Oregon Science Fiction Conventions

(OSFCI)

Board of Directors Meeting

April 28, 2014

Board Members in attendance:Board Members in attendance: Beverly Block (OSFCI President), Car Bostick, Jason Bostick, Jacob Engstrom, Rick Lindsley (OSFCI Treasurer) (arrived slightly late), John Lorentz (OSFCI Secretary), D. Stephen Raymond, Lea Rush and Debra Stansbury.

Aaron Curtis was ill and could not attend. His absence was excused.

(All unanimous votes listed below were unanimous votes of the board members who were present at the time of the vote.)

Also attending were Sam Justice (OSFCI Attorney), Tammy Lindsley (WHC 2014 Chair), Ruth Sachter, Craig Anderson and Shyrl Hester.

The meeting was called to order at 7:32PM.


I. Minutes of Previous Meeting

The minutes from the previous meeting were accepted unanimously by the board members present.


III. Reports on Sponsored Activities
A. Conventions and Bids
1. OryCon 35 (Lea Rush)

(Copies of the final treasury report were circulated with meeting packet.)

OryCon 35 is ready to close its books. The final disbursements have been sent out and donations made to Oregon Food Bank and Dove Lewis. The final surplus was $13,111.54, with $6,442.77 going to OSFCI, and donations made to the following groups:

  1. Dove Lewis Emergency Veterinary Hospital: $1,500.00
  2. Oregon Food Bank: $4,942.77

The scanner has been handed to the next treasurer and the checkbook will be handed back to Rick.

The board unanimously passed a motion to accept the report and close OryCon 35.


II. Treasurer's Report (Rick Lindsley)

(delayed until after the OryCon 35 report to give Rick a chance to get to the meeting)

(Reports were circulated with the meeting packet.))

The IRS has accepted our apology for filing last year's forms late and has refunded the penalty we paid (with interest–we got more interest from them than we'll get from Wells Fargo for all this year). The insurance company has also sent us a refund for the employee liability coverage that we dropped (since we have no employees). So the total annual cost for insurance is now only slightly higher than it was three years ago. Rick has been working on cleaning up the signers on the various accounts (some signers haven't been part of OSFCI for years), but Wells Fargo keeps losing track of what signers they do have on the various accounts. He just finally straightened up the World Horror account and is trying to get the right signers on the OryCon 36 (OryCon Even) account. The rest of the adjustments are deletions, so if they take a while it's not too bad.

Jason purchased some new radios to have for GameStorm, and we purchased a new Code of Conduct banner. OryCon 35 did have a surplus, and OSFCI has received half of that. Right now, World Horror makes us look really rich, since half of the OSFCI money is in the World Horror account.

Rick described the billing problems we've been having with A1 Storage. We paid them in full for 13 months back in August 2013 and we are paid through September 2014. But they keep sending us bills, including notices that they're about to shut down access to the storage units. He's talked to the manager, and has been assured that their records correctly show us being paid up, but the billing system still isn't being corrected. Rick thinks this is a sign from the heavens that it's time to look for a new facility. We moved to A1 because they offered 24hr access, and a discount for non-profit groups, and neither are true anymore. Stephen: Are we still getting the main unit for free? Rick: No, we're getting nothing for free now. That's why the storage costs jumped about 100% last year. Maybe their rates are competitive, but we don't know–it's worth checking into other locations.

Any more discussion on the storage unit will be under New Business, later in the meeting.

Rick asked if there were any more questions about the updated budget. Stephen asked about the $0 allocated for Mark Protection. John explained this was an every-other-year expense, and we'll next pay those fees in 2015. Rick has a budget line for ASCAP/BMI, but doesn't have information yet on the actual costs. And he's allocated some money for OSFCI promotions, which we've talked about in some of the board meetings.

The treasurer's report was accepted unanimously.


III. Reports on Sponsored Activities
A. Conventions and Bids
2. GameStorm 16

(Aaron, the chair of GameStorm 16, was ill and could not attend the meeting. A registration report was circulated with the meeting packet.)

Jacob (GameStorm 16 treasurer): The deadline for submitting requests is coming up soon, and he is still wrapping up the expenses on some of the departments. The hotel bill has been received from the Hilton, and the convention is coming in under budget in most areas. There is more than $19,000 in the bank–more than enough to pay all outstanding bills.

