National Capital FreeNet / Libertel de la Capitale nationale

NCF Board of Directors
Minutes of Meeting
July 16, 2002


Minutes of a meeting of the Board of Directors

Held on July 16, 2002 at 7:00 pm
Billings Room
Ottawa City Hall
111 Lisgar Street, Ottawa

The meeting was called to order at 7.14 p.m. (after 'Once around the table. . .')
with Chris Cope as Chair and Sandy Campbell as Secretary.


    Board members present:
    Christopher Cope (bz787), President/chair
    Sandy Campbell (dt820), Secretary
    Gibby Armstrong, (et091), Treasurer
    Mary Anne Dugmore (er983)
    Mark Mielke (al278)
    Graeme Beckett (aw958)
    Michael Williamson (em324)
    Don Francis (ba990)

    Gary Eikenberry (aa353), 1st Vice-President
    Andrea Holland (es170), 2nd Vice-President
    John Wenuk (ep585)

    NCF Management/Staff present:
    Ian MacEachern (bi207), Executive Director
    Sheila Alder (bw306) , Office Manager
    Andre Dalle (al178), System Administrator
    Glenn Jackman (es087), System Administrator

    Robert Rattey (ac866)

    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 published.
    Moved by: Sandy Campbell
    Seconded by: Mary Anne Dugmore
    VOTE: All in favor

    (see draft agenda)

    MOTION: That the agenda be adopted as published, with deletion of 6. d) which was a duplication and addition as 11. c) Appeal of CRC decision.
    Moved by: Sandy Campbell
    Seconded by: Michael Williamson
    VOTE: All in favor


    1. Web-based community software
      ED Ian MacEachern researched the popular and powerful program WebCrossing and reported license fees were beyond NCF's budget at this time. Two other programs (Phorum and Paper Cut) are free and might be adequate for our purposes. This initiative remains on the monthly Board Agenda while work is completed on upgrading the entire NCF technical architecture. The new software could likely be installed by late summer or early fall.
    2. Status report on modem-access upgrade
      ED Ian MacEachern advised that purchase of the third Total Control terminal server had been postponed, because other demands on staff would make it difficult to install and configure the box within the 30-day warranty period. The remaining Cisco terminal server is performing reasonably well.
    3. Summer Board meeting schedule
      The meeting approved the ED's recommendation that a Board meeting be held as scheduled in August.
    4. Support for annual NCF picnic
      The meeting considered cancelling the picnic when family commitments forced longtime picnic organizer Marissa Bovey to withdraw. However, Office Manager Sheila Alder bravely volunteered to carry on with a "potluck" picnic, same place, same time.
    5. Progress report on Projects roll-out
      A limited roll-out of the NCF Internet Desktop (Thin Client) was accomplished with only a few minor glitches. Some additional trials will be done before it's presented for general use by the membership. Launch of NCF Webmail was slightly delayed by difficulties integrating it with SpamAssassin. Sysadmin Andre Dalle reported those problems appear now to have been resolved. POP users will be first to be migrated to Webmail, then text users.
    6. Anti-SPAM plan
      The ED praised the work of Sysadmins Andre Dalle and Glenn Jackman in installing and tweaking SpamAssassin as a major defence against SPAM. (In addition, NCF has subscribed to the RealTime Blackhole List service provided by the Mail Abuse Prevention System, as well as the Open Relay Database. When a site is blocked by one of these services, no email is accepted at NCF from that site.) Many members have said they are delighted with the sharp reduction of the SPAM that had plagued them.
    7. Plan for strengthening local NCF control
      No progress to report on this issue, which will be kept on the Agenda to maintain its priority.
    8. Report on action to increase member donations
      Initially, new services (Internet Desktop, Webmail, upgraded connectivity) will be promoted to NCF membership, prior to being 'marketed' to the general community. A new secure online credit-card streamlines our ability to accept donations via Visa and MasterCard, and was described by Office Manager Sheila Alder as a major imrovement over the old system. A painstaking volunteer-driven telephone survey of archived accounts produced very limited returns; likewise an email campaign to new members who had not yet donated. Both those undertakings were recommended by the Board in June.

