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Board Meeting Minutes for June 17th 2013

Board of Directors Meeting

June 17, 2013

Board Members in attendance: Beverly Block (OSFCI President), Car Bostick, Jason Bostick, Aaron Curtis (who arrived late), Rick Lindsley (OSFCI Treasurer) (who arrived midway through the meeting), John Lorentz (OSFCI Secretary), Lea Rush and Debra Stansbury. Devlin Perez and D. Stephen Raymond had conflicts and could not attend the meeting.

Also attending were James Fiscus (Clayton and Endeavour), Sam Justice (OSFCI Attorney), Jacob Engstrom (GameStorm 16 Treasurer), Aaron Freeman, and Tim Troupe (plus a few others who did not sign in.)

The meeting started at 7:36PM.

 

I. Minutes of Previous Meeting

The minutes from the previous meeting were accepted unanimously

 

II. Treasurer's Report (Rick Lindsley)

[Rick had a conflict and was not able to be at the meeting until later. He'd sent a report previously, and this was distributed at the beginning of the meeting–see below.]

The only new news is that Rick has still not been able to contact Paul Brinker, and will be moving on without any information from him. On the tax forms: Rick realized there were still a couple of questions that he needed answers for, so he filed for an extension on filing with the IRS. Everything will be ready to submit before that extension runs out.

The board decided to table any more discussion on this until Rick can get to the meeting.

[At the end of the meeting, after Rick had arrived and New Business was taken care of, Rick answered a few questions.]

 

  • GameStorm 15 is closed, and all checks have been distributed.

 

  • Rick will start the process to obtain signing authority for the GameStorm 16 treasurer.

    IV. Reports on Sponsored Activities
    A. Conventions and Bids
    1. GameStorm 15 (Jason Bostick)

    The final financial reports were distributed for GameStorm 15 (Stephen e-mailed them before heading out of town.) The surplus for GameStorm 15 was $10,286.90 (topping GameStorm 14, which had a surplus of $10,027.02). 50% of that surplus will be donated to the Oregon Food Bank, and the rest goes to OSFCI's general fund. (This is in addition to the overhead fee of $2,376.00 paid to OSFCI, which is a pre-surplus expenditure.)

    This closes the books on GameStorm 15, which is now closed as an OSFCI event.


    2. OryCon 35 (Lea Rush)

    The convention has about $13,000 in the checking account, which is the expected level at this point. Car presented a proposed budget for OryCon 35 (see below), which had a few changes since the draft submitted at the April meeting–artifacts has gone up a little, another GOH has been added (Jay Lake), and the GOH dinner budget has been increased. This budget was accepted by the board by a 2-0 vote (there were a lot of abstentions).

    A registration report was presented. OryCon 35 is up to 391 pre-regs, way ahead of last year at this time (OryCon 34 had a flood of last-minute registrations, so OryCon will definitely continue to run ahead of last year until shortly before the convention) and publicity is starting to ramp up. The artifact for sale this year is an etched glass beer mug (since everyone has too many t-shirts).

    The OryCon 35 report was accepted by the board.


    3. GameStorm 16 (Aaron Curtis & Jacob Engstrom)

    (This report was given later, after Aaron Curtis arrived at 7:52PM).

    There's a lot of enthusiastic people on the concom. The treasurer (Jacob) still needs signing authority for the GameStorm Even checking account, and is still waiting for Rick to expedite this. (Jacob can make deposits to the account, but can't write checks on the account yet.) GameStorm 15 has handed over to GS 16 the money taken in for membership and dealer sales for GS 16 at GS 15. There's a little over $9,000 in the GS 16 account. The budget is still being revised in order to reduce the projected surplus (i.e. spend more money on the convention, rather than passing it on).

    Beverly: The new GameStorm 16 website went live yesterday, and there already has been 5-10 memberships sold online. Jacob: If memberships are coming in, then the e-mail addresses for the notifications need to be checked because they aren't coming through to him.

    Aaron: There are two Guests of Honor so far: Shane Hensley and Zev Shlasinger. He is waiting for the budget to be finalized to decide if GS 16 can afford a third GOH.

