Thursday, December 21, 2006

A warm supporting environment

That what Madam President wants.
How do I know? Well this was posted today:
It was written by Clara (the queen bee at the Knitters Review forum)

This morning I received a very angry voicemail from the president of this knitting guild to complain about this thread, that it does not follow the "warm and supportive environment" I describe as the forums, and to complain about Of Troy in particular.

I am not in a position to spend an hour on the phone, long-distance, with her, defending this thread. I am not in the mood to receive the ire and flak of a total stranger for complaints someone else made on her behalf here.
There is more, see the whole thread at:
A guild in turmoil

Please remember Clara also posted this:
For that reason I recommend that you take this discussion off the forums and onto your blog. Actually I request it.So if you have comments, please post them here, not on Knitters Review.

Item 1-Madam President is SURE the Pip is Helen Griffin.
(doesn’t she know, on the internet no one knows if you are a dog?
Not that Helen Griffin is a dog, but why is she so sure the PIP is a single person?
Simple minded thinking Madam President!)

Item 2- A Warm and Supporting Environment
--oh, how do you foster this Madam President?

By disenfranchising members?

By Ignoring the by laws?

By not being true to your own words?

By holding secret meetings,

by demanding board members resign,

by blackballing any member who disagrees with you?

Which of these actions are part of a warm and supporting environment?

Why doesn’t the BAKG have Beginner Knitters workshops?
(one answer, not from Madam President but from her good friend,
“What do we want with these young knitters and their frou-frou yarns?”
(Yes, like Mr Swift, she asks: “What good is a baby?” --only she isn’t using satire.)

There are perhaps a dozen member of the BAKG who own yarn stores, (some brick and morter, some on-line) but you wouldn’t know it to hear Madam President talk.

For her, there is only one LYS-Seaport Yarns.

Now this PIP thinks Seaport Yarns is a fantastic store.
Great selection, great prices, and Andrea!

But this PIP thinks it is inappropriate for Madam President,
(even if she is also a Seaport Yarn EmPLOYEE)
to provide Seaport Yarn with SPECIAL RIGHTS and PRIVLIDGES.

IT WAS a FOREGONE CONCLUSION (and its already been announced)
that SEAPORT YARN (once AGAIN) will be the “in-Place Vendor” at the 2007 retreat.

HOW did that decision get made?

Were other member/vendors asked to submit bids, or proposals?
Was it discussed at a Board Meeting?
Does any other member/vendor feel that Madam President is SUPPORTIVE of their businesses?

Or is part of the WARM and SUPPORTING environment missing?

Or do you think that the way get ‘placed’ is to be part of Madam Presidents inner circle?

Madam President might very well be doing a fantastic job.
But her behavior gives every appearance of INSIDER DEALINGS, FAVORITISM, MISMANAGEMENT, SLOPPY RECORD KEEPING, and general contempt for the members.

She certainly can’t claim to foster a WARM and SUPPORTIVE ENVIRONMENT.

Since a basic requirement for such an environment is HONESTY and OPENNESS.
And if there is NO COMMUNICATION, it’s not an Warm (honest, open).
And if there is FAVORITISM, it’s not a Supportive (unless you are one of Madam Presidents SELECT FRIENDS)


Want a Warm and Supportive environment?
Be OPEN
Be Honest
Follow the By-Laws
Get Members a copy of the Treasurers report
(as you promised to deliver back in NOVEMBER)
Let’s see the Minutes of all the Board Meetings held this year.
STOP Demanding Resignations
STOP PLANNING TO BLACK BALL MEMBERS

Are you familiar with Charles Deming? (a managent guru)
He states: when there are problems in an organization, its not the workers or members who are the problem.
All problems start, and can be resolved ONLY BY THE MANAGEMENT.
You are the PROBLEM Madam President and if you think blackballing Helen Griffin or any other member is going to solve the problem, you are wrong.
Blackballing is not part of a warm and supportive environment.

Nasty phone calls are not the act of a warm and supportive guild president.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The BAKG By Laws (and the BAKG Lawbreakers)

The BAKG, though not incorporated in the state of NY, does (or rather in theory, does, ) operate by a Set of By Laws.
This PIP didn’t write the By Laws.
These are NOT THE PIP rules, these rule long predate the PIP.
But the Pip does expect them to be adhered to. Don’t you, too?
Copies of the By-Laws are available to members on the Yahoo BB or in the Sep/Oct 2005 issue of City Purls.
The elected Board of the BAKG is supposed to observe these By-Laws..
Here are some excerpt from the By-laws and some actions by the board that concern this PIP--the By-laws will be in WHITE, the PIP’s comments, Yellow.
Let’s start with Article IV, that concerns the officers and their duties.
I am going to HIGHLIGHT selected sentences from the By Laws.

Article IV OFFICERS AND DUTIES
The Officers of the Guild shall consist of a President, a Vice President, a Secretary, and a Treasurer. Term of office for each officer shall be two (2) years. No person may hold two offices concurrently. Officers must be Members in good standing of the Guild.
----------------------------------------------------------------
So, Madam President can’t also be Madam Vice President, or Madam Treasurer.
Seems clear enough.
GM was elected Madam Treasurer in the last BAKG elections.
GM relocated to at the end of March to Chicago.
Members of the BAKG (and the BAKG Board) were not notified till MAY.
(though it seems Madam President knew long before she ever told other members of the Board, or the general membership.
The NEW Madam Treasurer was “NAMED” in September (more on that below)
MADAM PRESIDENT was, IN VIOLATION OF THE BY-LAWS, acting as TREASURE from April till September.
That is a NO-NO Madam President. You are supposed to abide by the By-Laws.
__________________________________________________

In case of any vacancy among the Officers, a successor to fill the unexpired portion of the term shall be appointed by the President with the approval of the remaining Directors of the Board.

OK, It is absolutely right and proper for Madam President to NAME appoint a person to fill the unexpired portion of the TREASURE Position.
BUT (and here’s what Madam President failed to do)--the person who fill in, (the replacement) does so with APPROVAL of the remaining Board!
That didn’t happen! When HG asked Madam Recording Secretary about how the Board came to APPROVE the Current/Acting/Interim/Quasi Madam Treasurer, Madam Secretary claimed:
..1--There hadn’t been any Board meeting since March.
..2--She had never met the Madam Treasurer.
While other Board members might know the Acting/Interim/Quasi Madam Treasurer, they certain had no say in her appointment (except perhaps at the Nov 8th SECRET Board Meeting.)--But her appointment was announced in the Sep/Oct issue of CityPurls (as a fait acomplte!)
Which Leads us into By Law Article IV, point 3
The President shall preside at all meetings of the membership, all meetings of the Board of Directors and shall be an ex-officio member of any committee established by the Guild. The President with the advice and consent of the Board of Directors shall appoint all standing committees to be established by the Guild. The President shall keep the Board of Directors fully informed about the activities of the Guild and shall perform such other duties as shall be assigned from time to time by the Board of Directors.

NO BOARD MEETING FOR 7 MONTHS.
NO NOTICE (forget the approval the by-laws call for) to the Board.
Members and Board members alike learned about the new Madam Treasurer by reading about it in the City Purls.
Need I say more?
Next, Article IV, point 7
The Treasurer shall have the custody of all moneys and securities of the Guild and shall place same in appropriate financial vehicles and repositories in accordance with the guidelines established by the Board of Directors. The Treasurer shall keep proper books of account and sign checks as the Board of Directors may require. The Treasurer shall make reports on the financial condition of the Guild at each Annual Meeting of the Guild and of the Board of Directors and, whenever called upon to do so, at other meetings of the Board of Directors. All duties performed by the Treasurer shall be subject to the supervision and direction of the Board of Directors.


Lots of stuff here.
Remember the Retreat? Remember who you wrote the check to? BAKG.
Remember who you mailed it to? Madam President
Remember the Luncheon?
Remember who you wrote the check to? BAKG.
Remember who you mailed it to?
Madam President.
Remember the WorkShop’s this fall?
Remember who you wrote the check to? BAKG.
Remember who you mailed it to?
Madam President.
Look at the first sentence--The TREASURER shall have the custody of all moneys.
NOT MADAM PRESIDENT.

Why are members CONSTANTLY being directed to send money to MADAM PRESIDENT?
And you can expect, come membership renewal time, that you be requested to write a check and send it to? (Want a hint? MP, NOT MT)
Then there is this:
The Treasurer shall make reports on the financial condition of the Guild at each Annual Meeting of the Guild
So a treasurer’s report is part of the Madam Treasures responsibly.
(and sorry to harp, but WE ARE STILL WAITING!)
First, will the
REAL MADAM TREASURER PLEASE STAND UP?
Who signs the check? At who bequest?
Is it Still Madam President? Or is it Madam Acting/Interim/Quasi Treasurer?
And when did she, (if she did?) take over?
BEFORE or AFTER the BOARDS Approval (and when was that.?)
Perhaps Madam Recording Secretary can show us --oop, another By-Law, Madam Recording Secretary is DIRECTED TO KEEP Minutes of BOARD MEETINGS and to publish those minute for the MEMBERS REVIEW.
So Either the Board had lots of meeting ALL SECRET--a violaiton of the
By-Laws,
Article IV,
The Secretary shall keep minutes of all proceedings of meetings of the membership and the Board of Directors. The Secretary shall assure that such minutes are published in the Guild newsletter in a timely manner. The Secretary shall perform such other duties as shall be assigned from time to time by the Board of Directors.
Or, AS this PIP Maintains, there have been very few meetings of the Board this year, and the Board has not had the opportunity to provide any over site.
Perhaps we can ask Madam Recording Secretary:
When was the Acting/Interim/Quasi Madam Treasure introduced to the Members of the board?
Who was at that Board Meeting?
And did Madam Treasurer meet with the Boards approval?
One reason for asking this, is the SECRET BAKG Financial Report, dated Nov 30th, doesn’t have a name on it.
And This PIP is wondering just who prepared that document!

Article IV,
All financial and other records in the custody of the Treasurer shall be open to the Board of Directors at all times for inspection or audit. On ceasing to hold office, the Treasurer shall surrender all records, files, books of account, moneys, securities and other property of the Guild to a successor or to such other person as shall be designated by the Board of Directors. The Treasurer shall keep accurate and up-to-date lists of Members in good standing, together with their current addresses.

Well this PIP knows, at least 2 members (perhaps more!) of the Board were in favor of having, if not an audit, at least an outside arbitrator at a meeting of the Board and members. But Madam President and Madam Treasurer VETO’d that idea.
I wonder if any member of the Board besides Madam President and Madam Treasurer have any idea about the current, (or for that matter, any monthly balance) of the BAKG accounts.
SECRETS, SECRETS, SECRETS. Layer and layer of SECRETS.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Article X CHANGES TO THE BYLAWS
1. These Bylaws may be amended, repealed or altered in part by a majority vote of those Members voting in a mail ballot, provided that the Board of Directors shall have mailed notice in writing to all full Members stating the proposed amendment(s) in full not less than thirty days prior to the postmark date for the return of the ballots.
Did you know the By-Laws have been changed?
Not legally of course, because changes to the By-Laws require that MEMBERS BE NOTIFIED and MEMBERS GET TO VOTE on the Changes.
But there is, right there in Feb 11th board meeting minutes, (see them in May/Jun issue of CityPurls!) the Board has Changed the By-laws with out so much as a by your leave.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Actually I am somewhat amazed that they even acknowledge the By-Laws exist, since more often than not, they seem to ignore all the provisions!

Article III DIRECTORS
7. Any one or more of the Directors may be removed either with or without cause, by a vote of two-thirds of the Members present at any special meeting called for that purpose. Any Director may be removed for cause by a majority vote of the entire Board of Directors, at any special meeting of the Board of Directors called for that purpose.
Did you know a member of the Board has been FORCED OUT? And told that she is NOT ELIGIBLE TO BE A BAKG MEMBER IN 2007?
(and that there are plans to FORCE out other members?)
Why was this board member forced out?
Was it for Cause? What was the Cause?
If it wasn’t for Cause, the action was illegal according to the By-laws.
Certainly the MEMBERS didn’t force her out.
Was she Remove at Board Meeting? I think not, but perhaps Madam Recording Secretary, can you please tell us the date, time and members of the board who attended the meeting that made this decision? That is if there ever was a board meeting!

That’s the way thing are DONE now days in the BAKG.
IN SECRET, by a single person saying “YOU HAVE TO GO,
and YOU HAVE TO QUIT. YOU CAN’T BE A MEMBER.
No Board Meetings, no Discussions, no Meeting Minutes, just a simple DICTATORSHIP.
Hmm, any wonder why the PIP chooses to remain anonymous?
And why so many who comment are anonymous too?
It this the kind of organization we have?
Ask a Question, and face reprisals?
Well what do the by laws say?

Article II MEMBERSHIP
Any person who is interested in the purpose of this organization may become a Member by payment of annual dues. Any person who wishes may subscribe to the newsletter. This subscription does not confer any membership benefits.
That is.
So don’t let anyone tell you:
YOU HAVE TO QUIT.
YOU CAN‘T BE A MEMBER ANYMORE.
And don’t stand by idly when they tell others the same.
The Board of the BAKG doesn’t have that POWER.
--unless we let them get away with Vicious behavior.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The BAKG-- A SECRET SOCIETY.

When DID the BAKG become a SECRET ORGANIZATION?

We used to have a regular schedule --you knew months in advance about the programs schedule.
Look at calendar of Meeting over on the The BAKG web site.
Months of TBA’s.

Nothing on the schedule except ‘the 5 preplanned meeting’.
(January/Auction, April/Retreat/, July/Charity Knitting, September/Luncheon, December/Charity knitting.)

A calendar filled with TBA’s.
I guess the MEETING EVENTS ARE SECRET!
(or maybe Madam President is so busy lining her pockets with BAKG money, she has no time to plan anything (and perhaps no money to pay speakers?) )

We USED TO HAVE Regular issues of CityPurls, and they contained Minutes from Board meetings (frequently 2 sets of minutes!) Now, Fewer issues of CityPurls, and no Minutes printed (since Jan/Feb issue!)
(oops I forgot, there haven’t been board meetings in months, or if there have been, they are SECRET!)

We USED TO HAVE Treasurers reports too. REMEMBER the By Laws?
The BAKG ByLaws REQUIRE
(not suggest, but require) that the members receive an Annual Treasurers Report. Have you received it?
NO, IT IS, and REMAINS A SECRET.

But then, We USED TO HAVE A BOARD that Adhered to the By-Laws.
Not anymore. Now Board members act like DICTATORS.
They think they are above the law.

There is no Record of what the Board has done is, is planning to do. This open communication is a thing of the past, too.
(and SECRET to boot!)

You can read the ByLaws. (well members can!) they are posted on the Yahoo BAKG BB. (OR should I say they were? Will that document be ‘removed’? (other documents, links and post are either removed or never see the light of day.)

The YAHOO BB EXIST only to say “nice things” NO CRITIZISM or COMPLAINTS allowed.
If Board members fail to adhere to ByLaws, we must not mention it on Yahoo site!

The Board (or MEMBERS) of the Board act as if the BAKG was their personal possession.
They act as if, members have no RIGHTS to any information.

They act as if BAKG Moneys was their money.
THEY ARE WRONG.
Enough of the SECRETS.
SHOW US OUR MONEY.
We want an Audit!

Monday, December 11, 2006

The more you look at it, the less sense it makes

Every time this pip looks at the 2005 “Financial Report” and then compares it to the 2006 “financial Report” things looks curious and curiouser.

Let run the numbers.

First, INCOME FROM DUES.
2005
Income from dues............$7269
Divide that by........................../$25
.......................................(apx)290 members

2006 Income from dues................................ $5,592
Divide that by............................................../$25
........................................................(apx) 223 members

NOTE: in both cases, its likely that some members joined later in the year, and paid a pro-rated membership fee.

Well how many members are there?
Number of members listed in the 2006 members directory:
239 members--not 223.
(don’t believe me, pick up the Members Directory and count for yourself!)
Where are the dues from these 16 additional members? ($400!)

But wait, you might be saying, if a member joins mid year, they don’t pay a full $25. Right you are!

So let’s assume that at about 10% of the membership joined sometime other than January.
IF 10% of members paid a pro-rated members ship (let’s say on average $12.50--some paying more, some paying less, depending on when they joined.)

....239
-(10%)23
..........216 full ($25 dues) paying members.


...216 members
.*.$25
$5,400

.... 23 members
*$12.50 (at the mean pro-rated dues)
$287.50

$5,400.00
+ $287.50
$5,687.50 (income from Dues)

But the Financial report shows we “income from dues“ as $5,592, not $5,687.00
We are still missing moneys. (is $95 missing? or $400? or some other amount?)

So how did we arrive at $5,592?
How many members paid Full ($25 dues) and how many members paid less
(because of pro-rating?)
Who knows? (It's another secret!) but its hard to come up with any number of Full members and Pro-rated members that is equal to $5,592!

And Don't forget,
SOME MEMBERS ELECT NOT TO BE INCLUDED in Directory
So there very well might be more than 239 members!
(and Um, where is the income from their dues?)

At least 1 member joined at the Knit Out.

NOTE: anyone who joined that late in year, gets, in effect ‘free membership’ for last 3 months of the year.
(they receive a membership card good for remainder of 2006, and they are fully paid member for 2007)

Stuff like this, (income received in 2006, that really belongs in the 2007 ‘accounting’) is normally shown in separate area in a Treasurers Report.

Like wise, if the BAKG has once again gave a deposit of $100 for the 2007 retreat, that $100 should be NOTED but it is properly part of the 2007 EXPENSES, not the 2006 Expenses. (It’s not shown anywhere!)

An Accounting PLEASE!
One that follows the General Accepted Rules of ACCOUNTING.
Or explains why it doesn’t!

Then, INCOME From Workshops:

Income from Workshops in 2005 $1530
Expenses for Workshops in 2005 $2,118
5 workshop in 2005
Expense per workshop $323

Income from Workshops in 2006 $900
Expenses for Workshops in 2006 $721.
2 workshops (by November 2005)
Expense per workshop $360
Why do the workshops cost $40 more to run this year?
Does the income include money prepaid for Dec 2nd workshop?
Does the Expense include cost of December 2nd workshop?
Who knows? The (still secret) report doesn’t say.

Next Up, the CityPurls
Expense (6) City Purls, 2005 $3392
Where does this number come from? lets break it down.

Cost per issue
($3,392 /number of members (290) / number of issues (6) =
$3,392 /290 = $11.70
$11.70/6 = $1.95 per issue
................................Cost Per Issue= $1.95
.....................................--this cost includes postage.

Expenses for CityPurls 2006 $1,849
Cost per issue (based on the number of members from Dues income)
1,849/number of members (223)/number of issues(4)
1849 /223 = 8.29
8.29 /4 =2.07
................................Cost Per issue = $2.07
.....................................(again, postage inlcuded)

Cost per issue based on number of member from Directory count.
$1,849 /number of members (from Directory=239)/number of issues
1849/239= 7.74
7.74/4= $1.94
..................................Cost per Issue = $1.94
.....................................(Postage included)

(REMEMBER postage has gone up, so its seems natural that the cost per issue should go up too, (postage went from $0.60 per issue to $0.63 per issue)
Still what is the REAL NUMBER/COST?

............What are Printing Costs?
.......................Label costs?
...............................Mailing costs?
.........Total cost (either per mailing or Per issue?)

There should be someway of ‘figuring out” what the cost per issue is of Citypurls.
The numbers should actually be provided to members!

Especially since Madam President has made a point of handing out, rather than mailing a dozen or so issues of the CityPurls every issue.
(Where do we see these "savings"?)

ANOTHER THOUHT COMES TO MIND..
CityPurls is not a LETTER, it is NEWS.

NEW and MAGAZINES should be sent at MEDIA RATE, not FIRST CLASS MAIL RATE.

And since we have the ability to pre sort by ZIP CODE, we could be entitled to a discount for presorting the mailing. (this involves PRINTING the labels in zip code order, not someone hand sorting the mailing.)

Additionally, MOST (99.9% of Word Processing programs) will also print the USPS bar code on a label, too, and Mailers who preprinting this bar code can save on postage.
Preprinting the bar code is 3 simple steps when doing a mail merge to print the address labels.

SO WHY are we paying first class letter rate postage instead of MediaRate postage to mail the CityPurls?
If there is an interest "saving money" should we take basic steps first?

Media Rate is not available if you have paid advertising in the media, but the CityPurls does not sell ads. (It does provide, free, some promotional material of interest to members; like information on various bus trips, and LYS information--but this is allowed in Newsletters)
(check out the USPS web pages for details!)


Membership costs.
In 2005, these are $562 (for 290 members
In 2006, these are $789.32 (for 223 (or is it 239?)Members)

Well, fewer members any way you count them.
And $227 more in expenses!
What are these expenses?

And if a single mailing of the CityPurls cost about $2, (and all 3 sets of number are about $2) then the Member's Directory should cost about $2, too to print and mail.
223 * $2= $446

And the members cards?
They cost $.040 to mail (envelopes in bulk cost less than $0.01 +$0.39 in postage.)

Membership cost of are shown. $789 - $450 (lets round up the cost of Directory) =$339

Does printing up and mailing the membership cards cost $1.40?
($1 per card! +$0.40 postage?)

(NOTE also, 2005, with more members, the membership cost were $227 lower (for more members!
Wait, there was a postage increase this year!

Yes there was!

A $0.02 increase in postage cost is $2.00 per hundred members.
(or 250 (members) X $0.02 = $5 per mailing
10 mailing (10 meeting notices) =$50

So with fewer members (fewer $0.37 cents stamps) but Higher postage (that couldn’t exceed $50 for entire year,) our membership costs are sill significantly higher this year than last!

There still is the extra cost of $0.03 to mail the Members Directory
3X 223 is $6.60 or so. 3 X 239 is still under $7.25
That’s is at most, an extra $57.50 for this year.

So why are the cost so much higher this year?
There might be a valid reason for a $60 or so increase in membership administration costs.
But there is $277 increase! What is the over $200 going to provide?

Other
There still is the question of what the $403 Other expenses are for!

A Treasurer’s Report is suppose to make it easier to understand what the BAKG’s money is being spent on.

NOT harder!

Categories like Other should detail what the other expenses are, a list of other expenses (even if each expense isn’t accounted for in detail)

The issue of OTHER Expences, make this pip think--
What about Other INCOME?
Sometimes members, or non members (other guilds for example!) request a copy of City Purls.
HG noted that how she got her patterns “picked up” for the 2007 page a day calendar--a member of an other guild was also the editor of the calendar and she had seen the patterns in the CityPurls (Jul/Aug issue)
If a non member wants a copy of CityPurls, we charge them $2 an issue.
Where is that “other” income recorded? (NO WHERE!)

It might not be very much (Other Income $10.00) but shouldn’t it at least be noted?

Madam President is claiming the PIP is "just making these numbers up"
Well, resolve that, Madam President and Madam Treasurer.
--Provide the members (as called for in the By-Laws) with a Treasurers Report.

