nawrich at gmail
Mar 10, 2008, 1:51 PM
Post #35 of 43
Who is preaching for that level of transparency, except for you? Details of
every conversation and every interaction between members of the staff and
other staff or the public simply can't be made publicly available. That
isn't because the Foundation is operating like the CIA (a comparison that
holds exactly no weight, in my view) -- its because doing so would hamper
the smooth operation of the Foundation. Many interactions are confidential
for many different reasons, and many pieces of information that aren't
specifically confidential are still not released because there is no
compelling reason to do so and no tangible benefit that will result to weigh
against the difficulty of having everyone's activity under a microscope.
I think that your opinion on the expected radical transparency of the
Foundation is at odds with the community - you say that donors expect that
donated money will rarely if ever fund a dinner out, I don't think you are
correct about that. If a donation from me (which, in full disclosure, I
haven't yet made) funded a dinner between Jimmy and a potential large donor,
or even a collaboratve dinner between staff and consultants or some other
arrangements... I would be perfectly happy with that, it is a legitimate
expense. If the Foundation decides something is not a legitimate expense, it
won't pay for it, and I'm satisfied that we have the right people to
consistently make accurate determinations in this regard. If the Foundation
doesn't pay for it, then I don't really care what "it" is. If "it" happens
to be a ticket to Kumite in Thailand, or a chicken fight, or whatever other
objectionable thing... I don't care. It isn't our place to substitute our
moral judgment for the moral judgment of others, particularly when it
doesn't relate to the operation of the Foundation.
On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 4:39 PM, Andrew Whitworth <wknight8111 [at] gmail>
> On Mon, Mar 10, 2008 at 3:24 PM, Ray Saintonge <saintonge [at] telus>
> > It's rarely that simple. We are often dealing with issues of privacy.
> > If Jimbo shows up at Wikimania with a bimbo on each arm ... It's
> > not up to me, when I get home, to write about the incident so that
> > everybody knows about it.
> This isn't exactly the issue, if Jimmy or anybody else brings a
> mistress to Wikimania, I think they shouldn't have an expectation of
> privacy about that. I'll chalk this one up to being a bad example.
> > While there, when a large group goes out to a
> > night spot it's not up to me, when somebody decides to pick up the tab
> > to ask whether that person is or is not making a business expense
> > claim.
> It's not up to you, but when the receipt comes in to the treasurer (or
> whoever the receipt goes to), that kind of thing should be made
> public. I personally would be fundamentally upset to learn that my
> donation money, and the money from other donors, was being spent on
> random dinners out. I'm certain that most other donors would be
> similarly upset.
> > We don't publicize the salaries of the staff.
> True, but in the audit we get a total for how much money is being
> spent on salaries. It's probably not too hard to make educated guesses
> about who gets paid what.
> > Wading through old records doesn't always help, even if they are all
> > available.
> Wading through old records never helps, if the records are
> unavailable. Saying that finding answers could be difficult is a far
> cry from saying that everything should be a permanent secret, and that
> the foundation should operate itself like the CIA.
> > Old claims are often murky and coloured with certain points
> > of view that are more implicit than explicit. The proof may indeed be
> > there, but the parties involved will interpret it quite differently.
> Facts do not lie. We cannot account for people's interpretations of
> events, but if we have the facts laid out for all to see, we won't
> need to rely on Jimmy's interpretation versus Mr. Merkey's
> interpretation. We instead could all look at the information and make
> up our minds for ourselves. People lie when it is in their best
> interests to do so, so we need to take the people out of the loop and
> provide the information to the people directly.
> > When someone comes to me with a stck of restaurant receipts claiming
> > that he was entertaining clients, and now wants to claim them for tax
> > deductions I am don't want to spend a lot of time going through them
> > one-by-one to verify the validity of the claims.
> Ignoring the fact that people really shouldn't be eating out too much
> (ideally, not ever) on our donation money, this is still off the
> point. If you don't want to go through all the receipts, put them
> online so that other people can see them. If the amount of money you
> are wasting on food is too embarrassing to post openly, then you are
> doing something wrong and need to stop doing it.
> The most important issue is, do you really believe that the board of
> this non-profit organization shouldn't be held accountable for their
> actions or their expenditures? Is it so hard to ask that people
> practice some of the transparency that everybody seems to be
> --Andrew Whitworth
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