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Meeting talk:2012 AGM/Candidates/Craig Franklin


Hi Craig I've noticed that you have yet to post any statement given that its now 18:00 AEDT and elections open tomorrow I have some questions;

As a current member of the committee;

  1. Why would the proposed employee be based in Brisbane when the association is incorporate in Victoria given that we have legistaltive reporting requirements there?
    • There is no actual requirement for us to base staff in Victoria. The employee or employees can be based anywhere, either inside Victoria or elsewhere. In the draft position description that was written, we had an offer on the table from an organisation in Brisbane to supply office space and facilities to us for a token sum. Because getting this effectively for free would result in a considerable saving to the chapter, it was intended at that point to base the person in Brisbane. Since that draft PD was written, circumstances beyond our control and the offering organisation's control has meant that this space is no longer available. As such, the question of where to base the staff member is once again open. This is reflected in my answer to a question from a member of the FDC, that a staff member would be based "possibly in Brisbane, but not necessarily".
  2. Why was there a need to develop a new COI policy when it was already incorporated into the new rules that were published in April and at a time when the FDC application appears like it should have taken a priority in committee work?
    • There is no guarantee that the members of the chapter will vote to take up the new rules. Given the furore over what happened in WMUK concerning Gibraltarpedia, it was prudent to make sure that either way there were clear expectations on COI going forward.
  3. Why was there delay with FDC application? How does the current board see this as impacting our ability to get funding and our relationship with the Foundation?
    • There were a number of other equally important matters that required the attention of the committee at that time, including unresolved grant issues with the Foundation, communication with our auditor, and trying to get to grips with a number of large and complex requests for support. Things were not helped by having one member of the committee absent without notice during that time, and another who consistently declined to take part in any administration work. If there was an extra day in the week we probably could have done better, but given the spike in work to do and the limited resources available to do it, we simply did the best that we could.
  4. Why was the COI between John and the president of Indonesian chapter not disclosed during the last years AGM vote on WMAU proceeding with the language conference? What steps did you take to ensure that WMAU was not being compromised by its involvement in a situation that has the appearance of a COI? How does this COI impact any ongoing planning for the Indonesian language conference?
    • I do not intend to get into the fine details of John's living arrangements and personal life, except to say that the current relationship between John and Siska did not exist at last year's AGM. John has disclosed the relationship to the committee once it became serious (and before it was common knowledge) and reminded us of that potential COI on every occasion where we've discussed the language conference since.
    • On the topic of the language conference, I should add that the budget for the language conference is now significantly less than what was approved last year, and less than half of that budget has actually been spent. I'm now a lot more comfortable with the scope and goals of the conference than I was at this point last year.
  5. Do you believe that this years committee communicated in a fast and effective manner? What are some examples of the board not responding quickly and effectively this term and how will you address those if elected in the next term?
    • In some cases, yes, and in other cases no. As you'll see in my statement, this is one of the main things I would like to see improved going forward. My view is that professionalisation through hiring that first staff member who can act as a communications point during business hours will improve the current situation. I recall that this was also your point of view during the strategic planning process.
      • Yes I do agree having a dedicated staff member will be the best way to ensure more effective communication both within our community and in response to the needs of current or potential partners. Lets hope the FDC provides us with sufficient funds
  6. What actions did you take address concerns raised about the inadequacies of last years AGM? What have been the problems so far in this election cycle and do you feel the board prepared adequately for these election?
    • Personally speaking, I have gone to a lot more trouble to get the Treasurer's statement prepared and up in advance so that any questions can be asked before the meeting itself. I agree that the AGM last year was a bit of a fiasco and I have kept the concerns you raised with me shortly afterwards in mind so that we do better this year.
  7. Why given the issues raised about commincation for the AGM has the committee not made arrangements for each city to have a venue available for members to join the AGM more effectively?
    • In previous years, it has been the practice for local member communities to make arrangements suitable to their particular requirements to phone in. I am not aware of any requests that have been made for a change to this process, and I don't think that organising meetups centrally would produce a better result than letting the local experts do it. That said if there's any way I can assist on in my personal capacity to make it happen then I'm happy to have a chat with you about that.

Thanks Gideon Gnangarra 18:31, 15 November 2012 (EST)

Thank you for answering the questions, Gnangarra 00:46, 16 November 2012 (EST)

Additional questions from Steven Zhang

Hi Craig. I just have a few more questions. As you may know, the Funds Dissemination Committee today announced their recommendations for funds allocations, and out of the requested budget of $291,115, it was recommended we receive $0. This may significantly impact our activities over the next six months.

I am wondering:

  1. In hindsight, what would you have done different as treasurer to ensure that we received the allocation that the chapter needed to achieve all of the goals of the 2013 Annual Plan?
Hindsight is of course 20/20, and I’m not sure how useful it is to dwell on the past rather than looking towards the future. That said, the main thing I would have done differently is deferred the FDC application to the second round, due in early 2013. The chapter has enough cash reserves that a delay of a few months would not have caused significant problems, and we could have dealt with writing the annual plan on its own, rather than trying to squeeze it onto a very overcrowded plate.
  1. In light of the result from the FDC, do you still think we can expect the full amount of funding we were hoping to receive from our partners?
Most of the partner funding is tied to joint project proposals, where the chapter puts in a percentage of the funds and a partner puts in a percentage of the funds. Some of those funds, like the GLAM projects, are not yet allocated. We may have to delay approving those because we won’t have the funds on our side, which of course will mean no partner funds either.
  1. How do you see our annual plan change (on the top level) as a result of the FDC decision, to ensure that we can still achieve all our objectives?
Clearly, some parts of the annual plan will need to be delayed or deferred for a period of time, as funding won’t be available to do everything that we want to do straight away. Some of the various research programmes, like the research database, are not particularly time sensitive and can be pursued at a later date. I’ve been in touch with members of the FDC and the WMF Board of Trustees since the announcement, and I’d like to involve them going forward so that if they have concerns about anything we can find out early rather than at the last minute.
  1. If re-elected, what would be your plan going forward to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again?
I think it’s important to keep this in perspective. We have over $100k in the bank, we have minimal ongoing expenses, and we don’t have any significant debts. It’s a setback, but it’s not a disaster. I’m confident that with a full committee without any absentee members putting together an annual plan, and without having to deal with other important issues at the same time, an application for funding in the second round will be more successful.

Thanks. Steven Zhang 10:08, 16 November 2012 (EST)