Stewards Council Telecon: 2008 August 6

From IdCommons

Call in number: 1-605-475-4333 access code: 181783


  • Bob Blakley
  • Mary Ruddy
  • Fen LaBalme
  • Drummond Reed
  • Dean Landsman
  • Chris Allen
  • Brett McDowell
  • Dan Perry
  • Dale Olds
  • Paul Trevithick
  • Chris Reynolds
  • Charles Andres


Review of agenda

Volunteer to take notes

Updates on action items from last call

  • Chris R. Budget proposal - update for how things should work with small items
  • Eugene - update on working with Dan on getting PayPal set up so we can pay for Electric Embers hosting
  • Mary - update on outsource nonprofit service provider options for the organization. Need more clarity on what services should be outsourced to core outsourced services provider [1]
  • Changing charters should be brought up for a vote - are there any in process?
  • Patrick Reilly with Kaliya's help - update on collecting IPR best practices from other groups. On hold to focus on fundraising.
  • Static Website - Next steps.
    • need to figure out how to have a diagram of our community that is understandable and clickable
  • Kaliya, Mary and Eugene - update on working on some best practices for mentoring new groups into the community
  • Kaliya - Update on collecting Stewards contact information for Media call tree, etc. - on hold pending PayPal
  • Eugene is holding three votes
  1. Dissolving the Standards, Identity Mashups and Collaboration working groups.
  2. Adding the proposed groups (that are ready for the vote.)
  3. Changing Working Groups to Action Groups.
  • Next round of voting will be for
  1. Elect new Stewards Chair
  2. Adding proposed working groups

New item(s)

  • Discussion of proposal to change frequency of quarterly reports to semi-annually.
  • DNS updates
    • identitycommons.{com,net,org} expire 29 August 2008 - $45 to renew at
    • idcommons.{com,net,org} expire 24 September 2008 - $45 to renew at

Services Discussion Topic There has been an ongoing discussions about the desirability for the community to provide more services to action groups. Services Brainstorm. Last time we started to brainstorm some on this call & talk about highest priorities.

Meeting Notes

Drummond volunteered to take notes.

PayPal and Donate Button

Dan gave an update about having a donate budget. Dan was finally able to persuade PayPal to give us a donate button. He has emailed Eugene the code. Dan will take care of renewing our DNS updates via (That takes care of the DNS agenda item.)

Outsourced Service Providers

Mary reported on outsourcing of accounting services. Currently the most requested core services are IT infrastructure and accounting services. She has investigated a number of options for this.

Dan suggested that the accounting organization might be able to provide a discount for IC-related accounting biz.

Changing Charters

Mary explained that the Stewards Council is currently supposed to approve charter changes just as it approves new charters. Dan explained that this could possibly have the effect of bringing more liability to IC. There was consensus that we didn’t want this.

Drummond suggested that the requirement so that groups are only required to notify the Stewards Council of changes (via an email to the Community list). The Stewards Council would not be required to approve any changes, and would only need to act to disassociate the group. There was consensus that this should be our policy. Mary will pursue how this will be memorialized.

Chris A. also asked about Collaboration closing – one effect is that this means there will not be a Steward from Collaboration.

Budget for Small Expenses

Chris R. said that how we are handling this now is fine. He consulted with some very experienced accounting folks. The two rules are:

  1. You can’t spend money you don’t have. The rule is that if the non-budgeted expense is less than 15% of the money you have in the bank, it should be okay.
  2. You don’t have to report the non-budgeted expense immediately, but the faster you report it, the better.

Chris R’s recommendations:

  1. We establish a budget for the period between every IIW conference (six months).
  2. We report expenses at least quarterly, which means the each conference the treasurer will report on the last two quarters.
  3. Each non-budgeted expense that looks like it may recur should be included in the next budget.

Note: Following is the exact text from Chris' email on this subject:

I have connected with colleagues on other boards and committees regarding spending guidelines for ad hoc expenses that are necessary but not yet budgeted. One example of such a purchase was some signage / printing for the last IIW 2008a gathering. It turns out that once we corrected for terminology, there was a clear consensus. Most people were saying nearly the same thing. They key points:

(a) The necessity of making unbudgeted purchases arises regularly, especially in volunteer and incipient enterprises. So we are not doing anything wrong in having such expenses pop up.

(b) The paramount guidelines are: (1) If the amount to be spent is less than 15% of the funds in the bank, then it is OK to go ahead. This step simply prevents spending money we don’t have. (2) Making an ad hoc expenditure does not relieve the executive making the purchase from the obligation to report and justify the expense to the Stewards (or the budget committee) later, using conventional reports. Rather, it simply allows the expense to be made right away to meet an exigent need and have the budget reporting occur afterwards, but not never. This step is believed to be critical to preventing such purchases from fostering an actual or apparent lack of discipline or looseness with money that would lead to problems with fundraising, proper budgeting for mainstream purchasing, etc.

Change in Frequency for Quarterly Reports

It has been proposed that the frequency be changed to semi-annually. In discussion it was realized that the real driver for production of reports is the audience of both peers and newbies at IIW.

The consensus of the group was:

  1. Provide notification a month before IIW to all Stewards of the need to file their semi-annual report.
  2. Establish a deadline for filing the report two weeks before IIW.
  3. Have a standard session at IIW for each group to present their report.

IDTBD ("NewOrg")

Brett reported that the discussion about NewOrg that he had brought up several months ago has progressed to the point where there is now a strawman proposal and an open mailing list. It has been given the codename IDTBD (ID To Be Determined – suggested by Bob). The Google Group is located at:

Fen, having briefly reviewed the IDTBD home page at Google Groups, asked how it was different from Identity Commons. Bob provided the following pithy summary:

  1. Less vendor- and enterprise-focused than Liberty Alliance.
  2. Less resource-constrained that Identity Commons.
  3. As an umbrella organization, it would enable all partipants in the overall ecosystem to lower their investment in organizational overhead while increasing the trend towards harmonization and interoperability.

Brett is representing the Liberty Alliance in this effort. He explained that while a number of individuals who are also IC Stewards are already engaged individually in the discussion, he suggested that if Identity Commons is interested, it would be good for the Stewards Council to have official representation in the discussion so that Identity Commons has a direct and clear voice.

Drummond agreed that this made sense because it would help distinguish between individual participation and formal Identity Commons participation. Bob further agreed that the latter voice is needed at the table to help speak directly to the Identity Commons purpose and principles and how this has been worked out in its organizational structure.

Paul nominated Mary and Drummond to serve as representative of the Stewards Council in the IDTBD discussion. Drummond and Mary accepted but felt the need for additional representation. Bob nominated Kaliya (providing she is willing) to serve as an additional representative (and also Eugene if he wants to do it).

Brett invited these Stewards Council representatives to send a message to the IDTBD list identifying themselves as speaking for IC.

Action Items

  1. DAN to renew DNS registrations using PayPal.
  2. MARY to clarify how we update our policy about:
    1. Spending for non-budget items.
    2. Only requiring notification of charter changes.
  3. MARY, DRUMMOND, KALIYA to send email to IDTBD list introducing themselves as official representatives of the Identity Commons Stewards Council.