Stephen: There was a record attendance this year for GameStorm, with 1346 attendees. There were far fewer memberships rolled over from GameStorm 16 to GS 17 than there were from GS 15 to GS 16. (Instead, more non-attendees received refunds.) Stephen also mentioned that the different room usage at GameStorm this year made it feel less crowded, with the record attendance.

Security Report:
A security report from GameStorm 16 was circulated in the meeting packet. Beverly: Did everyone read the report? (Yes.) When she spoke to Aaron earlier today, and realized he wouldn't be at the meeting, Aaron's suggestion was that the Hastings' (Andria and Guy) be considered for banning from future events, while none of the other cases warrant a ban.

[A clarification: We are not considering at this meeting to ban someone. We are deciding now if we will be considering bans at the next board meeting, since anyone under consideration will be invited to address the board as part of that process.]

There was some discussion on the process. Jason didn't want the board to have any discussion on the report without Aaron in attendance. Other people disagreed, since we have recommendations from Aaron via Beverly, and the idea of this process is to discuss what happens with these folks in the future (based on their actions at GameStorm 16), not to rehash GameStorm 16 itself. Beverly felt that it was important to move the process forward–otherwise, it might be six months after GS 16 before anything happens.

Incidents (as listed in the security report)

"Regarding Signups"
The signup incidents were minor, and not considered worthwhile for the board to review.

"Ghost"
It was reported that someone was ghosting the convention (playing without a badge) and one of the staff people was enabling this. Beverly said that ghosting at a GameStorm has been extremely rare–she only remembered one previous similar incident. There have been suggestions on the Board email list that this person be required to pay for the membership that she should have purchased, and maybe the gamemaster should be banned. What do people think? Stephen: The staff person was on the Game Library staff. We should ask him what he was doing, and why he felt it was the right thing to do. Then if he can't give a reasonable justification for his actions, we should consider banning him, as well as the person who was ghosting. It's also been suggested that she be added to the OSFCI bad debt list, and she be notified that she owes OSFCI $60 (the at-the-door price for GameStorm 16). Rick: In other words, she would be banned until she paid? (Yes.) Sam suggested that if we add her to a bad debt list, we are implying that we are threatening her with a lawsuit. He did not think this was a good idea. Rick explained that we wouldn't be threatening a lawsuit to get the money–just informing the person that they owe OSFCI this money and won't be allowed to attend any OSFCI event until that debt is satisfied. She may well just go away and never come back (which is what we're sorta hoping, anyway).

Stephen mentioned that we don't have any contact information for this person. We can contact the staff person who enabled this, and say that we are considering banning him and we'd like an explanation of his actions. Car said that, before we ban this person who seemed to be ghosting, we should try to get an explanation from her or him. We don't know the situation–maybe she was misled and was not intentionally avoiding purchasing a membership. Stephen: The staff definitely should have known better. We want to talk to him, and then decided what actions we should take with the other person. Rick said that, since Aaron felt this was something we could just give a warning about, that we really need to talk to the parties in question for making any decisions. Stephen: Indeed, one of the things the board can do is just issue a warning. Beverly felt that, since we might not be considering a ban–maybe just a warning and not allowing him to be on staff–we needn't require him to be here in person. Maybe just send him an email asking for an explanation, and let him know we are considering disciplinary action? Sam: Maybe send him the email, saying we want to hear from him. If we don't hear back, we'll assume the worst (or just make our decisions based on other people's statements, or something similar).

Jason: Has he been on staff before? (Stephen hadn't checked on that, just confirmed he was on staff this year.) It might partially be the fault of the people who trained him.

After some more discussion, it was decided that Beverly would write to him in her capacity as OSFCI President, asking for an explanation.

"Member Conduct Issues"
Regarding the beer spilled on a game, there was general agreement within the board that this wasn't anything the board needed to discuss. Jacob(?–it was hard to hear) suggested that the fact that we have this new code of conduct might have raised the level of awareness of any incidents, and that's why we're seeing very minor occurrences being reported. Maybe at the next board meeting, we can discuss some guidelines of what really needs to be reported.

