Mentor is the corporate newsletter of Arisia, Inc.

Volume 10, Issue 86 November 1998

Minutes of the Corporate Meeting

Time: Sunday, November 22, 1998 at 2:00 PM
Location: Building 66, MIT, Cambridge, MA

There was no October meeting due to a lack of quorum.
The November meeting began at 2:45PM.

In Attendance: Drea Brandford, George Flynn, Glen Goodwin, Buzz Harris,
Kyle Hollingsworth, Benjamin Levy, Patrick McCormack, Keith McCormic,
Elka Tovah Menkes, Skip Morris, Brendan Quinn, Diane Rosenburg, Kara
Savoia, Paul Selkirk, Nicholas Shectman, Cris Shuldiner, Rachel
Silverman, John Tennyson

Walter Kahn to Drea Brandford, Suzanne Labonville to Paul Selkirk, Noel
Rosenberg to Buzz Harris, Kara Savoia (at 4PM) to Skip Morris, Keith
McCormic (at 4PM) to Drea Brandford, Glen Goodwin (at 4:30PM) to Brendan

Corrections to the September Minutes
Under the corporate budget as voted, "Computers" should have been noted
as a new expense.

Membership Transfers
Tom (Merv) Murphy and Richard Moore were transferred to General

President's Report
No report.

E-Board Report
The E-Board met on October 21, 1998, with a full complement of officers. Issues discussed included grants and complimentary (gift) memberships.  Regarding grants, the E-Board directs the Grant Committee to expedite processing of grant requests and to investigate a means of promoting and advertising grant availability.  Regarding earned comps, the E-Board has agreed that there will be no exceptions allowed to the timesheets/waivers rule.  Regarding gift comps, the con chair or his designated agent must
approve all gift comps.  Recommendations were made regarding ways to track earned and gift memberships, which will be brought up for general discussion.

Note:  Skip is working up a "Staff and Misc. Registration Form" to be used for all registrations that don't use the standard form.  The E-Board has collectively decided that Registration will not accept "lists" of people that should be registered as staff.  Now each registration will have all the appropriate info along with a signature of someone taking responsibility.  In addition, Glen had the devious idea that the new registration form should incorporate the Staff Waiver.   That way everyone signs it before they get registered instead of "blowing it off" at-con.

Vice President's Report
See Grant Report.

Grant Committee Report
There are no grant requests currently pending.  The Vice-President nominated Noel Rosenberg and Buzz Harris to the Grant Committee, which was later confirmed by the President.  A blurb about the Grant Committee will be published in the Arisia '99 Program Book, and other advertising may be done.

Treasurer's Report
I paid the mailbox bill.  Now I'd like to get retroactive permission to do so.
MOTION:  To increase the Corporate Expense Budget by $250 for the corporate PO box bill.  Motion PASSED.

Also, last year we authorized $300.00 to be spent on a cash register for Sales.   I'd like to roll this over to the current budget: 
MOTION:  To reauthorize $300.00 for the purchase of a cash register for Corporate Sales.  Motion PASSED.

Budget Committee
No report.

Clerk's Report
The Clerk reminded everyone to sign in and requested written reports.

Arisia 1998 Final Treasury Report
I failed in my quest to produce a perfect set of books and turn them in promptly after the convention.  My biggest failings were in the task of rapidly closing out the books and accounting for every cent perfectly.  The task I considered more important, establishing tighter controls on spending, was fairly successful.

I do know where all the money the convention spent went, and that it was spent appropriately.  That statement does not cover any money spent to aid the convention by people who didn't ask for reimbursement. Unfortunately, translating that knowledge into an exact costing out to each department was confounded in a few cases.  The primary problems were in sorting out what department owned what charges on the hotel master bill, and in correctly dividing the bills for Quartermaster food buying trips.

I never received all of the bank statements that should have come to me, so even my copy of the bank records is incomplete.  In the past two months, I have received the March, June, and July bank statements.  Where the April, May, and August statements are hiding, I don't know.  Since the corporation closed these books officially in September, the statements since August don't concern me.