    1. Executive Director's Report (Ian MacEachern)
      (see accompanying report)
      ED MacEachern described these as "pressing times," given the overarching objective to reach the point where NCF is totally funded by member donations. He will continue working with the Executive Committee on refining a strategy. (Although the dip in member donations in June and probably July was a real concern, it might have been exaggerated by failure to allow for traditional 'seasonal' fluctuations in donations patterns.)

      MOTION: That the report be accepted as published.
      Moved by: Don Francis
      Seconded by: Graeme Beckett
      MOTION: All in favor

    2. Executive Committee Report (Chris Cope)
      (see accompanying report)
      The Executive Director and Treasurer were asked to prepare a revised financial forecast for the balance of the year. They will meet shortly, possibly with NCF Accountant Rudy Wytenburg. Treasurer Gibby Armstrong mentioned the seasonal aspect of donations, given the June results and the budgeted dip in November and December when donations have traditionally risen because of renewal dates.

      MOTION: That the report be accepted as published.
      Moved by: Graeme Beckett
      Seconded by: Don Francis
      VOTE: All in favor

    3. Treasurer's Report (Gibby Armstrong)
      Treasurer Gibby Armstrong reported she had met with Accountant Rudy Wytenburg and Executive Director MacEachern to review reports and procedures. NCF needs monthly revenues of about $18,000 to cover costs; member donations in June provided less than half that, but year-to-date figures were considerably more favorable. She will begin providing written monthly reports to the Board, explaining and analyzing statements and balance sheet from the Accountant.

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


    1. Attracting francophone members to NCF
      (see accompanying submission TXT| DOC)
      Longtime member/volunteer Robert Rattey discussed with Directors the points raised in his written presentation. The Board agreed that a major effort was warranted to strengthen French-language services. Realistically, that would only be doable if francophone individuals and organizations came forward to volunteer assistance. First step should be to canvass for potential volunteers which would provide a measure of what support there would be in the community.

      MOTION: That a message to members be issued in French asking for francophone volunteers to assist with strengthening French-language services on Libertel.
      Moved by: Sandy Campbell
      Seconded by: Don Francis
      VOTE: All in favor

    2. Board liaison with Complaints Resolution Committee

      MOTION:That Mary Ann Dugmore be appointed Board representative to the Complaints Resolution Committee.
      Moved by: Sandy Campbell
      Seconded by: Chris Cope
      VOTE: All in favor

    3. NCF submission to HRDC supporting community networks

      Michael Williamson noted that background material was available online. He will work with ED to prepare draft. ED to email URL to Directors.

    4. Projects financial report

      Report in final stages and will be presented at August Board meeting.

    5. Marketing plan

      ED is working on integrating material from three reports (InMedia, plus two studies by Carleton University commerce students)and including ideas contained in the francophone recruitment submission by member Robert Rattey. ED developing a solid launch plan/team. ED will have report ready for next meeting of Executive Committee. There was discussion of the need to finalize the plan without delay, and some debate about promoting various facets of new services as they are ready for general release versus a "one big bang" promotion presenting the complete package.

  7. Announcements
    1. The annual NCF Picnic will be held at Vincent Massey Park July 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a "potluck" basis.
    2. ED Ian MacEachern was to be guest on CFRA Radio at 8 a.m. Sunday, July 28

    August 20, 2002 at 7 p.m.
    Billings Room, Ottawa City Hall
    111 Lisgar street, Ottawa

    1. Recommendation on ED contract

      MOTION: That the Board approve the unanimous recommendation of the Negotiations Committee (Sandy Campbell, Chair; Gary Eikenberry and Chris Cope) on the terms of a one-year contract with Ian MacEachern covering his services as Executive Director for the year 2002, and authorize the contract to be signed forthwith.
      Moved by: Sandy Campbell
      Seconded by: Chris Cope
      VOTE: All in favor

    2. Financial Review

      Treasurer Gibby Armstrong presented a brief overview of current financial matters and fielded question from Directors.

    3. Appeal of Complaints Resolution Committee decision

      The Board unanimously agreed to confirm the decision of the CRC turning down a member's request for the deletion of a newsgroup posting which the member found unacceptable.


    The meeting adjourned at 10.35 p.m.