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The Ongoing Sorry State Of OSM Governance

14 Sep 2012
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Allison Fine, one of the authors of The Networked Nonprofit described an uninformed, disconnected, and disengaged non-profit board that resonated perfectly with what I have been seeing and writing about the Open Source Matters, Inc. board. She said in her blog:

Most of all, too many boards are sets for kabuki theater; set dramas where all the actors know their lines; the chair gives an opening, the chief executive provides a summary of all the recent successes, the treasurer talks about the growing deficit, and the committee chair report out on their laundry lists of activities and programs. The meeting adjourns two hours later with very little accomplished except for a sense by the participants that they have done what they’re supposed to do.!

I won't rehash the the previous 57 blogs that go into more than sufficient detail to support the above conclusion. I would encourage you to read them.

I do want to applaud the new Treasurer, Thomas Hampton, for finally publishing at least a few of the promised monthly financial reports. Approximately eleven months after the last financial reports were published (October 31, 2011), we finally got a peek at the P&L and the Balance sheet on September 10th, 2012. It's a step in the right direction. Add the comparative Budget to Actual report and provide them monthly as promised and I would continue to applaud his efforts. Some things he could also accomplish is to close the TD Bank account. It hasn't been used in years. The other thing to do is transfer the majority of funds from the Pay Pal account to his Citi-Business Money Market account. At least it pays a nominal interest.

Update 9/20/2012: Noted in the recently released minutes was a relatively vague comment about tax reporting details that needed resolution that went back several years. Yet in J!People Thomas Hampton specifically said: There were payments due in 2012 for previous years that skewed the 2012 tax expense. I would say that Mr. Hampton should be more forthcoming about what taxes didn't get paid under whose watch, particularly since OSM pays significant funds for an accountant to actually prepare the tax forms. Additionally it should be noted that he also says: We will be posting the reconciled statements this week and every subsequent quarter. Which is obviously not what is promised on the OSM web site nor what was originally promised by me when I was Treasurer. What's the matter with publishing every month?

Can't say the same for Alice Grevet right now. The last board minutes she published were for June 19, 2012. Should have been two board meetings since then!

Update 9/20/2012: What some might consider a coincidence (I do not), Alice Grevet announced the publication of both the July and August OSM board meeting minutes on September 19, 2012 in the Open Source Matters, Inc. - Public Mailing list - a mere 5 days after the publication of this blog.

Given the lack of chatter about the proposed elimination of oversight of this board, I am assuming the proposal died a quiet death. Good thing too. Until this board exhibits the maturity it should have, oversight is mandatory. Though you have to wonder with all the issues I have pointed out why the Oversight Committee hasn't stepped in?

Update 9/20/2012: Reviewing the July and August minutes recently published, I find that OSM still is pushing to dissolve the CoC. Looks like the push is coming solely from the OSM side though since the public isn't party to the discussions pro or con, kind of hard to tell, isn't it?

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David Huelsmann

Dave Huelsmann was Treasurer of Open Source Matters, Inc. from 2008 to July, 2010 and Joomla Forum Global Moderator from 2005 to November, 2010. Now retired, he was a senior healthcare executive who managed large and diverse clinical laboratory, radiology, electroencephalography, and centralized patient transport operations/departments in both not-for-profit and for-profit companies throughout the United States.

Dave was a Navy Corpsman who served in Vietnam while attached to Seabee battalionmcb71
MCB-71.

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