National Capital FreeNet / Libertel de la Capitale nationale

NCF Board of Directors
Minutes of Meeting
March 19, 2002


Minutes of a meeting of the Board of Directors

Held on March 19, 2002 at 6:00 pm
at Oracle Corporation meeting room
50 O'Connor Street, Ottawa

The meeting was called to order at 6.10 p.m. with Chris Cope as Chair and Sandy Campbell as Secretary.

Minute-Taker: Sheila Alder (bw306)


    Board members present:
    Graeme Beckett (aw958)
    Sandy Campbell (dt820), Secretary
    Christopher Cope (bz787), President/chair
    Gary Eikenberry (aa353)
    Mark Mielke (al278)
    Catherine Wenuk (ep584)
    John Wenuk (ep585)
    Mary Anne Dugmore (er983)
    Don Francis (ba990)
    Andrea Holland (es170)
    Michael Williamson (em324)

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

    NCF members present:
    Jim Elder (aa456)
    Robert Rattey (ac867)

    (see minutes of prior month)

    MOTION: That minutes be approved as published.
    Moved by: Sandy Campbell
    Seconded by: Gary Eikenberry
    VOTE: All in favor

    (see draft agenda)

    MOTION: That the agenda be adopted as published.
    Moved by Sandy Campbell
    Seconded by Michael Williamson
    VOTE: All in favor


    1. Ownership of NCF: Local or global (Jim Elder)

      This item is tabled for the April meeting.


    1. Treasurer's Report (David Millman)
      (see accompanying report and financial statements for prior month)

      Retiring Treasurer Millman being unavailable for the meeting, ED Ian MacEachern spoke to the report. Treasurer Millman's report is posted online.

      MOTION: That the report be adopted as published.
      Moved by: Sandy Campbell
      Seconded by: Michael Williamson
      VOTE: All in favor

    2. Executive Director's Report (Ian MacEachern)
      (see accompanying report)
      ED Ian MacEachern reviewed major points of his online report. Overall, steady progress being made; some concern about number of new members and level of donations. He provided new directors some background on Smart Capital and HRDC contracts re Thin Client and webmail. Director Gary Eikenberry stressed the importance of using the leverage of these new features to attract new members.

      MOTION: That the report be accepted as published.
      Moved by: Michael Williamson
      Seconded by: Gary Eikenberry
      MOTION: All in favor

    3. Executive Committee Report (Chris Cope)
      Chair Chris Cope advised that Executive Committee did not meet during previous month because of work on the AGM. He said attention will be given to finding replacement for retiring Treasurer David Millman which could include a review of Executive Committee's role.
    4. AGM Committee Report (Chris Cope)
      (see accompanying report)

      AGM Chair Chris Cope described the 2002 AGM a resounding success. Voter "turnout" was excellent, especially considering there were no major issues on the table. The outstanding slate of candidates confirmed the effectiveness of the Nominations Committee created by the Board for this AGM; experience suggests the Committee should get started earlier for AGM 2003. Much credit for success of the AGM was due to the yeoman efforts of volunteers like Ian Allen, as well as Directors serving in various roles.

      Director Sandy Campbell called special attention to the work of Jim Elder, whose tireless dedication and skills added an impressive and attractive fact-and-feature-packed AGM site to his already long list of contributions to NCF.

      MOTION: The board of directors of the National Capital FreeNet wishes to thank all those who ran for election in the 2002 Annual General Meeting and those who worked to make the AGM a success.
      Moved by: Sandy Campbell
      Seconded by: John Wenuk
      VOTE: All in favor

      MOTION: The board of directors of the National Capital FreeNet wishes to thank outgoing director David Millman (aa342) for his contribution to NCF as a director and as Treasurer of the organization.
      Moved by: Gary Eikenberry
      Seconded by: Cathy Wenuk
      VOTE: All in favor

      MOTION: That the report of the AGM Chair be accepted as published.
      Moved by: Mary Anne Dugmore
      Seconded by: Michael Williamson
      VOTE: All in favor

    1. Board orientation
      (see Board Orientation Package)

      Longtime member and former Director Jim Elder, ED Ian MacEachern, and President Chris Cope made detailed presentations on NCF from their respective vantage points, as an immersion course for newcomers to the Board and a refresher for current Directors.

      Jim Elder's presentation (PowerPoint) was a comprehensive overview of FreeNet, past, present, and future. He said NCF had 'caught the wave' as an exciting though primitive local internet, before the global internet started; 'surfed' with great panache for several years with little or no competition; then 'wiped out'(lost the wave) and has been 'treading water' for the last five or six years. Now, with a strong, governance Board of Directors and revitalized staff, it has the opportunity to invest in web-based online community network software (to complement the exisiting FreePort text-based online community software) that could give it a new lease on life. There will be membership-growth leverage in Smart Capital and HRDC projects, which, combined with substantially increasing-- probably doubling-- the current number of available modems could attract enough members (12-14,000) and donation revenue to put NCF on a stable, prosperous, and genuinely independent footing. (The full slide set, including some additional material which arose from discussions at the presentation, is online at and is best viewed when Carleton's internet is uncongested, eg. early mornings.)

      ED Ian MacEachern's presentation also used PowerPoint to take Directors on a tour of NCF offices and equipment at Carleton University. Cramped quarters and old equipment illustrated the challenges staff face to keep NCF operating. Prospects, however, are bright, with major projects like Thin Client, webmail, and extended access getting ready to launch. New and upgraded office equipment, servers, and the possibility of adding substantially more and faster modems and some digital phone lines will help NCF recapture the adventurous, can-do spirit of its early days that will return it to its position as a major, important community institution.

      President Chris Cope summed up with his view of NCF's raison d'etre; in essence, an organization in which a large number of community-minded people pool their assets of money, skill, and time to do good and worthwhile things of benefit to themselves and to their community. Every NCF member is also an owner and the role and duty of staff and Directors alike is to serve the owners; to strive to provide good, reliable, and reasonably-modern services. To do that, it is essential that staff and Board maintain clear two-way communications with members, because the health and prosperity of NCF depends on the willingness of members to support it.

  7. Announcements
    1. Sheila Alder shared news she has become a grandmother and will be off to Mexico to visit grand-daughter next month.
    2. ED announced NCF has taken new subscription to spam-blocking service
    3. ED announced that longtime member and supporter Andre Ouellette is planning a May 1 launch of "The Communicator," a newsletter of, by, and for members.
    4. Graeme Beckett noted that Rogers is launching a 'lite' modem service, offering 128K connections at $25/month on top of basic cable charge.

    April 16, 2002 at 7 p.m.
    Location to be announced


    Directors received a brief oral report on a series of informal meetings with the ED attended by Sandy Campbell, Jim Elder, and Chris Cope. They were basically intended to discuss how office and operational procedures focus on the NCF mission statement enunciated by the Board. Tone of the meetings was cooperative and supportive and all who attended agreed they had been useful and productive, resulting in clarification of which issues are most important to members, improved communication between Board and staff, identification of some possible new services to members, etc. Director Andrea Holland agreed to attend future meetings.


    The meeting adjourned at 10.50 p.m.