Accounting (Finance) meeting minutes: 12/09/11 5:30 PM

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Accounting (formerly known as Finance) Meeting 12/09/11 5:30pm

[Not direct quotes, approximate transcriptions, minutes taken by Chepe]

- Meeting began with six participants very informally with a basic Q&A about Accounting Working Group. The main gist of it was that Accounting has no decision making role whatsoever, along with some editorializing about how, if the Spokes Council and General Assembly hardly function, there isn’t much decision making at all at any step in the process. Twenty more people converged on the meeting and it became more formal. That is where minutes began to be taken.

- Process and agenda discussion. Haywood began as facilitation, Chepe on minutes, Trish on stack with the addendum that she would get to speak first on agenda points.

- Introductions were done, slowly and with much interruption. Two of the 24 people are active Accounting participants, Haywood and Gaylen.

- Haywood took a temperature check on the use of direct responses in the meeting. Everyone wiggled fingers down except Nan and Razor. It was decided there would be no direct responses (not that that was gonna matter). When do we want to end? 6:45pm agreed to. Time at start after intros: 6:10pm.

- Agenda items:
1. How does Accounting process requests? – ___
2. What is the current laborforce/ active participation level in Accounting and what would be optimal? – Chepe
3. Transparency. Where are finances held and in whose name? – __
4. What are the entities that are used to acquire funds? – Trish
5. Amalgamated Bank, Trish reports that it was bought by two white males, oh c’mon, you know what she’s talking – Trish
6. Efficiency – Yuri
7. Nan’s working group is having trouble acquiring their $100/day allotment – Nan

1. How does Accounting Process Requests?

Haywood and Gaylen answer – Working Groups get $100 per day for Working Group expenses. Currently there are 2 people at the desk in the 50 Broadway office that a Working Group’s fiscal point person must come to. They are at the desk from 1pm to 5pm Tuesday through Saturday.

Haywood – When we were in Zuccotti, this was done through forms, but now Accounting has no decision making role whatsoever.
- The only bar to expenditures and requests is the 501c3 status of Alliance for Global Justice, the fiscal sponsor for Occupy Wall Street, which bars funds being used for: promotion of candidates in elections; and violent overthrow of the government. Non-violent overthrow of the government allowed. Third bar is that, because of AGJ’s nonprofit status, Occupy Wall Street can’t take on any liabilities, like owning an office space.

- Someone brought up their view that Accounting is too white. (Gaylen or Haywood then broke down the racial demographics of the current active participants in Accounting, while some meeting participants shook their heads in disbelief at the turn of this agenda topic).

- Why was Darrell fired? Darrell was not fired, but ‘dumped.’ Haywood says he wasn’t there, that he only came in second week and therefore doesn’t know.

- Darrell- Can non-profits rent space? Haywood said that a nonprofit can but we are not a nonprofit and can’t because it creates liabilities for our fiscal sponsor.

- Trish- asks if anyone is receiving salaries? Gaylen and Haywood deny that anyone is receiving any salaries at all. Trish, Nan and some others remain suspicious.

- Razor- Why do we have a fiscal sponsor rather than being a nonprofit ourselves? We are an exclusive elitist organization, and that’s not what Razor wants to be a part of.

Haywood- Our lawyers said we shouldn’t be a nonprofit because we are engaging in campaigns of civil disobedience.

Razor demands names of who decided AGJ to be our fiscal sponsor. Haywood wasn’t there when this was decided, came in second week, but Darrell might know. Darrell offers his email, prince.darrell@gmail.com, and then names names: Wily (sp?) the lawyer, Victoria. Says he also spoke with the Tide Foundation and others as possible fiscal sponsors.

Chaos erupts multiple times. Minutes finds it impossible to type what people are speaking over each other. Haywood abdicates facilitation to ___ (who specifically asked that her name be redacted)

Mike- We need housing. Haywood responds that there is a separate working group for that.

Gabriel- Who is Alliance for Global Justice’s official accountant? How are they elected? Can we hold them accountable?

Haywood- Our pro bono accountant was Joanne Fleming, but she got burned out and we are now looking into some accounting firms.

More Chaos. Facilitation has Minutes read the agenda. Slowly meeting moves back to the agenda.

2. Gaylen- There are about 8-10 active accounting participants, and he’d suggest they could use ten more optimally, which could also perhaps increase the hours that their desk at 50 Broadway is open. Chepe volunteers to get trained.

People return to the topic of who are pro bono accountants have been. Joanne Fleming is again mentioned as burned out. What about Susan? She was burned out too. (Unclear part of the conversation).

Trish- There is a new group for all of these problems. We’re going to change that. Oh, c’mon, you know what I’m talking about. Email us at nycga.council@gmail.com, we’re also on twitter. NYCGA Council.

