Board meeting Minutes/9 Sep 2013

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24 Aug 2013
Board meeting Minutes Next:
23 Sep 2013

Minutes approved: 18 Nov 2013

  • NOTICE to those on the line: All present agree to a temporary recording of this call to be be deleted no later than when the minutes are approved. Please speak up if you disagree with this and we will discuss it after roll call.
Move your name to Present or Apologies prior to the meeting!
(Subject to verification) Dan Rich (chair), William Bilancio, Ski Kacoroski, Mike Julian, Martin Gehrke, Matt Disney, Matt Simmons, Evan Pettrey

John Boris,
8:01 PM Eastern Time
8:52 PM Eastern Time

Consent Agenda

  • Approval minutes of 24 Aug 2013 is tabled until next meeting 23 Sep 2013

Action Items

Standing Reports

  • Treasurer's report
    • F2F Expenses due September 20th
  • Membership report
    • Current: 831
    • Lapsed: 0 month to date, 78 quarter to date, 282 year to date

Dan will work with Mike and Matt Simmons on compiling membership data out of Civi.

  • Technical services report

This will be moved to later in the meeting.

  • Conference/events activities report

William is still looking for a Co-Chair to handle LOPSA events. LOPSA-East Co-Chairs in the next two weeks as is Cascadia. LISA is our next big event and the LISA page is up for data. William is waiting to hear about the Yerkes award.

T Shirts are ordered

  • Local Chapter Committee report

Both John and Evan have withdrew from the Locals committee by a request from Martin to reduce the number of Board members on the committee. Currently William, Martin and Matt Simmons are the only board members on the committee. Warner in Ohio and Scott in Ontario were asked to be on the committee. Warner accepted but Scott has not responded. Martin wants to split the focus of the committee to one supporting current chapters and getting new chapters. Ski suggested to ask Craig Cook from North Carolina chapter to be on the committee.

  • Development report (Meeting focus at first meeting of the month)

No development until the notes from the F2F are reviewed.

  • Communications (LOPSAgram, #lopsa-live, etc)

Ski commented on a good job Matt Simmons has done creating a Google web site where people can enter information and both Ski and Matt will get notified. Then either Matt or Ski would be able to see the info and send it to the social media outlets. Matt explained more on the form and a discussion on adding to Drupal to make the forms seamless. Ski mentioned this would bring us two forms, one for the LOPSAgram and one for Events.

  • Project Management report

Tabled until the F2F minutes can be reviewed

  • Liaison reports (LC, etc.)

This may be given to Ski.

    • Technical Services Report suggested
    • Mentorship Report (John)

As I have been in the Hospital I have missed the last two meetings. Thomas Leyar has resigned as the Chair of the Core Team. His expertise will be missed. The core team started using Github on Thomas's personal account. The core team uses Github for handling versioning of their Google scripts and also their documentation. I have been asked if the Board can pay for a GitHub account. I am not sure if we have a GitHub account or does the Tech Team use Github to handle versioning on their programs. I am not for spending money on this unless we find a sponsor for it. Now if the Tech Team is using something we should piggy back on that. If not maybe we could run our own versioning system. This is up for discussion. Also the core team is looking to change their meeting times. If they move the time past 2:30PM I am out of the meetings as I leave for Football practice at 2:50PM each day. I would like the meetings be moved to every two weeks. Hopefully I will be able to make Tuesday's meeting to discuss this with the team.

    • Leadership Committee

Role of the TSC and TSC Liaison, TSC Charter discussion (mjulian)

In an email the TSC Chair asking if the Board is becoming too involved with the day to day functions of the TSC. The email requested what was the plan of the Board going forward. The email further suggested that the Board review the Charter of the TSC to delineate the demarcation line between the Board and the TSC.

The problems mentioned were:

  • Disambiguation:
    • Technical Services Committee (TSC) - The committee that oversees all technical items for LOPSA. Technical infrastructure projects are handled by the TSC. There are no active projects in the TSC, so the only TSC members are those on the tech-team.
    • tech-team - A working group of the TSC, responsible for the daily operation of LOPSA's technical infrastructure. The team is currently 5 people: Aaron Sachs, Chris Layton, Matt Harlow, Philip Kizer (specialist: wikis only), and Jesse Trucks. Dan Rich and William Bilancio are also active in the tech-team.

  • Problems:
    • Too much responsibility is consolidated in too few people
    • Too much technical work is being performed by board members
    • CiviCRM administration and maintenance - Dan Rich
    • Drupal administration and maintenance - William Bilancio
    • Forums project - William Bilancio
    • Website upgrade (this is a huge project, not a single task) - William Bilancio
    • Mailing list and mail aliases administration - William Bilancio
    • Google Apps administration - William Bilancio
    • Google Analytics administration - William Bilancio
    • Technical infrastructure work is being performed outside of the TSC, contrary to the TSC charter
    • drich was under the impression that the work was being coordinated with the TSC Chair. The TSC Chair has confirmed it is not.
    • These two items lead to delays and a sense of non-responsiveness from the TSC and tech-team
    • These have also led to unclear leadership authority and management responsibility on the TSC and tech-team

