Board Members in attendance: Beverly Block (OSFCI President), Car Bostick, Jason Bostick, Aaron Curtis, Rick Lindsley (OSFCI Treasurer), John Lorentz (OSFCI Secretary), Lea Rush and Debra Stansbury. Devlin Perez had to work and could not attend the meeting. (Note: All "unanimous" votes listed below consisted of the nine voting members of the Board who were in attendance.)
Also attending were Sam Justice (OSFCI Attorney), Jacob Engstrom (GameStorm 16 Treasurer), Tammy Lindsley (WHC 2014 Chair), Patty Wells, plus a few others who did not sign in.
The meeting started at 2:06PM.
The minutes from the previous meeting were accepted unanimously
Not much to report. OSFCI did receive the GameStorm overhead fee and 50% of their surplus. There was a question about the GameStorm Odd account balance in the report that was distributed. (There'd been a typo in the original report, and John had probably corrected it in the wrong direction. The numbers below are correct.) There was also a question about the formatting on the budget. Every expense amount was being highlighted, not just the amounts that are 10% over the budgeted amount.
We did receive the bill for the storage unit in the last week or so, so there will be a large disbursement soon. (It's the largest annual cost for OSFCI.) Rick will talk to them to see if there's some sort of discount we can get in trade.
Beverly asked about Printing/Secretarial costs, which were budgeted for $100, and we've already spent $96 (and Rick had written another check before the meeting). Yes–the budgeted amount for that item was too low. (It also includes the cost of forwarding mail that comes in through the OryCon and OSFCI PO boxes). It will be adjusted next year to more accurately reflect the actual cost.
Aaron: I may be overspending the $200-a-quarter gaming budget this quarter, but not for the full year. (A lot of games become available after GenCon, which just ended.) Rick: There still haven't been any requests for capital expenses. Our working budget actually has us slightly in the red for the year, so if we save a little on expenses, that would be a good thing. When Rick puts together the budget, he averages the surpluses from GameStorm and OryCon for the previous three years and bases the budget on that. OryCon's been down the last few years, but GameStorm is showing strong growth each year.
Beverly asked about the $600 in miscellaneous income. Some of that was the unspent money for Hospitality that never got turned into OryCon 34, and there were a few bad checks that were made good.
There was some discussion about the purchase of a Loncon membership for the John Andrews grant (and the selling of this year's membership to Marc Wells), but that was tabled until that item on the agenda.
Stephen reported the presence of former signers on the GameStorm bank accounts was causing difficulty in adding new signers. (Because the list that comes up in for the form is showing only the first signer,"Arthur Aldridge".) He has found out that they will drop signers if they receive a copy of a board resolution that states the former signers need to be dropped.
Stephen moved that OSFCI resolve to drop Aaron Curtis from the GameStorm Odd account, and Arthur Aldridge and Aaron Curtis from the GameStorm Even account. Jason seconded the motion and the motion was approved unanimously by the board.
At this point, the treasurer's report was also accepted unanimously.
(Treasury and registration reports were circulated.)
There will be a convention. The membership is up to 452 paying members (last year at this time we had 280). Room nights are up to 298 (more than halfway to our make-or-break, 80%), which is 10-12 ahead of last year. OryCon will be running a contest, with two OryCon 36 memberships going to people who rent rooms at the hotel.
There have been a few changes in the comcon. Mike Lord is no longer involved with OryCon at all. Tammy is going to concentrate on running her World Horror Convention (in 2014), and Aaron will take over as primary hotel liaison, with John and Lillie as seconds. Sam Klein is stepping back to just handle graphic design, and Meredith Cook will head Publications and do the Souvenir Book.
Treasury (Car Bostick): We're in the black, with about $15,000 in hand. And the GOH travel expenses are going to be about half of what was originally budgeted.) There was some discussion about OryCon 34 expenses that have ended up being paid out of this year's accounts. Rick suggested, as a policy, that any mistakes that end up bringing money in to OryCon from previous years stay in this year's accounts, and any mistakes that take money out will be covered by OSFCI rather than OryCon. There was also some discussion about the OryCon publicity efforts. Rick asked if the $500 left in the publicity budget was adequate. (Yes.) And, while we're ahead in registration numbers, is that also true for registration dollars. Lea: No, because people are purchasing their memberships earlier, at lower rates. So Lea is worried about what might happen if the memberships are simply shifted to earlier purchases without ending up with higher numbers at the door. John: The numbers seem to be matching the numbers we saw a few years ago, when we were getting higher numbers at the door.
