[Osmf-talk] Travel expenses for OSMF officials (to SOTM, mainly)

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Sat May 12 17:22:59 UTC 2012


    this year for the first time, SOTM will be held in a country (on a 
continent even!) where every single board member will have to undertake 
a long-distance flight to get there.

I guess that even minimal SOTM participation (flight & hotel) will cost 
about £1000 per person; if all seven board members chose to attend, that 
would be quite a lot of money for an organisation as small as ours.

I am in no way saying that board members should *not* be reimbursed, 
after all it's the OSMF AGM and it would be quite a failure for an 
organisation to have its own directors absent from a meeting for budget 

I am however interested in how OSMF deals with the issue (or, if no 
decisions have been made yet, I recommend making them ASAP). The OSMF 
wiki has a general page on expense claims 
which basically says that "essential travel" can be reimbursed if "by 
public transport" and "economy class", but that still leaves some 
questios open:

* Who will be entitled to have their travel cost reimbursed? All board 
members? Only selected board members? All board members plus selected 
individuals from working groups?

* Is there a limit on the amount reimbursed? From where I live, there's 
quite some difference in pricing (looking only at economy class, a 
direct Lufthansa flight is €1200 return, while an Aeroflot flight via 
Moscow is only €700 or so). Do we expect our board members to fly 
Aeroflot if it's cheaper? Do we reimburse them for the "cheapest direct 
flight"? What if they wait until the last minute and because of that pay 
double? Same for the hotel - what amount of luxury do we pay for? A taxi 
from Narita airport to Tokyo costs 120£ - is that within the budget or 
do we expect our board members to take the train?

* What if people who are entitled for a reimbursement choose to prolong 
their stay for holiday reasons, or bring a friend/spouse?

I am not asking these questions to cause trouble, but rather to avoid 
trouble; I have worked in an organisation where questions of travel 
expense reimbursement were quite often a source of friction and I think 
it is good to have a few answers.

Of course nobody expects OSMF to have a 100-page travel expense 
guidebook for the few occasions where people are actually reimbursed for 
something. But in this case we're talking about a total amount that 
might quite likely exceed 10% of total conference-related expenditure so 
it's not peanuts.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00'09" E008°23'33"

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