There was discussion with the attendee in question after the incident at the PAW drawing. It was partially caused by a misunderstanding of the rules regarding the auction. The person who reported the incident is fine with the at-con resolution of the matter. There won't be any further action by the board.

"Hospitality Incident"
It was decided this wasn't anything the board needed to discuss.

"Staff Conduct Issues"
This was partially caused by a staff person who was out of line (she apologized at the time, and to the board at this meeting), and partially by changing policies during the convention. The board decided that no further discussion was warranted at this time.

"Chris Shaffer"
Jason mentioned that the reason the hotel got involved in this incident is because it was someone bringing in alcohol from outside the hotel, and it was after hours (after the hours that the hotel served alcohol).

In this case, Shaffer (who was on the executive committee of GameStorm 16) was told multiple times by the hotel security staff to quit drinking in hotel space. Since Shaffer is being considered for ban from attending OSFCI events, it was decided that the board needed to hear from him in person.

Rick asked if there was an OSFCI or GameStorm policy about event committee drinking while on duty. Not yet–we've relied on common sense. The issue here is not that he was drinking at the convention while being on the committee, but that he was having issues with the hotel security and bringing outside alcohol into the hotel function space–something that he knows is not allowed. Sam felt there should be some sort of policy; if you don't want people drinking while working registration or handing money, there should be some sort of rule. It was mentioned that those are core elements of what the GameStorm policy task force is currently discussing. Stephen: Once GameStorm has their policy set up, OryCon and other conventions may wish to look at it.

Sam said he's also concerned about what the interaction between the alcohol policy and the OSFCI insurance policy might be. The other nonprofit group he works with, a motorcycle club, has very strict policies that there is to be no drinking until all riding activities are over, and no drinking in violation in whatever the facility rules are. It's not just a matter of someone doing something embarrassing for the organization; if someone should get hurt and we didn't have a strict policy that no one get visibly intoxicated, then we might have a problem. OSFCI needs to investigate what restrictions there are in the insurance policy–there is a danger here that we might violate the notions of what the risk is that they are insuring, and they may deny coverage for an injury. John: We know that the insurance company has been told in the past about the alcohol being served at our events, but you never know what information has fallen out and what they might know (or have forgotten) today. We'll ask Aaron to check on this, since he has the best knowledge what the policy is today.

Rick said that the task force also needs to consider what it means to be "on duty". If you are on reg duty from 12 to 4, then that's pretty clear. If you have door duty for a couple of hours, then that's pretty clear. What about the chair? A chair, or a programming head, is basically on duty 24hrs a day. Would those people be unable to drink during a con? Debra said she knows of one other convention where the directors aren't allowed to drink during a convention.

In summary, we'll ask Aaron to investigate the insurance issue, and we'll inform Chris Shaffer that there will be a board investigation of the incident.

"Andria and Guy R. Hastings"
The board quickly decided that, based on the incidents described in the security log, that there will be a discussion at the next meeting on whether the Hastings' should be banned from OSFCI events. Everyone involved in the incidents will be invited to address the board, or submit statements. Some of the people involved live in Cottage Grove (making it very difficult for them to attend a meeting). Sam suggested that we get something in writing from them.

After discussing the incidents described in the security report, the GameStorm 16 report was accepted.


3. The 2014 World Horror Convention (Tammy Lindsley)

(Treasury report was circulated in the meeting packet.)

We currently have 353 members, and more than 200 Stoker Awards banquet tickets sold, along with 38 people in the Cthuhlu Prayer Breakfast. There are sufficient funds to cover all of our costs, including some new things that have come up. Just wrapping up the proofing of the publications; they will be going to press tomorrow morning. And the last pre-con committee meeting is this coming Saturday.

What is the room pickup? The block is 90% sold (about 70 room nights above the 80% minimum). Because those are doing so well, Tammy has added a couple of extra rooms, both a gopher hole and to make sure the dealer liaison can stay on site. There are 13 artists in the art show.

There has been a lot of discussion on Facebook about various aspects of World Horror Con 2014, much of it instigated by RJ Cavender (who is on the WHC 2014 staff). He has been removed from the concom listing, as well as from the Facebook site. Some of the points he brought up were valid, such as the programming being very late in being scheduled. But the way he posted them was vicious, expletive-laden and completely unconstructive. After that discussion, WHC is returning all the fees paid to participate in the Writer Workshops. OryCon has typically charged a small fee to help pay for the costs of the workshops, but it turns out that this isn't the case with World Horror Conventions. John: So this does affect the financial report that was distributed for this meeting. This issue with the workshops came up after the financial statement was printed, so there's $800 in income on that statement that will be going away.

