Oregon Science Fiction Conventions

(OSFCI)

Board of Directors Meeting

June 19, 2012

ATTENDING: Arthur Aldridge, Beverly Block, Aaron Curtis (OSFCI President), Rick Lindsley (OSFCI Treasurer), John Lorentz (OSFCI Secretary), Devlin Perez, D. Stephen Raymond, and Lea Rush. Andrew Nisbet was in Kansas for family reasons and his absence was excused. Marc Wells was also not in attendance–there was no explanation (and the absence was not excused).

Also attending were Sam Justice (OSFCI Attorney), Tracy Penner (OryCon 34 Chair), Jason Bostick (GameStorm 15 Chair), Paul Brinker (OryCon 34 Treasurer), Ruth Sachter, Pamela Wilsonsage, Anna Wilsonsage and Christine Booth.

The meeting started at 7:33PM Aaron SNiT (Shiny New iPad Time)


I. Minutes of Previous Meeting

The minutes from the previous meeting were accepted unanimously.


II. Treasurer's Report (Rick Lindsley)

(Copies were distributed by e-mail before the meeting and in printed form at the meeting–see below.)

Not a lot of interesting news. GameStorm 14 is mostly wrapped up, with the exception of a few small details. OryCon 33 is wrapped up, and OryCon 34 is ramping up, and 35 is just getting going-as is GameStorm 15.

Tax forms were due on the 15th of May, and they were in a full 27 hours ahead of time. (Which brought a round of applause.) This was due, in a great part, to the event treasurers providing Rick the year-end summaries right away.

Income from conventions was down this year (2011) primarily because OryCon didn't have as large a surplus as usual. GameStorm was up a little bit, which helped, we recovered some money from some bad checks and we received reimbursement for the OSFCI games purchased for use at Renovation.

In addition, we approved the GameStorm scheduling software, which hadn't been in the budget yet; GameStorm 14 is going to donate $3,000 towards that software, and that wasn't in the budget yet, either. So we might end up $2,000 or $3,000 in the red, compared to the budget, but it's likely that we'll actually gain some of that back and be close to break even.

Under old business: we'd talked a while back about donating money to the 2013 Westercon, and negotiated with them that they'd give their pre-support discounts to the Portland pre-supporters. But since they were a last-minute bid, they had no pre-support structure. Rick would still like OSFCI to donate the $500 to them as gesture of goodwill. The Board approved this unanimously.

Aaron mentioned that the GameStorm PO box has been closed, so that won't be an ongoing expense. (It was rarely used and if a mailing address is needed, GameStorm can use the OSFCI address.) Aaron: How long is the GameStorm domain registered for? Rick: I was told that it was for five years, back in 2008 (this was before he took over as treasurer). Arthur: This was before OSFCI moved the other domains (osfci.org and orycon.org) over to Dreamhost. Aaron: Is there any chance that the Dreamhost registrations may suddenly expire? Arthur: They're set to auto-renew.

John asked about the money still in the Campbell pin account, which we'd decided to roll over to the Clayton fund (and close the Campbell account). Rick will make that transfer. Arthur suggested that, now that things are in place financially, maybe we should investigate other places to invest OSFCI's money to bring a greater return. Rick has started a conversation with the rep he's been dealing with at Wells Fargo about this (and who is vacation right now). We've also discussed moving to another bank, for various other reasons, so that may give us more options with this as well. (Any change to another bank would probably take a couple of years, due to our even/odd system.) Aaron: When we talked about this a couple of years ago, the interest rates were low and we probably wouldn't get much of a return. Now the interest rates are lower. Rick: Another possibility is a rolling number of CDs, such as one-year CDs maturing every three months, so not all of it is tied up for a long length of time. But I'd like to find something better than that level of return.

Rick had copies of the tax forms that were just filed, if anyone wanted to look at them.

The treasurer's report was then accepted unanimously.


IV. Reports on Sponsored Activities
A. Conventions and Bids
1. OryCon 33 (D. Stephen Raymond)

A wrap-up treasury report was distributed. The surplus has been transferred to the recipients, except for the check to the Clayton Fund. Stephen will send that as soon as he has Jim's contact info (James Fiscus could not make it to this meeting.)

The OryCon 33 report was accepted by the Board


2. GameStorm 14 (D. Stephen Raymond)

A (nearly) wrap-up treasury report was distributed.

The surplus money has been transferred. He is still waiting for five checks to be cashed. They were all mailed at the same time, so Stephen is going to contact these people and issue replacements, since it's likely they were lost in the mail.

The report was accepted.


