[Osmf-talk] Microgrants conflict of interest: an apology

Mikel Maron mikel.maron at gmail.com
Tue Feb 2 15:17:01 UTC 2021


It’s wasn’t secret because it was openly discussed in our board meeting in September.
I don’t think incidents like this cause damage, at least permanent, when we examine and it allows us to improve. In this circumstance it may no difference to outcome. Again apologies for the oversight.
I personally don’t agree that CoI with board members is an issue, as long as that board member recuses themselves (as we should have done). Our CoI policy handles situations like this adequately.


Mikel

On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 9:44 AM, Simon Poole <simon at poole.ch> wrote:

Well better late than never, but naturally the damage has already been 
done given that it wasn't exactly secret that grants had gone to groups 
with close ties to the board.

The amazing thing though, is not that there are people seeking grants 
which would cause CoIs with board members, but that such requests were, 
and continue to be, permitted applications. They should have never been, 
I will share the blame in not noticing that appropriate rules were 
missing way back, allowed in the first place.

Simon

Am 02.02.2021 um 13:29 schrieb Mikel Maron:
> Hi,
>
> (This email was intended to go out in October, but slipped through the cracks).
>
> The selections presented by the Microgrants Committee to the Board was unanimously approved in bulk by the Board in our June 2020 meeting. That was a mistake. By voting in bulk, we overlooked conflicts of interest covered by our policy [1].
>
> Our former Board member Joost is on the board of OSM Belgium which was awarded the Belgium Road Completion microgrant [2]. He had made clear that he was close to the project, suggested by his compatriot Jonathan Beliën. Joost had worked on the first concept back in 2016, and remained interested in the project. He refrained from participating in discussions on the topic. At the time of voting, he didn’t realize there was a possible conflict of interest.
>
> Mikel and his wife Erica are both cofounders and on the board of the Map Kibera Trust, which was awarded the Water and Sanitation mapping in Nairobi’s informal settlements microgrant [3]. Mikel did not work on, nor was tracking, this proposal. When voting, it was his oversight to not declare and abstain.
>
> Had Joost and Mikel abstained from the vote, the outcome would not have changed.
>
> Joost and Mikel individually, and as resolved at the September 2020 Board Meeting [4] the board as a whole, want to apologize for this mistake.
>
> To make sure this doesn’t happen again, in the likely event of a future Microgrants run:
>
> * We will no longer vote in bulk if there are projects with possible CoI.
> * We are going to ask applicants to explicitly state any relationships they may have with members of the Microgrant Committee and the Board, reducing work on the already busy Micrgrants Committee and OSMF Board.
>
> - Mikel & Joost & the OSMF Board
>
> [1] https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Conflict_of_Interest_Policy
> [2] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Microgrants/Microgrants_2020/Proposal/Road_Completion_project
> [3] https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Microgrants/Microgrants_2020/Proposal/Water_and_Sanitation_mapping_in_Nairobi%27s_informal_settlements
> [4] https://wiki.osmfoundation.org/wiki/Board/Minutes/2020-09#Conflicts_of_Interest_disclosure
>
> * Mikel Maron * +14152835207 @mikel s:mikelmaron
>
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