3/24: No Dollar Left Behind

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

Proposers: Sean McKeown
Proposer Contact Information: s_mckeown@hotmail.com
Date of Proposal: 3/24/12 General Assembly

This proposal is intended as both a fiscal budget for the remaining OWS funds, in
replacement of the weekly budget frozen by Accounting for the week of 3/19, and a
proposal to improve OWS accounting and accountability methods by drafting proper
protocols for the movement as a whole to follow as we move revitalized into the
American Spring.

Part I: Spending Down To Zero

Following the discussion about accounting budgeting held at General Assembly on 3/22,
that assembly broke out into groups to draft a budgeting proposal for GA, reconvened,
then achieved consensus to present to GA for 3/24 the following suggested framework
for the remaining $12,150:

Street Medics: $0. Given the recent trend of funding for this expenditure, it is
believed that in-kind donations will be sufficient moving forward.

Clinical Medics: $0. Given the recent trend of funding for this expenditure, it is
believed that in-kind donations will be sufficient moving forward.

Facilitation WG Space Rentals: $0. Given the current level of expenditures
needed for the spaces, as little as $40/week might be needed for this repeating
item and this can be crowdsourced via the ‘pass the hat’ method.

Tech Ops: $0. Suggest immediate move to an affinity-group model given their
current operational infrastructure, for website costs, or a future GA proposal to
recompense this WG for costs incurred as-needed.

Kitchen: $2,000. This is sufficient to provide for two weeks of infrastructure
costs – transportation needs, fuel costs, and kitchen space rental – and will allow
Kitchen several weeks of operational costs if used on these needs which cannot
be supplanted with in-kind donations, as Kitchen shifts over to an affinity-group
model that will allow them to receive outside donations to remain operational.

Metrocards: $3,000. This should be budgeted in three weekly budgets of $1,000
for the next three weeks, sufficient for ~35 cards per week. Revision of the
way in which these cards are distributed is highly advised – rather than issuing
persons private property, we should be looking to create communal property at
transportational ‘node’ locations so that occupiers can travel between Liberty
Square and Union Square, or receive a one-way trip from these sites to other
locations to help get people to direct actions. If the prior protocols are used for
tracking these cards, so that cardholders are held accountable for holding these
items reliably as well as held accountable for using this as communal property in

good faith, it is suggested that these prior protocols be tracked by an independent
coalition of members nominated to the task by this body rather than simply
entrusting any specific Working Group with their oversight, be it the Housing
working group or some other group, though these bodies may share members in
common.

Bike Coalition: $1,000. Given the support for this Working Group, and the
group’s ability to assist in mobilizing the Occupation presently encamped at
Union Square as well as assist in scouting and defense for marches, if the GA
believes this Working Group is worth supporting, some seed money should be
provided to enlarge their ability to act in this capacity. It is likewise suggested
that a bike drive be planned as quickly as possible, to further enlarge these
capabilities with in-kind donations.

Printing Budget: All remaining funds. $6,150. Given that all Working Groups
have access to these resources, rather than any one individual Working Group,
and the sheer importance of being able to provide fliers for outreach and events
is critical to the Movement between now and May Day, the bulk of these funds
should be allocated to printing to enable the Occupation to continue onward in the
next few weeks. As with Kitchen, if this can move to an outside-funding model
immediately, such should be done to the best of this budget item’s ability.

This reduces the current finances possessed by Occupy Wall Street to a zero balance.
This is not by itself intended to end the spending freeze; before doing so, and potentially
spending any further money, we should rebuild our financial protocols in the spirit of
transparency and accountability that we seek to bring into the world.

Part II: Accounting Standards Reform

Before even a single dollar of additional donations can be spent by Occupy Wall Street
in good faith, is an absolute necessity to achieve financial transparency moving forward.
Both for our confidence in each other as a Movement, and to enable us to say to the
public at large that we are acting with radical transparency to the best of our ability, any
funds or materials we receive must being properly managed and used to sufficiently
high standards. For this purpose, this proposal is asking that we consent as a body to the
following:

Where possible and convenient, we will seek in-kind donations for supplies
rather than monetary donations, be they targeted needs (like bicycles for growing
the Bike Coalition) or general needs (like garbage bags for storing bags at an
occupation site during wet weather). Money is not needed for many of the needs
of the Occupation, and should not be considered the logistical answer to every
problem.