3. OryCon 34 (Tracy Penner)

Tracy announced that OryCon 34 has 100 members so far. This number caused some concern, since it's extraordinarily low. Tracy said that she is considering stepping down as chair. She is very frustrated with the majority of her committee. Aaron: How many people here (at the Board meeting) have attended a recent OryCon meeting? (A few.) It used to be that OryCon was the focus of the organization, and the idea that most of the board isn't involved with the con com this year is unprecedented. Rick: Part of this is fallout from Renovation. I hope that's of a limited duration and that OryCon 35 will pull back in the traditional amount of board members.

Stephen: Does this 100 members include those sold at the end of OryCon 33 for this year? (There was some confusion about the answer to this–some people thought it did, and others thought it didn't. Paul [the OryCon 34 treasurer] did some calculations, and based on the membership income, OryCon 34 has roughly 335 members in total, which is closer to the usual number.) There was additional concern that if indeed we have 300+ members, then OryCon doesn't know who most of them are.

Aaron: Tracy has been having a more difficult time as chair than anyone since OryCon 29, and the board needs to find some support for her. We're not sure yet what form that support will come in, because we are all volunteers. Tracy: Yes, and it's hard to know what to do when the volunteers don't come through with (with what they need to do). She is likely going to remove her PR team, since she's heard a lot of talk…but no action. Ruth: Do we have artwork? Tracy: We have a zipped file of concept art (from our Artist GOH), but not much that's usable for publicity. Aaron: If PR is the biggest need right now, who has been the best at this in the past? Several people suggested Tammy Lindsley.

Ruth suggested that it was a necessity to have flyers of some kind at Westercon (Seattle) next month. Tracy has a generic flyer and will send a PDF to the Board list, and plans will be made to get flyers to Westercon.

The board made it clear that, volunteer or not, there is nothing that says that Tracy as chair can't fire someone who isn't doing their job.

Lea announced that they have someone new to work on the web site, who is starting up a Wordpress web sign business and she wants to use the OryCon web site as her portfolio. And it will have a registration module. Department heads will be able to edit their own sections of the site. (There was some discussion of the role of the OryCon webmaster.)

Aaron: Do you need help with Reg? Tracy: There is a plan in place to fix that problem. Aaron: At what point will you be able to provide a list of members? Tracy will try to have that ready by the end of June. Aaron: Is there anything else that the board can help with right now? Tracy: What was needed as far as the budget? The board still needs a more detailed breakout of the $14,000 lump sum listed for "Hotel", and the overall budget hasn't changed much since the last board meeting.

The OryCon 34 report was then accepted.


4. GameStorm 15 (Jason Bostick)

Registration and financial reports were circulated at the meeting.

GameStorm is doing very well right now. Registration is ahead of last year at this time. Jason is working to get the dealer applications finalized and out the door by the end of the month, along with press pass notifications. The summer Game Days is coming up on July 8th.

There is almost $5700 in the checking account right now, and just under $500 in the PayPal account, as of the end of May. The budget is expecting a $900 surplus, while the expected income being budgeted is less the previous GameStorm…which ended up with a $10,000 surplus. Aaron suggested it would be good to put together some contingent amounts in case more income comes in, so that the extra can be spent on the convention rather than end up with a larger surplus afterwards. Stephen said the only thing that could be changed at that date is the amount spent on Hospitality. (Last year’s Hospitality underspent their budget–something that they’re to change this year.)

As of last night, the last major hole has been filled in the committee (Ops). Still working on getting a GOH.

The report was accepted.


6. The 2014 World Horror Convention Bid (Rick Lindsley)

Rick presented the report for Tammy Lindsley, who could not make it to the meeting. The report was that there is no new information.

The report was accepted.


B. Funds and Awards

1. Clayton Memorial Medical Fund (James Fiscus)
2. Endeavour Award (James Fiscus)

Reports were sent by email (see below), since Jim could not make it to the meeting.

The board accepted the reports.


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

A report was submitted (see below) via e-mail, since Debbie's been sick all day.

The Board accepted their report.

4. John Andrews Worldcon Grant (Beverly Block)

Jenn has been informed that she's received the grant this year. Rick has the stipend check for her (which he will give to Devlin Perez to give to her), and will transfer the OSFCI-owned Chicon membership to her.

Beverly will review the announcement letter in preparation for soliciting bids for next year's grant.

The report was accepted.


IV. Other Continuing Business

A. Banning Policy

Andrew Nisbet said at the last meeting that he was going to organize a meeting this committee for this board meeting, but he's not here to report about that. There doesn't seem to have been any meeting, and Andrew may have been confused about which committee had been dissolved (it was the Bylaws committee).