A rough divisional breakdown of expenses, budgeted and actual, follows:


There is missing data in those figures, but overall it gives a reasonable overview of how we did on controlling expenses last year.

The detailed figures for income are also a bit incomplete.  Ignoring the bank statements I don't have, total deposits into and interest earned by our checking account come to $58,441.95.  Skip and I never exactly figured out the charge card receipts and fees, due to the arcane nature of the statements we had to work with, but the charges collected were approximately $5,200.  Those figures include advances from the corporation and the Arisia '97 undeposited money that Arisia'98 "bought" after I discovered it. 

So, we had roughly $63,600 in all forms of income.  We wrote checks totaling $42,835.80 and paid out around $500 in cash as tips.  We owe $4000.00 to the corporation in advanced money, $1,526.98 to Arisia'97 for the found money we "bought," $1,168.00 in comped memberships to Arisia'99, and money owed for memberships ($3,975.00) and corporate inventory (~$3,000.00).  That would seem to indicate that we made about $6,600.00 on the con.

I have a hard time explaining that, but it does seem to match up roughly with the amount of money we had in the bank according to the last statement I had.  I can only chalk it up to us not spending money profligately, people not putting in claims for money they were entitled to be reimbursed for, and, of course, the loan of several thousand dollars worth of technical equipment that brought the Events Division in way under budget.

Well, based on that rather dismal accounting of how I fared in trying to swallow what I so blithely bit off, I'll restrict myself to making four recommendations:

  1. The system of giving the Con Treasurer comptroller authority over expenses works fairly well.  I suggest we adopt it as our corporate policy.
  2. If the Con Treasurer is doing comptroller duty, he should stay as far away from At-Con Treasury work as possible.  I had only Phi to help me in the Treasury room, beyond a little help spot counting from people at Art Show Sales and Registration.  It was rather nightmarish doing that and running around writing checks for people.  The longest stretch of    free time I got during the con was about 1 hour when my pager died.  I wish we had had more people to recruit from and had been able to train them ahead of time.
  3. Art Show Sales went reasonably well and we got the artists paid fairly quickly.   However, there were a few cases that dragged on for a while. These were caused by incorrectly filled out records and the hard time we had reconstructing figures over a month after the con.  I would suggest that the Treasurer and the Art Show Director select a person to be the "in-house treasury representative" at the Art Show.   That person should be checking the forms as they come from the sales tables and the artist check-out, and immediately getting corrections to mistakes.
  4. We seriously need to work on our mail handling.  Momentum is important in this job.   Most of the work I got done, happened in the first two months.  Then I stopped getting mail.  This happened in great part because [of] the time crunch I got in with starting a new job and starting back to school left me unable to attend meetings.   However, even when I begged people to remail bank statements and other things to me, I rarely got them.  I think that the corporation needs to make an official policy that any financial mail (bank statements, bills, etc.) be held for no more than a week by the person who picks up the mail. If that person cannot meet up with the correct person to give the mail to personally in that time, they should remail these letters to the correct person.  We would, of course, need to put in a budget item to cover this expense.

Arisia 1997 Final Report
I was a little surprised by the action taken at the Annual Meeting of closing these books.   This is the sort of motion that should have been sent to committee to judge whether it was a wise thing to do.  I made no mention of the closing of the Arisia '98 books in my earlier report because I had previously told several people that they were basically as ready to go as they were likely to get.  However, as the currently responsible party for the Arisia '97 books, I should have been consulted before sending that motion to the floor.

That aside, I can't say that I am desperately unhappy to be relieved of the nag of my conscience to finish cleaning up the disaster we were left with when the Arisia '97 Treasurer resigned.  I made some progress in straightening out the records we have, but I ran into problems trying to get BankBoston to provide us with the necessary copies of missing statements and checks to do a really thorough job of it.  And then I had to take up my own duties as Treasurer for Arisia '98.