Lea suggested that the OSFCI Secretary maintain a list of all the social media passwords (and maybe others, like the PayPal account).
Lea was able to contact Paul Brinker to get information on where the Clear modems should be installed in the hotel.
The OryCon 35 report was unanimously accepted by the board.
(Treasury and registration reports were circulated.)
Aaron is still trying to nail down the GOH expenses. At this time, GS 16 has three GOHs: Shane Hensley, Zev Shlasinger and Mike Selinker. The LARP crew has requested a LARP GOH and a LARP special guest. Aaron is discussing this with his treasurer to determine if they have the budget for it.
Registration is running significantly ahead of last year (and not just sales at the last GameStorm–online sales are coming in at double of last year's rate). There are currently 395 paid memberships, and 163 comped memberships. Last year at this time, there were 258 paid and 118 comped.
There was a Game Day in July, where they set a record for selling memberships (12). There is another Game Day scheduled for October 20th, and GameStorm is hosting the board games at Kumoricon. They are also planning a staff potluck a week later.
Everything is going as planned, and they are further ahead in their planning than ever before (which was the plan for this year–i.e. to move up the timeline so GameStorm didn't just shut down for six months after the previous convention).
The report was accepted unanimously by the board.
WHC 2014 currently has 75-80 members. She is working with Mike WIllmoth (chair of the WHC board) to get contact information for previous attendees, and just about to send out the first progress report to all of them via e-mail. (The rest of the progress reports will only go to paid members.)
There was a minor problem this year at the New Orleans WHC. Portland sponsored a lunch there, and originally we were told it would be allowable to bring in food from outside. When Tammy got to New Orleans, she discovered the con suite was in function space and outside food would not be allowed. So the lunch for which she had budgeted $500-$600 ended up costing $3100 for 75 people. She spoke with the president of the Horror Writers Association (HWA), who apologized and said they'd had contract problems with the hotel and ended with no actual food in the con suite (just alcohol and chips) for the entire weekend, except for the hosted parties. The HWA did reimburse WHC 2014 for $2000 of that cost, and Tammy has that check in hand. And the reception in New Orleans for Portland's WHC was very good. People are excited about coming to Portland.
The tickets for the Bram Stoker award banquet go on sale on September 1st for $50 (this is being run by the HWA in conjunction with WHC 2014). We have nine dealers so far (seven book sellers, one graphic novels dealer, and a t-shirt vendor–who is only tentatively in the room). There probably will only be a small overlap between WHC dealers and OryCon dealers (Wrigley-Cross Books is the only OryCon regular in the WHC dealer room so far)–indeed, there's only going to be a slight overlap generally between WHC and OryCon attendees.
Eraserhead Press and Midnight Press are on board as sponsors–Tammy is also hoping to bring in Powell's as a major sponsor. Edward Martin, who was going to run the film festival, has had to back out (his company is getting too successful for him to have the time available), but Tammy has been speaking with James Beach about this role. Chad Savage is the new webmaster.
Tammy has a group of people putting together a list of attractions and things to do in Portland, and there will be shuttles to Powell's twice a day.
A management agreement will be drafted and signed soon. (John thought this had already been taken care of. He was wrong.)
Devlin was not present to make a report. John pointed out that we still don't have a signed management agreement with Devlin yet, since this is the third straight meeting that Devlin has missed. Rick said that when we accepted the bid for OryCon 36, he pointed out that it had a really sparse committee list–there hasn't been anything to embellish or expand it yet, and he is worried about that. Stephen: Maybe if he can't make it to the meetings, he can send someone in his place. Rick: Or even just a written report.
Nothing to report yet. How is your committee? Debra: My concom is delightful.