    Membership sales are running ahead of last year, even with online sales not being turned on until yesterday.

    The report was accepted unanimously by the board.


    4. The 2014 World Horror Convention (Tammy Lindsley)

    Tammy was on a plane at the time of the meeting, returning home from this year's World Horror Convention.


    5. OryCon 36 (Devlin Perez)

    Devlin was unavailable for tonight's meeting. A report was received via e-mail:

       There's not much to report at this early date. We should be hearing back from our first round 
       picks for GoH's and as we do, we'll update. We are touching base with some of the people who 
       have mentioned they'd like to help and will fill out the staff roster as we go forward. At the next 
       Orycon meeting we're hoping to talk to a few people we don't have current contact information 
       for. Please call/email Devlin or email/text Jenn with any questions. We'll have a report at the 
       next meeting with our confirmed GoH's and an updated staff roster.


    6. GameStorm 17 (Debra Stansbury)

    Nothing yet to report currently


    B. Funds and Awards

    1. Clayton Memorial Medical Fund (James Fiscus)

    There have been no new qualified requests for aid (someone had inquired, but they weren't eligible under the Clayton guidelines). "JayFair" (the fund-raiser at Powell's Books, Beaverton) brought in $137, and there is currently $4,000 in the bank. Ruth ran off some Clayton fliers anddistributed them at the event at Powell's, so it did help get the word out.

    Beverly: How much is a typical grant? Jim: $1,000 to $2,000. In most cases, $1,000 is enough but in some cases, the amount can go up to more than the $2,000 level.

    The Clayton report was accepted.


    2. Endeavour Award (James Fiscus)

    They are winding up the preliminary judging, and the finalists should be announced by the end of Fourth of July weekend.

    The board accepted the report.


    3. Susan Petrey Fund (Paul Wrigley and Debbie Cross)

    A report was sent by e-mail, since Paul and Debbie were unable to attend: "Since Q2 has not ended, the Petrey Fund had nothing new to report."

    The Board accepted their report.


    4. John Andrews Worldcon Grant (Beverly Block)

    There has still no interest in this. Ruth was going to write a press release about it, but that hasn't been done. John: We had said that at this meeting, we were going to make the decision whether to give up on this year (and sell the membership), or continue to try to find someone.

    After a short amount of discussion, the board voted unanimously to sell the member that OSFCI holds for LoneStarCon 3, and worked towards trying to find a recipient for the 2014 Worldcon in London.


    IV. Other Continuing Business

    A. Storage Manager Report

    Devlin was unavailable for tonight's meeting. A report was received via e-mail:

       Pretty much the same as last meeting. Devlin will schedule another clean out & organize 
       a work session for the unit in fall, since there's no air conditioning in the facility.
       Should anyone need access, please call him, and keep in mind the lack of air conditioning when 
       scheduling to meet. In other words, the middle of the day on the hottest day of the summer is 
       not a good idea. Jenn is the backup for the keys if Devlin's not available at a convenient time 
       since he works evenings.


    B. Hotel Committee

    GameStorm: Aaron has received a contract proposal from the Vancouver Hilton for the 2015 & 2016 GameStorms. He hasn't had a chance to review the proposal yet, but he knows a few things that will need to be changed. For example, the proposal has the same room block as the original contract (signed in 2011), and GameStorm is filling more rooms now.

    Aaron expects to have more information to report at the next meeting.

    OryCon: Patty has been speaking with the Marriott Waterfront (the former home for OryCon), and Tammy has been speaking with the Doubletree Portland (the current home for OryCon). The person who forced OryCon out of the Marriott several years ago, because he didn't like non-profit groups, is no longer there. So Patty has been working hard to get a viable offer from them. At the Doubletree, the issue is that the room rates are significantly high (much higher than GameStorm's, which is also at a Hilton property). So far, they are willing to give us a better rate for 2015 if we move to the weekend before Thanksgiving. For 2016, the Doubletree only has the first weekend (November 3-6) or Thanksgiving weekend available.

