Finance meeting minutes: 11/25/11 5:35 PM

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Finance 11/25/11 5:50pm

In Attendance:

Facilitators: Danielle + Bobby
Stack: Alexandra
Minutes: Shawn

D: We’re going to go forward with a pseudo-facilitated process, with a stack for questions:

We just want to remind everyone that we’re all in this together!

Transparency works both ways:
– Receipts are coming in and need to be very clear and what they are and what they are for.

Announcement: Tuesday-Saturday 1:00-5:00pm at 50 Broadway, 12th Floor
– Note that we often run out of cash by the end of the day, so come early!

Q [James]: I represent OWS Housing, been there every night since the raid.  We’ve got a good system, about 100 people on our list, but we need help from Finance!  We need help from Finance!
A [Danielle]: We don’t actually have the authority to decide how money is allocated and disbursed.  Go through your working group, and you can be reimbursed for expenditures up to $100 per day.

Bobby: PoI- Housing is meeting over there, they’re talking about renting out a bus to transport people to the churches in lieu of Metrocards.

Someone asks: “Why don’t we just buy a bus?”

Danielle: A couple liability issues with these things, note that we can’t buy a bus because of insurance issues with drivers, accident liability…We are also limited as far as Metrocards, can only buy individual rides because of tax purposes.

Q [Stacey] : What’s the process for jointing the Finance WG?
A [Bobby] : The first step would be to start working in our office at the front desk, that way you can be there and see how we operate on a daily basis.

Bobby: We’ve been working with a woman named Joanne who is a CPA, to crunch all our receipts and act as our accountant and get our organization in order.

The more people we have going through our stuff the cleaner it will be, and we’ll be able to publish data online in a clear understandable way.

Q [Cornelius] : Is OWS technically classified?
A : Right now, we are an unincorporated association.
People in DC told about the “Alliance for Global Justice” – they became our fiscal sponsor.  We have non-profit status 501c3 through them – these details are all on our website.
We’ve been talking to AGJ about maybe getting our own status as a charitable organization…

Q [Cornelius] : What’s the difference between for-profit and non-profit?
A : Non-Profit organizations pay 2% (negligible) tax rate, you are required to reinvest all profit back into the organization.  Goal of a for-profit business is to make money, goal of a non-profit is to fulfill its mission.

Q [Cornelius] : So, I’m in the process of forming a Working Group about putting people in touch with services that are available to them re: housing, volunteer, community service…
A [Bobby] : You should talk to Alex – he’s working on Volunteer Services…

Q [Cornelius] : I’m curious on the process of forming a Working Group…
A [Bobby] : The GA’s process originally was to announce Working Group at GA, give your information to Info, need at least 5 people, make sure that it’s up on the website.
[Danielle] : As far as Finance is concerned, if you’re on the website, then you exist.  But ever since the raid, things have gotten complicated. At the very least, Info & Internet has to be aware of you.

Q [Cornelius] : What kinds of things can be reimbursed once I become a Working Group?
A: An expenditure can be reimbursed up to $100 per day.  This is not a per diem.  All expenses must be well documented and related to working group operations.  No personal expenses. If you think something might be questionable, then come talk to Finance and ask us before you spend the money.

Q [Elaine] : Questions about bail…
A : Finance passed a proposal on Monday to raise the limit on bail.  There was a person who had $25,000 bail, but it was paid by a bail bondsperson by an independent donor.

Q [Alexandra] : Katie from Tech approached us and asked what information would be helpful to Finance to be more transparent…

Q [Stacey] : Who from a Working Group can bring receipts to Finance?
A : We’d really really prefer that a Working Group have a point person or two from each working group, so that we can build trust, familiarity, a relationship.

Q [Stacey]: Is there a point person from the Occupiers?
A: We’ve never had someone from Occupiers come to us…
Stacey:  I’m thinking about really setting up regular meeting for the Occupiers…Can we get food reimbursed?
A: No, you can’t get personal expenses reimbursed.  But Occupiers hasn’t been getting expenses reimbursed, so if they get some regular meetings going, that’d be great!

Clark: Hi! So most of you know me, I drive the WikiLeaks truck.  Got a lot of receipts…How do I get reimbursed?
A: You can either go through a Working Group, or make a GA/SC proposal.

Kevin: So I’d like to talk about Transparency!  It means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Would like to start a conversation.

Elaine:  Can we apply for grants?
A: That’s something that we should talk to the Alliance for Global Justice about.  Right now we’re an unincorporated association, we would have to become a non-profit.

Q : So I have questions about the $100 per day for working groups…
A : Don’t think of it as $100 per day, because it’s not petty cash.  You can get daily regular expenses reimbursed up to $100 – and we prefer to run the system as primarily reimbursements and not petty cash – because we have had problems with people walking off with cash.  But we know that this isn’t always possible, so can work with you on this.
Points of Information: Incorporating a non-profit organization takes at least 9 months, requires a lot of paperwork, you need 3 members of your board who are not family members…

Danielle : Thank you guys for being so great with your questions! Great meeting!

6:33pm – Meeting Closed

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