Board member Sheryl Hester was out of town due to a family emergency, and was excused.
Board member Aaron Nabil was also not at the meeting—and there were no pre-arrangements made by him. (It was suspected that he was in California, since he's had to make many trips there recently.)
[Mary Olsen was appointed to the Board during this meeting.] Much paper was exchanged (almost all of it printed on recycled paper), including draft minutes from the OSFCI Annual Meeting in May. (John L. was still collecting copies of financial statements that were passed out at that meeting—while he was at a work conference in Anaheim. He hopes to have them completed soon.)
[Aaron: "But these are OSFCI budgets." John L.: "Yes, this is an OSFCI meeting…"]
The meeting was called to order at 1:13PM, Linda Time.
The budget engendered much discussion. Recent expenses have included insurance (about $1,600), annual meeting space ($100), bulk mail permit renewal ($150), attorney's fees ($300)—some of these are broken out in the budget. John W. said that OSFCI needs about $4,500 each year to cover expenses, and our income can fluctuate a lot. One thing we should do is charge our conventions more for insurance—we've been charging 50¢ a person for many years, and a more realistic figure would be $1 per convention attendee.
One of our biggest expenses is web hosting. Aaron Nabil has been asked to looking into cheaper hosting companies, but we haven't heard back from him yet. There are a lot of items that are $100 or less, but when you add them together, you get a $1200-$1500 chunk of money, and none of them are likely to go away. The PO Box this year was paid for by Smofcon, since it's also using the same address. John L.: I'll mention that the PO box next year will probably be paid for by L.A.Con IV, since we need a Portland address for the Hugo ballots. (John is the Hugo administrator for L.A.Con IV.)
Andrew: Is it possible to change the insurance rate for any of the existing conventions? Have contracts been signed for all of them? Andrew proposed that we raise the insurance from 50¢ to $1 per person, for every convention that we can get away with. (There was some discussion on who has, or has not, signed management agreements.)
Patty: Someone needs to sit down and discus the insurance policy with the agency—it keep going up despite us no longer serving alcohol in Hospitality. John L.: Smofcon will be serving alcohol in their suite this year. David: There is nothing in the management agreement about the amount charged for insurance. John W: I did mention to the insurance broker that OryCon was not serving alcohol this year, and it made no difference in the rates.
Aaron: What is the date range on this policy? (October to October? No, April 2005 to April 2006.) Patty: We really need to explore this, since this is now the highest cost we have, after losing the storage garage. Ruth: Suzle (Suzanne Tompkins, in Seattle) may have some ideas for other sources for insurance. John W: In 1990, we paid $600…this year it's $1,600.
Any other ideas on how to cut costs? John L: Since the separate OryCon PO Box is only for used by them, they should cover that cost in their budget. Maybe we pay it initially but expect OryCon to reimburse us for that expense.
John W: Maybe we change the way the fees are charged to the conventions—make it more of sliding scale based on the number of people? (Discussion on ways to do this.) John W. also asked about how it's decided that equipment-type (and Reg expenses) are paid by OSFCI? (Gamestorm comes from the point of view that "we pay for everything ourselves.") John L: For many years, all of any surplus from OryCon went directly to OSFCI, and then OSFCI would pay for all the continuing equipment. When we had some other events, and OSFCI allowed them to distribute some of their surplus themselves, OryCon wanted to do the same thing because "OSFCI has all this money."
John W: We also have about $6,000 in CDs, but that doesn't grow (gather interest) any more. We'll cash some of them out soon to give us the cash we need to operate, but we don't have anything to replace them.