It was due to members at "annual meeting" (the Luncheon) in September
It wasn't available at the October Meeting
It was promised to members at November Meeting
It still wasn't available at the December Meeting.
No one this Pip knows has recieved on.

We are still waiting.
(your "2 weeks" has come and gone, and other 2 weeks!)
Will the Members EVER see one? ever again?

It's time to call for an AUDIT. (the By-Laws permit that.)
So members find out what your money is being used for.
DEMAND an AUDIT.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Financials

The Pip rambled yesterday, (a failing!) here is a more concise recap:
In August 2005 a BAKG “Financial Report” indicates
.....1--BAKG has net income for year (over $1000)
.....2- BAKG checking account balance is $20,270.00
New “Financial Report” (dated November 2006) indicates
.....1- BAKG Checking account in January 2006 was $13,829.00
.........(this is $6441 less than it was 4 months previously)
.....2-Current (NOVEMBER) balance is (allegedly) $18,852.00
.....3-- Income for BAKG this year is (allegedly) $5,023

This is HIGHEST ON RECORD (from fewest members in a long time!)
by a factor of 3
(on average previous income was over $1,000, but well under $1,500)

Where was this income 'generated'?

The Retreat?
In March, at Board meeting Madam President stated:
The response to retreat was Very LOW (25 member/non members participating)
And RETREAT MIGHT OPPERATE AT LOSS

In May, Madam President, at May General meeting, announced
“THE RETREAT BROKE EVEN”

In November, the Financial Report shows $3, 271 PROFIT
.

(Which number/statement are we to believe?
.....March (a loss,)
..........May (break even) or
................November (after the pip has been squeeking) $3,271 profit?

A profit figure I might add, that is the major part of the $5,023 “INCOME“ the guild allegedly had this year.
A profit figure that “restores" a good part of the UNEXPLAINED $6000 loss of 2005.

But are we going to have another sudden, unexplained loss in December?

Maybe.
On November 1st Madam President shared a preliminary treasurers report with some members, (not the PIP, but at least 3 others) and showed a checking account balance of $20,XXX.00 (the X were low numbers, but not remembered, About $20,000 was what was remembered)
On November 30, (“FINANCIAL REPORT”) the checking account balance is $18,852.00
What happened to $1,200 in 1 month?
Are there going to be more loses when we are not looking, they way there were last year, when we lost $6000 + last year?

You can look in the "Financial Report" some anwers, but there aren't answers to be found.

Or from the Membership?
Dues are $25. There are expenses to run a the guild:
......Membership card
......Meeting Notices to be printed and mailed
.....CityPurls to be printed and mailed
.....Meeting room fees

Let’s say that basic expenses (minus the room fee) are about $21
........-that could be too high, but it’s not too low
........--but what ever the expenses are,
.......they should be shown!
Let’s say the room fee is $75 (Madam President used that number last year!)
If we pay for a room fee 7 times a year, we need $525 from membership dues.

If each member (via the dues) is contributing $4 to room,
we need 132 members to cover room cost ($525 /$4= 131.25)
So with 132 members, we meet our basic members cost for the year.

If we have more than 132 members (and we do) then, after paying for a room,
the $4 goes to pay for Members Program’s.

If we have more than 264 members (2 X132)
then we have $525 (from first 132 members) to pay Room fee.
And another $525 available for speakers, from the next 132 members.

If there are more than 264 members, there is more money.
Income from dues is pegged a $5,592.
Divide that by $25, and it shows
About 223 members.

But the financial report shows (in Membership subtotal),
that there was $1,458 INCOME from membership and auction
Ok, the auction did raise $905--
But this still shows ($1,458-$905 = $553 of INCOME just from membership)
(again that figure is SIGNIFICANTLY higher than previous years.)

Check above and its shows Members dues are providing $553 (from 223 members!)
And that’s after we pay for the Room Fee!

That’s way more income than we have ever gotten from membership dues.

(And remember, postage went up this year, so the basic costs of mailing meeting notices and the CityPurls is higher this year than last!)

That is an amazing accomplishment, isn’t it?
(or is it a lie?)
Maybe there really isn’t $1,458 Income available.

(and curiously enough, the membership chair puts membership closer to 300, --so the “income” from dues seems to be about $1875 (75 members X $25 dues) short!)

Do Madam President and Madam Treasurer belong to the Ken LAY (Enron) school of accounting, where LOSS can be counted as profits? And income is there to be skimmed?
Where this PIP has to ask, is the almost $2000 in missing ‘Dues‘?

And you have to ask, why isn’t membership income being used to provide members programs?
The programs this year have been pretty sparse.

I love Nicki Epstein, but how much should we be paying her to promote her newest book?
Same with Linda Skolnik and Janice MacDaniels, (they, too, were promoting their book.)
And did we pay Nancy Thomas to give, what was in effect, a trunk show of Tahki/Stacy Charles line of yarns and promote a book to use these yarns?
(no yarns were available at discount.. If you want these yarns, please proceed to nearest LYS and pay full price.)
The other meeting where "share the talent" programs, and the presentors were not comp'd for their effort.

Or the Workshops?
In spite of rather high expenses (un accounted for expenses) for the workshops, they too are showing a tidy profit this year. (unlike last year)
But at the November general meeting, Madam president announce that the November workshop was going to be run at a loss.

Exactly how many people attended Arlene Mintzer’s workshop?
And how many people attended Tatyana Mirer’s workshop?
And how many people PRE PAID(before Dec 2nd) to attend Nicki Epstein’s workshop?

Is the $900 of income shown on the “Financial Report“ for 3 workshops, or for 2?
Are the “Costs” show for 3 workshops? Or for 2?

Who knows? And the Financial Report doesn’t say either.