    So it looks like we'll be able to get one of these hotels for around $120 a night for the weekend before Thanksgiving (the weekend OryCon was held during the previous years that it was held at the Marriott). John: Ideally, we can use the competition between them for our business to get the best deal as possible. It's not just the room rates, since parking at the Marriott is much more expensive than at the Doubletree. So Patty is also trying to negotiate the park rate down, as well as the cost of the meeting space. So everything is still in negotiation.

    The hotel report was accepted unanimously.


    C. IT Committee

    No news, except that everything on GameStorm's web site (except for the announcement lists) has been moved to the new provider from DreamHost.

    This report was accepted.


    D. Long Term GOH Search Committee

    Still no report.

    John: This goes back to the question brought up last time–do we want to continue a committee that isn't doing anything? It was decided that the committee members will be prodded to finally get some work done.


    E. Design Week (Aaron Curtis)

    Aaron (who was appointed OSFCI's liaison to Design Week Portland) attended one of their meetings. It seems like the best way for us to participate is through GameLab. Discussions are in progress�right now, they don't need anything from us.

    The board unanimously accepted this report.


    F. Murder Mystery Dinner

    Sam had a draft of a potential letter to send to these folks. He also had the business history that he could find on this person & group. (The same person has filed under two different business names over the last few years at the same address, including the one who OryCon contracted with and its successor)

    One problem is that the amount in question ($750) would put it in small claims court, meaning that we couldn't have am attorney represent us if we pursued legal action. Another problem is evidence, since we can't make contact with Paul Brinker, who contracted for the murder mystery dinner. Sam: It's never good to threaten legal action unless you plan on carrying through. And it's difficult to do that without Paul. While Paul told other people (either in person or via e-mail) about his dealings with them, without Paul's testimony it's all hearsay (even in the case of obtaining a signed statement from him). Sam did not feel that it was worth pursuing with the murder mystery group until we can make contact with Paul (and also obtain a copy of whatever contract he signed with them).

    After some discussion, Aaron Curtis recommended that we find a volunteer to get the information from Paul. It was suggested that work through his former roommate (who's still here in Oregon), or Stephen might be able to make contact with him. The board agreed and voted unanimously to table this discussion until the next meeting.


    G. Kumoricon-OSFCI Agreement

    The proposed changes to the draft agreement were sent by OSFCI to the Kumoricon representative, and Kumoricon agreed to the changes and the Kumoricon representatives at the meeting thought it had signed and been sent back to OSFCI but we haven't received a signed copy yet. They will make sure it's sent it to us very soon. [Note: It arrived in the mail on June 25th.]

    The board voted to table this until the next meeting.


    V. New Business

    A. Appeals (of the GameStorm 15-related bans to OSFCI Events)

    Tim Troupe stated that, before we heard any appeals to membership bans, we needed to refer to Oregon Revised Statues 65.167. According to Tim, our actions in banning him from future OSFCI events was illegal. Upon referring to this statute:

       Termination, expulsion or suspension
       (1) No member of a public benefit or mutual benefit corporation may be expelled or suspended, 
       and no membership or memberships in such corporations may be terminated or suspended, 
       except pursuant to a procedure that is fair and reasonable and is carried out in good faith.

    Tim was advised that this statute did not apply, since–while OSFCI is a membership organization under the terms of this statute–OryCon and GameStorm are not. And Tim is not currently a member of OSFCI.

    Tim also felt that the OSFCI policy was too vague and that it was unfair that someone might be removed from a convention based on someone else saying this person had harassed them. He also felt that a chair of an event might feel obligated to remove someone because of the OSFCI policy.

    Beverly said that, even with the board's actions not falling under the State's requirements of prior notifications of actions such as this, it was an oversight that Tim was not informed prior to the board's actions towards him. Tim said that, because he was not informed and was unable to give his side before the decision, he felt he was a wronged party and his reputation was libeled without due process. Therefore he felt that: (1) the board needed to reverse its action and issue an apology to him; and (2) have a new hearing on this. Tim also said that the conversation reported in the GameStorm security log did not match his memory of that conversation.

