LNC Executive Committee Teleconference Scheduled for 12/29 (noon, EST) to Discuss LNC Member Travel Reimbursement

LP chair Geoff Neale has asked for another teleconference of the Libertarian National Committee’s Executive Committee to discuss reimbursement of travel expenses incurred (mainly by LNC members) as a result of the cancellation of the LNC meeting originally scheduled for December 7-8 in Dallas and subsequently held the following weekend.

The seven ExCom members are Neale, vice chair Lee Wrights, treasurer Tim Hagen, secretary Dave Blau, at large representative Bill Redpath, and regional representatives Jim Lark and Dan Wiener. They can be contacted at www.LP.org/lnc-leadership . Interested persons can also call in and listen on the teleconference, and give ExCom members your feedback.

The original plan was to use money donated to the reimbursement fund in response to an LP fundraising appeal that went out for this purpose. Now the chair is proposing to augment this donated money with an additional $1000 of the members’ money from the party’s general fund, under the aegis of his “chair’s discretionary fund”.

Here is the chair’s message describing his plan, and information on how to call in on tomorrow’s teleconference:

From: “Geoffrey Neale” <liber8or@austin.rr.com> Date: December 28, 2013 7:41:07 AM PST
To: <lnc-business@hq.lp.org>
Cc: starrcpa@gmail.com
Subject: [Lnc-business] Executive Committee meeting Sunday December 29th, 12:00PM Eastern
Reply-To: lnc-business@hq.lp.org

I am calling for an EC meeting at 12 Noon Eastern on Sunday December 29th.

The single item on the agenda will be the reimbursement of travel expenses for the canceled LNC meeting.

Call in instructions are at the bottom of this email.

My motion will be as follows:

————-

Whereas many LNC members experienced financial costs due to the weather-related cancelation of the December 7th LNC meeting, and the subsequent rescheduling to December 14th; and

Whereas LP members donated $3,352, and Geoffrey Neale has pledged $300, and the Chair is authorizing the expenditure of $1,000 from his discretionary fund, as defined in the Policy Manual, resulting in a total available reimbursement pool of $4,652.00; and

Whereas certain individuals have requested reimbursement for less than their total expenses; and

Whereas the sum of expenses reported to the Treasurer total $6,844.98, with a sum of requested reimbursements totaling $6,102.30; and

Whereas the Executive Committee finds that members will be eligible for reimbursement for travel expenses, excluding baggage fees, and actual hotel costs incurred at the Hyatt DFW airport for up to two nights at a rate of $110.88 per night, and parking expenses, resulting in a total eligible reimbursement amount of $5,859.39; and

Whereas there are insufficient funds available to fully reimburse all LNC members requesting reimbursement;

Therefore, be it resolved that reimbursement shall be according to the following procedure:

Each LNC member shall pay the first $100 of their expenses, or the sum of their expenses that they have volunteered to personally absorb, whichever is higher.
Each LNC member will be reimbursed for their remaining expenses, up to $810 per member.
All expenses in excess of $910 will be absorbed by the LNC member.

Such distribution will result in a total reimbursement of $4,651.46.

————–

The details of this allocation are:

LNC Member / Reported / Eligible / Member Cost / Absorbed / Reimbursed
————————————————————————————————————
Visek               $187.00      $187.00   $100.00                               $87.00
Tomasso         $718.25      $681.88   $100.00                              $581.88
Starr               $838.03      $838.03    $563.80                              $274.23
Starchild         $372.60      $372.60    $100.00                             $272.60
Pojunis           $347.00      $347.00    $100.00                              $247.00
Lieberman    $1,452.48    $1,300.76  $100.00         $385.76       $810.00
Kirkland         $927.18       $927.18    $100.00           $12.28       $810.00
Hinkle            $175.00       $175.00    $175.00                              $0.00
Hagan            $783.46       $783.46    $178.88                             $604.58
Goldstein       $457.80       $457.80    $100.00                             $357.80
Cloud             $761.18       $706.36    $100.00                             $606.36

Totals             $7,019.98    $6,777.07                                         $4,651.45

—————————–

Guest Instructions

Dial-in: 1 (217) 258-5588
Guest Pin Code: 207730
1. At conference time, dial the Conference Dial-In number above.
2. At the prompt, enter the Access Code followed by the # key.
3. You will hear music until the Moderator enters the call.
To mute your individual phone line, press * 6.
To un-mute your individual phone line, press * 7.