John had copies of the management agreement for the principals to sign (they were signed after the meeting).
The GameStorm 17 report was accepted unanimously.
Jim was not able to attend today's meeting because of a conflict, but he sent reports which were circulated (see below).
The reports were accepted unanimously by the board.
A report was circulated (see below). Paul and Debbie were unable to attend today's meeting.
The Board accepted their report.
No one was found to use the LoneStarCon membership this year, so that membership is being sold to Marc Wells. What about next year? There was some discussion about this. Beverly: Should we open this up to general attendees of our events, rather than just staff? Rick: If the board is prepared to look at 20 or 30 applications and decide none of them are suitable, then he has no problem with the idea.
Tammy: Should the $500 stipend be rolled over to next year (making it $1000 for Loncon 3), since travel to London will be so expensive? Jason asked, if we awarded more than $500, does that mean we'd need to issue a 1099 to the recipient? Sam said he wasn't sure what at level it was required, but it seemed prudent to file the 1099 in any case.
Stephen moved that we continue the program, open it to convention attendees (not just staff) and change the stipend to $1000 (for 2014 only), and direct Rick to purchase a Loncon 3 membership right away. Aaron seconded the amendment. Jason: Who is on the committee for this? Beverly: Ruth, Marc and myself. (Those are the people who will be reviewing the applications.)
JayWake is finished, and it finished in the black. All the borrowed equipment has been returned and the consumables have been replaced.And it was a smashing success.
Devlin was not present to make a report.
Patty circulated some copies of the rough proposal that we've received from the Marriott. She said that, after we were told by the Marriott sales manager back in 2008 that we could either pay a lot more money or leave (and we left), that sales manager was fired the next year and three staff members were laid off. And they've never replaced us with a convention on that third weekend.
The Marriott is offering us a first option for the third weekend in November (the same weekend we had before–they still have a long-time customer tying up the second weekend), guaranteed for the next ten years. They're offering a $125 room rate for the first year, and $129 for the second. Overall, they're trying to match the same contract we had with them in our last year there, 2008. They're trying to do a better job with the happy hour pricing, allowing us to have larger room parties on the main floor or using the rooms on the third floor.
They've added four new meeting rooms, by eliminating Champions (the sports bar on the third floor). In place of that, they now have a restaurant in the lobby with a real chef and a menu that lists items with how long it takes to get them ("under five minutes; under ten, about twenty…"). The elimination of Champions resulted in both the four new meeting rooms, and much easier stairway access to the third floor for the parties there (allowing people to bypass the elevators).
Patty told them that the exhibit hall and the parking were the two biggest issues, and they immediately offered a 30% discount on valet parking, which shows they'd really like to get us back. (Jennifer told Patty afterwards that they'd also try to work out some deals with the parking garages nearby.)
There was some discussion about the meeting space available. The four rooms added on the second floor are smallish, but useful. They are in the process of putting new LED lighting in the exhibit hall/parking garage that will both provide better light and will not buzz. It will also have a separate HVAC system. Jason: How does that space compare with the Doubletree's exhibit hall? It's larger (we just didn't use all of it previously). Debra: Will they pay to put in the carpeting or do we? Patty: In 2008, the total cost for the carpeting of that level was $5,000–of which we paid half ($2,500). They're currently talking about $7500, which them again paying half of it.
Rick was concerned that we'd have less function space to work with at the Marriott. Stephen said he'd like to have a comparison of the total out-of-pocket cost to OryCon for the two hotels.
Patty pointed out that the best we can really do is try to find the best place for OryCon for the next five years, since we can't depend on a hotel not taking us for granted for much longer than that.
Tammy said that she's told Monica at the Doubletree that we really want to be below $130 a night in order to attract more people to renting rooms. They've responded with an option (for the third weekend in 2015) for under $130, but in 2016 we're right back up to the same level we're seeing now, unless we move to Thanksgiving. While they have reassured Tammy that they want to keep us, and have made some adjustments (such as lowering the parking costs), Tammy feels that we are being taken for granted. They're adding more and more restrictions on what we can and cannot do (such as the new restrictions on signage–even though another fan-run convention there earlier this year didn't have those restrictions).