Where money is being used, Occupy Wall Street will strive
to follow Generally
Accepted Accounting Principles
as well as radical transparency of accounting
and book-keeping records. These are already the principles by which members
of our Accounting working group must abide if they are to act properly within
the law to the necessary high standard, and we must as a whole stand in solidarity
with the Accounting working group rather than potentially expose them to
state violence with the threat of arrest for their work on our behalf. In asking
Accounting to maintain these high standards, we must note that they can only
do so if we ourselves maintain these high standards. This requires receipts
and a trail of information for all financial disbursements, and by consenting to
these principles as far as our use of money is concerned we will be agreeing
that no reimbursements will be made *immediately* without a valid and well-
documented receipt for any goods or services.

As these situations will still arise, and there is some flexibility within accounting
protocols for disbursement of funds without proper chains of information or
receipts, the following protocol shall be enabled for the disbursement of funds
without meeting Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. For any disbursal of
funds without a receipt, after a one-week delay, if such a receipt cannot be found
or replaced for presenting to the Accounting working group, it can be requested
of the General Assembly or Spokes Council as a proposal to those bodies by the
individual seeking these funds in this way. The Spokes Council is enabled by its
design to hear such proposals of a strictly logistical nature for intra-occupation
budget items, while the General Assembly will remain the proper body for all
expenditures (logistical or otherwise) involving more than one General Assembly
working together or OWS interacting with the outside world.

In keeping with the principle of radical transparency, we as a General Assembly
will authorize the Accounting working group to upload digital scans of bank
statements and any other such information, with account numbers redacted, as
a general practice. Currently, the only barrier to this radical transparency is the
lack of GA direction in this capacity, and other Occupations have used these
standards of radical transparency to good effect. In addition to making a weekly
report to Spokes Council and General Assembly, as they have been, we would
be authorizing and requiring the Accounting Working Group to upload on a
weekly basis scans of this information for public scrutiny inside and outside of
OWS. This consent to publish financial information will be granted and back-
dated, as far back as any records we possess go, but not required by any particular
timetable.

In addition to these weekly accounts summaries, in keeping with the principles
of radical transparency, we as a General Assembly will authorize our book-
keepers, the Alliance for Global Justice who are our fiscal sponsors for 501c3
purposes, to make reports of all donations (including any cash received) public on
a monthly-report basis. These reports should likewise redact donor information
and account numbers, but otherwise faithfully note all donations into WePay,

percentages taken as overhead by WePay or the Alliance for Global Justice as
our fiscal sponsors or any other outflows prior to budgetary tracking, and confirm
the transfer of funds to OWS accounts plus confirm that these accounts match
those currently tracked by the Accounting WG after any holding periods. The
recipient of each disbursement shall be provided in these monthly summaries
going forward. For the purposes of masking individual actions, monikers and/or
Working Groups (where applicable) will be accepted (as they presently are) for
any who do not wish to publish their real name, but as with current Accounting
protocols and Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, one’s real name and
similar information must be privately tracked internally (as it already is).

Additionally, the $100 per-day “petty cash” system, in place since the early weeks of
the Occupation, came into existence without direct GA consensus. The history of this
system’s implementation came about quite simply, as it was determined very early on
(at a GA for which there do not appear to be surviving records) that it was reasonable
to require a $100 threshold for requiring the consent of the body as a whole before
making a financial expenditure on behalf of the Movement.

By logical inference, then, it became OWS practices not to require GA consent via a
proposal for any expenditure of up to $100. Likewise, to answer the questions of ‘by
whom?’ and ‘how often?’ when the Occupation was considerably smaller than it is
today, the reasonable answers to these questions were determined to be ‘by Working
Groups’ and ‘on any given day,’ thus creating without an actual proposal the system
of petty cash as we have known it.