    Aaron Curtis: Are you challenging the entire process, or are you presenting your appeal of the board's decision? Tim: I'm trying to do both. Aaron: So you're saying that our banning you at the last board meeting was illegal? Tim: It was flawed. Sam: As I understand it, the board took action based on what was reported at the last meeting. The person being banned has the right to appeal, and that's happening now. On the other hand, Sam said he (Sam) had not been informed that this appeal would be taking place at this meeting. While the agenda said "Appeals", he hadn't been informed of any of the specifics prior to this meeting–either by the board or by Tim. If we're going to have an appeal presented at a meeting, we should be informed about what issues are going to be raised in this appeal, so that we're better prepared. Beverly: There is a problem with not having all the people here that were here at the last meeting in order to answer questions about the incident(s). Sam: There is no constitutional right for Tim to confront his accusers, since we aren't in a court of law. The thing for the board to do is to take testimony of the people involved in the incident, hear what Tim has to say for his appeal, and then make their decision.

    Beverly suggested that Tim maybe should have been informed ahead of time about the possible ban. Sam disagreed with this, as did John–who felt that it was unneeded, since everyone automatically has the right to appeal any ban. Aaron said that we aren't prepared today to act on Tim's statement that this action was not legal, but what we can do today is to take Tim's statement of his version of the events. Otherwise, we can't make a decision tonight.

    Tim said that he'd asked for a copy of the minutes from the "special session" (committee of the whole) that decided this action. John: Technically, that wasn't part of the board meeting, but a meeting of a committee (consisting of all board members in attendance) appointed by the board. That's why the minutes of that special meeting weren't included in the board meeting minutes. Sam: The evidence that the board uses to make a decision can be private, although the deliberation of the board based on that evidence must be public.

    After a bit more discussion on this, the board decided (at the 1:18:16) mark to go back into a "committee of the whole" meeting in order to discuss sensitive information. This committee included all board members (including ex-officio), Sam (the OSFCI attorney) and Tim Troupe.



    After the Committee of the Whole discussion, Tim was informed that the board will try to contact the person who made the report. If she feels that one year is appropriate, or won't appear before the board, then the matter will be dropped after the one-year ban.

    Aaron Freeman
    [Note: Any reference to "Aaron" in this section refers to Aaron Freeman, unless otherwise noted.]

    Aaron thanked the board for giving him time to present his appeal.

    Aaron felt that description of him and his actions in the minutes of the April 27 OSFCI Board meeting was a little condescending,. As far as the ban itself (adopted at the last meeting), he and his wife had become a little weary of the convention and were already planning on taking a break for a while. But as far as the (GameStorm 15 security) report was concerned, it was rather erroneous. Both Sam and Debra asked him what exactly was he appealing. Aaron Freeman: I'm contesting the contents of the report, and the ban from being allowed at any GameStorm staff events or allowed in any staff areas at the events. I'm not contesting the ban (from attending the convention). He said that he had not received one single piece of documentation that supported the ban from staff positions or areas. Beverly: We are not a court. We do not require written evidence. John: If you look at the minutes from the last meeting (which Aaron had already been referring to), you'll see the GameStorm 15 security report (and a follow-up report)–that's what the board used when making its decision. Aaron then took issue with some items in this report, including a physical description that he said didn't match him. This, he said, is where the question of the accuracy of the reporting starts. There are things here that are erroneous and superfluous. Then, Aaron said, she said she has PTSD. "So be it. She has PTSD. So do I. What's the problem?"

    He also took issue with the statement in the follow-up that he took over the work area and "hijacked the wifi", saying that his explanation was in the five-page e-mail that he'd sent after the convention. (The e-mail was summarized at the previous board meeting, but it was felt then that it would take too long to read out his entire five-page e-mail.) He took further issue with some of the details in the person's description of the events at the convention. Beverly: We are not discussing whether or not you "hijacked the wifi." The issue is not what was done, but how it was done. She personally heard a number of people complaining about (Aaron's) foul language. Aaron: At the time, we had a couple of convention attendees who were irritated with us (GameStorm Staff) and someone had to assert themselves and make the convention attendees understand we have this issue to deal with.

