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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

On 18/08/13 at 09:02 -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> 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
> dry.

I clearly do not expect DSA to spend $15k/year using that process. I do
not expect the procedure to be be used more than 10-15 times a year. If
it looks like DSA is using this process a lot more than this
expectation, or that DSA is trying to game the system by artificially
splitting larger expenses to keep them under the limit, I will of
course reconsider the whole process.

If it is used 10 to 15 times per year, it means at most $3000 - $4500
per year, and that's something we can afford.


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