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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Hi Lucas,

On Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 12:27:49PM +0200, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> Context: according to Constitution §5.1.10:
>   The Project Leader may:
>   [...]
>   In consultation with the developers, make decisions affecting property
>   held in trust for purposes related to Debian. (See §9.). Such
>   decisions are communicated to the members by the Project Leader or
>   their Delegate(s). Major expenditures should be proposed and debated on
>   the mailing list before funds are disbursed.

> The Debian System Administrators sometimes need to make small expenses
> for things such as buying cables or replacement hardware, paying
> shipping fees for moving hardware around, etc. As an example, this
> happened three times in July [1].
> [1] https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2013/08/msg00002.html

> The current procedure is that they ask for leader@ approval before
> making the expense. Even if I try hard to act quickly on such requests,
> it still requires a round-trip of emails that slows down their work
> (look up the exact price, send mail, wait for approval, go back to make
> the purchase).

> I would like to change that process to:
>   DSA is allowed to make expenses for up to USD 300 (total) every
>   7 days to support the operation of Debian infrastructure (pay shipping
>   costs, purchase of cheap hardware such as cables, replacement disk,
>   etc.).
>   leader@ and auditor@ must be notified of the expense as soon as
>   possible (typically, just after the expense is made, at the same time
>   as asking a Trusted Organization's treasurer for reimbursement).
>   This process can be revoked at any time by the DPL, but that
>   revocation does not affect the reimbursement of expenses that have
>   already been notified.
>   This process can be temporarily suspended at any time by auditor@.

$300/week doesn't seem all that "small"; that adds up to an annual cap of
$15,600/year.  Is that in line with actual DSA expenditures?  Is it actually
sustainable, wrt revenue from Debian donations?

I think $15k/year is a rather large amount for the "petty cash" budget for
an organization the size of Debian, and wonder if this should be more
conservative (e.g., $300/2 weeks, $500/mo?) so that DSA has the flexible
spending cap they need without risk of accidentally running the accounts

In any case, I have no objection to the principle of streamlining the
approval process for DSA's day-to-day expenses.

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
slangasek@ubuntu.com                                     vorlon@debian.org

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