In retrospect, I should have surrendered the books then.  Unfortunately, I have an overly developed sense of duty and kept trying to find the time to straighten things out myself.  I wish the Records Committee, if it still exists, the best of luck in trying to complete the job I started. I will, of course, answer any questions as best as I can to help the process.  However, having been freed of any official duty to see the books straightened out, I know that I have too many other things clamoring for my attention already to offer to join the committee in their task.

The basic numbers remain at about where they were when I last reported. Skip had a list of items from the corporate books that we thought were probably chargeable to A'97, so the committee should consider those in coming to a final set of numbers.  There was also the $1526.98 that I uncovered in the cash boxes just before A'98.  I never deposited a check to the A'97 account for that money, since we were getting ready to turn that account over to Phi for A'99 when we discovered the money.  So, it's another paper entry to remember to keep track of.

Arisia 1999
We are only 7 weeks away from con!  There are two extremely important concom meetings scheduled:

Arisia 1999 Treasury
A comprehensive Budget Report was sent to the Corporate and ConCom mailing lists.

Some event names were changed.  Small Event 1 is now a play, Small Event 2 is the Titanic Dance, Small Event 3 is the Camarilla Ball, and there is still an unallocated Small Event 4.  Large Event 1 is now the Banquet. Large Event 2 was cancelled and the money allotted to it has been parceled out among the smaller events as appropriate.

MOTION: To amend the Arisia 1999 Budget as follows. Income amounts are actual.

Expenses(in $)Income(in $)
Dealers Dealers 
 Admin250 Rooms2,040
Events, Technical   
 Pipe & Drape360  
Con Chair, Hotel Liaison   

Motion PASSED.

MOTION: To amend the Arisia 1999 Budget as follows, if and only if $25 and $30 memberships exceed budget by at least 100 members (indicating at least $2915 in additional income).  All expenses below are increased by 20%.

Expenses(in $)
Con Chair 
 Hotel Liaison 
  Security Detail1500.00
 At-Con Newsletter201.60
 Pocket Program2,142,00
 Pre-Registration Packet 
 Program Books2,709.60
 Gopher Hole420.00
 Con Suite3,600.00
 Party Czar200.00
  Badge Holders390.00
  Badge Printing60.00
  Badge Stock120.00
 Staff Den1,800.00
Total Additional Expenses2,540.20

A friendly amendment to omit the Member Services Green Room from this (since Green Room usage is not tied to attendance) was accepted.  There was discussion of the usefulness of increasing the budget for the security detail from the hotel, and it was determined that even a small increase would help to improve coverage during peak hours.
Motion PASSED.

Hotel Search Committee
Matt Ringel is making a plan of attack.  We do have a second option on some weekends in January at the Westin Copley, but this is unlikely to come to anything.

Corporate Inventory Control
No report.

Corporate Sales
Still vacant.  We did sell some T-shirts and patches at Philcon.

Corporate Sysadmin
Corporate information is now available on the Arisia website ( under "Corporate Mumbo Jumbo," including issues of Mentor.  At some point in the near future, will be down for about half a day while it is being moved to a different machine at The Forge.

Records Task Force & Audit Fund
No report.

Long Range Planning Committee
No report.  There will be a committee meeting sometime after Arisia '99.

New business
MOTION:  To confirm Paul Selkirk as the convention chair for Arisia 2000.
Motion PASSED.
The Arisia '99 con chair recommended that Paul keep all of the Arisia '99 division heads in the same positions for Arisia '00, but there was apparently disagreement among the division heads who were present.

MOTION:  To send all motions regarding complimentary memberships to the Long-Range Planning Committee.  Motion FAILED.

MOTION: To modify Corporate Convention Policy VII, Section B, subsection 1, to read: "With the exception of Program Participant, Press, GOH, and Exchanges, a person cannot receive a gift membership to the convention if they have received a gift membership to the convention in either of the previous two years, unless specifically authorized by the current con chair."  Motion PASSED.
A motion to make the above binding only for the 1998 and 1999 cons and to refer the original to Long-Range Planning FAILED.  A protest was filed due to the meeting Chair not asking for discussion on the motion. A motion to unconditionally refer the above to Long-Range Planning also FAILED, because the membership felt that this is only a codification of current practice.