Who is behind all these "intereting numbers"?
The Current Acting/Interim/Quasi treasure was the “OFFICIAL, ELECTED” treasurer in 2005. But there are no detail about how we went from having $1000+ “INCOME” in August of 2005 to have a $6.441 loss by December 31st.
(its one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time!)

And if someone actually looked at the BAKG checking account balance, what number would be there?
$18,852? (November Financial Report )
$20,xxx? (allegedly what was there in November 2006)
$13,829? (what was there in January of 2006)
Or some other number? (guess!)

Copies of the August 2005 Financial Report can be seen
Here.
For a copy of the November 2006 report, send an email to
a_pip_ squeek (at)Yahoo.com. replace the (at) with an @

The Excel spread sheet had 22 formatting errors (the numbers in the report were generated from another UNAVAILABE SECRET SPREAD) and as a result, only a small portion of the Financial Report could actually be read.
This PIP has not yet received a complete and total report.
NOR have most members.
Though, one MEMBER, a Close FOC claims she has.
I guess she is some sort of SPECIAL MEMBER and is accorded SPECIAL rights and privileges not available to general members. I guess you have to be a FOC’s and to get any real information about the BAKG.

A final NOTE
Oh, and by the way, Madam President, in her letter to membership, in the Jan/Feb issue of CityPurls reports that we raised $334.50 for Habitat for Humanity at the November Meeting.
But the Financial Report states we donated $224.50 What happened to the other $110?

and don't forget--Let Madam President and Madam Treasurer know what you think..

send them a copy of this blog posting and ask them to resign.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Secrets and Lies--a long awaited Financial Report

is sort of available.
I say 'sort of" because:
There is document available--A secret-- not to be shared with members (--pesky members, thinking they should have a say in how thing or run or be owed any information about what their money is being used for) document.
(read to the end to find out how you can get your very own copy of this secret document!)

It is an UNSIGNED document, (that is, no one has put their name to it…So it is unclear who prepared it--that’s a secret, too, I guess) that is pretending to be a Financial report of the BAKG (note, it is not, nor does it claim to be, a Treasurer’s Report!)

It has an end date, (as of November 2006,) but not a start date.
If a ninth grader handed in a report like this for homework,--that is, unsigned, and with out a start date and an end date--(and preparing a simple Treasurer’s Report, is part of 9th grade math) they would receive a failing grade.
Should we expect less from BAKG leadership (a word used rather loosely in this context!) than is expected from a 13 to 14 year old? I don‘t think so!
But that is not the most glaring thing about this document..
One of the first things that caught the Pip’s eye was
Balance carried forward in January 2006-- $13,829.00
Wait! The “financial report” hand out dated August 2005 showed a “balance” of $20,270.00 (and showed the BAKG as operating in the black, (with income!)

But 5 months later, there is $6,441 less money!
(what you don’t still have a copy of the August 2005 “Financial Report”?
No matter, you can see it
here
Just where did $6,441 go?!
What ever did we spend $6000 on? How did we lose more than $6000 in 4 months!?
(There is just no accounting for it-- Literally or figuratively!)

Do you think, (as I do,) that maybe the August 2005 report had puffed up numbers to make the report look good and silence people who demanded a treasurers report before the elections?

And now, they are being forced to admit, the August 2005 report was phonied up.
NO WONDER THIS NEW FINANCIAL REPORT A SECRET DOCUMENT!

Of course, they want you to believe this new report (this, still officially secret, report!), that this report is, um, TOTALLY ACCURATE.
(just trying saying that with a straight face!)

And they want you to forget that this report, is brought to you by the same, um, PERSON OR PERSONS UNKNOWN that phonied up the August 2005 report!
But Wait, there is more!
There is this item: Meetings $1,997!
So lets figure this out. There are 2 meeting are Charity meeting at Mickie’s house (does she charge for use? I don’t think so!), 2 meeting are “off site” , (the luncheon and the retreat.) and no meeting for August. Out of 12 months, we meet at LGCC 7 times a year.
So, $1, 997.00 / 7=$285 cost per meeting!
Gee, those must be some meeting!
We must have high price speakers, and refreshments. NOT.
So what is $285 per meeting paying for? Do you know?
(maybe cab fairs for Madam President and her entourage? )

Helen, Nancy and Barbara presented a “share the talent meeting’--they were comp’d nothing for their effort. (so there is one meeting that had little or no cost. )
Did Elaine and Raye get paid big bucks when they did their share the talent presentation in May? (and if they did, why did they get comp’d when Nancy, Barbara and Helen didn’t? --there isn’t one set of rules and reg’s for FOC, and another for others, is there? )
Does Barbara Kerr get comp’d for the membership project meeting?
(and is so, how much, and why don’t other members get comp’d when they run a presentation at a meeting?)
If these members’ didn’t get comp’d for presentation, just what costs are there for meetings?
Can you tell me, Madam President and Madam Treasurer,( and the members), please, just what we are spending $285 a meeting on? (for sure, this "Report" doesn't explain!)

At last report, the room at the LGCC cost $75.
If it really cost $285, we could be getting a ball room in a Manhattan hotel for 4 hour for that much money! So exactly what does the room cost us?

Shouldn’t that basic information be available in a treasurers report?
Shouldn’t there be some explanation of what we are spending $1,997 ($285 a meeting!) on?

As of November 2006 we had 2 workshops (September 16, Nov 14) Expenses for these workshops?
$721 (2 room rentals, 2 instructors fees.. $721???)
What is the room fee? Is it the same $75? Or more? $100? ($200 for 2 workshops?)
And instructors fees? $125 to $150 is about normal for a 4 hour workshop.
(this is bases on publicly available information from speakers like Anne Modisett and others who post their fees on their blog/web pages. )
If we are paying more, you have to ask why?

So, $200(2 room fees), plus $300 (2 instructors fees) =$500, what’s the other $221 going to? Kick backs? Or other fiscal fudging?

