Questions, questions 

By Andrew Gaydon

In the lead-up to this year’s AGM, here are some questions for you to ponder.

  • The BrisLETS management committee (MC) how many people do you think should be on it? 
  • What do people expect of the BrisLETS MC? 
  • What role should the BrisLETS MC take? 
  • What should the OTHERS on the BrisLETS MC do? 
  • Should all positions be part of the BrisLETS MC?
  • Which camp do you fit into? 
  • Should we go to a direct model of funding? 
  • Administration account questions
  • Budgeting questions
  • Essential services questions

 

The BrisLETS management committee (MC) how many people do you think should be on it? 

Our constitution states that we need to have a President, Secretary, Treasurer and others.

How many others?

According to group dynamic theory, the magic number of people in a decision-making group should be 7, plus or minus 2. This gives a diversity of opinions without making personal interaction more complex.

In my past work on committees, I have observed that 5 is an ideal number. Why? For practical reasons: in order to gain a quorum at meetings.

If you have more than 6, 7, 8 or 9, it just makes things more complex.

 

What do people expect of the BrisLETS MC? 

They expect the President to be the figurehead of the organisation.

They expect the Secretary to make sure the rules are followed.

They expect the Treasurer to ensure that the $ accounts are kept up-to-date.

Others?

 

What role should the BrisLETS MC take? 

Should they act in an advisory role? Like trustees or an advisory council?

Should they all be hands-on? With each person tasked with a specific role?

 

What should the OTHERS on the BrisLETS MC do? 

Some people advocate these others could be:

  • membership secretary
  • CES administrator
  • newsletter editor
  • vice-president
  • website administrator
  • local area coordinators (LACs)
  • drop-off point (DOP) hosts
  • promotions coordinator
  • trading facilitator
  • events coordinator
  • etc.

 

Should all positions be part of the BrisLETS MC?

I count at least 10 people, plus the main 3. That makes 13 people on the MC.

But not everybody needs to be (or wants to be) on a MC to perform a role. This is why Simon Cole and I have advocated for a teams structure. See it here​.

Some people see this as bureaucracy, but actually these are just labels and groupings of people. If anything, it is a bottom-up structure rather than a top-down hierarchy.​ Here is some further info. 

 

What role should the BrisLETS management support team (MST) play? 

The MST is a sub-committee appointed by the MC. It could be a group of people who represent the other teams. Its purpose is to advise the MC and to make day-to-day decisions.

How should it be run?

Should it have regular meetings?

Its current problem is that there are not enough people on it! This means there are no leaders from the other teams.

Here is a SUGGESTION: You don’t need to be on the MC to do things. Simply join one of the teams, create your own group, or just do it. (Consult with the MC or MST.)

 

Should we give stipends to people who give their time to run BrisLETS? 

A stipend or honorarium is a one-off payment made to a member who has given non-standard service to help the organisation. Paying a stipend gives no commitment for further payment.

At the last AGM, a ‘schedule’ of payment was voted for, and passed, that each member of the MC be paid a stipend equivalent to just 20 minutes’ work per week, even if they put in more than 20 minutes.

The payment of stipends has always been a grey area. In the past, the MC would decide how much the relevant people were paid. Their decision would be approved at the following year’s AGM.

In 2016, the MC members were each paid 600 units, and helpers at the Bartertown event were also paid.

Were you one of those people?

Who knocked back a payment?

What about other people performing a service for the organisation, such as newsletter production, website administration, CES administration, event coordination, promotion services and others?

There seem to be three camps when answering the question on whether stipends should be paid at all.

Camp 1: These things should be done for FREE, perhaps by somebody not on the MC.

Camp 2: Only the MC should be paid.

Camp 3: Anybody who carries out these tasks should receive something, even if it is only a token payment.

 

Which camp do you fit into? 

Why should people who give their services not be paid something for their time and talent?

Are we not a trading organisation?

If you give your services, it is your choice whether or not you accept payment.

 

Funding 

In March I wrote an article on a ​members rewards program.​ In it, I outlined some funding models to support the payment of stipends.

How should we fund a members rewards program?

Should we change the way we collect admin funds?

Currently, we have a 4% transaction levy charged to both the buyer and seller. CES Australia charges a 1% fee (or should).

 

Should we go to a direct model of funding? 

There are many advantages in charging an annual fee of 35 Units. Two that spring to mind are that it keeps people engaged, and everybody pays something to keep the organisation running.

Should this be mandatory or voluntary?

Should people be able to opt-out?

 

Administration account 

Can the administration account go into the negative (just like everybody else’s account)?

This could be an advantage! Maybe we should think of it as an overdraft account. There would be no interest payable.

There should be some safeguards, in order to keep the actual units spend within a budget matched to income.

 

Budgeting 

Where should the BrisLETS funds be spent?

Maybe we should look at the services provided to the members by the organisation?

Which ones should be fully funded, and by how much?

Should they be just token amounts?

Should we expect people to simply give their time and talent to provide these necessary services?

If so, who should provide these necessary services?

 

Here is a ​sample budget​ that could be used as a starting point.

 

Essential services 

What are the essential functions of the BrisLETS organisation?

1. Management committee

2. CES administrator

3. Membership services

– Membership secretary

– Local area coordination (LAC) group development

– Trading facilitation

– Trading skills

4. Promotions

– Newsletter

– Emails

– Promotion stalls

– Events

5. Education

– Members’ trading skills

– Non-members and members on mutual credit

 

So there we have some questions to ponder.

Do you have the answers?

Please share: