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Re: Question to all candidates: Ongoing/future legal projects

Hi Felix

On 2022/03/25 02:18, Felix Lechner wrote:
For example, I requested $217 for a one-time SSD & RAM upgrade to help
operate lintian.d.o in November of 2021. My request was not granted. I
didn't even receive a response from Jonathan (other than a request for
more information, with which I complied) even though I followed up on
my request.

That's odd, I usually approve them fast (as in, within 24h) because it's a quick and trivial mail, but I can't find your request in my reimbursements folder at all. I'm in meetings now but will take a look later on if it reached the dpl-archives at all.

My idea for a Disbursements Committee was thus born by a simple desire
for greater accountability (or, at a minimum, a response). Plus, if
elected, I could never issue that $217 check to myself.

I disagree about some of your previous statements to make it more difficult to spend money, I still want to work towards having an expenditure policy, which I still hoped to finish the last month or so, but there was just really too much going on. The idea would be that there's some clear document that makes it really easy for someone to know whether they can apply for something or not, and I think if it hits a few checklist items that makes it a braindead yes, then we shouldn't even require DPL approval. So, I would go for making it even easier to spend money than not to.

During my 2 terms we went from having around ~$750k in available funds to having about ~$1.25m now. Every time I mention what we've been spending on (like DSA upgrades, hardware for DDs, etc), we get more donations. As long as this is the case, I have no problem with DDs spending any money they want to if it helps them make Debian better. After all, this is literally the only reason why someone donates money to Debian in the first place. So, I don't believe that the Debian funds should be preserved like some kind of treasure. We should make it as easy as possible for people to give us money, and as easy as possible for DDs to spend money, all within our legal and social frameworks, of course.

As for your question about "huge wasteful spending," yes, I do worry
about Debian's expenditures in light of Jonathan's comment that he is
happy to "give a lawyer a lot of money." [3]

Happy is a loaded word that you chose there. If I have to spend money on lawyers to protect the project and its members I will do so without hesitation. I'd /rather/ not have to spend that at all, and find it disappointing that you would even hold that against me.

I have worked with teams of lawyers. They get expensive fast.

Well, at least there's one thing we agree on.

Either way, the right person to address your question is Jonathan,
whom I copied as a courtesy. Jonathan ran on financial transparency
platforms in both the 2020 election [4] and again in 2021. [5]

Besides the updates I've sent out on our financial status every few months, that's not something that will get better soon in the next term. That's to no fault of me (or a next DPL), I've had a bunch of meetings with the treasurer team and TOs to talk about this, and there's a lot of things that need to be fixed along the way in order for us to get the accounting that we need. I'm sure we'll get there. Our TOs have indicated that they are willing to switch accounting systems, use the same expense codes, etc to help make it easier to aggregate data much faster (as in, possibly even almost real-time). That's a whole rabbit hole on itself, but I do believe having a basic incorporation of Debian, along with better agreements with our TOs will be a good starting point to get our financial reporting on the standards that we want them.


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