And what are the OTHER expenses?
In 2005 there were $957 worth, this report shows $403.
$400 on What? What are the other expenses?
Are there receipts for these expenses?
EVERY PENNY-after 17 months its not unreasonable to expect every penny to be accounted for.
$400 of unaccounted for OTHER just doesn’t cut it.

As this PIP read the report, and it seems as if numbers where picked up out of the air.

Some things, like the Hurricane Katrina fund where collected in November of 2005 and (should have been!) dispersed in 2005, so what are they doing in a 2006 report?
(padding it?)

Look in the March/April issue of City Purls, and the minutes note that the guild had received a receipt from Habitat for Humanity.. (by Feb 11th meeting date.)
Making it seem all the more evident that the donation properly belongs in the 2005 accounting.

We wait 16 months, and get dished up a mess of numbers that have no details, no explanations on how they were arrived at, and no one accepting accountability for the report! There are months of information are missing, and $6000, too!

Do you think this document is doctored? --just like the August 2005 one clearly was?
And the August 2005 clearly was doctored, --how else can you explain “a Balance of $20,270 in August” and “a balance carried forward of $13,829”a scant 4 months later?

Remember HG and other members made a stink about an election being held with not Treasurers report available. That document that came out, the August 2005 document, and it purported to showed good stewardship.

Do you think Madam President would have been re-elected if members saw a $6,441 loss to the clubs reserve fund? Do you think the August 2005 report was a bit self serving?

And given, that the August 2005 document was filled with lies, (and what else could it have been if 4 months later the balance carried forward was $6,441 less!?) on what basis should we accept the SECRET November 2006 document as being a true picture of the BAKG finances?

What are we to make of this secret document?
It this document just another lie to shut up HG and the Pip and other members?

Moneys come and go, details remain elusive.
It’s easier to pull teeth than to get a proper accounting.

The mess of number is just that, a mess of numbers.
It can be called a lot of things, but a treasurers report? Hardly.

It doesn’t even claim to be a Treasurer’s Report!
After 17 months this is the best that they can come up with?

This is an accounting? This is a FARSE!

And why is this document being kept secret from the members?
Maybe they are afraid to be questioned about these numbers?

Maybe they realize that you can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME.

And there are a group of members who aren’t going to be fooled by this.

Are you fooled? This PipSqueek isn’t.
And who receives the Bank Statements?

(and what proof does anyone have that the stated balance is the actual balance? )
Has anyone on the Board, beside Madam President ever seen the Bank statements?

Do you want to believe the people who are trying to dish up this mess and call it a report?
I don’t.

Do you want a copy-an error ridden copy of the secret document? Send an email to:
a_pip_squeek@yahoo.com (note: there are _(underscores) between a and pip, and pip and squeek)

And remember, August 2005 report is available at the link above.

Don’t trust me, ask me to verify.. I will send you the same document I recieved.

What about the Board?
Will they come clean?
Will they show where these numbers came from?
Will the show bank statements, and canceled checks?
Will they ever account to us, what they are doing with our money?
Or will they operate in secret, and continue to lie to us?
They will if you let them. Don’t let them.

Why don’t you send a copy of this posting to Madam President and to Madam Treasurer and let them know, You are fed up and not going to stand for this any longer.

Demand their resignations.
Don’t know their email addresses?
Here they are:
eclair218@aol.com Madam President
suzysimon@optonline.net Madam Treasurer

Just highlight the address, and hit Control and C together to copy it,
then hit the envelop icon below
In the new window that opens up,
Paste the address into the TO: field by hitting Control and V.
Add your comments, and hit the send button.
Do it now.

or post your thoughts in the Comment section (or both places!)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Remember, you heard it here first!

Sometime (before my time in the BAKG started) a “members project” was started.
Two outgoing hard working members, discovered Horst Schultz, and Modular knitting.

They organized a project. They taught classes. The project start out with a great deal of enthusiasm. It was, by all measures, a success.

Then, the years passed, and interest withered. But the project lingered on.
The one of the founding member of so called current project, is one of the members who has voted with her feet, and left the BAKG!

Its now 2006, (and very nearly 2007) and a new membership project is needed.

What should the BAKG Members Project be?
I Dunno! Let’s Ask the Members.

If it’s a Membership Project, Members should have a say.
First, the members should be asked for ideas, and the ideas discussed and voted on.
There should be a time limit to the project.
It should be started, worked on, completed.
And then another project should be started.

Specifically, What sort of project should there be?
Here are a few ideas. Are these the best ideas? Nope.
They are just idea’s to get members thinking.
Let's get a list together--these ideas (not all the Pip’s by any means!) and others, and lets discuss and vote on a project.
1--Knit NY-- get a map - (real or stylized, perhaps even subway map)
Maybe include parts of LI, NJ, outlying suburbs to north, too.
Make the map into grid (25 X 25 squares--or about 255 pieces)
Blow up (enlarge) each grid square at least 10 times.
Each member gets a square (or more if they want) to knit.
New knitters can chose waterways (and knit plain blue squares) or park area's and knit green squares.
Experienced kniters can knit intarsia, maybe someone with an i cord knitting maching can make miles of i-cord (for subway lines, or City/countly lines) Members can chose to knit their home square, or the square that represents a former home, or shcool, or favorite place in the city.
--Eventually join the squares back together to have a 100 X100 foot square knit map of NYC and area!
Part of this project (and the next two projects!) should be working with local museums to have a short (3 month or so) special exhibit of the finished project.
The finished product could be auctioned off, and the proceeds donated to a worthy cause.

2- Bushels of Apples.
Members knits (and if desired, also felts) an apple--or a strip of garter stitching (something like a scarf)
Maybe we can convince Nicky Epstein to allow us to use her design for knitted apples for this project, though anyone who wants to design their own apple can!

The garter stitch strips get woven (and felted) into Bushel baskets (or perhaps someone who is a geek wants to design and make a cornucopia-) The knit baskets get filled with knit apples.

