[Owasp-board] Discussion on Proposal 6

Josh Sokol josh.sokol at owasp.org
Fri Oct 9 21:18:34 UTC 2015


I definitely hear you, but we have rules in place to even prevent that.
For example Section 4.10 of the Chapter Leader Handbook
says that "Chapter leaders are not authorized to sign contracts or enter
into any legal agreements on behalf of the OWASP Foundation".  You will not
have any sort of a $50k venue guarantee for services without a signed
contract.  This is the control that prevents abuse in that specific
situation.  There are many others.

Also, keep in mind that they are authorized only so long as "*they have an
account balance which covers that expense in full*".  So, if a Chapter or
Project has $50k in their account, and wants to spend it on a venue for a
conference, why should we stand in their way or require additional
approvals if others have done the exact same thing in the past?  The
limiting factor here is their account balance and we need to empower them
to spend it how they desire as long as it is in adherence with the OWASP

Tobias: This has not been motioned or seconded yet.  I put it out there for
discussion first, since there was not a general consensus on it.


On Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 3:49 PM, Tobias <tobias.gondrom at owasp.org> wrote:

> As our mailing-list got a bit swamped, this might have got lost in the
> hundred voting emails, do we have any further discussion elements on this
> one?
> And if people like vote on this, can they please confirm that they have at
> least acknowledged this discussion when casting their vote?
> Thanks, Tobias
> On 09/10/15 14:17, Andrew van der Stock wrote:
> I am really keen to reduce the amount of bureaucracy involved in expense
> management, but this is a really well trodden path in every single SME to
> major enterprise.
> My main concern is no upper bounds on pre-approved expenses. This means
> that a local chapter that managed to get an approval for a $50k conference
> centre fee, say AppSec AU in 2011, would mean that all chapters would be
> automatically allowed to claim that expense too. I want to enable that,
> whilst not allowing us to be hit with hundreds of large conferences being
> organised throughout the year. We simply don't have the staff bandwidth nor
> the funds to do that today.
> Typical financial governance is pre-approval for expenses under a certain
> dollar value, and a single sign off within the Foundation approval for
> expenses between say the cut off and say a $10k limit, and senior
> management approval above $10k. In my view, we can hit the home run we all
> are looking for, whilst still maintaining good financial governance over
> major expenses whilst not ruling out ANY type of expense that a chapter
> might be able to come up with.
> My view is that we go through all the paid out expenses over the last two
> years, and work out some limits. We can tummy tussle over the exact limits,
> but I feel the following would be a good start:
> $0 - $1500 should cover nearly all expenses paid to date along with the
> above proposal's list of pre-approved expenses
> $1500 to $10k should be an approval level granted to a project coordinator
> or chapters coordinator. All expenses are subject to sign off prior to
> incurring the expense
> $10k ... $100k is within the signing range of the Executive Director, and
> would require pre-approval before incurring the expense
> Above $100k would require Exec Dir + Board approval.
> That way, local area conference bills of $50k don't hit us without
> forewarning, and yet we have the flexibility of allowing LAScon and AppSec
> Cali to work without a special rule or budgetary process. The majority of
> projectors, catering, room fees, and so on would never be huge amounts of
> work for Foundation staff.
> I think it hits what you're trying to achieve without opening us up to
> some serious financial problems down the track.
> thanks,
> Andrew
> On Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 1:20 PM, Josh Sokol <josh.sokol at owasp.org> wrote:
>> Here is the current text for proposal 6:
>> *If a request for funding has been approved for one chapter or project,
>> then it can be considered an acceptable expense for all chapters or
>> projects.  If they have an account balance which covers that expense in
>> full, then they should be considered pre-approved for spending.*
>> *Tobias:*
>> I agree in spirit, but I think this needs clarification and am a bit
>> concerned about liberal interpretations of what is the same expense type.
>> Expenses tend to not be exactly identical and I like to safe chapter and
>> project leads from searching the public expense lists for precedence. As
>> one example if a flight ticket is approved for a chapter leader to attend
>> the AppSec chapter leader workshop, that should not mean we also approve a
>> flight ticket to Bahamas for holiday for another chapter leader.
>> Technically both are flight expenses for chapter leaders. (I know I am
>> splitting hairs...)
>> Suggested revision:
>> Proposal 6: If a request for funding has been approved for one chapter or
>> project, then it can be considered an acceptable expense for all chapters
>> or projects. Our operations team shall periodically (at least once every 3
>> months) review the list of published expenses and if new expense types come
>> up add them to the published list of acceptable expenses. If the chapters
>> or projects have an account balance which covers that expense in full, then
>> they should be considered pre-approved for spending.
>> *Josh:*
>> I think that we need to trust people to do the right thing.  To my
>> knowledge, we have never had a person try to request reimbursement for a
>> trip to the Bahamas because someone got a flight paid for to AppSec.  Also,
>> keep in mind that this is a reimbursement process so our Operations Team
>> determines whether a request is legit.  To me, it would seem like you're
>> putting a lot of extra work on the Ops Team with little added benefit since
>> they are still going to have to find a way to write it up so that it will
>> not be misinterpreted.  I think we have reasonable controls in place to
>> prevent abuse and our liability here is minimal.  I don't see a need to
>> revise it in this manner.
>> *Tobias:*
>> Well, I don't think to maintain a list of good examples is unnecessarily
>> heavy workload. And in the long run, searching through a long unstructured
>> list of published expense claims will be more work load for both the staff
>> and the community to check for good expense precedents. If we do this one
>> time per quarter, the effort is clearly limited. If we (staff and leaders)
>> have to review an unlimited year long list for precedent, this seems much
>> more effort.
>> *Josh:*
>> In theory we are supposed to be maintaining a list of good examples
>> already.  Some of them are listed in the Chapter and Project Leader
>> Handbooks.  That said, they aren't anywhere close to all of the possible
>> things one would want to spend their money on.  The idea here was simply to
>> maintain the running list of all expenses that are approved or denied
>> (proposal 5) and use that to drive spending.  Again, I think this comes
>> down to a matter of trust.  We need to trust our Leaders to do the right
>> thing.  We need to trust the staff to ensure that the reimbursement is
>> legitimate before sending them a check.  With so many complaints about
>> difficulties withe the reimbursement process (as much as I've never seen
>> them), we should be looking for ways to strip away the red tape, not add
>> more of it.
>> ~josh
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