John: Financially, everything is looking fine. We know now that we won't have problems with the room pickup, and that was the biggest question we had until recently. The income we already have in hand is more than our total expected expenses. Rick: Can any of the extra money help make people happier? Tammy: We've already done some of that. We're not charging anything for any of the alcohol in Hospitality. (We'd originally planned on having a nominal $1 charge per drink.) On the other hand, there are several groups who are going to be sponsoring parties in the con suite, so that will help bring the costs there back down.

The board unanimously accepted the WHC 2014 report.


4. OryCon 36 (Jacob Engstrom)

Jacob Engstrom (OryCon 36 Treasurer) is standing in for Devlin Perez (OryCon 36 Chair), who had to work at the last minute.

Most of the Guests of Honor are lined up. The Filk Guest of Honor will be sponsored by OryCon for at least this year, since Friends of Filk is unable to sponsor a GOH at this time. There are a few committee slots left, but the concom is close to full. And several experienced people have offered to mentor some of the newer committee members. He circulated a draft budget, which is not complete yet. The version that was circulated was from before they had determined where most of their Guests of Honor were coming from, so that number will be changing quite a bit. (It will be going down, since most of the GOHs are coming from the Pacific Northwest.) What positions on the committee are still open? Jacob: A few minor positions.

(Various sets of keys were handed around, ,making sure that both the upcoming OryCon and World Horror Convention had sets.)

The report was accepted by the board members


5. GameStorm 17 (Debra Stansbury)

(The meeting packet included a treasury report, with a draft budget.)

Online registration for GameStorm 17 was turned on at the same time Sunday of GameStorm 16 that memberships for next year went on sale at the con on Sunday. There are already 371 members registered for next year (including the 40 who have registered online). There are two Guests of Honor for next year (one of the "guests" is Zombie Orpheus, which is a group). The other Guest is Jason Morningstar (the RPG GOH).

GameStorm is focusing on two things this year:

  1. Having a working online scheduling system (early this year). Along with this, industry outreach is being split off from publicity, so there's a more direct effort on contacting the professionals.
  2. GameStorm needs more clear-cut policies, so her vice-chair is heading up a policy committee. (ather than depending on "Everybody knows that!")

Stephen (GameStorm 17 Treasurer): The draft budget is still very much a work in progress. He is receiving tonight a copy of the current financial statement for GameStorm 16 (which was held last month). The hope is that the final budget will be ready for the next board meeting. As for memberships: the at-con memberships sales for next year were about that same as a year ago, but several more people purchased their members online Sunday of GS 16, so GameStorm 16 is ahead of last year at this time. (Stephen will be turning over registration to the new registrars sometime in May.)

The GameStorm 17 report was accepted unanimously.


6. Westercon 2016 Bid (Lea Rush)

The bid is doing fabulously. They sold 32 pre-supports at Norwescon (including one Friend of the bid). The buzz there about the bid was very good. There will be a strategy meeting soon for planning for the upcoming Westercon (where the bid is decided). Lea wants to be able to do things such as flipping the bid web site to a convention web site as soon as Portland is officially awarded the convention.

The Westercon bid report was accepted unanimously.


B. Funds and Awards

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

Jim was having computer problems (and also was unable to attend this meeting), so we have no report for either of these funds.


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

A report was circulated (see below).

In addition to the report that was submitted by Paul and Debbie for the first quarter of 2014, they also sent copies of all the documentation of the transfer of funds to the Oregon Community Foundation (copies were also distributed in the meeting packet).

The Board accepted their report..


4. John Andrews Worldcon Grant (Beverly Block)

We have received one application so for 2015 (Spokane), which came in from Michael Pinnick. Two years ago, this grant was awarded to Jenn Contreras-Perez to aid her in attending the Worldcon in Chicago. Last year, no grant was awarded, and the stipend was rolled over to this year, when Sara Gulde was awarded $1000 to help her attend the London Worldcon. We expect to get a number of applications for 2015, because Spokane is so close to Portland.

