Minutes, Occupied Office [6 Jan 2012]

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INTRO’S
Gregg, Fix, Bianca, John & Han (WSAG) – Kelly (Accounting) – Stan
(Housing), Megan (Org) – Jeannie (Alt Currency) – Christine (Vol Serv)
- Karanja (PR) – Sumumba (Movement Bldg) – Ronnie (Outreach)

REPORT BACKS
WSAG:
- Gregg reported that Steve (the bldg. manager) said the bathrooms are
clean. He also stated that the office must have someone in the
building lobby from 6-9 (10).
- Moving of the desk and accounting’s verbal reinforcement.
- Printer update:
- Planning session:
- Communication and clarity of policies and procedures is
important
* Website www.theoccupiedofficenyc.org
* Guidelines will be posted by end of day 1/6/12
- Accountability process is being drafted
- Office decision-making structures

Volunteer Services changed name to OWS Works. Removed a member from
group

Han updated 52 Bdwy – SIS moved – archives, medics and library will
remain and are discussing plan for how to go forward. 52 & 50 Bdwy are
linked because they have the same building management. Encourages
clear communication to coordinate this process. Speak to Han if you
have questions but he will keep folks up to date.

Karanja asked for a clarification about 24 hr list. The policy is each
working group can have 2 people on the default 24hr list (they are
automatically on the list every night) and they must be the key
people. You can add up to 2-3 to this list and you should try to
spread them so that some stay downstairs to help keep the lobby area
orderly and assist folks not on the 24hr list coming to visit the
space (meeting or projects) get access.

Kelly asked that each working group review their financial point
people, share the info and keep it up to date.

AGENDA
Clarifying zero-tolerance policy (15 minutes)
Fix reviewed the posted ‘Collective Agreement’. Sumumba stressed that
we should protect each other and what we have here at the office.
Kelly said that she feels the office needs to break down what zero
tolerance for language and verbal abuse.  Based on past experience
there is a lack of clarity and she is concerned that without specifics
it will create problems in the future. Drew concurred and asked about
a process. Gregg said that even if we have a doc that says “you can’t
do this, you can’t do that” there will still always be grey areas as
we found in the situation between Chris and Sage. He feels that
breaking it down is a process that will not help, will be too
complicated and take too long. The zero tolerance is a way of framing
an awareness of the issues and concerns with behavior in the space and
that in the future different situation will merit different responses.
Ronnie noted that once you start using discretion then it is no longer
a zero tolerance policy. The idea of clarity and how do you interpret
people’s behavior is not clear and there is a distinction between zero
tolerance and no tolerance. Han agreed that the semantics are
important and we need to be clear. Sumumba thinks we should guard
against the agitators and encouraged folks to consider what they
consider good neighbor policy. Stan stressed the importance of process
and getting a buy in from the group. ‘No tolerance for language’ but
‘zero tolerance for physical violence’. WSAG will redraft and
incorporate some of the ideas discussed at this meeting into a new
document.

Office Decision-making structure (5 minutes)
There has been ambiguity about whether WSAG is a management or coop.
What came out of the meeting was that we are neither. At present there
is not sufficient capacity within the working groups to act a coop,
therefore WSAG own the management of the space. This group that meets
weekly is solely and advisory group and while WSAG will strive to take
the input from this group and incorporate it into the final decision
but that final decision is theirs. Members of WSAG will attend the
session at the Brecht Forum on Sunday. Gregg clarified that if we were
a co-op then WSAG would be an elected board. Cooperative does not mean
that all parties share equally in decisions and WSAG is moving toward
this type of model. Working groups pay in by staffing desk, paying
some printing/supply costs but they have their own work to do so they
are not able/do not want to buy in at present.

Christine clarified that this space is not working for accounting
because the accounting working group is different. Accounting wants to
meet separately and discuss another space. They are not satisfied with
the manner in which the situation with Sage and Chris was handled.

Weekly Meetings – 2 hours
The office will have only one office meeting per week – Fridays at
11:00.

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