Aaron: Who is on the committee? Arthur, Andrew and Tammy. Aaron asked Arthur to encourage the committee to get a meeting scheduled.


B. Storage Manager Report

Nothing new to report. Lea has the storage unit keys and is going there to check out the Reg badge printers. They will go through and inventory everything before the next meeting. John has a key to the older unit, but there is only one set (besides what the storage building office has) to the two newer units.

The report was accepted.


C. Hotel Committee

Nothing to report.


D. GameStorm Scheduling Software (Beverly Block)

Rachael and Beverly are working on it. The first milestone (whether or not it will be ready by GameStorm 15) is August 1st.


E. IT Committee

Beverly presented a list of providers for a possible Virtual Private Server (VPS) service. Arthur suggested we table this until it's needed, but other folk said it is needed now. Beverly said that, even if the new software isn't ready for GameStorm 15 and the old software is used, that system is freezing now when here are more than a few people logged in at a time. Additionally, they'd rather not develop the new software on one system and then have to transfer it to another system before we start using it. Lea agreed with this.

There was discussion on whether we wanted to move the current web hosting from Dreamhost at the same time. Generally, it was felt that they're meeting our website needs right now, although Rick said there were some changes recently (such as changing the web site permission without warning) that have been bothersome.

Rick mentioned at this time that he's been serving as the de facto head of the IT committee in recent times, while the committee really hasn't been doing much. But now that things are getting a lot more busy, he's finding that he's overloaded (by the combination of convention- and non-convention-related items), and he's going to have to step back from being the lead of the committee, maybe even drop off the committee completely. Along with this discussion of the VPS services, the IT committee spent a lot of time working on, and evaluating, the scheduling software proposal, so it's been very busy.

Aaron: For the purposes of these meetings, we won't separate the discussions of the scheduling software from the IT committee report, since we're no longer deciding on whether we're going to agree to the scheduling software proposal.

Rick agreed with Beverly that we can't table the discussion of the VPS service, that we certainly need to make a decision before the next meeting. Aaron: Who is on the IT committee? Rick, Arthur and David (Levine). Aaron: What does the IT committee need to be working on, going forward from here? This discussion of the VPS service, whether or not we're going to be changing the web hosting for GameStorm, OryCon and OSFCI, and as part of the latter–we can get back our original web site permissions if we go to a VPS service on Dreamhost. (Arthur is going to investigate this when he gets some more information from Rick about what they'd offered.)

If we do contract for a VPS for the scheduling software, this would be an annual GameStorm expense. While OSFCI would hold the contract (and pay the invoice), GameStorm would reimburse OSFCI for the annual fee at the same time they pay the current $2/head overhead fee (so the VPS costs would not affect the OSFCI bottom line). The scheduling software could run on another system, and that would not affect OryCon's and OSFCI's web sites on Dreamhost. (It would probably be best to have the GameStorm site on the same system as the scheduling software). It does make it more complicated for the web administrators (i.e. the current IT committee), but it doesn't have a major impact on the web sites themselves.

Rick: We still have the issue of the new restrictions that Dreamhost has put on our web sites, but that's not related to using another company for a VPS for the scheduling software. Beverly: One of the issues that they have with Dreamhost (for the VPS service) is that they don't provide phone support. And their regular rate for a VPS is half-again as much as InMotion.

Aaron: We're talking about signing up for this service now, but we don't yet know of the GameCon software will be ready for GameStorm 15? That is correct. Stephen: Even if they don't have GameCon ready yet, this service will make the old system run much better. Beverly recommended that we sign up with InMotion. Why InMotion? Because they have much newer equipment, with more cores–so it will run faster for the same amount of memory. Aaron: Will their "regular" service level be enough? Beverly: They can switch a VPS to a higher level for a short period of time, such as when people are registering for games at GameStorm, and then switch us back. Stephen: And the GameStorm budget is budgeted for nine months at the lower level and three months at the higher level. Aaron: And when would you be starting the service? Beverly: August 1st. Rick: The amount of memory seems low. Is it going to be sufficient? Beverly: We think it should be enough.

After more discussion about memory needs, the Board voted 3-0 to authorize Beverly to set up a VPS account with InMotion.


Paul Brinker has set up a free account from Sales Force, a corporate account in the name of OSFCI. This is a CRM (customer relations management) package.


V. New Business

A. GameStorm 16 Bid (Aaron Curtis)

Aaron Curtis presented a bid to chair GameStorm 16 (2014). (See below.) He is the only person bidding to chair that event. His focus would be on recruiting. People are always leaving the committee and you always need to keep recruiting new people.

