Board Meeting Minutes: October 27, 2011

ORGANIZATION FOR TRANSFORMATIVE WORKS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS

MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING
October 27, 2011, 00:30 UTC

PRESENT: Hele Braunstein, Francesca Coppa, Ira Gladkova, Sheila Lane, Allison Morris, Kristen Murphy
ABSENT: Rachel Barenblat

DECISIONS TAKEN SINCE THE LAST MEETING

  1. The minutes from October 13 were approved via e-mail.
  2. We voted via e-mail to approve a new staffer for Volunteers & Recruiting.

CLOSED SESSION

  1. Ira, as elections officer, raised an issue about next year’s election. Our bylaws state, “At least one-third of the Directors shall be elected yearly.” However, since the three current members who are staying on were all elected last year to three-year terms, and we have given no indication that the four seats being filled by the 2011 election are for anything less than three-year terms, we face the possibility of having no open seats for a 2012 election. Ira presented several possible options for addressing this, and stated that the matter must be settled by September 1, 2012 (which is the target date for sending a call for candidacy in the 2012 election). The Board decided to consult with the Legal committee in order to more thoroughly understand our legal obligations and options before choosing a course of action. Ira will present the matter to the Legal chair and report back.
  2. Kristen proposed that the minutes of board meetings be made publicly available on the OTW website. Our bylaws require that we make the minutes available upon a member’s request [NOTE: see correction below], and it would be a great gesture toward transparency to proactively make them available before anyone requests them. We would need to review the minutes for confidential information before posting them; Kristen noted that she has been writing them all year with an eye toward public disclosure, so they’re probably already pretty “clean” in that respect. All present voted in favor of this proposal. Kristen will create the relevant Web pages and draft an announcement post.
  3. Rachel has drafted a “Dear Candidates” post expressing general appreciation and encouragement toward the candidates in the current election. She proposed (in absentia) that we post the message or a similar one publicly. Kristen suggested that the best time to post the message might be the day before the election, for the following reasons: a) it would be an uplifting note to the candidates on the brink of a stressful event; b) it would help spotlight the election’s imminence and possibly encourage voter turnout; c) the relatively “fluffy” tone of the post might seem out of place if it were to appear in the midst of the candidates’ more serious, issue-based pre-election discussions. We took three votes: to proceed with writing the post, to post it publicly, and to post it on the eve of the election. All present voted in favor on all three questions. We will continue to refine the draft in Basecamp.
  4. Hele shared that although the recent increase in public discussions of OTW issues has been a plus for increased transparency, it has also exacerbated strain in some individual and intercommittee relationships. She said that the Board will need to work to address this and to encourage trust and the assumption of good faith among colleagues.

OPEN SESSION

  1. Kristen reported that the Drupal bug delaying the External Survey is not likely to be fixed anytime soon, and proposed that we instead purchase a SurveyMonkey Select account at $24/month for the duration of the survey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/pricing/?select=monthly). Internationalization & Outreach (I&O) staff have reviewed the plan to confirm that it offers the features they need. Francesca recalled that at some time in the past there was an objection to using SurveyMonkey for an OTW project, but she could not recall the specifics. The proposal was tabled temporarily; Francesca will check her notes on the previous objection, and Kristen will consult with Legal to find out whether there was an objection on their end.
  2. Kristen presented a request from I&O chair Julia Beck that the Board designate someone to serve as her “supervisor” for the External Survey. The supervisor would be the go-to person in case of any complaints about Julia; this would be analogous to the practice of listing a supervising professor or Institutional Review Board representative as a contact on an academic survey. The Board recommended asking someone from the Legal committee to serve in this capacity; Kristen will include this in her inquiry to Legal about SurveyMonkey.

CLOSED SESSION

  1. Brief additional comments on the 2012 election from Francesca, who came in late; she reaffirmed the decision to consult with Legal, and pointed out the possibility that we might have other early retirements next year that could result in open seats.

OPEN SESSION

  1. Hele shared a revised version of a document by the Tag Wrangling committee describing the committee’s understanding of its role, purview, and functional relationships with other committees. (The original version of this document was discussed at our May 11 meeting.) The revised version has been approved by the AD&T and Support committees. The Board liked the revisions, and all present voted in favor of approving the document. It will likely be posted on the website eventually, pending a discussion between Volunteers & Recruiting and Webmasters about developing an appropriate section on the site for this type of material.
  2. Hele advised that Translation is putting together a proposal for obtaining an account with a third-party to-do list tool, since Basecamp has not been meeting their needs. There was a brief discussion of the benefits of internally hosted tools (they save money and we have more direct control of them) versus third-party tools (they save the staff time required to set up and maintain an internal solution). Kristen offered to have the Webmasters committee investigate Drupal-based to-do list options; Hele and allison will share notes on Translation’s requirements with her. In the meantime, Translation will continue to prepare their proposal.

The meeting was adjourned at 1:50 UTC.

CORRECTION: Following the meeting, Kristen discovered that her interpretation of the bylaws had been in error; they actually do not require us to make Board meeting minutes available upon request. This was confirmed in consultation with the Legal chair. Kristen reported this error to the Board via e-mail and offered an opportunity to reconsider the vote in light of the new information. The Board remained unanimously in favor of posting the minutes on the website.

Minutes approved by the Board on October 29, 2011.