Dear Jaime Villagomez, I have a question about a small example of
procurement governance that I hope you can help with as the WMF CFO;

Can you please publish the specification of work used to support
contract review by WMF Finance and WMF Legal for the work placed with
Valerie Aurora and Ashe Snyder, and confirm how many other suppliers
were given the opportunity to bid for the work?

Though it is a reasonable decision that the WMF support their
management team to make local decisions on resourcing, I am concerned
that an informal and undocumented way of potentially selecting friends
or old colleagues as suppliers has become a tacitly accepted default
for placing WMF project contracts, rather than ensuring open bid
processes with independently verifiable good governance. This appears
to contradict the WMF Finance commitment to "core values of
transparency and accountability".

During discussion of the proposed Code of Conduct for Wikimedia
Technical spaces[1], it was stated that Valerie Aurora and Ashe Snyder
had been given contracts for "expert advice". I asked to see the
invitation to tender. The question has since been hidden from view,
without a confirmation that a specification for the work was written
before the contracts were offered, nor has any statement been made
about how much money will be paid for the (unspecified) review work.
As far as I can tell, no expert advice by Aurora or Snyder has yet
been made public, even though the Code of Conduct was intended to be
created using open community processes. Quim Gil wrote "Feel free to
continue via email or elsewhere", so I am posing the question as an
open letter by email, asking again on-wiki appears now impossible.

The WMF policy for procurement states that "Purchases that involve
contracts need to go through contract review", and Quim Gil has
confirmed that "I followed the normal WMF procedures for contracting
vendor services, going through WMF Finance and Legal review as well as
approval by my manager". Without a specification for the work, a
meaningful contract review is impossible.

It should be a mandatory requirement in professional procurement
policies for all contracts to have a signed off statement of work,
before contract are agreed, and only in exceptional pre-defined
circumstances (such as contract extensions or applying formal
preferred supplier lists) should the management team be allowed to
place contracts with people they may happen to know, without an
opportunity for anyone else to fairly bid for the work.

I have asked for the specification of work to be published, ideally
the budget should be published so there is better awareness of how
much is normal for "expert advice". As the advice must be published to
be useful, as the Code of Conduct is a public consultation, there can
be no reason of privacy or confidentiality that applies.

Links 1.

P.S. as Jaime Villagomez, WMF Chief Financial Officer has no published
email address that I can track down, I have copied this letter to
Lila, CEO and Quim Gil.


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