Aaron's bid was accepted 7-0


B. Game Library Insurance

Aaron Curtis's home insurance does not cover the game library (which is being stored at his house). The library is well taken care of, but if there was a significant accident, fire or water damage, there would be no coverage for the games. There are several hundred games, worth several thousand dollars.

There was discussion on what we need to do to make sure it gets covered, and whether the material in the storage lockers insured. Aaron said that, as an actuary, insurance is for when you can't easily replace the items being insured. There was discussion on the value of what's in the storage units–it was pointed out that important aspect is not how much the thieves could sell the items for, but how much it would cost OSFCI to replace the stolen equipment. Arthur: Can we, as a corporation even insure the items stored at Aaron's house, since he isn't a commercial storage facility?

John: Our corporate insurance policy covers up to $5000 in items stored at the storage unit, and it's likely not too difficult to increase that coverage to something like $10,000. [Someone]: The real question is whether we can also insure the games stored at Aaron's house. Can Aaron add a rider to his homeowner insurance to cover the games? (With OSFCI paying the cost of that rider.) Aaron will check with his agent about that. Ruth: Do we have an approximate value of the games? Yes, but just not available to us at the meeting. (The library has been inventoried.)

Sam: There are three items to discuss with the agent:

It's much better to make sure the policy covers what it's supposed at the beginning, rather than fighting it out later when there's a loss.

Aaron will discuss this with Oak Tree (who provides OSFCI's insurance coverage) and his own agent, and report back at the next meeting.

C. Murder Mystery Dinner (Paul Brinker)

Paul presented a proposal for OSFCI to sponsor a murder mystery dinner (see below). This is a follow-up to the dinner for about 100 people that OryCon was going to put on. It ended up being canceled–instead, Paul thought it would be better to have it as a standalone event. He is proposing a 250-person event, with a budget based on that many attendees.

He is trying to accomplish two goals with this event:

  1. bring in people who haven't been involved with OSFCI events before
  2. give people a smaller event (e.g. one night, rather than a full weekend) for people who don't have full weekends of free time available

(And a single-night event is more manageable.)

He is asking for one of two things:

  1. Be given approval to be for the chair/organizer of the event and he can go out and immediately start selling tickets and put the event together; or
  2. Be allowed to form a con com, and they come back with a more detailed proposal.

John was very concerned about the ability of a first-time event to draw 250 people, paying $75 a head. It's not as if we have an ongoing mystery convention in the area. Paul: This can be scaled down, if need be. I would have 100% confidence that we would sell out a 100-person event. Lea: Based on what? Paul: Based of the number of people who have expressed their interest to me in something like this. Aaron: What is there locally that compares to this? Paul: There's a murder mystery dinner that runs out of Kell's that runs about $70 a ticket.

Ruth: What time are you planning on putting this on? Pau: The summer of next year.

After some more discussions, and people expressing their reservations about an initial event such as this with such a large scale (the estimated budget is 2/3rds the size of an entire GameStorm), the Board tabled the discussion as it was getting late, and Paul will probably bring forward a modified proposal at the next meeting, scaled down to around 100 attendees.


D. Lost and Found Policy (Anna Wilsonsage)

Anna: Is there a Lost & Found policy? Not at the OSFCI level–it's usually set by the individual events. What is happening now is that the found items are put into boxes and left in storage. Anna: That is the problem. There are items, either in storage or left at the hotel, that is from years previous. No one is claiming it, and it's not likely that it will be claimed. There should be a set policy for what it done with the found items after a convention. Devlin: As storage manager, I was going to address this once we had a better inventory. I could come back with a written policy that would be fair and equitable–and work with Anna to put this together. Without an OSFCI policy, the items just end up in OSFCI storage and nothing gets done with them. Anna has done some research already (such was what the state of Oregon guidelines are) and will work with Devlin to put something together. The board approved this.


The next meeting will be the traditional summer picnic. It will be held on Saturday, August 11th at Aaron's house. We'll have food at Noon, and the meeting will start at 2PM.

The meeting adjourned at 10:01PM SNiT



Treasurer's Report 6/17/12

1. Current Status

Surprisingly quiescent. GS14 wrapped up, O33 wrapped up, O34 ramping up, O35 just getting underway, GS15 just getting underway.

Taxes were due 5/15 and were filed on time for the first time in many years. Thanks to all who contributed information to streamline this for me.

