Re: Questions for candidates - board processes & significance

On Mon, May 30, 2011 at 8:11 AM, Dave Neary <dneary gnome org> wrote:

1. If elected, will you seek a named position (chairman/treasurer/secretary) on the board? If so, why?

It will depend on who's elected and what they are interested in. I hope Brian remains secretary. :)

I would do the job of chairman or secretary if needed.

I would like to see the treasurer be someone who is loves details *and* hates manual tasks and has time to work on automation.

2. Board meetings are minuted, and these minutes are published regularly. However, the board also increasingly makes decisions on board-list with the Apache +1/0/-1 convention. Would you support the minuting of these votes, including recording any -1 votes?

I would.

I would also encourage all board members to post more blog posts or emails on how they feel about topics. I think that would be even more valuable than publicly recording the votes. 

3. I think financial transparency is important. If you plan on applying for the treasurer position, what changes (if any) would you propose for the budgeting process? How often would you publish financial reports for the foundation? Are you happy with the level of transparency in the board's finances now?

The financial process right now is painfully manual. Rosanna and German have been doing an awesome job. But as I said above, I think we should give the financial recording/reporting process to someone who not only is capable of automating it but also has time to automate it. I would even push for us to spend money to have that happen.

4. Our relationship with a number of groups has suffered this year - and one of the lesser known ones (but one I'm involvedd in) is the Libre Graphics Meeting organisers (a group of people representing a couple of dozen "free art" projects). Are you aware that the LGM organisers withdrew all the funds that the GNOME Foundation was managing for them this year, because they have been unhappy with the responsiveness and quality of communication with the foundation over the past 2 - 3 years? Do you have any thoughts on why this particular relationship degraded? And will you commit to handling or delegating answers to all time-critical queries which come to the board during your term?

I think there are many reasons the relationship did not go well. One of the main ones is that our financial process is painfully manual and very detailed and that was not well communicated to LGM. (For example, we are very rigorous about requiring receipts for all expenses.) There were miss set expectations on both sides and poor communication.

I commit to handling or delegating answers to all time-critical queries. I responded to all emails/IMs from LGM in a very timely fashion.

5. In general, as a board member communication is vital to keep people outside the board informed whenever there is a delay or when extra input is needed on something they're working on. For incumbents, are you happy with the level of communication & reactivity in the current board? For new candidates, what would you like to do to ensure that the communication & reactivity of the board improves in the coming term?

I think the minutes and recording are good. I think there could be a lot more discussion about topics and one of the ways that could happen is by having board members start conversations on their blogs and the Foundation mailing list.

6. Board members are ambassadors for the foundation. I think it's important that board members be social, and be nice. Are you nice?

Am I nice? I think that depends on your perspective. Some would say I'm nice. Some would say I'm too nice. Others would say I'm too direct. Others would say I'm not afraid of confrontation. I've often been called "diplomatic". So I think whether or not someone is "nice" depends on your culture and perspective. I do try hard to be aware of how people feel and what their motivations are. There's a saying I really like. Someday I'll find out where it came from. Paraphrased it's "If I were you, and I had the same background you have, and the same information you have, I'd make the same decision you made." We are all trying to make the best decisions we can and do the best we can in life. If we understand why others are doing what they are doing, we can all work better together.


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