[Osmf-talk] Remarks and question regarding board meeting minutes and circulars

Mikel Maron mikel.maron at gmail.com
Mon Dec 17 19:58:04 UTC 2018

On topics like this, it's my wish that members could pose questions about things happening in the foundation, before jumping to conclusions. I'm just going to try that in response.
> This decision is for the benefit of corporate OSMF members and explicitly mentions corporate OSMF members as beneficiaries
What is the benefit of this arrangement?
While there is certainly a benefit to making it easier for sponsors to support more OSM events, the primary beneficiary will be local OSM communities to hold events, while not running the gauntlet of procurement processes.
> yet it seems all three board members who work for corporate OSMF members participated in the vote despite the obvious conflict of interest.
Was there discussion of Conflict of Interest on this topic?
Yes. None of the companies we work for (GeoFabrik, Telenav, and Mapbox) are looking to make use of this facility, so whether it was available or not would have no impact on us. Therefore CoI was not a factor.
> This decision was also revealed by the board to the advisory board  (through Mikel) on November 28 while it was only made public through  the minutes on December 6.
Why was the Advisory Board notified of the decision before the rest of the Foundation?
The decision was made by circular. We typically announce circular results publicly in our Board minutes. I shared back the results with the AB, so that companies making budgeting plans for 2019 could know as well. Not everyone tracks the Board meeting minutes so closely.
> Such a process is then the opposite of  transparency because it deprives the OSMF members and the OSM community  in general from the opportunity to provide input on and participate in  the decision making process and fulfill their supervising function (see above).
Did the community have any awareness or chance to comment on this decision?
The topic was announced in our November Board meeting https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Board/Minutes/2018-11-15#Aiding_sponsorship_of_regional_SotMs, though we did not get a chance to discuss. There was little discussion on the AB list, outside of brief remarks of support from local chapters and other companies, and one remark against from the FOSSGIS local chapter representative.
It didn't seem like the topic was particularly controversial, so we moved ahead on circular. What we didn't have at that point were details on the process, which led to the 3 votes against. Process is important, but no one was disagreeing with doing this on principle.
> My question here is if the board is going to change that in a way that  ensures timely transparency of the advisory board input before it goes into decisions of the board.
I like this question. I think it's a good idea that we 1) increase visibility of the Advisory Board and discussion that happens there 2) increase the role of the AB as a resource for decision making. I am especially thinking of Local Chapters here. Right now, honestly, the AB has very little role in anything substantial for OSM. In 2019, I'd like to spend more time thinking about governance in general, and systems that can better represent our community in decision making. I think Local Chapters have a lot to contribute here.
* Mikel Maron * +14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron 

    On Monday, December 17, 2018, 2:24:55 PM EST, Michael Reichert <osm-ml at michreichert.de> wrote:  

Am 17.12.18 um 15:42 schrieb Christoph Hormann:
> * 2018/Res14 Decide for OSMF to administer payments to regional SotMs
> This decision is for the benefit of corporate OSMF members and 
> explicitly mentions corporate OSMF members as beneficiaries - yet it 
> seems all three board members who work for corporate OSMF members 
> participated in the vote despite the obvious conflict of interest.
> This decision was also revealed by the board to the advisory board 
> (through Mikel) on November 28 while it was only made public through 
> the minutes on December 6.  This is quite disrespectful of the OSMF 
> members whose role by law is to superwise the work of the board and who 
> therefore should be the first to be informed about decisions - the need 
> for which is fittingly illustrated by the CoI problem mentioned before.

It is shocking to see how CoI issues are practically ignored by the board.

The rules how the foundation work are currently based on trust that
everyone does fair play. I hope that we don't have to change to another
assumption to base our rules on.

Best regards


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