Agenda item for February SPI board meeting
robert at spi-inc.org
Sun Feb 5 14:04:24 UTC 2012
On Sat, 4 Feb 2012, Jimmy Kaplowitz wrote:
> One thought first on discussing this in the meeting: we should probably
> have a predetermined time limit for this item, since discussions are
Yes fair enough. I find that having a real time discussion with all or
most directors present is a useful way to move a discussion forward. A
short discussion should be sufficient to get us started.
> As for my substantive thoughts:
>> (1) Using a back office company
> I was at one point involved with another nonprofit that used this kind
> of service. That nonprofit ended up moving those man-hours to in-house
> volunteer board members because it wasn't cost-effective for their
> needs. Although every organization is different and it would be a bit
> less inappropriate for SPI than for them, I still think it's a worse
> option for us than either your option #2 or the status quo.
Yes I personally suspect that option #2 would probably offer better value
for money but I'd like to take a closer look at option #1.
> This seems useful. We do seem to be rather bottlenecked on the man-hours
> of remarkably few individuals, principally Michael. To be clear, I'm
> very happy with what Michael is doing, and having been in his role some
> years ago I know how hard it is. Still, more man-hours would give him
> and the rest of SPI more flexibility.
Indeed, and it would allow SPI to continue to scale.
> That's fine if the Secretary and Treasurer are willing to do the
> corresponding oversight for that arrangement. :) Still, depending on
Yes this is the sort of thing that we would need to sort out.
>> An arrangement like this would ideally operate with limited
>> commitment on either SPI or the office assistant to minimise
>> liability and costs.
> Not sure what you mean by "limited commitment". Certainly it would
In many jurisdictions employment contracts (such as those used by
full-time or permanent employees) carry with them potentially wide ranging
responsibilities & liabilities in law for the organisation and even
officers and directors.
Fortunately labor laws normally allow for less formal arrangements, with
less responsibilities and liabilities on each side.
IANAL. I base my comments on research I've done in various jurisdictions.
> require some minimum level of ongoing oversight, as well as some sort of
> contractual agreement to protect confidentiality where that makes sense
> (e.g. donor info or sensitive early-stage discussions with potential
> associated projects), plus more insurance and legal advice than with no
NDAs and confidentiality agreements can occur in all sorts of contexts
(I've signed many over the years as an employee, contractor, consultant,
etc) so I don't think we'd have any problems there.
> Agreed. All of that is reasonable. And, at least based on the labor laws
> for US jurisdictions I've looked into, the rules that apply with only
> 1-3 employees are relatively few and manageable with a bit of due care.
That's reassuring :)
Director, Software in the Public Interest, Inc.
Email: robert at spi-inc.org Linux counter ID #16440
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