Accounting & Transparency Meeting Minutes
Meeting held at 60 Wall Street on 1/14/2012 from 5 pm – 8 pm
(12) People in Attendance:
–Sally Marks (present in mind, not physically)ACTIVITY:
–Monica gave background regarding the A&T WG to some new comers
–Amy wants to focus on solutions.
–Amy mentioned some books that she was reading regarding set ups of leaderless organizations including one called “The Starfish & the Spider: Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations” with a starfish having a decentralized structure and the spider being a hierarchical structure. Amy said that by nature the WGs of OWS are a starfish. If there are certain specific people in charge of OWS, we would be a spider. (Not sure I got this right).
–Henry said that an audit of OWS finances is needed and that finance should be restructured if it is found that expenditures do not follow the correct chain of command (procedures).
–Monica does not believe that financial transparency is going to happen and that this WG has no power to make anything happen. Monica believes that the Finance (Accounting) WG does not have authority to provide transparency and that this would have to come from higher up, something not likely to happen until the higher ups get legal control after which time they will be able to step forward and start laying down the law. Until then, they have no authority to act.
–Amy and Donald believe that they can bring about accountability & transparency. Amy knows people in the Finance (Accounting WG) and believes that a lot can be accomplished through communications with them. Donald has lots of exerience in this field. (Not sure I got this right either. Donald?)
–Donald doesn’t want to finger point. Monica said that transparency is not about finger pointing. It is about being realistic–being open so that everyone can view information and anyone can see if something is amiss. For example, if WGs had their accounts posted on their own forums, then any member of that WG could see the expenditures and something off could be spotted.
–Someone said that WGs should use debit cards. This way they would automatically have receipts for expenditures.
–Regarding the trademark: Monica said that 3 groups are vying for it, but it would most likely be awarded to Friends of Liberty Park GA aka Pete Dutro and Victoria Sobel because they were more affiliated with OWS than the other contenders. Getting trademark rights is a good thing, the only concern is that the same people with legal title to trademark are the same with legal access to the OWS — it is a concentration of power in the hands of a few which may or may not lead to issues for OWS down the road. Someone asked questions about being able to vote and replace those in charge. Monica said, she didn’t know how that worked for sure but imagined that once trademark was given to Friends of Liberty Park GA, that only those in that group would be in a position to remove any individual.
Darrell and Andre arrived at 7 pm. (which was the former meeting time, which was changed because it conflicted with the GA meeting time). Darrell was able to shed light on a few things.
–that the reason the money was transferred from a credit union to Amalgamated was because of cash-on-hand problems that existed while the Park was occupied and cash donations were pouring in. The credit union closed early leaving the occupiers stuck with large amounts of cash overnight which was not a safe situation.
–the second reason to go with Amalgamated had to do with debit cards (sub accounts) for WGs, something Amalgamated was able to provide to OWS — which would allow each WG to have their own debit card which could be topped off as needed. Apparently these are not in use today, because those who make financial decisions choose not to use debit cards (which provide automatice receipts) instead of the cash system.
[Now why would that be? It would eliminate the need to man a cash desk and resolve the receipt problem.]
–One of the most time-consuming tasks those in Finance (Accounting) performed ended when the Park was no longer occupied — the counting of the cash donations would take hours each day.
–While working in Finance (Accounting) WG, Darrell created an online Google cash donation spreadsheet. This was wiped clean by members of Finance after Darrell left.
–Darrell was asked to leave Finance by Pete Dutro and Victoria Sobel’s attorney Wylie Stecklow who sent him an email accusing him of taking donations under the table from Russell Simons (a baseless claim).
–Darrell brought some paperwork with him including a bank statement from Amalgamated for the month of December. The name on the bank account is “Friends of Liberty Park” — the same organization that is applying for trademark.
–[Monica: I don’t remember who the checks (about 12) were written out to except one for one for $11,196.06 to Branae Lembitz dated 11/18/11. The memo line stated that it was for reimbursement for tents.]
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