  • Proposed solution:
    • Cease utilizing board members for technical projects and daily operational tasks
      • This frees board members up to focus on strategy and directing the organization
      • Utilizing board members to do operational work causes several potential (and sometimes real) issues:
        • Board members can often feel like they know best for the organization, since they are in a position of authority. As a result, they may tend not delegate responsibilities (a real problem for us already)
        • Potential conflict of thinking: Directors should be entirely concerned with the 'What', not the 'How'. eg, deciding we need forums and the merits/lack of is a very different way of thinking than choosing a product and integrating it
        • Compare this to any corporation: the C-levels don't concern themselves with implementation, but strategy. If they get mired in the details by micromanaging the implementation of their decisions, the resulting work product will be inferior, breed resentment and distrust among the staff, and end up with too much on their plate
    • Begin relying exclusively on the TSC to manage all technical work, including projects and daily operational tasks
      • This has an added benefit of being able to spread work load among more people, and getting rid of single points of failure
      • The TSC Chair has informed me that there are plenty of willing and capable volunteers for the committee, but no work is available to give them (due to previously mentioned bottlenecks)
      • There will be some growing pains involved here, as we transition board members' technical duties to other TSC members
    • Rationale: Thinking strategically, as we the Directors are called to do, is hard work. Thinking tactically and task-oriented is much easier, and we all naturally gravitate towards that. By removing ourselves of tasks and operational duties that can easily be handled by others, it becomes much easier to focus on strategy. As we are sysadmins, who spend all day working on tasks, this is something we should especially be mindful of as Directors of LOPSA.

  • Items to vote on:
    • Transition those technical responsibilities currently handled by board members to the TSC, letting the TSC delegate them to volunteers as needed
    • Adopt an informal policy that board members will not be directly involved in the TSC and technical infrastructure, except under extraordinary circumstances (eg, specialized skill possessed by a board member that the TSC is unable to find elsewhere)

William informed the Board that he spoke to Jesse (Tech Team Chair) and as a result some Board members were asked to step down as members of the Tech team. They resolved the communications issue and have setup a schedule for communications on a regular basis.

William also felt that this is not a vote-able issue.

Martin agreed that we should strive to get all Board members off of committees as much as possible.

Mike asked for clarification of the issue to Jesse.

Dan mentioned that not all of the issues mentioned in the email are tech team related. Case in point would be Civi where the software management is the Tech team's duty but the Data management is under the Board direction.

Dan stated that the Tech team must come up with a plan how to migrate/transition board members off of the committee.

A discussion on the history of the Tech Team and how it transitioned from a Board committee to a Volunteer run Committee with a Board Liaison.

Discussion and voting on LOPSA Professional Recognition Program (-MS)

I originally brought up this topic at the F2F meeting, but didn't want to take a lot of time there with discussion. The proposal is here. (This link will be removed when sent to governance). The program will allow for Sysadmins to be recognized for staying on top of their profession by continuing in their education in the System Administration field

Essentially, this is a program that will be similar in scope to the Mentorship program. It will take around 4-5 volunteers in the core team, of which I already have 2-3, and once set up, will be a program well-suited for LOPSA's mission. By starting the process now, the program can be ready to run and announce at this year's Town Hall meeting at LISA.

I will serve as chair of the committee until the program is on its feet, when I will be happy to transition to a liaison role. It will take minimal Board involvement once complete.

This program, in a year or two, will be one we can lead off with as we do now with Mentorship. Mike asked what would happen if Matt can't find a replacement in 6 months and Matt said that he would have to take responsibility for it and he doesn't see it taking him away from his Board duties. And the first 6 months it will only be Google forms integration.

The goal of the program would also not be to set the bar too high that it would be a major hurdle to achieve the status. Ski suggested that we layout the program so the people that sign up they know what the rules are and that there may be changing. Matt agreed and said that the program requirements can be announced at the LOPSA meeting at LISA.

Dan mentioned that as he looks at the requirements he would not qualify as he has not attended any training that would qualify, reason being there are no LOPSA sponsored conferences nearby. This is true for a large amount of sysadmins especially since a lot of companies don't supply training.

Matt asked if anyone had a way to codify the self taught sysadmin who can't get to the sponsored and qualified training.

Dan suggested that we should discuss this over email and also develop a Charter.It was agreed by the other directors that the discussion be continued off line and be part of future meetings so it does not fall out of sight of the board.

Foreign Language Translations of the Code of Ethics (-MS & MJ)

By analyzing traffic trends through Google Analytics, Mike and I have determined that we have a large number of German-language visitors. The initial influx was related to the Ed Snowden press release that the Board issued. Heise online covered the release, and also linked to the Code of Ethics. All told, several thousand people from central Europe have visited the page since then.

After discussing the matter with some German system administrators, they agreed that it would be looked upon favorably if LOPSA provided a German-language version of the Code of Ethics that could be printed out and hung at their work. If this is done, I would like to get in touch with Heise Online and have the original author cover the release of the German translation. I think this has the capability of opening inroads to more international members and potentially even future chapters.

The Code of Ethics was released in conjunction with USENIX, so I would like the Board to approve a discussion with USENIX about the translation, and if both groups agree, I would be happy to take charge of this effort through completion and report back.

A short discussion followed and the outcome was to contact USENIX for clarification as to LOPSA having the authority to create the German language version of the code of Ethics

William suggested we try to get it done by LISA and have it presented there.

This would be a good opportunity to enlist volunteers to do the translation. Along that line when people do volunteer their time they should speak to their employer if the employer will match the donation of time with a monetary donation to LOPSA. It would be based on the amount of time spent by the volunteer.

New Business


Matt asked if we have a LOPSA Liaison with USENIX. This job usually was performed by the Board President. Matt volunteered to do assume that position. Dan agreed to delegate this job to Matt. There were no objections.

AH Communication

Martin asked about any recent communications with AH. Dan replied that there was some communication and it is still in progress.



Martin moved we adjourned William second