Talk:Wikimedia Chapters Association/Work Plan

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Place of registration/legal seat[edit]

I've seen in a couple of places now that the steering committee intends to make some sort of decision on the place of registration for the association. I'm a little surprised by that considering that it isn't part of the committee's task list agreed in Berlin. But I'm also surprised because it's really an issue that is neither urgent nor required in order for the other important tasks to be completed, including finding candidates for SG. So I would like to ask the committee what the reasoning is for focusing on this subject as much and for wanting to decide it prior to finding SG candidates. sebmol ? 14:57, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

We're not going to make this decision outselves. We haven't decided whether the decision on registration should be made before Wikimania or online but in both cases it would be a decision made by the council and not by the committee. The place of registration has much impact on the selection of the SG (salary, work visa, willingness to relocate etc.) so it must come before. I think (personal opinion, not representing the committee) that the registration itself must come before the hiring so the association can ensure securing funds for hiring. Tomer A. -- Talk 15:28, 13 April 2012 (UTC)
You have to register the organisation before the organisation can start hiring staff... --Tango (talk) 22:53, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Exactly what Tango and Tomer said. Sebmol I have questioned several times, how you plan on start hiring without having something to be hired to? Who would a staff member be employed by? How will you even advertise the position and where? "Looking for a staff member located somewhere to work for a proposed organization registered somewhere" is not a good plan by any measure. Theo10011 (talk) 15:15, 15 April 2012 (UTC)