As part of its budgeting process discussions, the Spokes Council ratified
with full consensus the proposal to exclude petty cash expenditures without
consensus and oversight as part of our budgeting practices. As this proposal
is seeking to conclude the spending freeze and put into place best practices for
the movement to follow going forward, the General Assembly is being asked
to consent that this system which was never brought into place via group
consensus shall not be used. In its place, if Working Groups, projects, or
other proposal items require flexible budgeting options as part of any budgets
they seek approval for, they can request such as part of their budgeting and
such would be subjected to all appropriate oversight within the guidelines of
such budgeting structures.

With these requirements for transparency and accountability met, we can in good
conscience lift the spending freeze. Instead of simply concluding the spending freeze,
however, by the passage of this budget and its associated protocols, we would seek
to modify the conclusion of the spending freeze by attaching it to the completion
of transparently presenting a March 2012 monthly report of our book-keeping and
accounting statements on the NYCGA.net website at accounting.nycga.net.

19 Responses to “3/24: No Dollar Left Behind”

  1. Sean McKeown

    The first half of this proposal (Part I) achieved consensus with considerable amending on Saturday, 3/24. The amended text is presented here:

    Proposers: Sean McKeown
    Proposer Contact Information: s_mckeown@hotmail.com
    Date of Proposal: 3/24/12 General Assembly

    This proposal is intended as both a fiscal budget for the remaining OWS funds, in replacement of the weekly budget frozen by Accounting for the week of 3/19, and a proposal to improve OWS accounting and accountability methods by drafting proper protocols for the movement as a whole to follow as we move revitalized into the American Spring.

    Part I: Spending Down To Zero

    Following the discussion about accounting budgeting held at General Assembly on 3/22, that assembly broke out into groups to draft a budgeting proposal for GA, reconvened, then achieved consensus to present to GA for 3/24 the following suggested framework for the remaining $12,150:

    • Street Medics: $0. Given the recent trend of funding for this expenditure, it is believed that in-kind donations will be sufficient moving forward.

    • Clinical Medics: $0. Given the recent trend of funding for this expenditure, it is believed that in-kind donations will be sufficient moving forward.

    • Facilitation WG Space Rentals: $0. Given the current level of expenditures needed for the spaces, as little as $40/week might be needed for this repeating item and this can be crowdsourced via the ‘pass the hat’ method.

    • Tech Ops: $0. Suggest immediate move to an affinity-group model given their current operational infrastructure, for website costs, or a future GA proposal to recompense this WG for costs incurred as-needed, to be decided upon by that group at its own discretion.

    • Kitchen: $2,000. This is sufficient to provide for two weeks of infrastructure costs – transportation needs, fuel costs, and kitchen space rental – and will allow Kitchen several weeks of operational costs if used on these needs which cannot be supplanted with in-kind donations, as Kitchen shifts over to an affinity-group model that will allow them to receive outside donations to remain operational.

    • Metrocards: $3,045. This should be budgeted in three weekly budgets of $1,015 for the next three weeks, sufficient for 35 cards per week. The prior protocols in use for these cards will continue to be used, and a limit of one weekly unlimited metrocard per Working Group which has previously been able to receive prior metrocards. These cards will be distributed to individuals who have been nominated for their receipt via working group consensus, and published in each Working Group’s minutes. These metrocards will be distributed to Working Group point people at the Tuesday general assembly at 60 Wall Street from 6-8pm, and will be distributed by a coalition of Working Group members familiar with this protocol as well as familiar with oversight protocols: Stan and Katherine (Housing WG), Cynthia (Accountability & Transparency WG), and Trish (NYCGA Council WG).

    • Jail Support: $999. This is intended to be spent on 222 two-way Metrocards, to provide for the needs of the community surrounding jail support as-needed by that group’s discretion.

    • Printing Budget: All remaining funds – $6,106. Given that all Working Groups have access to these resources, rather than any one individual Working Group, and the sheer importance of being able to provide fliers for outreach and events is critical to the Movement between now and May Day, the bulk of these funds should be allocated to printing to enable the Occupation to continue onward in the next few weeks. As with Kitchen, if this can move to an outside-funding model immediately, such should be done to the best of this budget item’s ability.

