---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arjuna Rao Chavala <arjunar...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jan 13, 2014 at 10:00 PM
Subject: Re: [WMIN-Members] Thank you
To: wmin-members <wmin-memb...@googlegroups.com>


Hi Sowmyan,

I am sorry to know about your decision to quit as the Executive Manager of
the Chapter.  I express my sincere thanks for  your contributions to
Chapter activities for over 1 year and three months, juggling various types
of roles,  some of which you might have wished for more appropriate staff
or support. I  am sure this has been  of great help to the geographically
distributed  Executive committee with diverse set of experience, membership
and the community at large  in strengthening and growing the Wikimedia
movement in India.

The award by the FDC  on WMIN's  Annual grant request with significant cut,
  would have disappointed many in the India Wikimedia movement. As some of
you may know,  though I was a member of FDC, I was not party to the
decision  as I had to recuse myself because of  my membership and
involvement  with the Chapter.  Though, it might have hurt you personally,
I urge you not to feel that way, as  many members and  community   under
the leadership of Executive Committee contributed to the process  and so
many factors are usually  weighed by the FDC in making the  decision which
has been upheld by the WMF Board.

WMIN has faced so many challenges in its  more than 5 year history
(including the time before its formation) from so many fronts. Thanks to
the support of  community, well-wishers, Wikimedia foundation, WMINmembers
and fellow chapter stakeholders, it has moved forward  on the path of
growth and had several achievements at national and regional levels.   I am
sure that even the present challenge would be met squarely by the EC with
the active support and involvement of all.

At this juncture, I would urge the EC and you to  consider all the options
with involvement of  members and community as appropriate  so that an
action can   be finalized which will serve the  best interests of the
movement.


Sincerely
Arjuna Rao Chavala


On Sun, Jan 12, 2014 at 4:07 PM, Sowmyan Tirumurti <tsowm...@wikimedia.in>wrote:

> Dear Members,
>
> I have decided to relinquish my role as the Executive Manager of the
> Chapter, and had communicated this to the EC some time back. I guess they
> did not quite like it and hence have in turn not let it out. Considering
> that I stand by the decision, and mails requesting grants and expectations
> of responses on these have been coming in from members of the community, I
> feel this must be made public.
>
> The Foundation has offered a grant of about Rs 33 lakhs for 2014 under
> FDC. The Chapter had made a request for an amount about 4 times of this.
> The grant request apparently did not inspire FDC and they have held that
> the Chapter may not have the capability to administer any larger amount. At
> 80% growth over the previous year, they seem to feel the Chapter has
> already been given a massive growth path and should be happy with this.
> Given the low grant amounts we received in the past, this 'massive' 80%
> growth does not mean much. It does not pay for salary for 2 people (as
> planned), an office, and the mandatory quarterly face to face EC meetings
> and associated travel.
>
> Regulatory norms put a cap at 40% of the grant value on these overhead
> expenses. At a grant value of 33 lakhs, the total over heads can only be
> 40% of 33 lakhs, amounting to about Rs 13 lakhs. This level means, we go
> back to one more year of passive funds administration without much Chapter
> driven events. An accountant / volunteer helping in disbursements of funds
> against requests generated organically would be the model we have to adopt.
>  We will still need an office to comply with regulatory requirements. EC
> travel may be some what uncertain when new elections bring people in
> farther parts of the country. By standing down I would be helping the
> Chapter in a small way to manage the expenses within the available grant.
>
> I feel guilty of having been a burden on the chapter for a year. We did
> not know our grant limited future will be so limited and my time was spent
> imagining grander possibilities for a brighter future and sharing them
> internally. The earlier EC dreamed big, and initiated my engagement though
> as a part timer. I was to become a full timer from April 2013. This was
> postponed by mutual consent with the current EC, as we expected the FDC
> grant to provide for it. The FDC provides for this in principle, but not
> yet by the value. So it is time to stop this wasteful engagement.
>
> I also feel guilty of not having lived up to the expectations of the
> members. The practical rejection of the new grant request (what else can we
> call it when what is approved is nearly 25% of what was sought) is also a
> factor for which I must take the blame. If the proposals did not appear to
> be impressive, were considered to have wasteful elements, was considered to
> have been built on inflated costs given the Indian context, and the chapter
> is seen as incapable of handling any thing larger, and none of the
> arguments in our discussions were accepted, I have to accept defeat,
> because I influenced the EC towards this proposal. The Chapter deserves an
> employee who can be more imaginative, and confidence inspiring. I am sorry
> I failed the Chapter.
>
> Many of you supported the Chapter's grant request during the appeal stage.
> Some of you were truly participative in making suggestions for the
> proposal. I think you for this. At the same time, I also wish there had
> been a much greater participation from members in formulating the
> proposals. There is a time and space for every comment. It was bit
> disappointing to see people who did not share any constructive suggestion
> in the chapter pages come and make negative remarks in the meta pages. FDC
> staff seemed to latch on to the later, without any further examination or
> clarification of the context. Things like this hurt. It is your Chapter.
> You have the opportunity to shape it through constructive debates for the
> formulation of policies. Negative sentiments cast a doubt that global
> community may not understand the same way as they are understood within
> India.
>
> I leave with the hope that the current grant may keep the Chapter active
> and in the next year it will find a better support. I thank you all for the
> cooperation extended to me. I am yet to complete some standard protocols.
> Recent membership addition related documentation is one of them. The delay
> has been due to my preoccupation with the FDC application. I want to assure
> you that none of the members for whom the membership card and receipt have
> not yet been physically mailed have been handicapped in their rights. The
> approved members were added to the opt in mail list. I will complete the
> dispatch of these documents, and closure of the grant report to WMF before
> end January 2014, when I cease to operate.
>
> I will be in touch with some of you as yet another social activity
> enthusiast.
>
> With warm regards,
> T Sowmyan
> Executive Manager,
> Wikimedia Chapter,
> Bangalore.
>
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