The report was accepted unanimously by the board.


IV. Other Continuing Business
A. Storage Manager Report

Devlin was unable to attend this meeting, so we don't have a report from him. Stephen reported that the keys to the storage units have been copied and distributed (one of each for GameStorm and OryCon, and a third set staying with OSFCI for use by other OSFCI events (such as World Horror Con).


B. Hotel Committee

There is nothing to report at this time. OryCon is set for the next several years, as is GameStorm–with the exception of the question of whether GameStorm is going to expand and use more space at the hotel. (That's currently being discussed by GameStorm.)


C. IT Committee

Jason reported on the work that he and Fargo had been doing. The GameStorm domain was renewed with Network Solutions for another year–the registration expired right after this year's GameStorm, and there wasn't time to move it to another provider before it expired (and Jetfire doesn't handle domain registrations).

The Clear modems that we've been using for the last three years are dying very slowly (one is already dead, one has a bad ethernet port, and three are still working). The three that are working may work through OryCon. We should have a discussion sometime this summer about moving to another solution, maybe Sprint wifi. GameStorm this year purchased Internet service from the hotel, since they offered a very good deal. (One of the Clear modems was used in the dealer room as a backup.) Car explained that the major reason this is an issue is because, ever since Sprint purchased 100% of Clear, the plan we're on (with the ability to rent Internet service for a week at a time) no longer exists. We're currently grandfathered in, but we lose that if we purchase new equipment. We'd then need to purchase Internet service on a year-round basis. Stephen asked if the Clear modems could be repaired. He was told that the cost would be prohibitive (several hundred dollars).

Jason suggested that, if the hotel can't offer a good price, we explore a more modern solution. But Devlin should find out what the hotel will offer OryCon this year as far as deals on the service. Beverly pointed out that, with the exhibit hall being in the basement at the Marriott when OryCon moves there next year, we may be forced to use the hotel's service there-the Clear modems may well not work at all there. Jason is planning on talking to the Marriott about this.

Regarding moving OSFCI off of Dreamhost: Rick reported that they're using the Westercon bid site to really bang on Jetfire, to try to determine if they will work for the rest of the domains. There was some discussion on mailing lists and aliases, and how they're being handled.

Beverly and Rachel have been working on the GameCon software. They're hoping to have apha testing by the end of July, and beta testing in August.

The committee report was accepted unanimously.


D. Using Square with Android Tablets for at-con registration

John proposed that we table this discussion until the next meeting, since we already have a solution in place for World Horror Con. Lea mentioned that Square now has an offline mode, meaning it can be used if there is no wifi.

Has OSFCI already purchased the tablets? No, nothing has been purchased.

This discussion was tabled until the next meeting.


E. ASCAP/BMI Licenses

Nothing to report.


F. Insurance

The employee liability coverage has been canceled and we have received a refund from the insurance company.


V. New Business
A. Possible changes to Code of Conduct

A few people at GameStorm last month objected to the phrase:

     "If you have graduated from kindergarten, we expect you to understand that you 
     have to ask before you touch, and that 'no' means 'no'."

They thought it made OSFCI sound condescending and not totally serious about the Code.

Car pointed out that, if we changed the wording again, that's another $175 for a new banner. Did we receive a formal protest about the Code? Car: There were several minor grumbles about it. Stephen would like to see OSFCI remove that line, and budget the $175 to reprint the banner. It was pointed out that there's not enough time to get a new banner printed before World Horror Con (which starts in nine days). Rick: How many people registered a complaint about this (at GameStorm)? Jason: One strongly, one mildly. Other people heard five or six grumbling in Hospitality, or elsewhere. John: Did we hear any complaints at the last OryCon (where we had the same Code of Conduct)? No. Ruth: When the committee met to put this Code together, we borrowed phrases from several other conventions' codes, including the "kindergarten" line. I just looked up their code online, and they're still using that line.

Rick said that he's inclined to oppose getting a new banner; he's not concerned about five or ten people being upset out of the 1300+ that attended GameStorm. Beverly: We could change the official version, and not make it effective until after World Horror Con. Rick: I don't want to see it changed; I see nothing offensive about it. Car asked Sam if he saw any problem with the phrase. (No.) After some more discussion it was decided to table this until the next meeting, with the hope that GameStorm's planned survey is done by then (which will include a question about the Code).