MOTION: To modify Corporate Convention Policy VII, Section A, by adding a new paragraph:
"Hours worked before the current convention may be used as credit for an earned membership for the current convention instead of the following convention.  Hours credited this way must be documented on a separate timesheet."
A motion was made to refer this to Long-Range Planning because it is a change from existing policy, and it was felt that our policies on complimentary memberships should be examined in depth.  Motion PASSED.

MOTION: To institute a $5.00 discount for any paid corporate member wishing to purchase a convention membership, based on the price for that time of year.
A motion was made to amend this motion to "beginning in Arisia '00." Motion PASSED.
A motion was made to refer the above, as amended, to the Long-Range Planning Committee.   Motion PASSED.

MOTION: To modify Corporate Convention Policy VII by adding a new Section C (causing the current section C to become Section D):
"Any non-comped staff member will be allowed to purchase a convention membership at the lowest publicly available price for that year."
After discussion, a motion was made to refer the above to the Long-Range Planning Committee.  Motion PASSED.

MOTION:  To modify Corporate Convention Policy VII, Section B, by adding a new subsection 2: "All gift memberships authorized by the con chair under the previous section must be noted in the chair's report at a subsequent corporate business meeting."
After discussion of amendments, but no actual motions, it was agreed that it seems reasonable to monitor abuse, but this is not exactly the way to do it.  A motion was made to "bury" the motion in the Long-Range Planning Committee.  Motion PASSED.

MOTION:  To modify Corporate Convention Policy VII, Section B and Section B, subsection 1 by adding "Masquerade MCs and Judges" as a category of Gift Membership.
This motion was deemed generally irrelevant, given the changes that had already passed.   Motion FAILED.

MOTION: To modify Corporate Convention Policy VII, Section B, by adding a new subsection 3: "All exchanges must be approved by the convention treasurer as economically sound."  Motion FAILED "violently and in flames."

MOTION:  To increase the convention budget for hotel tips by 20%.  Motion PASSED.

MOTION: To transfer John Tennyson, aka Ranger, to General Membership "for his years of experience in fandom, and because we might be able to draft him."   Motion FAILED because the sponsor was not present to explain the motion to the membership.

MOTION:  To transfer Buzz Harris to General Membership because of his years of dedication to the convention.  Motion automatically TABLED.

After these motions, the membership moved to a Committee of the Whole to discuss allowing Offworld Designs to make and market Arisia convention T-shirts.  The general feeling of the membership is that, in general, an outside vendor should not be making a profit from the Arisia name and reputation.  The con chair for Arisia '99 gladly agreed to find another way of producing the T-shirts.

Arisia '00 Report
I have already invited my Guests of Honor, and two have accepted.
Tom Kidd will be our Artist GOH.  Tom is a fantastic artist in both senses of the word, and reportedly a hell of a nice guy to boot.
Sharon Sbarsky will be our Fan GOH.  To my mind, Sharon is emblematic of a new generation of "just do it" fandom -- she works on a lot of cons and a number of websites, and is always friendly, always helpful, and never partisan.  She's also a hell of a nice person.
I will report my Writer GOH if/when she accepts.
Now I just need little things like a hotel, concom, treasurer, budget, etc.  Anyone who wants to work on the con should talk to me, especially if they want to do something different from what they're doing for Arisia '99.
Parenthetically, the official name of the con is "Arisia '00".   "Arisia 2000" is an acceptable alternative.  "Arisia Y2K" will only get you a dirty look.

Rachel Silverman belongs to a women's chorus called Pridetones, which will be performing with the Boston Gay Men's Chorus in their annual holiday concert at Jordan Hall (at the New England Conservatory) on December 12 & 13.  You can get tickets from the Jordan Hall box office or from the Glad Day bookstore.

Brendan Quinn's band, Abunai!, can be seen in concert at the Fitchburg MA planetarium on December 13 at 7:00PM.

Arisia, Mentor of Arisia, and the Arisia Lens are service marks of Arisia, Incorporated. All material copyright 1997, Arisia, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

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