to wait until the fiscal year had ended. SPI does
intend to automate some of the process but I'm not sure on the current
status of that work.
You may have already seen that I raised the issue that that the bylaw
requirements of when the treasurer report is due, is impossible to
follow now that we've moved to SPI, due to their reporting cycle. Even
with SPI's new systems, this date is completely unrealistic. Whether or
not to correct the bylaws for this is up to the rest of the board, and
the new treasurer, but it's what I would recommend. Just too much of a
headache to have a situation where an outsider like yourself can see a
specific date specified, but no report delivered on that date, and
wonder why. I can get that one might make assumptions that something
nefarious is going on, when in truth it's just a disconnect in the
I'm not sure what you are wondering in regards to the identity of the
travelers, but can give some generalities: All the XDC travelers were
either speakers or, in Jake's case, press. None were board members.
The amounts paid varied quite a bit due to distance traveled, but all
did flight searches to find lowest fares, so the itenaries seemed quite
The only reason for not making the traveler names public is for their
privacy. Personal privacy is just as important as organizational
transparency. Finding the balance there has been a focus of mine - on
the one hand building a shadow ledger on our side for tracking and
reporting as needed, and on the other hand keeping the data stored
securely to protect people's account, contact, and other personal
I'll add that in restructuring X.org under SPI, while it adds
complications like what I outlined above, it also has a benefit of a
second organization's set of eyeballs on all transactions. As outgoing
Treasurer, I feel so long as this organization structure continues as
is, I'm confident that any and all irregularities that might come up are
going to be entirely due to accidents, not to improper actions. There
are a lot more processes and policies in place now; the finances are
much more robust and trackable.
> But delays aside, the report was released.
> > >
> > > This is all about transparency.
> > >
> > > I am a particular stickler for this, due to this being the only antidote
> > > to abuse of power and privilege.
I think I may have missed the orientation session where the power and
privilege were handed out!
In truth, being a board member for X.org is a large amount of work,
largely unrecognized and unappreciated. I admire the work ethic and
achievements of the members I'm serving with, and the trust the
community has given them seems well given. But understand that it is a
big commitment, and your efforts will be mostly invisible to the larger
And honestly I'd disagree with this point - transparency is important
too, but it's not the only antidote. The true solution here, like in
any democracy, is for the electorate to elect good, smart people who are
worth our trust. From what I've seen in my time on the board, the X.org
membership has made good decisions.
> > > But... Both members and sponsors need to know how the board does its
> > > primary function: spend sponsor money. Otherwise there is no point in
> > > holding elections for members. And how will sponsors know that their
> > > money is well-spent, why would they donate at all?
> > Are you, both current and future board members, still deliberating on
> > how to best handle this clear issue of limited transparency in the run
> > up to the board elections?
Luc, to the extent that you're taking the approach of asking pertinent
questions, and not making assumptions on your own, it is appreciated.
I am also a proponent of organizational transparency. It's huge and
matters a lot. Yet it's also quite time consuming to do it properly,
and being staffed by volunteers working either in their freetime or with
time granted from their employers, there's a painfully finite limit to
the board's resources, and thus limitations have to be accepted.
Note though that even within the limits, the last few years have seen a
transformative amount of change for X.org: A long-needed
reimplementation of the election tools, dissolution of the old
foundation and merging with SPI, legal work for Mesa's Khronos
membership, re-establishing event sponsorship, continuing to expand
mentorship opportunities for students, and the financial tracking and
tools I've mentioned. Understand from this context that the reason
there *is* money to spend is *because* of the board's efforts, that more
people have their eyes on it than ever, and that the tools to track and
report on it have improved and will continue to improve.
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