National Capital FreeNet / Libertel de la Capitale nationale

NCF Board of Directors
Minutes of Meeting
December 17, 2002


Minutes of a meeting of the Board of Directors

Held on December 17, 2002 at 7:00 pm
Festival Boardroom
Ottawa City Hall
111 Lisgar Street, Ottawa

The meeting was called to order at 7.10 p.m.
with Chris Cope as Chair and Sandy Campbell as Secretary.


    Board members present:
    Christopher Cope (bz787), President/chair
    Gary Eikenberry (aa353), 1st Vice-President
    Andrea Holland (es170), 2nd Vice-President
    Sandy Campbell (dt820), Secretary
    Mary Anne Dugmore (er983)
    Mark Mielke (al278)
    Graeme Beckett (aw958)
    Don Francis (ba990)

    Michael Williamson (em324)
    John Wenuk (ep585)

    NCF Management/Staff present:
    John Selwyn (es347), Executive Director
    Glenn Jackman (es087), System Administrator

    Leo Tischart (ay601)

    Once around the table . . .
    Informal pre-meeting conversation, with Directors taking turn offering personal views and commentary on interesting things that might not make it to the Agenda.

    (see minutes of prior month)

    MOTION: That minutes be approved as amended.
    Moved by: Sandy Campbell
    Seconded by: Mark Mielke
    VOTE: All in favor

    (see draft agenda)

    MOTION: That the published agenda be adopted after removal of item 6 a) and addition of appointment of new Treasuer as item 8 c).
    Moved by: Sandy Campbell
    Seconded by: Gary Eikenberry
    VOTE: All in favor


    1. Status Report Nominations Committee (Andrea Holland)

      Chair Andrea Holland reported the Committee is assembling material and will begin its labors soon.

    2. Status Report AGM Committee (Chris Cope)

      MOTION: That the online 2003 Annual General Meeting begin March 3 and end March 16.
      Moved by: Sandy Campbell
      Seconded by: Don Francis
      VOTE: All in favor

      MOTION: That Don Francis and Chris Cope be appointed co-chairs of the 2003 Annual General meeting.
      Moved by: Sandy Campbell
      Seconded by: Mark Mielke
      VOTE: All in favor

    3. Status Report Complaints Resolution Committee (Mary Anne Dugmore)

      MOTION: That the Board receive the report and ask Mary Anne Dugmore to review membership agreement and Acceptable Usage Policy in light of update suggested by the Complaints Resolution Committee.
      Moved by: Sandy Campbell
      Seconded by: Gary Eikenberry
      VOTE: All in favor

    4. NCF submission to HRDC supporting community networks (Michael Williamson)

      Matter was tabled to next Board meeting.

    1. Executive Director's Report (John Selwyn)

      ED John Selwyn, only two months into the role and gamely fighting a major 'flu attack, delivered a dynamic two-part 'State of the Union' presentation and an outline of the 'focus' for 2003.

      Part One: Our Status Today: Detailed explanation of a "blitz" designed to get technical basics and capabilities in order, as the sine qua non foundation for the 2003 campaign to make FreeNet sufficiently attractive to begin growing membership and donations to the point they at least cover NCF operating costs.

      Highlights:Recruited four high-skilled specialists for short-term contracts (Andre Vellino, Shirly Yik, Bob Summers, Jim Elder) and looking to add Unix guru and web-design/content creator; modems stabilized and availability improved; HRDC and Smart Capital projects under control, reviewed, and retargeted to provide more value to members and funders; identified more ways to reduce costs borne by members; a more than $20K additional in-kind donations received in November.

      Status at the end of November: Membership stable (although low at 6,616); membership renewals on target at 379; total donations on target at $12,087; modems restored to full operation; projects/contracts under control.

      Next month's objectives: Dial-up capacity increase; reorganization of office space; additions to the team; better integration of Internet Desktop and Webmail; database development; review of procedures; beginnings of web-based community applications; preparations for NCF's 10th Anniversary.

      ED Selwyn credited progress to "the awesome amount of work currently being done by a lot of great people" and to the groundwork laid by his predecessors as Executive Director, Chris Cope and Ian MacEachern.

      MOTION: That the ED report be received
      Moved by: Graeme Beckett
      Seconded by: Sandy Campbell
      VOTE: All in favor

      The Executive Director's presentation drew a round of applause from Directors. Sandy Campbell cited the encouraging strides NCF had made in the two busy, stressful years since the fall of 2000 when "there was a move to reduce FreeNet to a BBS in somebody's closet." Chris Cope echoed praise for those who had opted to strive to renovate NCF to compete for its important niche in the community, and lauded the dramatic quickening of the pace of rebuilding introduced by John Selwyn.