Andrew asked about getting more dynamism into OryCon publicity, since that's still the biggest source of cash for OSFCI. Patty: I was going to do advertising for OryCon this year, but because of the hotel problems I ended up working there, and then Mel bailed on us. Most general knowledge tells us that when you change hotels, you'll lose 10% in attendance. Additionally, after working with Columbia River all those years, we knew where they'd ding us in extra charges—we don't know that yet for the Marriott. Jim: The economy is doing somewhat better, but the Board needs to make sure there's someone competently running a high-pressure publicity campaign for OryCon this year, even if we have to hire someone. And it needs a dedicated person to handle it. Patty: It's gotta be more than just flyers, and Pooh (the OryCon chair) needs advice on this because she's new to this. And we can't depend on just one person handling this—we (the Board) have to help. Piece by piece, we have to get back to an organized state.
Several ideas were discussed:
Linda collected commitments from people on handling various tasks:
John W: If we make it harder for the conventions to make a surplus, than the deficits just come back to OSFCI to cover. Even if we ran these conventions directly, we'd still have this problem. The money coming from the conventions has remained fairly flat, but the expenses have risen greatly.
Ruth: When we get the art show panels from the NASFiC, where are they going? To Aaron C.'s garage. Patty: We are trying to end up with other stuff from the NASFiC, also. If there's anything that people would try to get from the NASFiC, let Dave know. (Office supplies, foam core boards, etc.)
John W: We have about $800 in expenses between now and OryCon that we'll need to cover. Andrew moved that we cash out a CD to get us the cash we need (he didn't realize that he'd made a motion, but he was told that he had). Everyone said yes. (Linda's phone rang and husband Jim was told that her phone was almost dead.)
Web Hosting: Finding a new hosting company has been assigned to Aaron Nabil. Aaron Curtis will talk to him, and possibly that this over. We will talk to the OryCon web guy to see if he wants to take over the OSFCI site, as David Levine wants to step aside. Andrew: One of the reasons we pay so much is because we have every web site that we ever put up. Aaron: The real difference between $100 and $500 is support. Linda: What support do we need? John L: Mailing lists. I could put all the OSFCI event web sites on my own SpiritOne site, but I don't have access to the majordomo software that we're using the OryCon and OSFCI. John W: It is possible that SpiritOne would charge us less.
The meeting went off on a tangent from the agenda. Can we appoint Mary Olsen to the Board now? The problem was that we're meeting before 7:30PM, and there was much discussion on whether the 7:30PM limit as the earliest possible starting time survived the recent Bylaws changes. [For history's note: The 7:30PM start time came from the days when we only met on Monday nights, and one meeting was set for 7PM on a Monday. The bylaws were change to set the 7:30PM minimum.] For the most part, it was felt that we were stuck with the 7:30PM start time, even on weekends. So we'll take a vote by e-mail later on Mary's membership in the Board.
There was some discussion about the hotel reservation problems. Updated information will be put on the web site and in the PR—it's been posted to the OryCon list. We need to get the web site updated a lot quicker.
Linda was named the OSFCI ex-officio member to the OryCon 27 committee, replacing David Scabbier who isn't on the Board anymore.
2. Gamestorm 7
Gamestorm 7 is done. (Financial statement is enclosed.) There were questions about the low surplus—Gamestorm has seed money for the next year's event built into the budget, and any other surplus has been low most years.
3. Gamestorm 8
Patty passed on hotel for this convention to Mel in March, took it back in June when Mel dropped it. The Holiday Inn (Airport) is a worrisome proposal. There's a lot of language could make for sudden expenses (i.e. the hotel gets to decide if Gamestorm needs to hire outside security, which they'd then have to hire from the hotel; there's a provision that says if Gamestorm doesn't use all the space, they have to pay for it and the hotel can still resell it; there's a provision that says that, for anyone who had a room reservation and didn't show up, Gamestorm would have to pay the first night of that room.)
Also, there's the worry about this being the site of the ill-fated RoseCon, and many of that convention's problems were caused by the hotel. Many expressed worries about this hotel, including Ben when Patty ran it by him.
