Leaks, Drips, and Spills

Hey OSM - Was That Travel Really Necessary?

13 Dec 2014
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Victor Drover finally published the December 2, 2014 Budget Vs Actuals report on the OSM website either late yesterday or this morning - December 13, 2014. It has been available on the Open Source Matters, Inc. - Public Mailing list since December 2nd. Of course if you don't subscribe there, you rarely get to see the occasional interesting discussion. What's really interesting is he also published the CLT and PLT expenses there. You will note that there are no travel expenses listed for those two groups. The project wide expenses for travel through December 2nd are $213,011.63. If we assume that this expense is only for OSM travel (after all, it's not broken out for any other group that Victor Drover reports publicly) then the 12 members of the OSM Board average approximately $17,756.91 in travel expenses each for the last 11 months.Was this travel really necessary? Kinda doubt it myself. Especially this last trip to warm Mexico. You really can't accomplish a discussion on Skype, huh? That's how the board does all it's official business - also known as board meetings.

 PLT and CLT reports show expenses for the line item events of about $116,479 but the project wide expenses for line item events only show $8768.60 spent on events. That's quite a discrepancy. There is a line item called Conferences, conventions, meetings with expenses of $163,393.67. That's a  lot of meetings/conferences if it's just reflecting OSM expenses. Of course the line item Non-event Sponsorship with eleven months of expenses totalling $144,600.00 kind of boggles the mind. Just think, the OSM board gave away almost $150 thousand to non-Joomla events. Correction: I misread the line of Non-event Sponsorship. That was an income line presumably relating to sponsorship from others for the Joomla! Project. Who knows how much was the cost of a Silver Sponsorship to the  Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing?

Victor has failed to deliver many of the financial reports that would be appropriate for public review so far in his stewardship of the finances of OSM. There has been no P&L statement and as far as I can remember there has been only one Balance Sheet and that one is the one ending September 30th - a year ago! Even worse, he has failed to post the Federal Filings for the 2013 tax year and we have only 18 days or so until the new year. Severe lack of follow through there.

Supposedly in a new interest for transparency, the OSM board decided to vote on whether they should conduct most leadership communications to the public mailing list. Of course then they all had to vote on it. Then they decided to vote  for approval of the minutes (which they had all seen and reviewed) from the Joint Leadership Summit in Cancun, Mexico. Alice Grevet made the motion on December 4th. Fourteen out of 22 people who were at the conference voted positively and Alice closed the vote on December 11 - one week after it started. Of course, today is the 13th of December and I haven't seen these minutes - You?

Also recently released (yesterday most likely) were the minutes of the October 23, 2014 board meeting. Kind of surprised at some of the negativity expressed about the participation from the community. For example, Sarah Watz on the Structure and Organization noted: The proposal that was shared with the active community members, got a lot interest. It is a big issue, and therefore it is good to see that there is a lot of input, even though sometimes discussions got loaded(Emphasis mine)  And she further commented:  Disappointing was that information was shared by leadership members with the community that was asked to keep private at this time, in a negative way and without thoughts for the process at all. The excuse for doing so might be to be transparent, but transparency doesn’t mean one can go outside the process that was agreed on. 

There was also discussion of Joomla Day UK that unfortunately was scheduled on Yom Kippur. Don't know who made the comment but again: Arguments on all sides have been listened to and discussed with the people involved in this conflict. Most disappointing was the way communications were handled. 

Can't tell a lot from the above excerpts from the minutes but it seems like in these disparate events at least one board member is in the center of the controversy wouldn't you say?

So everyone have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and keep an eye out on what Joomla Leadership is trying to sneak past you on structure and what they have already done with finances.


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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

Read more about Dave Huelsmann

0 # Michael Babker 2014-12-15 20:14
I can't speak for how Vic manages the reports, but from my time on PLT, I can tell you that the PLT/CLT budget reports do not correspond directly to budget line item numbers. I can also tell you that the PLT Events budget is its travel budget and the budget for in-person code sprints, about the only thing the community will accept the PLT budgeting for (another discussion for another day).

Really, what got me to comment here was this comment.

Just think, the OSM board gave away almost $150 thousand to non-Joomla events.
As presented, it struck me as you disagree with Joomla sponsoring events that aren't directly related to Joomla (i.e. our JoomlaDays or World Conference). Bad idea, really bad. Joomla needs increased exposure beyond its own community; getting the project to sponsor events like Grace Hopper or various PHP events is actually a good investment of $150K in my opinion. Can't say with any certainty what went where, I wasn't involved with any part of budgeting other than votes for PLT travel or sprint spendings, but I would hope event sponsorships are viewed by the project and community members as something more than "giving away money".
-1 # Dave Huelsmann 2014-12-16 18:49
Welcome Michael.
You will note I corrected my blog above. OSM DID NOT give away almost $150,000. I misread an income line as an expense line. My bad. OSM did give away $10,000 to CMS Garden which they voted on and disclosed in the minutes. Presumably they gave away an unknown amount of money for their Silver Sponsorship of the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing which they did not vote on nor did they disclose the amount or any vote in the minutes. Those failures of transparency bug me more then the donations of money (as long as those donations remain a very, very small amount of the total expenses.).