48 thoughts on “LNC Executive Committee Teleconference Scheduled for 12/29 (noon, EST) to Discuss LNC Member Travel Reimbursement

  1. starchild Post author

    As previously noted, I do not believe the party should have put out a fundraising appeal to reimburse LNC members for this expense, and am even more opposed to money being spent from the party’s general fund for this purpose. There are too many other worthier causes.

    When LP convention delegates encounter unexpected expenses due to circumstances beyond their control, the party does not hold a special fundraiser in order to reimburse them, let alone appropriate money out of the budget toward that end. For the LNC to take a more generous approach toward ourselves is self-serving and wrong in my opinion.

    I have submitted a reimbursement request myself strictly with the intention of being able to ensure that my share of any reimbursement monies either go back to the donors or go toward some party expense that I feel will actually benefit the cause of freedom.

    My preference would be to give each donor the opportunity to choose what to do with his or her share of any reimbursement funds going to me, but a couple members of the Executive Committee (Dan Wiener, Bill Redpath) have spoken against me being allowed to contact the donors for this purpose.

    If I’m not allowed to find out what the donors prefer and divvy up the money accordingly, then I will put the funds toward some targeted donation that I think will do more good for our cause than travel reimbursement or simply letting the money sit in the party’s general fund, where history suggests it could end up getting spent on anything from expensive hotel-provided snacks at LNC meetings, to compensation in accord with excessively generous contracts (or unspoken handshake deals).

  2. starchild Post author

    NOTE: Geoff Neale posted the following additional message explaining his proposed allocation of funds. He also noted separately that he’s been “notified of a ‘math’ problem” and will be correcting the numbers in his actual motion. The chart is not still not entirely clear to me. It looks for instance as though Mark Hinkle is agreeing not to receive the $75 for which he would apparently be eligible, but I’m not positive that’s what’s being stated.

    On Dec 28, 2013, at 8:33 AM, Geoffrey Neale wrote:

    Some small details to report of how I came up with my proposal:

    Two members (Mr. Cloud and Mr. Tomasso) submitted hotel charges from the Hyatt in excess of everyone else’s (small excesses, for the record). I have categorized the excess amounts as ineligible. This, IMO, can only be due to one of two things: charges unrelated to the room cost, or the member got overbilled by the hotel. If the latter is the case, Robert Kraus can help get the excess refunded.

    Mr. Lieberman submitted expenses for a Thursday night hotel charge. Even though other members incurred hotel costs either before or after the weekend, no one else submitted these costs as expenses. I have categorized this expense as ineligible because I consider it to be an “outlier”.

    Mr. Cloud submitted expenses for baggage fees. While one other member submitted such an expense, he did not ask for reimbursement. Since many other people traveled on airlines that charge baggage fees, but either did not incur these expenses, or did not ask for reimbursement for them, I am considering these expenses to be “outliers”, and am categorizing them as ineligible.

    As to the allocation, I rejected a straight line allocation. I am cognizant that some people only had to change their tickets, and some got to the airport and had to deal with the hassle, and at least one flew all the way to Dallas and returned immediately, and others made it all the way to Dallas and got trapped. Performing a straight line allocation would not recognize or accommodate the time cost to the LNC members.

    Instead, I applied a kind of “insurance” approach, where everyone paid their deductible, and the payout was limited, without further allocation. The numbers worked out pretty well, IMO

    With this formula, Mr. Lieberman takes the biggest hit. However, what I am taking into consideration is that we have two members in the same city, and they are polar opposites in how they responded to the risk of bad weather. Mr. Hinkle just waited to see what happened, and it cost him $175 to rebook his flight (which he is absorbing), and none of his time. Mr. Lieberman decided before there was any announcement of canceled flights or airport closures to purchase an alternate method of getting to Dallas, which involved last minute purchases and an extra hotel night, not to mention at least four different methods of transportation (planes, trains, automobiles (personal) and some kind of shuttle). The total cost reported was $1,452.58.

    While I applaud Mr. Lieberman for his tenaciousness and creativeness in getting to the meeting in this manner, I am considering exactly what the situation would have been if the meeting was not canceled. The costs would have been his alone, and there would have been no reimbursement.

    Therefore, since I’m trying to play Solomon with this motion, I am not comfortable asking other LNC members to equally share the costs of Mr. Lieberman’s decision. In my opinion, the behavior of Mr. Lieberman is also an “outlier”.