    These funds are to be distributed in two halves – one up-front disbursement of $3,053 immediately, with the remaining funds to be held aside as desperate-need emergency funds if emergent situations change our need to potentially access spendable cash without dipping into the OWS bail fund until this first sum has been exhausted. Additionally, before this second disbursement of funds can be provided, an accountability and transparency report is required to show the expenses provided for within this funding, by printing request and Working Group, as well as an aggregate cost per type of item included in cost-per-copy form so that we can analyze, as-needed, both Working Group usage of these communal funds and which types of printed items are most efficient uses of our messaging funds going forward.

    This reduces the current finances possessed by Occupy Wall Street to a zero balance. This is not by itself intended to end the spending freeze; before doing so, and potentially spending any further money, we should rebuild our financial protocols in the spirit of transparency and accountability that we seek to bring into the world.

    This item (Part I) achieved consensus at the 3/24/12 General Assembly.

  2. @CynPrice

    @Frances we agreed on the 1st part after 2 nights/8 hours and coming to
    a very democratic Consensus. I think maybe those same Evolved souls get together
    and do the rest! Nobody got all they wanted, but after all is said and done, it
    was fair considering the $$ we have left.
    THAT WAS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE. And we had to deal with Trish, in all of it,
    so thank us. As far as the 2nd part your comment “Aint going to happen” u mean Transparency?

    • Trish OWS

      Cynthia,.

      (And we had to deal with Trish, in all of it)?

      Was there a problem with my being an important contributing factor?

      More to the point, WHY ARE YOU MENTIONING MY NAME?

  3. Trish OWS

    OWS Community,

    We did not max out our account, we continue to be in the black with several thousand dollars left behind.

    My suggestion of the splitting 50/50 (Kitchen, Printing) and Stan’s $1000 for per pay (4.50) Metrocards,

    Jail Support, Darrell’s insight of getting a per unit accounting from printing, and on and on…

    it was FANTASTIC.

  4. Trish OWS

    Correct me if I am wrong, over five thousand dollars ($5.000)will remain in our

    account (this account is not closed)until it is proven the initial funds disbursed were used and confirmed

    by per unit documentation from printing.

    There is no ZERO, we alloted buit did not disburse all of the monies therefore, WE ARE IN THE BLACK.

  5. @CynPrice

    Trish. I love your input, and hard work. We compromised and allotted 1/2 of 6,000 they requested to printing for May Day so it is like $3,000 left in general account. We compromised, giving all the bike money to jail support for metro cards. Dont forget to be at 60 atrium at 6pm, on tuesday, you were nominated to give out metro cards. its all a one time thing anyway and money is gone in 3 weeks. MOST IMPORTANT: we need to focus on the future donations being transparent for metro cards for those in need for the future. Meet me at Spokes Monday night on 23rd and 3rd avenue if you would like.

  6. @CynPrice

    I should have said, we had to deal with Trish keeping us REAL AND HONEST!

  7. Lopi

    The GA that decided this budget is Illegitimate because it was not held at 60 Wall Street or Liberty Park and there was not attempt to communicate alternate locations to those of us trying to find it. I, for one, was trying to attend the GA and did not locate it. I believe it was held much later and at 100 Williams st?
    This is not a fair and democratic way to come to such an important decision.
    If I was allowed to be present, I would have had friendly amendments specifically about the printing budget as well as the bike coalition budget.
    I do not recognize this as legit. I don’t care how bonding it may or may not have been. What I care about is that the decision was made in a semi secret meeting not accessible due to lack of communication to all who would have attended.

    My friendly amendments: MORE BIKES. MORE ART. I can be more specific later
    thanks for listening.

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      GA did in fact start at 60 Wall, and after 60 Wall closed, we went through the process of reconvening in the rain at Liberty Plaza before temp checking the move to 100 William.

      There was no secret meeting – it was a regularly scheduled Saturday GA at 60 Wall, as posted on this site.

      GA did start ~20 minutes late due to having to build an ad hoc facilitation team from those present, but there wasn’t anything secret going on at all. Justin even asked around for someone willing to stream the meeting before we started.

      I’m not gonna say it was the best way in which such an important matter could have been addressed, but there wasn’t any cloak and dagger ish going on that I could see.