Again, my apologies for my substantial overzealous mistaken reporting of the contribution amount.
0 # Michael Babker 2014-12-16 14:59
So out of curiosity, since it seems Joomla sponsoring events irks you, what should the budget be spent on? The community will never support paid staff in any part of the project, and paid projects are extremely difficult to justify and get support for, which leaves our budget to fund events and travel essentially, as well as the legal stuff that goes on behind the scenes.
0 # Dave Huelsmann 2014-12-16 16:17
Michael: What irritates me most is the lip service paid to transparency and the intentional cover-ups the OSM board does to hide things like the amount spent On Grace Harper or the issues with the structure proposal they didn't want revealed to the community as part of the discussion, etc. Don't forget, I go back as Treasurer of OSM when we struggled for every penny and paid 100s of thousands to trademark attorneys and actually did pay some of our more notable developers. Get the board to do things above board (pun not intended) and you could (almost) make me happy.
0 # Tiago 2014-12-16 11:19
Looking at those numbers, Do you really need those Travels???

Rather than focusing on advertising to get exposure, why not work on building advance and strong infrastructure before you start bragging it?

Honestly, Joomla will be 10 years soon and I still see it as Mamboo. Really after those years, there is no BIG thing changed in the features. They just make it pretty! it seems to me Joomla spend more money sponsoring, traveling, etc..

Why not Joomla will send only 1 person to 1 event in 1 YEAR then focus more on development (hiring developers) and making it the next CMS with clean and advance features that business can use?

$150 thousand can hire 5 experienced developers for 1 Year. if you hire someone from Asia (India, Vietnam), with that amount you can hire 10 good developers.

Then you do NOT need to advertise more after doing so.. customers and businesses will use Joomla because they trust it and for it's stability and features not for all your freaking Travels.

And maybe Joomla will replace WordPress!?! If Joomla people allow this to happen... I bet this would NEVER happend because they are all selfish and mone, money, money.. Oh money!
0 # John Jakes 2014-12-16 12:09
If you think you can hire an experienced developer for only $30k good luck
0 # Tiago 2014-12-16 13:48
I have a joomla and wordpress templates... And all my developers are paid only 500-1200 USD a month...

And they have 3-5 years experiences.. not a newbie... ofcourse newbie starts at 500 USD...

Have you been to Asia dude??

Well they are hungry for work.. Stop hiring people from 1st world countries... They charge 10x the price... Im paying 3-5K USD for a developer from UK with 4-6 years of experience..where I can hire 3-5K USD for 5-7 people...which can do exactly the same price qualify of work...

what do you say??? :D :D
-1 # John Jakes 2014-12-17 13:22
There is a MASSIVE difference between writing a template and architecting an extendible CMS platform that lesser developers can extend. But good luck to you
0 # Tiago 2014-12-16 14:08
If Joomla has the interest to do good to the community, then focusing on development by hiring 2 or 5 full time developer could make a difference.

I mean dedicated developer who work 8 hours Joomla development, not 3 hours work then rest are traveling.

if they can afford to pay paid travel expenses, sponsors and donate then they have the mean... if you do not have the INTEREST, you will give all the bull[censored] excuses you can think of.
0 # Michael Babker 2014-12-16 14:55
Ahh, this looks fun ;-)

First off, please understand what the travel budget actually allows for. This funding allows the Joomla Leadership to travel to events worldwide to represent the project and meet with users and community members. This funding allows for the Joomla project to sponsor travel for community members to JandBeyond and the world conference each year for individuals. This funding allows for Joomla community members to represent Joomla beyond our own community; PHP conferences, design conferences, and events like Grace Hopper with educational outreach being only a small example. All of this interaction is important; every "competitor" in our marketspace is doing the same and has corporate entities to support it. Joomla does not have that same backing.

Next, you get what you pay for. $150,000 may pay for a large quantity of developers in one region of the world, but are we getting high quality developers as a return on that investment? Joomla's strongest developer bases (with regards to core contributions) are in Europe and the United States right now.

Finally, having anyone paid to work on core Joomla will never happen again. Ever. Do some Googling and see what happened the last time it happened and what the responses are anytime someone even suggests it for any project. I've gotten into arguments justifying paying someone for 3-6 months to just update the Joomla online presence (fresh template, platforms updated to 3.x, etc.) and been told very strongly "the volunteers can do it, no need to pay".

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