    In addition, he took issue with how he was told at the convention that he needed to changed his actions because, at first Jason (GS 15 chair) sent someone else to ask him to be more low-key. Aaron said he told this person "If Jason wants to tell me something, he needs to come down and tell me himself."), Also, when Jason himself came down, he didn't take Aaron out of the public area before telling him to change his attitude.

    Beverly: GameStorm is a volunteer organization, and things could have been handled better. Let's stay focused on why you feel you should not have this ban in effect. The report says that you were asked to stop swearing, but instead you switched to German, which she understood. Aaron: "She said she didn't understand German." Beverly: Any item that was reported, you come back with "Yes, but.…..", but the number of different people who reported problems was pretty alarming. Aaron said he wanted to hear this from the people who reported the problems. Debra: The issue here is that you were on the staff and you were showing poor customer service skills. Aaron: "Actually, my customer service skills are excellent." Debra: Nevertheless, that's why we don't think you should be staff anymore. Tim: The chair has the authority to decide who and who isn't staff. Wouldn't it be more prudent to let the chair make that decision for their convention? Beverly: Except then five years down the line, you might have a chair that doesn't have the information we have now.

    John: A couple of questions. First, were you asked to stop swearing? Aaron: "I was dictated to…" John: Yes or no? Aaron: Yes. John: Second, were you told to clean up your act by a concom member and refused to do so until the chair came down to tell you to do so? Aaron: Yes. This was a circumstance where someone was coming down in an unprofessional manner and telling me that. I'd asked Car to ask Jason to come down and tell me that. And when Jason did come down, he also me to step out of the office, out on the (public) floor, in order to talk to me Car: By the time I got back to Jason, I'd already heard three separate staff members repeating Aaron's statement "Jason doesn't have the balls to tell me himself."–she never got to tell Jason anything. Even by Thursday morning, several staff members were complaining about Aaron. Jason added that the reason who took Aaron out to the hallway to speak with him was because there were no non-staff people in the hallway, while there was in the office.

    Beverly: It doesn't matter how well or how poorly the discussion was with Aaron at the convention. The issue of the appeal was the claim that Aaron's behavior wasn't that bad. Many people have said they think it was that bad. And Aaron not realizing it was makes it that much stronger that ban should remain.

    At this point, Aaron started complaining that this was selective enforcement, that a similar incident at another convention wasn't handled the same way. After a short description of the incident that he was talking about, followed by a short discussion, it was felt that there was nothing similar about the two situations. Sam pointed out that there had been no discussion about the other situation, indeed it was not an incident that was even dealt with by the convention staff, so it had no bearing on the board's actions here. Beverly said the biggest difference was that back then, no one came to the board and said "This is a problem. Please do something about it."…which they did in Aaron's case.

    John: Is there anything more to say that would add to the discussion, or are we at the point where we have enough information to make a decision? We're hearing things like "I have excellent customer relations skills", which is an opinion, not a fact, and once stated gains nothing from being repeated. And we're hearing other statements being repeated over and over. Is there anything more substantive that we should be hearing?

    Aaron: I'm beginning to see that group-think is prevalent here and there's nothing I can say or do to change that. Jason disagreed with this statement, saying that his security report (from GS 15) did not originally recommend a permanent ban, and he abstained from all the votes on this matter at the previous meeting. Each person's vote was determined individually for their own reasons, not as part of a "group-think". Aaron reiterated his opinion. Beverly said the fact is that the board, as a whole, made a decision that Aaron's service skills weren't adequate to be in staff in the future. If anything, what she heard today supports that decision, rather than arguing against it.

    John moved that the board reaffirm its previous decision of banning Aaron Freeman from staff positions and staff areas at OSFCI events, with Rick seconding the motion. The board voted 6-0 to reaffirm that decision (with Jason and Aaron Curtis abstaining, and Devlin and Stephen both absent.)