B. Possible Change in Storage Location

This was discussed earlier during the Treasurer's report. Debra will investigate new storage locations. People suggested that access (being able to store heavy equipment on the ground floor) and a controlled environment are both very important.

As for the current storage location, Sam suggested that Rick send a letter to them (rather than depending on phone calls and email), with a copy of the check that was used to pay for the 13 months of storage.

Tammy suggested that the board bring in a new storage manager, since Devlin is also chairing OryCon this year and it will be difficult to handle both jobs.


C. Portland Geek Council

This topic was tabled until the next meeting.

Shyrl stated that Lea had passed being OSFCI rep to the Geek Council to her, and she's going have to step down. The meetings are Tuesday at 7PM, and she can't make it to meetings at that time. The board will try to find someone else.


D. Hands Over Portland

Hands over Portland is an organization that links up nonprofit groups with volunteers. There was some discussion on whether this would be useful to OSFCI. Jacob works with them in his daytime job, and said that some groups can draw a lot of volunteers while it would not be useful to other nonprofit groups. It's like that it'd be only useful on an event-by-event basis (for specific positions), not for OSFCI overall. If there is a situation where it would be useful for an event, it would not be much more work, or take much more of his time, for Jacob than he's already spending with them.


The next meeting will be held on Monday, June 16th at the Doubletree.

The meeting adjourned at 9:43PM



OSFCI Treasurer's Report 4/28/14

1. Current Status

The IRS has responded to our apology and will be refunding our $1,900, plus almost $7 in interest.

The insurance company has also issued a $271 refund for the coverage they added for us the last two years without consulting us. This will still represent a slight bump in our rate over the 2011 numbers.

I made the mistake of trying to get Wells Fargo to work on adding and deleting signatures on more than one account at a time, since we're getting backlogged, and the paperwork got lost. So we are starting over on that. In the meantime, I've told Jacob E (O36 treasurer) that I will write any checks that are needed and then manually transfer those funds from Orycon back to OSFCI.

Jason got some new radios in time for Gamestorm, representing $463 in capital expenses.

O35 announced that one half its surplus was over $6400.

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 4/27/14) account status:

Acct Balance Change from 2/23 report
Orycon Odd $1175 (-$13758)
OSCFI checking $10614 (+$3477)
Endeavour $2512 ($0)
GS Even $19564 +$12996
Merchant $568 ($0)
GS Odd $10488 (+$3488)
Orycon Even $5161 (-$69)
World Horror $54783 (+$22274)
OSFCI savings $32485 (+$6669)
Westercon $1386 (+$386)

2. Old Business

None


3. New Business

A1 Storage has been dunning me for unpaid bills, even though we are paid through Sept 2014. I called when this first happened and they assured me it was taken care of. When I got more bills after that, they outlined the steps that would be taken, including locking up he contents and then selling them at auction. I called again last Monday (4/21) and asked if it would be helpful if I made a point of coming down to discuss it, and perhaps bring the checkbook.

The manager assured me, uh, no, very sorry, I will get back to you tomorrow about this mixup. We have new billing. When she did not, I called again three days later and she said she was "on it" but it was taking longer than she'd hoped. On this last Friday she left me a message assuring me it would all be cleared up by, hopefully, Monday 4/28.

A1 used to be desirable because they gave us a non-profit discount, and because they were one of a few places open late enough to accommodate our conventions' odd needs. However, that is no longer true on either count. I'm going to check but I believe they are not providing us any discount, and a number of places are open 7x24 now. Mentioning the sale of our belongings, justified or no, hits a particularly sensitive nerve to any older OSFCI members who may remember when that very thing happened, and that makes me suggest we might want to investigate other storage units.



Susan C. Petrey Scholarship

Income Statement: Q1 2014

Balance (12/31/2013)$13,581.33
 
Income
OCF$2,683.00
MIssion FIsh$5.50
Interest$0.86
Total$39.96
 
Expenses
Scholarships/Fellowship$2000.00
Total$2000.00
 
Balance (3/31/2014)$11,230.29
 
OCF Balance (12/31/2013)$65,053.55

2014 Recipient