    Please note that the EC may take my motion and do something totally different. This is not the decision of the EC, and I will abide by its final decision.

    However, if you have questions or suggestions, please ask them BEFORE the meeting if you are not on the EC. It’s holiday time.

    Also, I will withdraw my offer of the Chair’s discretionary fund contribution if we cannot pass and act upon this motion this year, since I am limited to $1,000 per quarter, and I need to have a discretionary fund available for next quarter.

    Also, Robert Kraus has requested that we get all of these transactions into this calendar year.

    Geoffrey Neale

  3. Wes Wagner

    I know of a couple people who told me they will never donate to the LNC again after they received the reimbursement appeal. If two people told me that in one sparsely populated state, the damage is probably larger.

  4. Stewart Flood

    So Mr Starr is now a member of the LNC? I have just re-read the appeal I received (but did not contribute to) and it was clearly to raise money for LNC members. There was no mention of Mr Starr or even a hint that the money would be used for non-members’ travel expenses.

    And didn’t Mr Cloud already steal enough of our money this term?

    I certainly have some compassion for those who spent extra money because of the cancellation, but not for the audience. Questions for Mr Starr could have been asked over the phone, as is frequently done with others, including LNC council. Starr’s presence was not mandatory.

  5. Wes Wagner

    Although I have always likened the LNC representatives being akin to George Orwell’s pigs in Animal Farm in their attitudes and general disposition … for them to figuratively attempt to feed at the trough likes this so soon after letting Cloud abscond without consequences is just amazing but yet not surprising.

  6. Brad Ploeger

    Cloud should just write the amount of his “loss” off on his Schedule C. It’s a legitimate cost of him doing business!.

    On a side note, I sat through enough worthless LNC meetings they might as well have been cancelled, where do I file for a reimbursement of my expenses?

  7. Mark Vetanen

    If anyone has ever been though the “last days of a dying corporation”, the behavior the LNC board, and particularly of some of its more senior members, is indicative of what is to come.

  8. Starchild

    The call didn’t start until about 1210pm (EST). Geoff explained that the secretary (Dave Blau) had not started the call, and he (Geoff) had to get the moderator code from Robert Kraus (LP operations director).

    Neither Dave nor LP treasurer Tim Hagen joined the call. The other five ExCom members were present.

    Bill Redpath moved Geoff’s motion, as updated to reflect a submission of additional receipts from Brett Pojunis, bringing his requested total from $347 to $433.68. Someone seconded.

    Lee Wrights asked whether all the money being allocated was money donated for this purpose, and Geoff said yes, except for the money from the chair’s discretionary fund. Geoff asked if anyone objected. I said I had a question, and no one objected to hearing from me. I asked Lee whether he understood that money from the chair’s discretionary fund was no less the members’ money than anything else in our budget, and he said yes. I urged him to oppose on that basis.

    Jim Lark said he supported the motion, but would prefer that the discretionary fund not be used. Geoff said he had hoped that some of the people on the list would eat a couple hundred more dollars, then that money would not be necessary. He asked if anyone on the ExCom thought he shouldn’t use the money. Lee said his support for it was based on him knowing Geoff and believing Geoff to be a good trustee of the party’s money.

    Nobody else made any objection, so the motion was voted on and passed unanimously by the five (Neale, Wrights, Lark, Redpath, and Dan Wiener). (Meaning they have voted to use LP members’ money above and beyond what was specifically donated, to reimburse some LNC members and Aaron Starr for travel.)

    I’m just now reading the comments here, and am sorry that none of you (Stewart Flood, Wes Wagner) called in and made these legitimate and relevant points on the call. Some member perspectives on the issue could have been most welcome, and potentially opened a wider conversation. My sense was that some on the ExCom (Wrights, Lark) were not entirely comfortable with what they did, and more input could have potentially brought them around.

  9. Starchild

    I meant to mention, LNC members Vicki Kirkland and Gary Johnson also identified themselves as being on the call, but they didn’t say anything beyond that.

  10. Wes Wagner

    I don’t dial into LNC calls anymore… the last one I attended was a kangaroo court where no one was interested in hearing the truth. The current LNC has never disavowed the actions of the prior LNC. I see no cause to try to save them form themselves and am still quite on the fence about whether laying waste to the whole LNC might be the best game theory tree path to take.