NY state is the second largest producer of apples in US. Our guild is the big apple guild.
Apples come in many colors, (golden, green, red, mottled, russet), many sizes, (think of crab apples or ladies apples, right on up to Rome Beauties) and many colors.

This project too, should be exhibited--at least for a short while.

After, members can elect to reclaim the apples they knit, or the project could be auctioned off. In either case, the project needs not just knitters, but PR experts, and Photographers, and someone to find an appropriate place to display the finished work.

3--Knit Shakespeare in the park
Knit the DeLeCourt theater, and ‘characters’ (in costume!) for a production of a Shakespeare play from NYC’s free Shakespeare in the Park
Decide on what scale, what production, (newer knitters can knit the Central park grass for the ‘base’)
This project, too, needs an exhibit space (any BAKG member also a member of the Friends of Central Park? Anyone work for NY Public theater? Or the NYC Dept of Parks? --or on the board of The Museum of the city of NY? or active with the Crafts Art Council?

Hey all of these above projects could be displayed at the NYKnit Out!

4--Design and create a BAKG Calendar. (a 16month calendar)
The Guild has some well known designers, (Lily Chin, Nicky Epstein to name a few!)
Many others members also design. Members who have online or brick and mortar LYS could be listed as sources for the materials.
Other members could be photographers, or test knitters, or editors. Some members could take on the job of PR’s, and notify Knitting Magazines and On Line sources.
(Some members could end up being MODELS! (not this Pip for sure, but we do have some members who could!)
Now days, with Print on Demand services, the whole calendar could exist on a server and be printed and picked up by purchasers at a Kinko’s . If someone doesn’t have a local Kinko’s, well Kinko has Fed Ex service--it could be FexEx’d to them.
Sell the Calendar from the BAKG web site, (via paypal)
No inventory to store, no envelops to address.. All of it done by Kinko’s (or perhaps an even cheaper service provider!)

5--A members Knit along.. (or more than one knit along going at once.. Remember we do have 250+members--with all sorts of skill levels and interests)
Could it be an Aran sweater, (or afghan?) a Fair Isle sweater (or ensemble, with hat and mittens!) a Moebius scarf and Klein Bottle hat. --or maybe a 4 knit along’s planned for every year.. Skill building project for beginners, sharing opportunities for members, with several knit alongs going on at once, the needs of many different members could be met at once.
At least one of the projects should be dedicated to a specific charity.

6--A Stitch and Pitch outing. (this pip has to confess, I think watching a baseball game is as exciting as watching paint dry.. But who cares what this pip thinks?) Stitch and Pitch is now being sponsored by TNNA, in co-operation with the National Baseball Associations.
Obviously, this pip is out of step with hundreds of knitters interests!
Information about Stitch and Pitch can be found at their web site.

Is anyone of these project perfect? No.

There are problems organizing and coordinating all of them.
Are there better idea’s out there? ABSOLUTELY.
This pip wants to be put in her place. Show me all the flaws in the ideas presented, and present an idea of your own!
Let's get a discussion going.. And eventually, a Vote, and then on to a great project!
Do we want a members project that the members contribute (donate) their work and it gets auctioned off?

Or do them members what a project that showcases their work, but allows them to keep it?

Should the project have an aim? Should it be a fund raiser, or just a show off piece?

This pip doesn’t have all the answers, (and besides, my answers are just that, my answers) the members of the BAKG should decide, collectively what they want their membership project to be.
I mean, isn’t that want a membership project is all about?

And remember, when Madam President presents theses idea’s, where she got them from.
If she presents them, (as her own, as ideas she has ‘collected’) it's not leadership, it’s theft.
She’d rather not admit to knowing about this blog. (but she’ll gladly steal ideas from it and present them as her own!)
Just remember where you heard them first!

Another week has gone by

It’s a new month, too!

Remember, on November 1st, Madam President, of her own volition, shared with some members (and instructed them not to tell other members!) the beginning of a Treasurer’s Report she was preparing.

On November 8th
, there was a semi-secret, emergency meeting of the Board (was there a quorum? Exactly how many board members showed up? Who knows. Not this pip.
Well, in any case, it seem evident there wasn’t a Treasurers Report at that meeting, because on

November 11th there was a general meeting, and Madam President said “there report will be ready in 2 weeks. (Madam Interim/Acting/Quasi Treasurer was not at the meeting, nor was Madam Recording Secretary)

November 25 came and went with no Treasurers Report, and the Special meeting one board member tried to set up no get set up, to help settle these issues never happened (unless of course it was double secret!)

Madam President had time to spend sitting knitting at CitiCorp on Wednesday November 29th, and she report heself being at P&S (a LYS that is closing and has a clearance sale) on Friday, December 1st, (so clearly she has some free time) but here is its, December 2nd, and still no treasurers report.

The last treasurers report, dated August, handed/mailed to members the first week of September 2005, is the last report members have received.

The last knowledge we have about the $20,000 of the guilds funds.

..1....August 2005
........--a hodge podge of numbers alleging to be a
........treasurers report is handed/mailed out.
..2....September 2005
.........--income/outgo from annual luncheon to report on
..3....October 2005
..4....November 2005
..5....December 2005
...........--income/outgo from fall workshops (in Oct/Nov/Dec)
..6....January 2006 (membership renewal income)
..7....February 2006
..8....March 2006
..9....April 2006
.........--annual retreat income/outgo to report on
..10. May 2006
..11...June 2006
..12...July 2006
..13...August 2006
..14...September 2006
.........--income/outgo from annual luncheon, and a workshop, too
..15...October 2006
.........--income outgo from workshop
..16...November 2006
.......--income/outgo from workshop
And here we are in
..17.. December 2006
........--with another workshop scheduled today, more money
......going into the BAKG bank account (or is it?)
......and still no Treasurers report.

Well Madam President, what do you have to say for yourself?

Are we ever going to see a Treasurers Report?

This is OUR MONEY not YOURS. Show us the MONEY.