Memos to Members/6 September 2005

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This website is not affiliated with SAGE or the USENIX Association. The use of the term "SAGE" below is historical, and refers either to the SAGE subgroup of USENIX, or to a precursor of the organization now called LOPSA.

Date:    Tue, 06 Sep 2005 17:34:07 EDT
To:      sage-members@sage.org
From:    The SAGE Board <palmer+sage@azuen.net>
Subject: [SAGE] SAGE Memo to Members, 9/6/2005

---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ----------------
 
                SAGE  - The People Who Make IT Work
 
                     SEPTEMBER MEMO TO MEMBERS
 
---------------- ---------------- ---------------- ----------------
 
 Please Email board@sage-members.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
board@sage-members.org. 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 board@sage-members.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.