  11. Starchild

    Wes, I encourage you to encourage the members who told you they will never donate to the LNC again to contact the LNC and let them know how they feel, as well as to make plans to come to the Columbus convention next year as delegates to vote in better leadership. It’s too late for this particular vote, unless the committee were to reverse itself, but obviously there are Libertarians out there who feel this way (for which I can hardly blame them), and hearing from more of these folks can always make a difference for how people on the LNC vote in the future.

  12. Wes Wagner

    starchild

    I have asked our members to return their recent solicitations from the national party with a letter explaining the situation. Several said they already had in the past, but would be willing to do it again.

    You should consider the fact that these letters do not make it from staff back to the LNC a large part of your organizational problems.

  13. Mark Vetanen

    Starchild,

    The LNC in this decade has shown to have deaf ears, a short memory, and now apparently is blind too with its own members stealing from them!

    In my humble opinion, the behavior of Mr. Cloud is that of a man who is saying, “Check please” because he not interested in any further relationships with the LNC and is “cashing out” so to say. Today’s reimbursement is another form of “cashing out”, and I dare say this will not be the last of such actions.

    I have been with corporations during the DOT COM bust that exhibited much of the same sort of unethical behaviors in the “last days” where fictitious bills where created, overtime that never existed billed, and even non-existent contracts paid.

    Lets just get real here, the LNC is dying and the board members are “cashing out”

    I encourage anyone who is reading this and is a contributor the the LNC to STOP. Consider using your donations towards your State party instead or even more locally, with in your city to promote Libertarian outreach and events.

  14. Starchild

    Well, sometimes it’s important for people to hear the truth whether they are interested in hearing it or not. It’s not so much about saving them from themselves, as it is about trying to save the libertarian movement, by ensuring that what I believe to be its largest bottom-up/grassroots membership organization, the Libertarian Party of the United States, acts in a principled and responsible manner. I personally think all of us ought to care about that.

    As you and I discussed on the phone recently, even if the entire LNC were somehow to be brought down, the problem of how to handle power in organizations would remain. We’ll see how things play out in Oregon, but I’m far from convinced that you guys have hit on any permanent solution to this basic ongoing issue related to human nature and how it plays out in groups when individual members of groups are empowered within those groups (via democracy or consensus-based decision making or some other form of bottom-up governance).

    Some kind of mechanisms and/or cultural mores will always be needed to hold power accountable and make sure it is exercised fairly.

    To stop power from being exercised at all would require the total abandonment of working together in groups, because the whole basic point of coming together cooperatively in groups is to wield more power together than we can as separate individuals.

  15. Wes Wagner

    starchild

    While we agree on many things, I expect that there is something we will never agree on because our hearts are radically different. I am of the belief that when people who are in positions of responsibility violate that trust, it is better to pull out the long knives and deal with the issue directly rather than trying to save them (and or the institution they are perverting).

    The more people you surround yourself who have this attitude the more resilient the organization you are working with becomes. The LNC has been very effective at running people off who try to correct their ill behaviors with more gentle approaches. The results speak for themselves.

    You are not going to solve what is essentially a problem with humans by coming up with a better structure … the immoral ignore structure, and sometimes the good allow themselves to be tied up with it and make themselves prone to easy slaughter.

    There is a middle road.

  16. Starchild

    Wes Wagner writes (December 29, 2013 at 1:13 pm)

    I have asked our members to return their recent solicitations from the national party with a letter explaining the situation. Several said they already had in the past, but would be willing to do it again. You should consider the fact that these letters do not make it from staff back to the LNC a large part of your organizational problems.

    This relates to lack of transparency, which I consider not just part of our organizational problems, but Organizational Problem #1.

    Members should be aware however that if they want their messages to be heard, they cannot, at least while the status quo prevails, just communicate via a narrow channel to staff and expect this to be an effective means of promoting change. Shout it from the rooftops! 🙂 It’s not just the LNC who need to hear it, but perhaps even more importantly, anyone who might be a delegate at an LP convention.

  17. Starchild

    Wes, the LNC can’t really run anybody off against his or her will. But one can stick around and speak truth to power without pulling out any knives (literal or metaphorical).

  18. Wes Wagner

    Starchild

    There is value in people speaking truth to power at them … but velvet revolutions are extremely rare. You need to be prepared for what the powerful do when they are challenged.