Patty contacted both the Red Lion Inn at the Quay (Vancouver) and the Sheraton (Airport). The Sheraton will be in the midst of remodeling the meeting space during that time (they are very interested in the 2007 Gamestorm). The Red Lion person has been very to contact, but he's been very good to work with. She's now waiting to hear back from him on the latest counter-proposal. She thinks she'll have a contract back from him next week, and it's likely it'll be signable.
The Inn at the Quay contract is about $4,000 cheaper than the Holiday Inn, and it is in a nicer location. John W: The usual hotel costs for Gamestorm have been $2000-$3000. Patty: The Holiday Inn would run $7000-$10,000. There was no objection to Linda signing a contract with the Inn at the Quay if it passes Patty's muster. (At this point, Linda called an emergency OSFCI BOD meeting, so that Mary could be officially appointed to the Board, and also be OSFCI's ox-officio member on the Gamestorm 8 committee.) Aaron: The Board should know that (Gamestorm 8 chair) Aaron Nabil's job has been taking him to California a lot. But several people said they felt he was still handling the job of Gamestorm 8 chair.
John L: Do we need to take any action to approve that the contract be signed? Dave: Several years ago, Patty was named to an OSFCI committee with the power to negotiate contracts, which then have to be signed by Linda. No further action is needed.
John L. passed out copies of the latest financial statement (John L: the Income & Expenses are correct-the Cash on Hand is not because I forgot to update that part of the spreadsheet) and Ruth gave us the latest membership count (51). OSFCI BOD members were encouraged to join.
Dave: We took a hit on the hotel side when Mel left. We need to train more hotel people. There was some discussion on Smofcon, especially on the lack of hotel liaison activity (several people have been trying to get hold of Jen, with no luck). Dave was charged with making sure this is fixed, as well as several other aspects of Smofcon which have been falling through the cracks—the committee needs to know what's happening. John L. offered to take on some of the hotel work, if necessary. Ruth: As a side note, I am interested in the hotel as a site for Potlatch in 2007, so that's another reason that we dare not screw this up. (More discussion on the things that have to get fixed for Smofcon.)
There's also been some problems with hotel's web page—they've upgraded it, and now it doesn't work anymore.
John L: I don't know how many people have heard by Debbie and Paul are shutting down their store in September, and going to Internet-only sales.
2. The Jo Clayton Fund
3. The Endeavour Award
Jim went over the information that's covered in his written summaries (enclosed). Endeavour has about $280 in the account—it needs to raise money between now and OryCon in order to pay the $1000 award, and the other expenses involving the presentation. They will be selling off the books they've received that weren't finalists.
Ruth: Any luck with corporate sponsorships? Jim: We haven't made a heavy push yet. Marilyn Holt is working to set that up (she's been working in venture capital for years, and is very versed in raising money). To avoid conflicts of interest, we are not asking publishers for donations. Ruth: What about setting up to receive PayPal donations? They working that, also. Ruth: We should also have a donation system set up for the Clayton Fund, and for OSFCI in general, for that matter. Jim: What are the set up costs for that? (Zero.) In that case, they'll work to get that set up very quickly. Other fund-raising (such as seeking donated goods, like uncorrected proofs, for the silent auction at the NASFiC) were suggested.
But the meeting space at the Hilton would work much better for us. It's got a lot more room, and is more flexible to use. We're going to have do a balancing act and decide if we want to pay less for the Marriott…and be on the third weekend in November (which would lose us memberships both because it's right before Thanksgiving and only a week before Loscon), or do we get better meeting space, our preferred weekend…but pay more for it, at the Hilton?
Patty: One thing going for us is that it would be quite a coup for Vancouver tourism to attract Oregon's largest annual convention to Vancouver. John L: The city of Vancouver has taken on quite a gamble, with a lot of their money, to build this hotel and convention center, and they're very anxious to keep it filled. Jim: How far are the backup hotels from the Hilton? John L: The Quay is about 1½ blocks from the Hilton.