      Part Two: NCF in 2003:
      (see accompanying report) The Executive Director outlined his assessment of what FreeNet's focus should be in the coming year, including "NCF's mission statement and traditions, the wishes of current members (who are NCF's owners) and potential members, and the desires of NCF sponsors and partners."

      "The basic strategy in 2003 remains as it was in 2002: To use the products of the SmartCapital and HRDC projects to put NCF into a state that earns sufficient donations from members and sponsors to cover NCF's operating costs."

      As an 'Executive Summary': "NCF's focus in 2003 it to provide its members with reliable low-cost dialup access to basic internet services, extend the range of NCF's services to members and the community, and to organize help for people new to using the internet. NCF will: provide internet access; help improve internet literacy; operate an internet 'public common'; for residents of the National Capital region."

      Included among planned innovations and improvements: "Web-based communication and collaboration tools to make the 'community building' aspects of FreePort available to web-based members. (Much of NCF's popularity in the 1990's was dues to features of the FreePort software, which provided a text-based interface to community-fostering services. Although many people still love and use FreePort, the majority of today's internet users use web-browsers. In 2003, NCF will provide community-building applications for people using web-browsers, enabling NCF to function as a sort of 'public common' for the National Capital community.)

      MOTION: That the Board adopt "NCF in 2003" as presented by Executive Director John Selwyn as a planning guide for the coming year.
      Moved by: Mary Anne Dugmore
      Seconded by: Don Francis
      VOTE: All in favor

    2. Executive Committee Report (Chris Cope)

      The Committee did not meet this month.

    3. Treasurer's Report
      (see financial statements for prior month)

      Donation revenue was above budget for the month and cash operation expenses were in line with expectations. If December results are similar, NCF will meet the 2002 budget projections. However, member donations must increase substantially to pay all operating costs, independent of "contract" revenue.

      MOTION: That the Treasurer's Report be accepted as presented.
      Moved by: Don Francis
      Seconded by: Graeme Beckett
      VOTE: All in favor


    1. Recognition of Volunteers of the Month, 2002

      ED John Selwyn presented certificates to Volunteers of the Month Leo Tischart (ay610) and Glenn Jackman (es087) who were in attendance. Others honored were John Peterson (af186), Shirley Yik (ac895), James Schofield (dj271), Howard Eisenberger (ag221), David Millman (aa342), Paul Tomblin (ab401), Julie Quon (et317), Susan Oda (bw225), Robert Rattey (ac866), and Marion Runstedler (cy059).

    2. Announcement and recognition of the 2002 Volunteer of the Year

      Pioneer NCF'er and longtime volunteer Robert Rattey (ac866) was elected Volunteer of the Year for 2002. Robert was chosen by staff and Directors from among the year's Volunteers of the Month. Robert was honored for his continuing hands-on support of FreeNet, especially for his work in translation. The ED and directors offered personal congratulations to Robert.

      MOTION: That the Board, on behalf of staff and all NCF members, offers deep-felt thanks to the 2002 Volunteers of the Month and the Volunteer of the Year and to all volunteers whose contributions make concrete the sharing and caring spirit of FreeNet.
      Moved by: Gary Eikenberry
      Seconded by: Graeme Beckett
      VOTE: All in favor (including Chair Cope, who normally does not vote)

    3. Appointment of new Treasurer

      Vanessa Kanu was introduced to the Board by President Chris Cope, who along with ED John Selwyn had met with Vanessa earlier in the month. Vanessa is a professional colleague of retiring Treasurer Gibby Armstrong. She explained that she had been seeking volunteer work as a way "of giving something back to the community," when Gibby told her about NCF.

      MOTION: That the Board accepts with regret the resignation of Gibby Armstrong and thanks her for the solid work she did as Treasurer.
      Moved by: Andrea Holland
      Seconded by: Sandy Campbell
      VOTE: All in favor

      MOTION: That Vanessa Kanu be appointed Treasurer of National Capital FreeNet.
      Moved by: Don Francis
      Seconded by: Graeme Beckett
      VOTE: All in favor

  7. Announcements
    1. Director Andrea Holland announced that she and her husband are expecting their second child in April.
    2. Chris Cope announced that he will serve on a panel and present a paper at the mid-April SmartCity Summit in Ottawa.

    January 21, 2003 at 7 p.m.
    Billings Room, Ottawa City Hall
    111 Lisgar street, Ottawa


    The meeting adjourned at 10.15 p.m.