  19. Wes Wagner

    Starchild

    The average LNC donor does not know the structure of the LNC … they are going to direct their feedback to staff. As a board, you have to learn how to test staff to ensure that the information they are giving you is true.

    You can scream and plead for transparency all you want… but if you don’t verify you are not being lied to… you will be lied to.

  20. Starchild

    Mark Vetanen writes (December 29, 2013 at 1:14 pm):

    In my humble opinion, the behavior of Mr. Cloud is that of a man who is saying, “Check please” because he not interested in any further relationships with the LNC and is “cashing out” so to say. Today’s reimbursement is another form of “cashing out”, and I dare say this will not be the last of such actions. I have been with corporations during the DOT COM bust that exhibited much of the same sort of unethical behaviors in the “last days” where fictitious bills where created, overtime that never existed billed, and even non-existent contracts paid. Lets just get real here, the LNC is dying and the board members are “cashing out”

    Mark, its certainly possible that it will happen unexpectedly, but I don’t see any indication that Michael Cloud or anyone else on the LNC is planning to resign.

    It is not clear to me how the LNC would “die”. Even if, hypothetically speaking, its revenues including from member dues were to decline drastically, so that the Libertarian Party only had 10% of the members and budget that it does today, it would not be dead. But more importantly, I don’t think such an outcome would be optimal for the libertarian movement.

    I don’t believe that decimating the national Libertarian Party will make the state LP chapters stronger. I do believe that reconstituting the national LP under improved bylaws and better leadership could make the state LP chapters stronger however.

  21. George Phillies

    On one hand, the appeal was for LNC member reimbursements, and Mr Starr is not a member of the LNC. On the other hand Mr Starr has delivered far more value to the LNC than have a fair number of members of the LNC. I am slightly obscure as to what “Member Costs” are.

  22. Stewart Flood

    I disagree with this being some kind of sign that the LNC is dying or dead. I view it as growing pains, that we need to get through.

    Will I contribute to the LNC in the future? Very likely, but not until certain members, including Mr Cloud, are removed. I do not believe that every member of the LNC should be replaced. I don’t really have any issues with the chair, who has actually been doing extensive outreach with libertarian organizations in other countries (as the last two chairs did).

    The problem is that some members who should not have been removed were, and others who should have been weren’t. I can’t control who the representatives are from regions, but I believe it is the responsibility of delegates to put qualified and honorable people in office whenever possible. Some regions do, while others elect representatives who use Ouija boards, consult psychics regarding LNC decisions, and dye their hair purple. (or all three in one case)

  23. Wes Wagner

    Starchild

    I do believe that reconstituting the national LP under improved bylaws and better leadership could make the state LP chapters stronger however.

    This is something I believe Oregon would be very eager to do if there were sufficient support from the other states to do this.

  24. Stewart Flood

    My source of this information was actually from inside the Starr Chamber, where they view Mr Starr’s svengali-like relationship with her to be advantageous.

  25. Starchild

    Wes – I would think the first step would be to get together a reform-minded organization of state-level leaders in the LP. If you can’t do that, I submit that this should be seen as evidence that the LNC is not the source of the problem, but merely a symptom.

  26. Wes Wagner

    Starchild

    Wes – I would think the first step would be to get together a reform-minded organization of state-level leaders in the LP. If you can’t do that, I submit that this should be seen as evidence that the LNC is not the source of the problem, but merely a symptom.

    Can’t argue with the logic… it would imply that the cultural rot extends further.

  27. paulie

    So Mr Starr is now a member of the LNC? I have just re-read the appeal I received (but did not contribute to) and it was clearly to raise money for LNC members. There was no mention of Mr Starr or even a hint that the money would be used for non-members’ travel expenses.

    He was on the agenda for audit committee.

    And didn’t Mr Cloud already steal enough of our money this term?

    As far as I know all money he received was authorized by the Executive Director at that time pursuant to an agreement between them.

    Questions for Mr Starr could have been asked over the phone, as is frequently done with others, including LNC council. Starr’s presence was not mandatory.

    The extent of his participation was too much to do effectively over the phone, and he had a lot of handouts and visual aids.

    I’m in favor of doing the whole meetings by phone, but they would be much shorter meetings taking place much more often.

  28. paulie

    I know of a couple people who told me they will never donate to the LNC again after they received the reimbursement appeal. If two people told me that in one sparsely populated state, the damage is probably larger.