Patty: I suggest we let this ride for now, both not to look overly eager to the Hilton, and to see what kind of deals we can get from both hotels. Ideally, we can wait until after this year's OryCon so that we can see how the Marriott will work.
Jim: The Hilton will be harder to get to than the Marriott—how will that affect attendance? Patty: But with the Marriott, the parking is more expensive and hard to get to, and their Internet service is cheaper…but the rooms would be a little more expensive. (There's $5 a day parking across the street from the Hilton, as well as plenty of street parking. Additionally, the Hilton is right next to the freeway, and only one bus stop further via Tri-Met from Portland than the Columbia River hotel was.) Dave: Definitely it would be good to avoid the first weekend in November, and the occasional conflict with the World Fantasy Convention.
Patty: There's a couple of things to keep in mind: Once is that the, if it is true that we lose 10% of the attendance each time we move, moving two years in a row is risking; the other is if the Marriott thinks we're going into that third weekend every year, they have more reasons to be nice to us this yet. If need be, we have the face-saving measure that the Hilton can offer us the second weekend on a regular basis—the Marriot has a long-contract for that weekend. All of these are calculated risks. If we do move two years in a row, we'd better have excellent PR next year.
Dave: If we go with the Marriott, are we stuck there for a long time? Patty: No, we can always change, and if we wanted to shrink OryCon, there are several other possibilities. Jim: Is there any chance the city could put some pressure on the Hilton for a better deal? John L: It's a possibility—the city is anxious to keep the space filled (and I do know people who know the mayor…). Ruth: Remember the Hilton's space is much more modular, has high ceilings and would be great to use. We can also tell people "You remember that we could see the Red Lion from the CR—we're talking about moving only two blocks further to go to the Hilton." And with the Hilton, since we do have to arrange for overflow rooms, we have the opportunity to give people cheaper room rates at the overflow hotel.
Patty: At the Marriott, we have a banquet captain who's a fan. At the Hilton, we have a sales manager who used to work at the CR and knows about us.
B. Subcommittee Reports
Patty: Do we want to finally go back and tackle that revised management agreement? Yes—the draft that we have so far will be sent out to the Board.
Patty and "two people named John" (Williamson & Lorentz) and "Aaron Dark" (Aaron Curtis) will be the reconstituted hotel committee, along with Ben as an "ex-officio" member:
The fund has about $6,000 in it at the moment.
James W. Fiscus
Chairman, Clayton Board of Trustees
Our judges for 2005 are writers Nalo Hopkinson, Susan Shwartz, and Allen Steele.
We will need help at the reception, as I am unlikely to make it to the convention. We expect Marilyn Holt and Sara Mueller to be there, however.
Cascadia Con has given us a one-page ad in the program book, and it includes a major pitch for donations. We have established two levels for individual and family
donations, with that section of the ad reading:
Become Part of the Endeavour Award
Individual and Family Patrons - $35.00 Individual Supporter - $25.00
We are looking at possible premiums/gifts for donors at higher levels, and have established levels for corporate sponsorship.