Income from convention surpluses is down this year by about 16%, and all expected income from that area has already been taken. Membership (overhead) fees from GS are up slightly, and a reimbursement check from Renovation and some unexpected bad-checks-made-good will about cover that difference. However, the GS scheduling software was not agreed upon at budget time and we had a roughly break-even budget, so between that and a couple of other minor cost overruns, OSFCI will likely run in the red by $2000-$3000 this year. We have enough reserves to more than adequately cover this deficit.

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 6/17/12) account status:

Acct Balance Change from 4/27 report
Orycon Odd $1675 (-$676)
OSCFI checking $27859 (+$2924)
Endeavour $5295 ($0)
GS Even $6595 (-$5014)
Merchant $568 ($0)
GS Odd $5690 (+$4680)
Orycon Even $8528 (+$1325)
Campbell $288 ($0)
OSFCI savings $19415 ($0)

2. Old Business

Never did wrap up the concept of giving our pre-supports to Westercon. However, I would still like to send the monetary value of that on and write them a check for $500.

3. New Business

– none –




The Clayton Memorial Medical Fund Award
Report to the OSFCI Board

June 19, 2012

Requests for Aid:

We made a single grant of $1,000.00 to a writer facing major dental work. We have had another request for aid, but it appears that the applicant is not a professional writer and does not write in science fiction, fantasy, horror, or mystery.

Donations:

We have had no donations since our last report.

Funds Available and Fund Raising:

We have approximately $6,229.78 in the bank.

I expect to talk with a number of people during this year's Nebula Award weekend next month to recruit help with our fund raising campaign.


Board of Trustees

Committee MembersFirst AppointedTerm Expires
James Fiscus, ChairmanOctober 1996November 2014
Page Fuller, TreasurerOctober 1996November 2014
Arthur Aldridge, OSFCI Rep.July 2005While serving on OSFCI Board.
Ruth SachterNovember 2002November 2013
Marc WellsNovember 2003November 2013

Submitted,
James W. Fiscus
Chairman, Clayton Board of Trustees



The Endeavour Award
Report to the OSFCI Board

June 19, 2012

Books Entered:

We received 46 books this year.

Financial Report:

At the end of March, we had $5,294.57 in our account, which is enough to run the Award for at least this year and next year. The only account activity since the start of the year has been the clearing of an outstanding check. We have had no expenses since our last report to the Board. We are going to resume fund raising later this year.

Committee Membership:

We are seeking several new members for the Committee, as Sarah Bryant and Alan Rosenthal have said they do not want to be re-appointed: Alan has moved and doesn't feel he can give the Committee his proper attention and Sarah has a number of personal issues that prevent her from serving. As the members of the Board likely noticed, we have publicized the openings on the OSFCI and OryCon lists.

The Award's Charter requires that we have at least five members of the Committee, and even without immediately replacing Sarah and Alan we have six members.

Endeavour Committee

Committee MembersFirst AppointedTerm Expires
James Fiscus, ChairmanOctober 1996November 2014
Page FullerOctober 1996November 2014
Marilyn J. HoltSeptember 2000November 2014
Sara MuellerOctober 2003November 2013
Sheila SimonsonOctober 1996November 2013
Shawn Wall, TreasurerNovember 2005November 2013

Submitted,
James W. Fiscus
Chairman, Endeavour Award

Susan C. Petrey Scholarship

Income Statement: 2012 Q1

Balance (12/31/2011)$10,297.10
 
Income
Renovation$20,000.00
Mission Fish$7.84
Interest$6.51
Total$20,014.35
 
Expenses
Scholarships$2,000.00
OCF$15,000.00
Total$17,000.00
 
Balance (3/31/2012)$13,311.45
 
OCF Balance (12/31/2011)
(Does not include $15,000 transfer)
$42,499.49

2011 Recipients

2012 Recipients


Management Proposal for GameStorm 16

Date: March 20-23, 2014
Location: Hilton Vancouver Washington

Executive Committee

Committee Recruitment
One thing I have learned over the years is that it is not possible to have a concom that is too large. My first focus will be on recruitment of new blood. My second is training our people at all levels so that everyone knows what their job entails and how it relates to everyone else.

Budget
The budget will be largely similar to the actual expenses for GameStorm 15. I may increase the door price from $55 to $60, based on the results of GS15.

Events
I plan to continue the existing event offerings, focusing on improving quality rather than introducing new elements. This year is likely to be more crowded than ever, as we will not be able to expand into new space.

Guests of Honor
My goal is three Guests of Honor: Boardgame, RPG and Publisher. My first choice is Czech Games Edition, which will involve airfare from Europe for two (Vlaada Chvatil and Petr Murmak), but will also count as Publisher as well as Boardgame.