Aaron asked for a quick straw poll of the board–are we interested in considering the Marriott? (Not "are we definitely going to move?") The board voted unanimously to consider a change to the Marriott. Aaron said he was also willing to talk to them about GameStorm, but was pretty sure they weren't going to be able to compete with the (Vancouver) Hilton. Patty agreed.
There was some discussion about what else we might want to ask for from the Marriott:
Tammy said that Monica had also mentioned the upcoming convention center hotel, and the major remodel of the Red Lion Convention Center, and that these changes will mean more large conventions that will use the Doubletree space, meaning that our rates will continue to go up. What she sent for 2015 looks reasonable based on what we've been getting so far, but Tammy really didn't like what she got for 2016. So Tammy would not recommend staying there for 2016, no matter we decide for 2015. Patty said she'd talked to the people at the Marriott to try to get an idea what their business model was, and they are very interested in attracting and keeping repeat business, especially on non-peak weekends.
There was a lot of discussion on the effects on OryCon with a hotel move.
Both Tammy and Patty felt that the Doubletree was interested in keeping us for only 2015, likely thinking the new convention center hotel would bring in more lucrative business after that. (Which is why the Doubletree has been putting pressure on us to move to Thanksgiving weekend.)
GameStorm has a contract for 2014, and Aaron has received a proposal from the Vancouver Hilton for the 2015 & 2016. They want to raise the meeting space cost from $1000 to $2000, and raise the sleeping room rates from $117 a night in 2014 to $122(2015) and $128(2016)–with a $5 rebate from those rooms going to GameStorm. They used the previous contract as a template for the new ones, so we're not having to start from scratch with them. Aaron is suggesting to them that we keep the lower rates (say $117 in 2015 and slightly higher in 2016) without a rebate going to GameStorm–so that we can sell (more) rooms. (The people who are renting rooms are already spending far more to attend the convention than those who are not.)
The rest of the proposed contract is pretty much the same, although they are including one more (small) meeting room. If GameStorm will agree to a larger room block, we would get more suites–rather than paying a lot more to have carpet installed in the basement level/parking garage. (And the basement is not a friendly area–there is all kinds of protruding metal). Aaron: It's sort of a chicken vs. egg thing–we'd need to grow to a certain size before we'd need the basement; and we'd need to grow to a certain size before we could afford to pay for the basement. In the meantime, we need to make do with what we have. We can grow now, by using more suites. And, although the number of memberships has grown, this last GameStorm we sold fewer hotels rooms than the year before (around 280 as opposed to 315 the year before, because of a lot of last-minute cancellations). Aaron is going for a block of 300 room nights, which would get GameStorm the extra suites. That should get us another three years at this hotel, without outgrowing it. By then, we'd be up to about 1500, based on the current rate of growth, and then we'd start negotiating for the basement. We have 36,000 square feet of space now, 38,000 with the suites; with the basement, that would give us 53,000 square feet.
It's unlikely the Marriott can meet the Vancouver Hilton's offer [because GameStorm uses a lot of meeting space while taking up comparatively few rooms], but Aaron will give the Marriott a chance. The Marriott has 44,000 square feet, including the basement exhibit hall/parking garage level. So the Hilton has more room available. And since GameStorm wouldn't fill nearly as many sleeping rooms as OryCon, the facility charge at the Marriott is going to end up about the same as at the Hilton, if GameStorm expands into the basement there.
After some more discussion, it was decided that Aaron would talk to the Marriott about the possibility of moving GameStorm there, but it's likely that it would not work for that convention.
The hotel committee report was unanimously accepted by the board.
Beverly and Rachael are still working on the GameCon software, and making good progress. It's not ready be beta tested yet.
They are looking at options for moving the GameStorm mailing lists off of Dreamhost.
This report was accepted.
At this point, John pointed out that we had reached our mandatory 2½-hour limit for board meetings. The board unanimously voted to extend the meeting another half-hour.
This was tabled until the next meeting, since there's no one here to report on it.