James W. Fiscus
Chairman, Endeavour Award
|Corporate Fees & Licenses||May/August||$200|
|OSFCI PO Box||?||$60|
|OryCon PO Box||?||$80|
|Bulk Mailing Permit||May/August||$150|
|OryCon Bulk Mail||June/July||$160|
|Annual Meeting Space||May/August||$100|
|Other Meeting Spaces||All year||$0|
|Total Operating Expenses||$4,000|
|Total Other Expenses||$500|
|OryCon 27 Surplus||$1,000|
|OryCon 27 Insurance Reimbursement||$700|
|Gamestorm 8 Surplus||$500|
|Gamestorm 8 Insurance Reimbursement||$300|
|Fund Balance - 2005 January 1||$563.69|
|Balance of CDs - 2005 January 1||$2,530|
|Total Funds Available||$3,093.69|
|Fund Balance - 2005 December 31|
|Balance of CDs - 2005 December 31|
|Total capital at end of year||TBD|
|CD #1||CD #2|
|Tax Year 2004|
|24 month||180 days|
|1.19544% annual rate||1.49% annual rate|
|May '05 Worth:||$3,457.35|
|($13.61 gain so far this year)|
|Beginning of Year||Balance = $593.69||Well Fargo||Bank Balance||$593.69|
|07-Mar-2005||OryCon 26 Insurance & Surplus||OryCon 26||Surplus||$1,250.00||$1,250.00|
|08-Mar-2005||Attorney Fee||Sam Justice||Legal||-$300.00||-$300.00|
|29-Mar-2005||Insurance (Half)||Oak Tree||Insurance||-$887.00||-$887.00|
|31-Mar-2005||More OryCon 26 Surplus||OryCon 26||Surplus||$2,141.00||$2,141.00|
|01-Apr-2005||OryCon Bills||OryCon 26||Anti-Surplus||-$300.00||-$300.00|
|05-Apr-2005||Web Hosting||Spire Technologies||Web Host||-$464.34||-$464.34|
|06-Apr-2005||Withdrawal to New Account||New Account||Transfer||-$100.00||-$100.00|
|11-Apr-2005||Game Storm Insurance||Game Storm 7||Insurance||$325.00||$325.00|
|23-Apr-2005||Bounced check repayment||Crystal Zingsheim||OryCon Art Show||$38.00||$38.00|
|01-May-2005||Rest of Insurance Payment||Oak Tree||Insurance||-$800.00||-$800.00|
|01-May-2005||Annual Meeting Space||La Quinta Inn||Meetings||-$100.00||-$100.00|
|15-May-2005||Bulk Mailing Permit||Post Office||Bulk Mail||-$150.00||-$150.00|
|23-May-2005||Annual Meeting Materials||Jim Fiscus||Office||-$26.00||-$26.00|
|23-May-2005||Registration Equipment||Jen Contrares||Reg Equip||-$171.50||-$171.50|
|05-Jun-2005||CT-12 2004||Oregon DOJ||State Fees||-$65.00||-$65.00|
|08-Jun-2005||OryCon 26 Refund||Natasha Donnelly||Refund||-$75.00||-$75.00|
|04-Jul-2005||CT-12 2003||Oregon DOJ||State Fees||-$65.00||-$65.00|
|Cash on Hand||Bank Balance||$984.33|
|Registration (and all pre-con expenses)||$1,000.00|
|Gift for Attendees||$500.00|
|OSFCI rate||$50 (current - $5)|
|Registration & Memberships||PayPal||Cash/Check|
|At Door Registration||$7,700.00||$8,260.00||$8,260.00|
|Products & Services|
|Tip for Maid||$100.00||$100.00|
|Tip for Catering/Concierge||$200.00||$100.00|
|Food for Game Day||$786.54|
|(4) OryCon Memberships||$100.00|
|Advertising/Marketing Printing Costs||$50.00||$80.00|
|Buying Print Ads||$100.00||$300.00|
|Guests of Honor|
|Donuts for Vendors||$120.00|
|Website Hosting Costs||$100.00||$129.40|
|Bank Account Fees||$10.00|
|Artifacts: Dice Bags/T-Shirts||$1,000.00||$1,014.00|
|Day Care Fees||$292.50|
|Membership Refunds (prior to Con)||$105.00|
|Contingency & Reimbursements||$500.00|
|Large Event Subsidies|
|Cascade Game Card Tournaments||$100.00||$2,710.00|
|Seed Money for next Con||$500.00||$800.00|
|PayPal Memberships||$10,666.72||Total Registration|
|At Con Memberships||$13,993.00||$31,075.93|
|Art Show Sales||$7,629.91|
|Art Show Panels||$2,495.00||Total Merchandise|
|Susan Petrey Auction||$900.00|
|Cereal & Toons||$54.49|
|Guests of Honor||$2,195.13|
|Susan Petrey Auction||$900.00|