    I was afraid of that. The appeal should have been more narrowly targeted and/or explained that bylaws currently forbid the LNC having anything other than in-person meetings.

  29. paulie

    Wes, I encourage you to encourage the members who told you they will never donate to the LNC again to contact the LNC and let them know how they feel, as well as to make plans to come to the Columbus convention next year as delegates to vote in better leadership. It’s too late for this particular vote, unless the committee were to reverse itself, but obviously there are Libertarians out there who feel this way (for which I can hardly blame them), and hearing from more of these folks can always make a difference for how people on the LNC vote in the future.

    Good idea.

  30. paulie

    This relates to lack of transparency, which I consider not just part of our organizational problems, but Organizational Problem #1.

    Members should be aware however that if they want their messages to be heard, they cannot, at least while the status quo prevails, just communicate via a narrow channel to staff and expect this to be an effective means of promoting change. Shout it from the rooftops! 🙂 It’s not just the LNC who need to hear it, but perhaps even more importantly, anyone who might be a delegate at an LP convention.

    Exactly.

  31. paulie

    It is not clear to me how the LNC would “die”. Even if, hypothetically speaking, its revenues including from member dues were to decline drastically, so that the Libertarian Party only had 10% of the members and budget that it does today, it would not be dead. But more importantly, I don’t think such an outcome would be optimal for the libertarian movement.

    I don’t believe that decimating the national Libertarian Party will make the state LP chapters stronger. I do believe that reconstituting the national LP under improved bylaws and better leadership could make the state LP chapters stronger however.

    Agreed again with Starchild.

  32. George Phillies

    First of all, barring mass resignations, membership has trouble going below 13% of current levels, because we life members will still be here.

    Income, however, might go far lower.

    Second, at some point there will be another national Libertarian organization, if the first one implodes.

    The socialists, after all, have how many?

  33. paulie

    This is a pretty minor matter to cause the party to implode unless it just happens to be the tiny straw that breaks the camel’s back.

  34. George Phillies

    I did not predict that this matter will cause the national party to implode. Most members will never hear of it. If at some point there is an implosion, that being the hypothetical, then there will I predict be a replacement.

  35. Steve M

    The classic way of dealing with power is to dilute it. The more people that share and have visibility in the power the harder it is to corrupt them. In that buying off everybody gets pretty expensive or given the limited funds not worth while being bought off.

  36. Steven Wilson

    Everybody spends other peoples money. How is this news?

    How many times have you heard a libertarian speak of economics and theory, but then behave just like the democrat or republican?

    Everyone on the LNC knows the cost involved when they put their name on the ballot. If you are going to use an asterisk, then stop using the term libertarian.

    All better.

  37. paulie

    Everyone on the LNC knows the cost involved when they put their name on the ballot.

    Paying twice to go to the same meeting is not a cost that anyone foresaw.

  38. Matt Cholko

    It sucks that many LNC members were negatively affected by the meeting cancellation. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think its a big deal that a few thousand dollars are used to help defray their expenses. But, I think the fact that anyone on the committee saw fit to ask for money for this is pretty ridiculous. Its just incredibly tacky.

  39. paulie

    I think the way the appeal went out was not well thought out. It should have gone out more discreetly to major donors and former LNC members and/or explained that the bylaws require the LNC to meet in person. But I don’t think it’s entirely unreasonable to have sent out some kind of appeal about this to some people.

  40. Matt Cholko

    I just cannot believe that people saw fit to use party resources (I don’t just mean money, I mean staff time, LNC members time, donor lists, etc.) to ask for money to reimburse themselves for expenses related to a cancelled meeting of a group that they volunteered to be a part of.

  41. paulie

    It’s an extraordinary expense, when the regular planned-for expenses are bad enough, but it should have been more narrowly targeted. As yet unanswered was my followup question on LNC list. Perhaps some other people would care to write LNC and ask?


    Messages sorted by: [ date ] [ thread ] [ subject ] [ author ]

    Geoff, I think it is completely reasonable as you say that people who want
    their share of the money to go back to the general fund or to a different
    restricted fund should accept the money and then donate an equivalent
    amount to their chosen fund. It would also be reasonable if they
    voluntarily forego their share of the money, especially since it looks like
    there will probably not be enough money to cover what everyone puts in for.
    If I was in a position where I had incurred expenses going to the cancelled
    meeting, and felt like I didn’t really need the money, I’d probably do one
    of those things.

