[Osmf-talk] Paid Staff

Mikel Maron mikel_maron at yahoo.com
Sat Aug 25 20:16:18 UTC 2012


Ultimately we agree about the approach to paid staff at this point in time.
However I entirely disagree with your characterization of the Board, and the OSMF. This is about decision making and how it's done in the OSMF. It's a separate issue, and so far, only framed by you in ideology. The notion of decision making you put forward is very open to confusion and not practical. And in order to ground this conversation, I challenge you to get specific on when decisions (which are not fairly characterized at orders) were not followed through, and when that was actually a good thing. 


* Mikel Maron * +14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron

> From: Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org>
>To: "osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org" <osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org> 
>Sent: Saturday, August 25, 2012 2:51 PM
>Subject: [Osmf-talk] Paid Staff
>   I think I should maybe clarify my own position regarding paid staff at OSMF and give others - candidates or not - the opinion to voice theirs.
>1. The effects of paid staff (executive or not)
>1a. Board is currently relatively toothless in a do-ocracy like ours; some board members have learned this the hard way when they found that just because board decides something that doesn't mean it is actually done, or done in the way board would have liked it done. Paid staff would report to the board and therefore massively increase board's power vis-a-vis the project as a whole. This can be good and it can be bad. I believe that in some cases in the past years, the fact that our coders and admins were *not* employees and therefore able to reject board "orders" has actually helped. If we're talking about admin or coding staff then good integration with the community will certainly be a big point.
>1b. The foremost quality of paid staff is that it is paid. You can of course pay freelancers for a project but if you think long-term you will want to employ people and given them a perspective and a promise. This requires money of a different kind than we have now; not the occasional donation, but longer-term commitments from donors that allow us to plan ahead. This, in turn, means we need to raise funds differently, and quite possibly also enter closer relations with certain donors, which may come with some strings attached that we will have to weigh carefully. Having staff will very likely make us dependent on sponsorship, whereas the small budget we have today could easily be financed through membership fees and the occasional donation drive. We might even have to hire staff tasked with raising funds.
>1c. As a follow-on of 1b, the organisation would suddenly have a much larger turnover, and the few individuals on the board would essentially control who gets all the money. This would requires top-notch accountability on the part of the board so that any potential allegations of cronyism are nipped in the bud. Board work would for the first time directly influence the livelihood of people, and would be rightly subject to more scrutiny than it is now.
>2. How to decide whether we should have paid staff
>2a. decide what we would like to do (or to be done);
>2b. determine whether, or how, it can be done by volunteers;
>2c. determine the cost and/or potential adverse effect of having it done by paid staff;
>2d. compare with money and/or capacity to deal with adverse effect available
>2e. decide what to buy ;)
>I think it is acceptable to hire paid staff if one is clear about the scope, and one has carefully weighted the reasons for and against. For me, the reasons "against" which I have sketched in 1. weigh heavily and would have to be offset by a real, demonstrable gain for the whole project.
>The one thing that I think is definitely wrong is to do things the other way round: "Let's hire an Executive Director and see where we go from there."
>-- Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"
>osmf-talk mailing list
>osmf-talk at openstreetmap.org
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