Foundation Finance committee

14 Apr 2015
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Dear OAB,
Council has decided to set up a small committee to oversee finances for the RDA Foundation. Doris has agreed to lead this committee, potentially with Ross and Satoshi as the other Council members. Doris has wisely suggested that we also involve a person or two from the OAB, since OAB is to advise on business processes.
The task would be to recommend and monitor rules for sound financial practice for the relatively small budget controlled directly by the Foundation. This would include basic policies on what constitutes reasonable expenditures (e.g. travel rules), a reserve policy, signing authority, rules for approvals of large expenditures, financial reporting to the Council, etc. Probably the most critical task would be oversight of SG funding since I have somewhat of a conflict of interest in managing funds for my own salary. I think the first action of the committee would be defining its scope.
The way I see this working is that I would work with the group to define what guidance and rules are necessary. I would then draft such rules for committee approval and recommendation to Council. It would likely involve a couple of calls in the relative near future followed by perhaps a few calls over the rest of the year. Once things are in place, it might involve one or two calls a year.
Walter agreed to ask Nancy Carter to join this committee. Nancy is the CANARIE representative to the OA. She is the CFO of CANARIE and a lawyer, so she is very well qualified. Nancy will be returning from medical leave soon, so we will see if she is interested.
Meanwhile, I just wanted to keep the group apprised. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns or if indeed you would be interested and able to help with this task.

  • Leif Laaksonen's picture

    Author: Leif Laaksonen

    Date: 15 Apr, 2015

    Dear Mark et al.
    Thanks a lot for the note. It is still early morning here so there is a high risk of a misinterpretation from my side.
    You are talking about HOW to spend the money when I have not seen much discussion on to WHAT the money should be spent or is this group going to look both in HOW & WHAT? I also fully understand that this decision is not only taken by the OA.
    As you say the money from the OM is not very big but still it would be good to have a decision we can all share.
    — leif

  • Mark Parsons's picture

    Author: Mark Parsons

    Date: 15 Apr, 2015

    Hi Leif,
    I thought it was simply understood that the finances of the Foundation were strictly for the personal enrichment of the Secretary General :-)
    Seriously, I do think this committee would have some say in WHAT the money would be spent on in that the committee defines approval processes. Formally, the Foundation Governance Document says: "An annual budget proposal is prepared by the Secretariat for Council review and approval.”
    This is something I’m working on and I suspect it will be discussed at the upcoming Council meeting on 5 June. Note also that the Foundation account will get money from sources other than OM dues that may be specifically allocated to certain things. For example, the European Commission will be providing funds that are meant to support my salary.
    In general, I see the following items as being priority expenditures for the coming year:
    - Auditing and accounting support
    - Legal support in establishing the Foundation as a charity and setting up contracts from and to the Foundation
    - Travel support for Council members who do not have regional support (i.e., Kay)
    - Maintaining some level of reserve
    I welcome other ideas and advice from the OAB.

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