Several people begin asking “Who is the Head of Finance?” Haywood and Gaylen reject the idea that there is a head outright. Trish, Nan and others say someone told the press that they were the Head of Finance. Haywood and Gaylen say who? Eventually, someone says “Peter”. Haywood and Gaylen request evidence. If you are going to make an allegation, produce the article.

3. Transparency

Ashley- Angry that some people are deciding to exclude other people like it’s a popularity contest and that people get singled out. At first seems to be talking about her failed Working Group at the Spokescouncil, Women Occupying Nations which was defeated at fifth spokescouncil, but then possibly talking about Darrell. Unclear. Are there restrictions in the Accounting Working Group?

Mike- I need acknowledgement. Who designated the accountant? Gaylen responds that the Finance Working Group early on made decisions about the accountant internally.

Darrell- I have developed a template for instant transparency for the Accounting Working Group. He will email it to accounting@nycga.net

Nan- There is a lot of favoritism. She is angry at many working groups that apply favoritism, including Kitchen and Comfort. She wants a space to be able to call people out.

Trish- What is our dollar amount? Gaylen responds about $450,000. Trish demands to know what happened to the $350,00 that ‘fell through the cracks’. Gaylen expresses confusion.

4. How many entities receive money for us?

Haywood enumerates the two accounts, one with Amalgamated Bank and a much smaller account with the Lower East Side Credit Union. AGJ deposits donations into Amalgamated. How much does AGJ get? AGJ gets 7% of donations paid to them.

Trish- Where else does money come in from?

Gaylen- All other money goes directly into the Amalgamated Bank account, e.g. from direct checks or cash handed to Accounting Working Group. There is a Paypal button that does to AGJ on the NYCGA.net website. Trish demands to know how many buttons are on how many websites. Gaylen says that’s all.

Trish- Amalgamated was bought by two white males. Haywood- I used to work for SEIU, and Amalgamated is owned by SEIU (ed. actually by Workers United, within SEIU).

Meeting was called to end at 6:45pm. Ended a little later.

6 Responses to “Accounting (Finance) meeting minutes: 12/09/11 5:30 PM”

  1. odd ah

    Accountability and transparency-
    *Housing Proposal : $2,900 to pay two churches (Park Slope and on 86th Street)
    for housing occupiers thru the 10th.
    RESULT: MODIFIED CONSENSUS- NYCGA 12/3/2011 (Summary)
    modified by friendly amendment to grant
    $5,800 for 2 weeks for both churches
    Invoices submitted:
    Park slope=$490 per week
    Spsa= ($300perday?) 2,100 per week
    Total= 2,590 per week x2= 5,180
    Housing was given $5,800 for two weeks so this means
    $620.00 remains from the housing proposal- is this correct?
    Its possible I have misread, so I suggest y’all review the invoices.

  2. FogOfWar

    Thank you for posting minutes. I know I’ve posted a lot on transparency on nycga.net and unfortunately Friday is usually a really bad time for me to make a meeting, otherwise I would come in person (maybe keep stack or otherwise try to keep the chaos to a minimum).

    @Haywood: see my thread on Amalgamated bank: they just sold 40% of the bank to 2 funds recently (info pulled directly from their website), so your information may be dated. Don’t know if it matters, but thought people should know the facts…

    FoW

    • Monica McLaughlin

      I do not understand why OWS moved their funds from a credit union into a big bank. No one seems to be able to provide a valid reason to do so. I assume this was a Victoria Sobel / Pete Dutro / Bre Lembitz decision. Why won’t they tell us what the basis of that decsion was?

  3. Monica McLaughlin

    Why is there no discussion of the role played by Victoria Sobel / Pete Dutro / Bre Lembitz?

  4. Sally Marks

    Good question Monica and it is one that has been asked for a month now and met with silence. Why is such a simple question so hard to be answered. The only comments I have seen are ‘throwbacks’ that poorly attempt to obfuscate the question.

    I’d like to add also what is the role of Wylie Stecklow? He is really in charge of the bank accounts as I understand it, He is the one that opened them originally for his law firms escrow accounts.

    What information has had to be given to AGJ? Reading thier web site, they claim to carry a lot of exposure.

    Lastly, according to Haywoods comment in the above minutes, he states:
    “Our lawyers said we shouldn’t be a nonprofit because we are engaging in campaigns of civil disobedience.”
    If OWS is not a nonprofit (is it or isn’t it???), that opens up a big question that needs to be addressed.

    Please, these are simple questions. They deserve simple answers. “” – “” Certainly not, “”

  5. Sally Marks

    Hmmm, my post is not the same as whn I made it. Funny….

    The last line was something like:
    Please, these are simple questions. They deserve simple answers. “Is it raining?” – “Yes/No” Certainly not, “You have no right to ask” or “Who do you think you are”