TEI: Minutes of the TEI-C Board Teleconference, 17 December 2008

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February 4, 2009 First draft

TEI-C Board of Directors teleconference, 17 December 2008Chris Ruotolo

  • The meeting began at approximately 13:00 GMT, with the following members present: Lou Burnard (LB), Julia Flanders (JF), Bertrand Gaiffe (BG), John Lavagnino (JL), Daniel O’Donnell (DO), Daniel Pitti (DP), Sebastian Rahtz (SR), Laurent Romary (LR), Chris Ruotolo (CR), Susan Schreibman (SS), and Christian Wittern (CW).

  • The meeting agenda was approved.

  • The minutes from the last meeting were corrected to indicate current spendable funds of $10-$15K.

  • The TEI currently has about $40K. We can safely spend about $15K. We’ll have a more precise financial picture by June 30th, and can adjust then.

    • JF revised the proposals to address concerns raised at the last Board meeting. The Outreach Program is now proposed as a way to provide consultancy, technical support, and advice to the TEI community by 1) providing a list of consultants; 2) offering consultancy grants to small or underfunded projects; and 3) providing assistance with grant proposals. The proposed cost is $15K.

      The Outreach Coordinator is now a volunteer position. The Coordinator would maintain and recruit consultants, make sure they’re listed accurately, publicize the grants program and issue calls for proposals, and help grantees publish their results. If the position were eventually funded, it would be even more effective, but in this budget situation it makes sense to spend the money elsewhere. The proposed cost is now $0K.

    • DO described his proposal to set up a credit card payment system, which could handle membership and subscriber fees and anything else that involves money. This would allow us to automate most of our membership activities. The estimated cost is roughly $3-$4K, which includes setup costs and fees for each transaction.

    • Proposal to establish three different levels of subscribers, and charge each a different fee.

    • Proposal to hire a central administrative person for ~8 hours per week to help the Board get its work done. Because we already spend a considerable amount on administrative work, we would need to examine how the work proposed here would overlap with work being done at U.Va. and Nancy. The estimated cost is roughly $3-$4K.

    • Proposal to set aside funds for outreach-related travel. Last year we spent $2K to send representatives to conferences in Russia and Morocco, as well as a DLF meeting. This year’s proposal is for $2K.

    • LR proposed that we fund an additional face-to-face Council meeting. Each time the Council meets in person, more work gets done, and the outreach impact of “TEI Day” meetings is enormous. Council tries to find local funds to defray meeting costs wherever possible. There are already strong proposals in the works for meetings in Lyon and Dublin. Estimated cost is $17K, a ballpark figure based on the costs of the last meeting.

      CW noted that the Council used to receive a fixed budget and was free to spend it as they wanted. We could consider that model again. It would help to know exactly what LR wants to achieve at the proposed second meeting.

    • SS proposed several small grants to fund the activities of the SIGs — for example, 4 grants of $500-$1,000 each. The proposed cost is $3-$4K.

    • In the past, we let any number of people from member institutions attend the MM for free. Now that we have a conference model and costs are higher, we may need to limit each institution to 3 free registrations and charge after that. Alternately, the Board could cover the gap by offering more conference support funds to the local host. The proposed cost is $2K (in addition to the $5K provided in the past).

  • In total, there were ~$50K worth of funding requests for the available $15K.

    The subscriber proposal was dropped as irrelevant. The Outreach Coordinator proposal was dropped because no funds were requested.

    Grants and travel: The Board debated keeping distinct amounts of funding for the SIG grants, outreach grants, and strategic travel, vs. lumping the funds together. In the end, the Board decided to allocate $3K each for the outreach and SIG grants, and not to set aside any funds for strategic travel.

    Credit card and admin. asst.: SR suggested that the credit card system should be cost neutral or cost saving, and that it shouldn’t come out of the $15K. JF suggested that a subgroup look at the credit card and administrative assistant proposals, and the impacts they might have on the administrative work at Nancy and U.Va. BG noted that much of the administrative money that goes to Nancy is actually spent on Roma development. DO, VL, and DP agreed to examine this situation in detail, with the goal that any implementation of the proposals should be cost neutral or cost saving.

    Members’ Meeting: Now that the MM is a true conference, it could be bringing in revenue. We don’t currently charge for the conference; we ask people to join, but that money doesn’t go toward the conference expenses. DP suggested a registration fee for all conference attendees (maybe $90), with discounts for members and subscribers. This would be a tangible member benefit. A subcommittee will be appointed to look at the issues raised in the proposal. For now, no additional MM funds will be committed.

    Council Meeting: A Council meeting typically costs $17K-$20K. To keep costs down, the Council would have to continue meeting around London and Paris, where the bulk of the members are located. The Council has never met in North America; this may undermine its outreach function. Motion to offer Council an additional $9K this year, for a total of $27K. The Council can spend the money however it chooses — on one meeting, or on two, if they can find additional funds.

  • The Board voted to award an additional $9K to the Council, and $3K each for the community outreach and SIG grant proposals. The application process will be finalized later. The details about how the grants will work, as well as the volunteer COC position, will be discussed on the email list.

  • The meeting adjourned at 15:06 GMT.