I'm having difficulty understanding where the problem lies. We're not looking for "any kind of staff", we're looking (or are about to look) for a position equivalent to a CEO. That the organization has been founded but not legally registered isn't unusual for new organizations when they hire their CEO. In fact, it's actually rather usual (at least where I've done business so far) with one of the first tasks of the new CEO being to register and file all the paperwork for the new organization. As the charter states, the association comes into existence as soon as nine chapters have ratified it. Legal registration at a location most convenient to the association is a totally separate concern. sebmol ? 09:37, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
This really must be some cultural issue, I have never heard of hiring a CEO who registers a firm. In majority of those cases the CEO *is* the founder, he starts a company or a board appoints a CEO, after a firm already exists. The founder in this case would be the chapters, the CEO, while an executive designation would merely be an employee, not the owner of the firm. TO use an analogy in your context, you are suggesting, hiring a senior staff member like Pavel before forming a WMDE, before forming a board, ratifying the bylaws or legally registering an organization. This is also a problem when you insist on not deciding on a location all together, how would the position be advertised and where? - your suggestion would make an advertisement along the lines - looking for CEO equivalent to register an organization in a place to be decided. I don't know what context this would sound like a smart decision in. If this is some cultural issue, then please quote me an example or analogy about what you are talking. I fail to see any comparable example within Wikimedia, the foundation, the chapters or any organization that I worked with, starting operations in this manner. Theo10011 (talk) 12:33, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Your analogy is somewhat flawed. The Secretariat is the board of the organization to be formed. We are about to look for those board members, most prominently the head of that board, the SG. Many of the chapters I've worked with were founded in a similar way: a founding assembly of members who elect a first board of directors with one of the first jobs of that board being that they take care of the registration. Similarly, there's a first council session in Washington where the Secretariat is to be elected, the seat question be decided, and (among other tasks) the Secretariat having to take care of the registration. I guess, the main difference is that there's a call for candidates and a vetting process prior to the council session.
As to where to advertise this, I would expect that the opening be announced and advertised online on various Wikimedia-typical outlets including wikis and mailing lists. One of the job requirements is that the successful candidates will have to work for an international organization with significant travel (and therefore time away from home) expected. The job requirement isn't that, if Geneva, Taipeh or Mexico City were to be picked, he or she would have to relocate there. In fact, as long as he or she can effectively fulfill the objectives placed in that position, it wouldn't matter where on the planet they end up residing. sebmol ? 13:56, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't think you are addressing the real issue here. My point is the council is independent of the CEO, secretariat, whatever you want to call it. He/she would just be an employee, who he is or where is based in, is completely unrelated to where the firm is actually registered in. The council should have a legal existence in some jurisdiction, an employee can be anywhere, but the two should be independent, and the real priority is the council, not the employee. Furthermore, in your clarification above you are overlooking that the board is the founder, made of volunteers - we already have that in the form of chapters. I have never heard of a chapter hiring staff before being registered, have you? Theo10011 (talk) 14:04, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
We're not starting a new chapter. Nobody is doubting that there should be a legal presence, nor is anyone advocating that it be tied to the person of the SG. What I am advocating for is having the decision of the legal seat be one made either in full knowledge and understanding of the actual activities the association will conduct (which, from a timing perspective, requires waiting for program and budget to be decided), or, if that isn't possible, pick one that provides maximum flexibility for and requires minimum adjustments on the association. sebmol ? 14:17, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, this is long and spread over several pages, I promise I'd read this at home later today or early tomorrow. I will just refer to one point: where is this place that provides maximum flexibility for and requires minimum adjustments on the association and how did you decide that this place is such? Tomer A. -- Talk 14:38, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I don't know where it is. I don't think it's an easy question to be answered either, particularly not by volunteers within the timeframe from now until Washington. Many of the criteria you've developed already point to a good location, provided there are candidate locations that can actually fulfill them. Perhaps it would be easier to start by excluding places and see what's left. sebmol ? 14:55, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
(Still haven't read it all, too tired for today) So, what's the difference between what you're suggesting and what we are already doing. If Many of the criteria you've developed already point to a good location you should point those who are not so we have a criteria table we all agree upon. Tomer A. -- Talk 20:27, 16 April 2012 (UTC)
I think your approach to finding the location is a good one and I'm happy to see the list of criteria. My comments weren't directed against doing it that way, but rather against trying to decide this prior to finding an SG. So it's merely a question of timing or priorities. sebmol ? 08:39, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
I just read it all and I feel there's a need to clarify something. The secretariat is not the board, they are the staff. The secretariat suggest a work plan for the council, the council approves it, the staff execute it while the council (either directly or through proxies) oversee it. Sebmol, I think you're confused by the 2-tier structure of WMDE which is unusual elsewhere. Tomer A. -- Talk 16:22, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
I can assure you, I'm not confused ;) I am however puzzled by what your statement "secretariat is not the board" is supposed to mean. The charter doesn't talk about a "bord" at all, so I don't know what "board" means in the context of the WCA. I also don't understand what your statement means in the context of the legal seat discussion. Maybe you can clarify? sebmol ? 11:04, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
You wrote: "The Secretariat is the board of the organization to be formed" - I just negated that. Tomer A. -- Talk 12:20, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Indeed I did, in the specific context of an analogy to a commercial startup and the hiring process of a CEO, which has some parallels to the task at hand. What's the benefit of stripping context from my statement, then negating it? sebmol ? 13:50, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
Is it really important to you that I'll answer this or do you prefer I'll do some real work for the WCA? Tomer A. -- Talk 10:43, 24 April 2012 (UTC)
By the way, the way I see it, this is a variant of a discussion that was already decided in Berlin if the council members should be independent of the chapter who sent them or represent them. The decision was that the chapters, through their council members are those who make the strategic-decisions in the association. Tomer A. -- Talk 16:25, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Task ahead and starting wrong[edit]

My central point has been, with all the things left open and the difficult task ahead of the council, it is no time to be adventurous about where to register. I don't know how exposed others have been in conducting business or filing paperwork in Taipei, Cape Town or even Mexico, but I assure you they all come with their fair share of bureaucratic and real world problems in languages and jurisdiction you might not be experienced in. To be adventurous and experiment with these far off places, instead of what you might know like Paris and majority of Europe, is not smart by any measure. You don't need to be tied to an ill-chosen place, we can do the due-diligence and collectively find the right place to register. You only need some place stable for the legal registration, preferably a place others here and in the chapters, know well - actual offices, remote staff are another decision entirely. Regards. Theo10011 (talk) 15:17, 17 April 2012 (UTC)