Memos to Members/6 September 2005
Date: Tue, 06 Sep 2005 17:34:07 EDT To: firstname.lastname@example.org From: The SAGE Board <email@example.com> Subject: [SAGE] SAGE Memo to Members, 9/6/2005 ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- SAGE - The People Who Make IT Work SEPTEMBER MEMO TO MEMBERS ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- Please Email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or ideas. We always want to hear from our membership. ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- In this memo: 1. SAGE hires Association Headquarters 2. Sam Albrecht named Executive Director 3. SAGE events at LISA 4. Sponsorships sought 5. State of USENIX transition ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ---------------- * SAGE hires Association Headquarters In the first week of September, SAGE signed a contract with Association Headquarters (AH) to provide association management services. These services include an Executive Director, financial management, membership management, creative services, and Board and volunteer training. Effectively, AH is now SAGE's office. Association Headquarters has been specializing in providing these services to not-for-profit corporations since 1978, and has won numerous awards in this area. The SAGE Interim Board and the current Board are especially pleased to have found a management company that is committed to a true partnership. Our July board meeting was held at AH's headquarters in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. It became even clearer to us then that AH is much more than an "outsourced back office". The staff had energy, ideas, and experience in nearly all the areas important to SAGE. As SAGE will be able to take advantage of AH's decades of management experience, AH will learn from SAGE's online and high-tech experience to enhance their services to all their client partners, thus making it a symbiotic relationship. We will be releasing an independent press release soon going into more detail about AH, but for now check them out at http://www.associationheadquarters.com/ * Sam Albrecht named Executive Director SAGE is please to announce that Sam Albrecht has been named Executive Director. Sam brings extensive experience in management of non-profit enterprises. He is also an actual rocket scientist; he was involved in the Titan program. Sam's technical depth combined with his management experience makes him a natural Executive Director for SAGE. Sam will be attending LISA 2005, so feel free to talk to him then about his experience, and his part in the future of SAGE. Sam can be reached at salbrecht at sage-members.org. For more about Sam, see: http://www.associationheadquarters.com/AboutAH/albrecht.htm * SAGE events at LISA Our plans for LISA continue to take shape. In addition to the SAGE Member Meeting, there will be additional BOFs and organized opportunities to talk to the Board. Current ideas include workshops for SAGE volunteer training, BOFs about mentoring & SAGE web services, and more. You can also take this opportunity to discuss how you can volunteer to make things happen for SAGE as we start implementing our new services and activities. If you have ideas for specific SAGE activities or discussions that you'd like to see at LISA, please send them to the SAGE Board at email@example.com. We want to hear from you, and we'll work with the conference organizers to make it happen. Of course, you needn't wait until LISA to talk to the Board about the direction of SAGE; words now could influence what we present then. Of course, SAGE also would like to repeat its encouragement that everyone attend LISA if you can, both for itself and for the critical role this year's conference will play to the future of SAGE. For more on LISA, check out the website at http://www.usenix.org/events/lisa05/ * Sponsorships sought As a new stand alone corporation, SAGE needs new sponsors, now more than ever. Sponsors will provide a valuable jump-start to SAGE services and programs. SAGE is defining levels of sponsorship to ensure that there is an opportunity for every individual and every organization to sponsor SAGE, and receive useful benefits. For individuals and companies, we offer benefits that allow you to showcase your support for system administrators: the people who purchase and manage the products you provide. SAGE is still nascent, and so our benefits of sponsorship have not yet come into focus. As a nascent organization, we have the flexibility to tailor our sponsorship program to our founding sponsors. Sponsors can make a lasting and significant contribution to the future of an organization for and by system administrators by contributing now. If you or your organization have a sponsorship idea, or for details on sponsorship levels, please contact the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org. * Usenix Agreement status For the last few years, the SAGE STG within USENIX has been trying to build an organization whose primary goal was the advancement of system administration as a profession. Despite a lot of work by many people, and significant amounts of money, the results were unsatisfying to nearly everyone involved. Some part of this failure was thought to be the difficulty of two groups with divergent goals and interests trying to co-exist. Accordingly, in June 2004, the USENIX board passed a motion detailing a plan where SAGE would incorporate as a separate nonprofit (501(c)3) organization. In its essence, there were three phases of activities, and upon successful completion of each phase, USENIX would make resources available to SAGE (like some money, hardware such as webservers, and eventually, trademarks such as SAGE). In November 2004, Phase 1 -- setting up the new corporation -- was declared done. Roughly speaking, according to the original USENIX motion, Phase 2 was entirely transfer of assets from USENIX to SAGE, and Phase 3 was a viability evaluation phase to see how SAGE made use of those assets. Unfortunately, the USENIX counsel opined that SAGE might not qualify for 501(c)3 status, because of SAGE's focus on membership services. Therefore, the transfer of services was to be structured as an outsourcing agreement, until the IRS made its determination about the new SAGE. SAGE was given the task of generating this agreement. Strangely, timelines were not altered despite the fact no resources could flow from USENIX to SAGE before this agreement was signed. The SAGE Interim Board (Cheswick, Halprin, Harris, Parter) continued doing their work creating the new organization, part of which was running the first elections for the SAGE board in late June 2005. The first board meeting was held on July 29-31 at the offices of Association Headquarters, which SAGE has contracted with to provide management, office functions, and other support. One of the activities assigned at this meeting was to finish up the outsourcing agreement. An earlier draft had been unsatisfactory, so we restructured it as a "SAGE will provide the following x services to USENIX-SAGE members, and in return, USENIX will pay SAGE y resources (money, hardware, etc)". When we submitted this draft to the USENIX board, we found that things had gone badly awry. Due to misunderstandings about dates, compounded by a lack of oversight by USENIX's SAGE Transition Committee, the SAGE Board believed that Phase 3, the test of viability lasting 6-12 months, had yet to start, as Phase 2 had not been completed. Apparently, most of the USENIX Board thought that phase 3 had already started on Nov 18, 2004 and was terminating in November 2005. The draft minutes of the USENIX board mentioned no firm deadline until this August meeting. In addition, some additional legal concerns appear to have affected the validity and meaning of some of the requirements. The current situation is that a negotiating team (of USENIX and SAGE representatives) is finalizing agreement on the content of a single comprehensive accord which will replace the prior USENIX Board motions and other proposals. After this is done, lawyers will turn it into a contract between USENIX and SAGE, which both Boards will then (hopefully) approve. While this delay is frustrating and to some extent hampers our efforts to jumpstart our shiny new organization, it will give us a firm foundation on which to build. Once this contract is complete, SAGE can finally directly manage services such as the website, mailing lists, domain et al. At that point, we'll be able to act on our plans and your comments, and you will start to see some results. As you can imagine, it's frustrating for a bunch of sysadmins to not even have a domain or a webserver. That sticks in the critical path of nearly everything we want to do. However, all the various problems in communication appear to have been sorted out, an agreement appears imminent, and hopefully that will be the last major hurdle before you start seeing results. * Minutes of Board meetings The minutes of SAGE Board of Directors meetings, once approved, can be viewed at http://www.sage-members.org/public-wiki/Minutes New minutes should appear on this page within 2 weeks of most meetings.