  8. sumumba

    with all due RESPECT… i really LOVE how many ((((( ‘I’ ))))statements you just made Lopi in calling this GA ‘illegitimate’ : ‘If I was allowed to be present, I would have had friendly amendments specifically about the printing budget as well as the bike coalition budget.

    I do not recognize this as legit. I don’t care how bonding it may or may not have been. What I care about is that the decision was made in a semi secret meeting not accessible due to lack of communication to all who would have attended.’

    Whatever the status of this GA…im wondering do you feel it’s ‘LOPI’s OCCUPY WALL STREET’ movement alone? Judging from your previous blocks and leaving break out sessions on vision and goals and in other GA’s …i’m feeling that YOU somehow feel ‘entitled’ to block or make friendly amendments at will (NOT MATTER IF ITS movement building or not), and when you are not present or allowed to or overriden you often get pissed and storm off…maybe its just about me but i thought this movement was BIGGER than one person? IJS..

  9. Trish

    Community,

    This is not an issue of “not winning…for losing.

    The fact of the matter…the GA stepped up and addressed the issue, which

    Finance/Accounting, informed the entire community, they were un-comfortable in

    being involved with at that point!

    The decision had already been delayed…it was important something be settled…

    (in real time).

    Secret meeting do happen BUT, in this instance, NOT SO.

    IT was FAntastic, YOU MISSED IT>>>Accept it.

    lead the entire community

  10. Katherine A Flowers

    just an FYI I’ve not been able to get a hold of accounting so you have until Thur to get your minutes posted to show who will be picking up and receiving the allotted metro card

  11. @CynPrice

    @Lopi The G.A. started at 60 Wall Street, as stated on the Website, and then moved to Liberty since 60 Wall Street Closed, as has happened many times recently. It was 10pm and it started to rain, so we all walked up to William to be out of the rain, and most went. So for anyone to say they were looking for the G.A. could not be true unless you went to Wall after 9:30 or Liberty after 10pm. It was agreed, after many comments that bikes could be donated (that discussion started at 60 wall street) and then decided at William to give the bike money for MetroCards to Jail Support. We had a choice, Bikes or Jail Support. I would say most were Against the Printing Budget of $6,000, and we compromised on half of that. DEMOCRACY/COMPROMISE. As far as Bikes and Art, please read the 1st 2 paragraphs of the Declaration “Lets not forget what brought us here in the first place, the mass injustice…from corps. ..etc” unfortunately that is not discussed at the G.A’s but banished to Groups and if “mass injustice” and our declaration banished to groups so should be Bikes and Art.

  12. @CynPrice

    @Katherine Flowers The first 35 of 35 working groups will get the cards and 1st come 1st serve. I suggested Each of the 35 groups decide who is the most active in OWS and needs it, gets the card, but that didnt happen. I guess that was what Democracy looked like, it appeared that way, so I am only frustrated that Transparency in our financial system is the cause of $$ for MetroCards not available for more. And the MetroCard system has been abused. Any ideas on how to fix Transparency so money is available for more metrocards, and too fix the MetroCard system, please bring to the G.A., this is very important!

  13. @CynPrice

    @Frances. What would you like to see? We dont have the $$, dont blame the messengers, blame the system. All im getting from you is your not happy, but no SOLUTIONS on the $$ for this. The financial and metrocard system has been…cant think of the word…someting not as strong as abused, but all I can think of right now. So there are no funds left. Will you please come up with a fair system for financial transparency which will bring more money for metrocards? . Where were you the last 3 g.a.’s when “running out of funds” “transparency” and “metrocards” were discussed? Any SOLUTIONS we apparently couldnt think of would be appreciated, it was sad and difficult and nobody got all they wanted, but if you could fix that, VOICE YOUR SOLUTION.

  14. @CynPrice

    @Frances I noticed on NYCGA.net it says “needs of the Occupiers” is metrocards and a p.o. box they could be sent to. Who is picking these cards up? Who has po box keys? Maybe we should promote this, if we can find out who is getting them, for all we know, we are getting 10 a week or 0?. Please have them come to the G.A. and help us fix this. thank you.