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Broadside of a Board II. - No.7

This is the electronic edition of Broadside of a Board Volume II, No.7.
Permission to make hard copy or electronic copy of this publication and
to distribute it free of charge or at a minimal cost for duplication is
hereby freely granted by the author. This is being posted to the
following Kingdom mailing lists and to rec.org.sca
East, West, An Tir, Caid, Atlantia, Outlands (I think), Ansteorra,
Calontir and the Middle.
Please do not cross-post to these lists. Thank you.  --F.

Broadside of a Board Vol. II - No. 7
Cynagua Coronet/ Late October Special Edition

*Board Meeting:
         The Board of Directors of the SCA, Inc. held its usual quarterly
meeting in St. Louis, Mo, with a Friday session on 20 October and a
public Saturday session on 21 October, 1995. ~Broadside of a Board~ had
its spies in place, and Mikjal Annarbjorn has posted a full set of notes
which are available for inspection at the B.C. Information Table. This
~Broadside~ is based on various reports and conversations.

*What did the Board do about the Board Tax?*
         According to my respondents a motion was made by Ed Morrill to
repeal the Board Tax/NMS.  According to Ed, the initial motion was to
abolish it immediately with local/Kingdom option to retain if they so
wished. This got modified to abolish as of January 1.
         There was apparently a deal of spirited discussion, both on the
Board and from the audience. The Board Fiscal Policies passed at the
meeting mandate the maintenance of a six-month _operating_ reserve,
which was stated at the meeting to be roughly equal to $450,000. Ac-
cording to the report of Alban St. Albans and others, the Board claimed
to realize that the Board Tax is loathed and despised in many locations,
and should be repealed. Further, it was claimed (my respondents cannot
__remember _who_ claimed it, but ~Broadside of a Board~ has its suspi-
cions) that opponents to the Tax had not suggested other means of
raising the money. 
         Instead of allowing the motion to come to a vote, Ed Morrill re-
tracted the motion and substuted another. This motion, which was passed,
_*keeps_* the NMS/Board Tax, and extends it until 30 June, 1996, "unless
some other means of raising a similar amount of money is suggested." 
         It is not clear that anyone pointed out that raising an operating
reserve is _not_ an emergency and that the Board Tax has always been
stated to be an "emergency measure". There was also apparently no
discussion of other ways raise the money. (See accompanying editorials.)

*The Board Passed a 1996 Budget*
         The Board passed a 1996 Budget. Using rounded numbers, total income
was projected at $942,300 and total expenses at 878,800. The Budget thus
has a $63,500 surplus in it. Of this $40,000 is budgeted to come from
the NMS/Board Tax and $23,000 from general excess of revenue over
expenses. I have not looked at it closely, but a brief glance showed
very little change from last year's figures.
         Note that the income and expense figures reported at the July Board
meeting showed that this year's budget was ahead of projections in terms
of income, and behind in terms of expense. Since the 1996 Budget is not,
adjusted for this fact, as far as I can see, it may very well have a
larger actual surplus in it. Certainly, since it was based on a conser-
vative 3% growth figure, it is unlikely to fall short.

*What did the Board do about Tibor's letter?*
         What letter? Well, Tibor of Rock Valley has written a letter to the
Board stating the opinion of himself and some others that the S.C.A.,-
Inc. does not actually fulfill the Federal requirements for a 501(c)3
non-profit tax-deductible educational organization. At the end of the
letter he calls for the Board to investigate this. There has been a deal
of argument about the validity of the letter by those who have seen it. 
         Although nothing was done officially at the meeting regarding the
letter, ~Broadside of a Board~ has information that the Board is taking
the letter seriously and are engaging a specialist in non-profit tax law
to investigate the matter. 

*What did the Board do about the mess in Drachenwald? 
Is Nordmark going to seceed?*
         The Board financed a trip for two of its members to travel to both
Nordmark and to the central part of Drachenwald to improve communication
between the European community of the SCA and the Board. According to at
least one respondent in Europe, they came, they saw, they asked ques-
tions and they listened. With a few notable exceptions, they seem to
have been made welcome and to have spread a human image of the Board.
         As a result, it appears that Nordmark is not going to seceed at
this time, and that it may become a Crown Principality. The Board has
apparently made a commitment to review any seriously set forward propos-
als for choosing Royalty in non-standard ways, but retained final
judgement on that matter.
         In addition the Board is looking into various other responses to
concerns brought up by our European members. The Board stated its
commitment to keeping the lines of communication open.  The governing
documents are going to be translated into European non-English languag-
es. The Foreign membership structure is going to be changed to allow for
the possibilty of getting the Kingdom newsletter instead of T.I. and
studies are going to proceed on how to handle the fact that the SCA has
to be independently incorporated in many European jurisdictions, and how
to handle cross-over between membership in these foreign corporations
and membership in the SCA.

