Minutes from Open Meeting of Accountability and Transparency WG 02-26-12 at Tompkins Square Park.

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In attendance:

  1. Steve B
  2. Reginah
  3. Monica McLaughlin
  4. Dallas Carter
  5. Chithra K
  6. Trish

Mission Statement of A&T and other WGs:

There was a general discussion regarding rewording of the mission statement.

  • Monica:  Suggests that our mission statement be short and sweet to make buy in  and consensus easier to achieve
  • Chithra -  we don’t have to physically appear at GA if we are providing  extensive and detailed information online
  • Trish has joined the meeting and wants to add agenda item re providing evidence of meeting InfoHub  reqs without compromising anonymity
  • Trish:  Trish states that she rejoined ATWG after J20 InfoHub rule kicked in.  We can position ourselves to move forward quickly with our mission now.  If someone has an issue with WG meeting InfoHub reqs, it is under ATWG  mission to verify that requirements have or have not been met; Also publicizing funding sources and verify expenditures.
  • Monica:  Whether or not WG requirements for InfoHub are met or not is not a transparency issue.  The transparency would be whether or not the evidence of meeting the guidelines was posted.  We are not enforcers.
  • Monica: PoI – our current statement says “ensures accountability and transparency”; it does not say “monitors”
  • Trish- prefers the term monitor  No one agrees, because the term “monitor” sounds too much like policing.
  • Chithra – for every 100 ppl, 99 opinions. This is the challenge. When ppl have their eyes on the prize transparency become more possible.  Inclusiveness and transparency leads to fairness
  • Chithra: as far as fine tuning mission statement says we should use words like invite and assist, avoid words like monitor or control because those types of words create a safer mental space in which to view the. concept of  accountability and transparency in terms of fairness rather than  policing and regulating.  Monica agrees.
  • Better transparency empowers us to work more effectively
  • Dallas – we should crowdsource definition of accountability and transparency via the wiki before taking anything to GA
  • Chithra – It is difficult for A&T to ensure transparency
  • Steve – Suggests using the word ‘Promote’.  The group likes the term ‘promote’
  • Monica points out that some people within OWS are claiming to fill  roles that they do not actually fill in order to maintain control [Really?  I don't remember saying this.  I think I said that some of the mission statements of some WGs claim things that they do not actually do.  For example, if another WG claims it does the things this WG does, then why not vote to get rid of one of them.]

Miscellaneous:

  • Steve discussing tactics and reoccupation, specifically Kitchen and  park rules about bringing food containers inside the park

Finance/Accounting WG:

  • Steve telling the group about an experience that he had with Finance  WG re the park cleanup in October.  States that there was a dispute re reimbursement for cleaning  materials, mops, soap, etc.
  • Monica: if OWS ‘comes back’ (donations pick up) Finance/Accounting will try to  assert their influence again.
  • General discussion of speaking about  Spring and pickup in actions and visibility as related  to uptick in funding.
  • Monica and Steve discussing Finance WG positioning themselves as press  spokespersons and making unilateral decisions on funding requests when people have approached them directly.
  • Steve handed around copies of a letter he wrote regarding fundraising  and financial management as it pertains to the image of the movement

Alleged Theft of funds:

  • Trish:  Spoke about an incident at Spokes involving allegation of theft in which 300k was stolen via wire transfer.
  • Trish: Christine reportback to Spokes mentioned wire transfers and she  feels there is a question of misappropriation or malfeasance
  • media WG involved and the topic is being buried by Spokes
  • states that NYCGA WG has been given permission by Spokes to bottomline  investigation and followup of allegation since Spokes did not address it

NYCGA WG:  (At the end of the A&T meeting, the meeting morphed into an NYCGA WG meeting.)

  • Trish:  She states that NYCGA WG has 55-60 members
  • Trish: mission is to monitor and facilitate accountability within WGs and the GA
  • Trish – NYCGA WG does not ever badmouth other WGs as a matter of solidarity
  • Trish discussing InfoHub requirements and allegations that NYCGA WG  fakes minutes and attendance Chris Rieder and Justin Stone-Diaz in particular  bringing unsubstatiated allegations

Meeting adjourned at this point ~3:30 PM

 

4 Responses to “Minutes from Open Meeting of Accountability and Transparency WG 02-26-12 at Tompkins Square Park.”

  1. DirekConek (aka Dallas)

    So how about we do the conference call thing next time? Not opposed to people who can do so meeting in person and sharing a speaker\phone, but we can set something up allowing us to record and transcribe after the fact.

    Also: How do people feel about next Sunday 1-3 PM?

  2. Sally Marks

    Count me out. Not unless staying on topic and getting some focus can happen, it is just ‘yacking over a clothes line’. Sorry, but I cannot continue with this complete lack of progress.

    • DirekConek (aka Dallas)

      You could bring an agenda item… which might actually get addressed properly on a conference call. I accept total responsibility for thinking that the Etherpad thing would work properly.

      I absolutely concur that we need more concrete action plans and far less rumor mongering.

      As a popular hiphop song from my youth said:

      “lies to rumors, to rumors, to lies”

  3. reginahny

    I actually attended and spoke at this meeting, though the notes don’t reflect that. I offered to rough out a revised mission statement using the words “promote”, “invite” and “partner” and will do so asap — by Friday latest. Other than that, I have to be honest and say that Trish’s attempt to make A&T somehow part of her disaffection with the GA (not our mission) completely derailed the meeting and I didn’t have to tools to effectively say “not your meeting, not our goal”. That is a failing on my part, I have a very hard time with conflict. So the next meeting should be facilitated by someone who can take charge when needed, perhaps with time blocks for each agenda item? I’m fine with either in person or phone but like Sally, I’m pretty close to being disheartened about the WGs chances of effectiveness.