    B. JayWake (Jacob Engstrom)

    Jacob: As many people here know, (local author) Jay Lake is coming to the end of his life span (he has terminal cancer), and would like to hold a "last hurrah" party. Jacob's been friends with Jay for several years, and offered to organize it.

    Originally, the proposal was that OSFCI co-sponsor this with Cascade Writers, but because of the distribution of possible surplus funds from the event, it doesn't work to have OSFCI as an official sponsor. But they would like to borrow OSFCI equipment (such as the reg computers) for use at the event.

    This proposal was approved unanimously by the board. Beverly will sign an agreement once it's drafted by the Secretary. [Beverly later drafted the agreement herself.]


    The next meeting will be a picnic on Sunday, August 18, 2013, and will be held at Aaron's house. Food at noon, with the meeting starting at 2PM.

    The meeting adjourned at 10:04PM.



    OSFCI Treasurer's Report 6/17/13

    1. Current Status

    Been unable to get a response from Paul Brinker. I sadly conclude we will have to do estimates to formally close the books on O34.

    In completing the taxes, I realized I had one or two questions left and decided to file an extension rather than use my 'best guess'. Taxes will be completed before 8/15.

    GS 15 has notified me they will again have a pleasant surplus, but I'll let them report the details.

    Business name registrations with the state of Oregon are complete and sent off.

    The Petrey Fund and the Clayton Fund are in different funds and their totals are not included below. All other OSFCI accounts are below.

    Current (as of 6/17/13) account status:

    Acct Balance Change from 4/27 report
    Orycon Odd $10710 (+$290)
    OSCFI checking $15536 (-$98)
    Endeavour $4080 ($0)
    GS Even $9934 (+$8934)
    Merchant $568 ($0)
    GS Odd $14280 (-$11235)
    Orycon Even $6424 (-$12)
    OSFCI savings $17667 ($0)
    World Horror $4911 (+$3921)

    2. Old Business

    None


    3. New Business

    None



    ORYCON 35 Submitted Budget

    Car Bostick, Treasurer

    REVENUE

    Ad Revenue $300.00
    Art Show $2,500.00
    Artifacts $350.00
    Child Care $100.00
    Dealers $6,500.00
    Hospitality/Bar $200.00
    PR $213.00
    Registration $43,550.00
    Writers Workshop $180.00
    Total Revenue $53,893.00

    EXPENSES

    Chair
    Art Show $400.00
    Chair/Contingency $600.00
    ConCom Memberships* $500.00
    Dealers Room $250.00
    Hotel** $17,514.00
    Meeting Expense $300.00
    OSFCI Overhead (@$2.00) $2,600.00
    PR $1,750.00
    Registration $1,000.00
    Treasury $300.00
    Events
    Dance $500.00
    Events/Tech/Pipe & Drape $2,500.00
    Masked Ball $500.00
    Opening Ceremonies $100.00
    Total $3,600.00
    Member Services
    Artifacts $250.00
    Child Care $1,000.00
    Hospitality/Bar $6,000.00
    Total $7,250.00
    Operations
    General Logistics/Supplies $1,100.00
    Office/Information Desk $200.00
    Signage $50.00
    Ribbons/Awards $800.00
    Security $100.00
    Volunteers $200.00
    Total $2,450.00
    Programming
    Fan Lounge $100.00
    General Programming $950.00
    Green Room $500.00
    GoH Artist Shipping $200.00
    GoH Gift Baskets $200.00
    GoH Per Diem $1,500.00
    GoH Travel Expenses and Dinner $4,100.00
    Video $50.00
    Writer's Workshop $200.00
    Total $7,800.00
    Publications
    Daily Zine $100.00
    Regress Report $50.00
    Souvenir Books (900) $3,250.00
    Electronic Program $100.00
    Pocket Program (1400) $2,000.00
    Total $5,500.00
    Total Expenses $51,814.00

    NOTES
    * = Budgeted Amount for ConCom Memberships will only come into play post-con, if funds are available.
    ** = Hotel amount includes Tip. Hotel is $15,921 without tip.