*What are the fiscal policies for the Board?*
         The Board voted to adopt Board level fiscal policies. As it happens
these are very similar to a set of fiscal policies recommended to them
by myself. In general they are clear, commonsense policies. We shall
have to see how they are applied. They state that the SCA Inc shall try
to stay in compliance with Federal and State Law, that subscription
liability should not be used for any other purpose, that budgeted items
should be overseen, and that the Budget shall be subject to quarterly
review, and that the books shall be kept by professional bookeepers. 
However, one significant change was made in one of the policies I
recommended. I had recommended that the subscription liability be kept
separate. The policies as passed _added_ a requirement that a six month
_operating_ reserve in addition to the subscription reserve. This last
has already been used to justify the continuation of the Board Tax,
changing that Tax from an emergency measure to the status quo.

*What is the implementation policy for the new Waivers?*
         Implementation supposedly has been worked up and sent out the
Kingdom Seneschals for commentary. It was not discussed at the meeting.
Ask your seneschal what it is and comment on it. ~Broadside of a Board~
recommends careful attention to the K.I.S.S. principle.

*What else did the Board do?*
         Appointed three new Directors to take various terms. All have
accepted. William de Montegilt (William Colbert -- two meetings),
Margherita Allesia (Susan Early - full term), Tetchubah of Greenlake
(Carolyn Richardson - 4 meetings)

*Next Board Meeting*
         The next Board meeting is set for January 20 and 21 in the Bay
Area. (I presume the Friday meeting will be at the Board Office, and the
Saturday open Meeting will be somewhere else.) 

*Editorial: "In victory or in honorable defeat."*
         ~Broadside of a Board~ is appalled at the lack of courage of those
members of the Board who were seeking to remove the NMS. They were in
agreement that the Board Tax is loathed and despised. They knew _why_
the Board Tax is unfair and counter to the ideals of the Society. 
         So, why, even if they thought they didn't have the votes to carry -
- why didn't they call the question anyway? It is not final to lose a
vote. It is not even crippling. There is a phrase in the invocation for
the Crown Tourney in the West, calling for the fighters to prove their
worth, "either in victory or in honorable defeat." If the motion had
been called, it might have passed, it might have failed, but it would
have been action and it would have told us who was on our side.
         In addition, (although it is easy to second-guess) one wonders why
no-one at the meeting had the common sense to notice and to call atten-
tion to the fact that raising an operating reserve is not an emergency
and does not need "secure funding".

*Editorial: The Money Game - Part 1.*
         There are several things wrong with the analysis of the Board Tax
that was apparently presented at the meeting. At least one of them is a
lie. The lie is that no one has suggested other methods of raising the
money. Those of you who have read ~Broadside of a Board~ know that I
have published several suggestions for raising the money. These sugges-
tions have been open, and have been sent to the Board. I am not the only
         The other major error is that six months operating reserve is
$450,000. That figure is half of the total budget, not the operating
expenses of the Board. The subscription liability and expenses are a
separate item! Taking figures from the 1996 Budget, Direct Membership
Expenses are $403,900; this is the subscription expenses and related
items (or ought to be in a reasonable Budget). Indirect Expenses (read:
Operating Expenses) are $466,900. Half of that is $233,450. Assuming
that Alban's report of a statement from the Board (probably the Treasur-
er) that the operating reserves are currently about $50,000, then only
$183,000 needs to be raised, not $400,000! It can even be argued that
several of the large items in that section of the budget are not "oper-
ating expenses" and could be removed, making the "reserve" even smaller.