    As a general idea for the future, I would propose – if it is possible to
    implement it without too much trouble – that all donors to restricted funds
    be asked for their second choice on what to do with the money in case it
    can’t or does not need to be used for their restricted purpose – send it
    back to them, go to the general fund, or go to a second choice project.
    Perhaps – again, if it can be done – they could even “vote with their
    dollars” on several different priorities in ranked order (one vote per one
    monetary unit).

    On a somewhat related note, now that delegate fees for this convention have
    been decisively voted down, what should we do with the convention delegate
    fund?

    I don’t know whether anyone besides me ever donated to it, and I only
    donated $10 to make sure the fund would be officially created as convention
    delegates mandated us to do.

    Here are some ideas:

    1) I believe that the spirit of the idea that passed as a motion in
    convention was to make it more affordable for LP activists to become
    delegates. Granted, it’s not a short notice emergency like the ice storm
    cancellation of the original dates for the last LNC meeting, but
    nevertheless – travel costs present a significant barrier to many people
    who would like to be national convention delegates. I think it would be
    reasonable to use whatever money we raise with this fund to help offset
    travel costs. However, the question then becomes, how will we determine who
    is eligible for travel cost help and in what amount? One idea I have is
    that states could make that determination since they are more likely to
    know their own delegates and their financial situation. But then that would
    still leave the question of the allocation among states. Any ideas or
    alternative proposals for how to decide this, anyone?

    2) A different interpretation was suggested by Dr. Lieberman: that whatever
    total this fund collects should be used to offset the cost of the packages
    that people buy. I don’t believe this was what the delegates had in mind
    when proposing and voting on this motion, but we should decide which of
    these interpretations, or some other, is correct.

    3) Would it be possible to create an official ride/room share board and
    promote it through our official communication channels? I remember some
    discussion of this in the past and a counterpoint was made that it may be a
    violation of our hotel contract and that it would hurt our goal of selling
    enough hotel rooms to not incur a large penalty under that contract. I may
    or may not have made these points before: For many people, the choice may
    not be between getting a room by themselves and sharing one, but rather
    between sharing one at the convention hotel versus staying off property, or
    even sharing one somewhere in the convention city versus not being able to
    afford to go at all. I’d also like to add as a possibly relevant piece of
    evidence that when I observed the 2008 Green national convention in Chicago
    they did in fact officially promote a ride and room share board. Their
    meeting was in a very expensive hotel in downtown Chicago and featured a
    mandatory fee for delegates, but on the other hand they also have proxy
    voting, which mean that people could (sort of) vote as delegates without
    having to travel there, and if they did travel there, the party facilitated
    shared rooms and shared rides to and from the convention. Perhaps their
    hotel contract was different from ours, but even if we are not allowed to
    officially facilitate room sharing, why would the hotel care if we
    facilitate ride sharing arrangements? It may in fact help build camraderie
    and cooperation between LPs in different states if delegates stop along the
    way to pick up other delegates on the way to the convention, and the more
    people this allows to escape the clutches of the TSA the better!

    4) If the fund will continue to exist, will it be promoted through official
    party channels such as the facebook, email list, and LP.org blog, in the
    same way that the emergency travel fund was? What is the procedure to
    decide if it is or not? I answered you verbally, but to also put it in
    writing (I may have done that earlier but don’t remember), while I thought
    that the emergency appeal should have been more narrowly targeted, say to
    major donors and past LNC members, and/or contained the explanation that
    our bylaws don’t currently allow LNC teleconferences that can conduct
    business, *especially* now that it has gone out to everyone, if we don’t
    cancel the convention delegate fund I think it would make sense to promote
    it in the same way or at least find out how we can decide whether it will
    be.

    5) Another reasonable proposal might be that the vote to not charge a
    mandatory voting fee for delegates cancels the need for any convention
    delegate fund, which in that case was only a contingency in case we had
    one. That brings up in my mind a different set of questions if such a
    decision is made:

    As a donor to that fund, how do I go about redirecting my money? Is there a
    list of all the currently existing restricted funds anywhere? If not, can
    we create one? Is there a procedure for asking donors what to do with their
    money if, say, it is raised for a project that does not end up happening
    for whatever reason? If not, can we create one? I am asking not so much
    because the ten bucks is that important to me but rather because I think
    these questions in a more general sense deserve to be considered and would
    in the long run help us raise more money IMO.

    -paulie

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