GIAC Monthly Board Meeting - October 1, 1998
Conference Room, Greenbelt Police Station
M E E T I N G M I N U T E S
The meeting was held in the Conference Room of the Greenbelt Police Station.
Nancy Revis, President, presided over the meeting. The meeting began at 7 p.m.
Board Members present: Tom Crompton, Jim Heagy, Doug Love, Chris Morris, Nancy
Board Members absent: Carol Bailey, Ralph Bram, Neil McLeod, Brian Schieber
Others present: Ed James
Jim Heagy reviewed the highlights of the August Monthly Meeting Minutes (no
business was conducted at the September "work party" at Nancy's).
Tom Crompton reported on the VIP initiative. Several observations were offered:
- there has been a minimal increase in volunteers and those that
consistently volunteer cannot be directly traced to the VIP
- not counting officers and board members, GIAC has less than 5 volunteers/
- members appear to have more money than time
- a measure of "equity" has been established between those that volunteer
and those that do not
- it is early in the life of the VIP and therefore no long term assessment
of the program is possible
Lengthy discussions were held over the prospect of including attendance at the
monthly membership meeting as a valid VIP activity. On the pro side, credit for
attendance would potentially boost participation in meetings, with the added
possibility of more members becoming actively involved in GIAC. On the con side,
credit for attendance raises the likelihood of members attending meetings simply
to avoid doing anything else. In response to this sentiment, President Nancy
Revis posed the following question; "Is it better to see a member at a meeting
or have their $3?" The consensus was that it is better to see members at
meetings. The outcome of the discussions was a decision by Nancy to amend the
VIP criteria to honor attendance at the monthly meeting.
The September class, "PC Basics I", was a success with ~ 20 people in
attendance. Increased attendance is attributed to the promotional efforts of the
Library. The October class is "PC Basics II", taught by Tom Crompton and will be
held on October 19 in the meeting room of the Greenbelt Library.
An instructor for the November class is needed. In general, class instructors
are becoming difficult to find. The point was raised that if we cannot fill
scheduled class dates with instructors, GIAC may lose its right to use the
Library meeting room.
Support from GIAC members at classes is also waning. It was emphasized that a
good GIAC showing at classes is important for GIAC's image and reputation.
Note that reliable class dates and times can be found in the Community Calendar
on the website.
Chris Morris gave the treasurer's report. Highlights are as follows. The year to
date income is $1650.32 and the share value is $76.06/share, based on 72
For the month of September, GIAC brought in $132 from the VIP, corresponding to
44 members, or a 61% nonvolunteering rate.
Considerable discussion was heard on the question, "Just what is the mission of
GIAC?". Are we a cheap ISP service? a community outreach organization? an
educational organization? It was mentioned that attempting to be all of these is
splintering our efforts and that the "core" volunteers are becoming overloaded.
One suggestion was to negotiate a new deal with an ISP (perhaps SigmaNet),
whereby the ISP would administer all accounts. GIAC would officially endorse the
ISP in return for reduced rates for its members. It was pointed out that this
would raise rates, perhaps to the point where GIAC could no longer compete with
The point was raised that it makes little sense for GIAC to collect money unless
we have a clear idea of what we would like to do with the money. It was stated
that the money should be used to benefit the Coop in some way.
Several disturbing issues concerning SigmaNet were raised. SigmaNet has not been
responding to routine requests from GIAC officials. They are not answering their
phone, replying to email messages, or acting on FAXs sent to them. As a result,
account maintenance and activity has essentially come to a halt. Nancy Revis
recounted her visit to SigmaNet and meeting with their president, Ashok Saxena.
She learned that SigmaNet has vacated their office in the 7501 Greenway Center
Drive building, moving most of their activities to a site in Rockville, MD. The
hardware used to support greenbelt.com internet services resides in a small room
within another business, "Asia Vision", on the same floor as their vacated
office. Only one SigmaNet technical representative was present to monitor the
system. Nancy went on to say that SigmaNet lost their lease to the vacated
office. This move was the cause of the announced network outage earlier in the
month. GIAC was not informed of the move and Nancy found out only after visiting
SigmaNet. Sanjay Mishra, our dependable point of contact at SigmaNet, is no
longer active in the technical activities of SigmaNet.
SigmaNet is no longer accepting FAXs for GIAC account activity. A new system for
correspondence between GIAC and SigmaNet has been established. The email address
firstname.lastname@example.org has been created for the purpose of notifying SigmaNet about
GIAC account activity. This address will be monitored by SigmaNet, so that
several of their tech reps can act on the information.
SigmaNet also has a new tech support number, 301-345-2002.
Carol Bailey has announced her resignation from the GIAC board. She was
apparently dismayed at the level of discord within the cooperative.
Due to a personal problem, Ralph Bram will be inactive for an undetermined
period of time. It was agreed that he is a valuable member of the board,
particularly for his parliamentary skills, and that his position will be held
for his return.
The next monthly meeting is November 5, 1998, at 7 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m.
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