Design Week is coming up–it's October 7-12. Our part is GameLab to Ground Kontrol, and(we're loaning some of the game library. Aaron is also trying to bring computer gaming development to GameStorm.
The board unanimously accepted this report.
[This was taken up earlier, around 4PM, because Sam needed to leave.]
Not much has changed. We can't really do anything without a copy of a written contract, or direct testimony from Paul Brinker, who arranged for the dinner–and we can't even get him to answer e-mail about this. Sam: The good news is that there's a six-year statute of limitations on enforcing contracts. The bad news is that once that six years is gone, it's gone.
The board decided to table this until the December meeting.
It's signed. (This is no longer an agenda item.)
Regarding Tim Troupe's ban from OSFCI events: Beverly spoke with the person involved in that incident at GameStorm, and she is fine with him serving a one-year ban. Beverly will let Tim know about this.
Rick: Do we publicize these actions? Would doing so help to be a deterrent? It was suggested that maybe we should add to the web page that "This past year, two people were handed down bans under these policies."
There was discussion on possible changes to our policies in handling potential bans. Beverly felt that for bans, especially more than one-year bans, we need to hear directly from the people involved–either in person or by a written statement–rather than depending on what other people reported. Aaron felt that we had the obligation to investigate a complaint, whether or not the person filing the complaint was the person being harassed. John felt that we shouldn't make it a requirement for a victim to attend a meeting before we investigate the incident.
After some discussion, it was suggested that we modify the policy so that the both the person being considered for being banned, and any victim in an incident, be notified before the board considers the ban. (Adding an extra step to the current process.) This could also be a time for us to let people know that, if they do have a problem to report about a convention, they can inform the board about this problem. Rick offered to draft possible changes for consideration at the next meeting.
Lea: There are three weights (of incidents?): one is an uncalled-for obnoxious act against another person; one is a just a social misunderstanding, unintentionally offending another person; and the third is someone bringing a complaint solely as a means to harass another person. Lea would like us to consider ways to deal with this third problem.
This proposal was rolled into the proposed policy changes that Rick was already going to be preparing. (With the hope that we will discuss these proposed changes via e-mail between now and the next meeting, so that we're prepared to make a decision then.)
At this point, John pointed out that we exhausted our 30 minute extension. The board unanimously voted to extend the meeting another 10 minutes,
Jason: A Flikr account would allow OSFCI to have a photo archive for photos from all the OSFCI events. The board voted unanimously to approve spending up to $20 a year on an account (although it's looking like the free account will satisfy our needs).
The next meeting will be 7:30PM on Tuesday, October 15, 2013, at the Doubletree hotel.
The meeting adjourned at 5:03PM.
Not much to report over the summer. Gamestorm supplied its membership fees and 50% of its surplus.
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 8/17/13) account status:
|Acct||Balance||Change from 6/27 report|
We have made no grants since our last report.
We have a bit under $3,200.00 in the bank.
|Committee Members||First Appointed||Term Expires|
|James Fiscus, Chairman||October 1996||November 2014|
|Page Fuller, Treasurer||October 1996||November 2014|
|Rick Lindsley, OSFCI Rep.||Febraury 2012||While serving on OSFCI Board.|
|Ruth Sachter||November 2002||November 2015|
|Marc Wells||November 2003||November 2015|
To repeat information from our last report, our finalists are:
Our judges – Susan Forest, Noreen Doyle, and John Scalzi – are reading and assessing the books, and we’re waiting for the results. Ashley Harper is again doing our plaque. She expects to be at Orycon this year.
We will begin collecting books for next year’s Award once Worldcon is over.
We have a bit under $5,000.00 in our account.
|Committee Members||First Appointed||Term Expires|
|James Fiscus, Chairman||October 1996||November 2014|
|Page Fuller||October 1996||November 2014|
|Marilyn J. Holt||September 2000||November 2014|
|Sara Mueller||October 2003||November 2013|
|Sheila Simonson||October 1996||November 2013|
|Shawn Wall, Treasurer||November 2005||November 2013|
|Helen Umberger||November 2012||November 2015|
|Microsoft Matching Funds||$200.00|
|OCF Balance (3/31/2012)||$62,884.24|