*Editorial: The Board Tax Must Go (One more time).*
         *Write/call/talk* to your local Board member or your ombudsman.
Contrary to the assertion made at the meeting, I feel that repeal of the
TAX does not need to have a 60-day implementation period, it doesn't
have an implementation.
         *Why must it go?*  All the old reasons apply; the TAX hasn't
changed and neither have the reasons. In addition, there is no longer a
fiscal emergency to point to, and there is no possible justification for
building a general reserve on contributions of only _some_ of our
         *What else can we do?* Encourage resistance to the TAX, direct or
indirect. Hold events as donation events rather than with a site fee.
Fight against the effort of the Society Seneschale to declare that
donation-only events owe the TAX if they charge a merchant's fee or if
they suggest a reasonable donation. Deny that the Board has any right to
_take_ money from the people of the SCA. Question the amount and viabil-
ity of a "six month operating reserve."
***Editorial: The Money Game - Part 2.*
         Leaving aside the whole question of whether or not the Board
_ought_ to have a reserve, and assuming that the Tax is repealed, what
can the Board do to raise the operating reserve?
         *I. Do nothing except repeal the TAX.* The surplus will build up
slowly but surely as long as the Budget is carfully made. The approved
Budget had a $23,000 surplus even without the Board Tax/NMS. That's only
eight years to raise the revised figure for an operating reserve. If
this year's actual figures are representative, it will take less time,
because the surplus will actually be larger than budgeted.
         *II. Cut Expenses at the Board level.*  Use more efficient tech-
niques at the Registry. Work smart rather than hard. Outsource simple
tasks. Cut stipends/salaries to Corporate Officers. Cut phone subsidies.
Can we cut the Milpitas workforce and still get the current job done? I
think so. Advantage: Totally under Board control, so it is "assured
income". It should be relatively easy to cut costs by a small amount.
Another $10,000 per year cuts the time to funding from eight to five
         *III. Beg.*  The Board gets off its high corporate horse and begs
for money to fund the operating reserve. If every paid member contrib-
utes just $10, the needed reserve and more would be in place instantly.
If every participant (estimated at the rate of one non-paid member for
every two paid members) contributes just $5, the money will be in place.
         Advantage: A traditional SCA way to raise capital, capable of
generating LARGE quantities of money in a relatively short time for a
good cause. 
         Disadvantage: Very few people think of the Board of Directors as a
"good cause". There will have to be education, communication, and some
believable assurance that the money won't be wasted or this plan won't
         *III.a Implementation Plan for III.*  Ask each Kingdom to donate
(in rough proportion to their population) an amount of money sufficient
to establish the reserve in some stated amount of time. It would be up
to each Kingdom to determine how it was going to raise the money. 
         *NOTE: THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT "GOOD" IDEAS.* (However, they are
marginally better than the present system.)
         *IV. Mandatory Giving.* Same plan as for III.a, but with contribu-
tion made mandatory rather than voluntary.
         *V. Administrative Fee Plan.* Establish a $25/event "administrative
fee"/Board Tax for each event of the event classic type. (Don't include
fighter practices or meetings.) I estimate this will raise $30,000 per
year. At $55,000 per year total surplus, the reserve amount can be
raised in 3 1/3 years. The prime advantage of this scheme is ease of
         *VI. Shuffle the Shells.* Do cost cutting as in II. by financing
the liability insurance costs through a charge to event-classic events
covered by the insurance. The fee obviously buys something that is a
benefit to the group, on a pay-as you go basis. On the other hand it is
just shuffling the shells.
         *VII. Charge a fee per person in the door.* My estimates indicate
that a fee of $0.50/person should raise enough to quickly establish the
         So why didn't the Board come up with any of these?  Lack of imagi-
nation? Lack of guts?  Lack of humility?

~Broadside of a Board~ is an occasional publication of news and opinions
on matters concerning the Board of Directors of the SCA, Inc. and its
various Kingdoms. All opinions contained herein are those of the au-
thors. Unattributed commentary and news was written by the publisher.
The publisher is Frederick of Holland, (Flieg Hollander), 3334 Califor-
nia Street, Berkeley, CA 94703. (510) 653-3652  e-mail:
flieg@garnet.berkeley.edu  This issue is Volume II, No. 7.

   *   *   *    Frederick of Holland, MSCA, OP, etc.
  *** *** ***   flieg@garnet.berkeley.edu
  (((Flieg Hollander, Chem. Dept., U.C. Berkeley)))
 ================== Old Used Duke  =================
        [All subjects of the Crown are equal under its protection
          and no Corporation is going to convince me otherwise.]