Minutes, SIGGRAPH EC CONFERENCE CALL

February 10, 1998
4:00 PM EST

Attending:
Marc Barr
Walt Bransford
Alain Chesnais
Steve Cunningham
John Hart
Scott Lang
Patrick McCarren
Theresa-Marie Rhyne
Nan Schaller
Dino Schweitzer
Mary Whitton

Absent:
Chuck Hansen
Steve Spencer

ACM:
Judy Osteller

The only agenda item for the call was the proposal from the volunteer members of the Conference Advisory Group (CAG) for the Conference Management Contract Amendment Extension to support the CSE function. The proposal is to continue the contract amendment, which is an increase in the amount of $13,667 per month, $7000 of which is due to underbid overhead and the remaining $6,667 to increased conference activity levels.

Whitton asked whether Smith Bucklin Associates (SBA) had any comments. Cunningham responded that SBA had not had time to review the proposal, but because of the nature of the working relationship between SBA and Capstone Management Group (CMG) as described to EC by the conference management model review group in January, SBA was not asked to have an oversight role with CMG and hence did not believe they were in a position to give any review of the proposal.

Motion (Whitton, Barr): Move that the original contract with Smith Bucklin & Associates be amended to increase the amount paid monthly to Capstone Management Group by $6667 per month from February 11, 1998 through November 11, 1998 to enable them to provide conference support services beyond those specified in the original contract; and
Further move that SIGGRAPH not approve a $7000 per month increase in payments to Capstone Management Group during the same period for the purpose of covering overhead expenses which Capstone reports they underbid in the original contract.

Mover's Discussion: Through previous authorizations covering the ten months from April 11, 1997 to February 11, 1998, CMG has been paid $13,667 per month above the original contract amount. The motion proposes that SIGGRAPH pay for services rendered but not pay the $7000 per month increase for overhead expenses for the next nine month period. Approval of the motion would mean that SIGGRAPH, over the 19 month period, would pay for services rendered and would pay just over half of the total request in additional overhead expenses. CMG would be required to absorb just less than half of the financial impact of their overhead underestimate. The mover believes that this is a responsible business position for SIGGRAPH and an equitable compromise with a valued SIGGRAPH contractor.

Opposition Position: SIGGRAPH contractors perform duties well in excess of what is required by their contracts. By not approving the full request, SIGGRAPH would jeopardize CMG's ability to support the SIGGRAPH 98 and 99 conferences and would set precedent of strict definition and adherence to contract specifications with all of its contractors, to SIGGRAPH's long-term detriment.

Discussion:

Bransford thought that some of the EC had decided that a bad business decision caused by inexperience was not going to be held over a contractor's head, and felt that the motion was not a good idea.

Schweitzer requested questions from the group.

Hart requested specifics on the $7,000 underbid. Cunningham referred to two points in the distributed backup:

1. Much higher overhead than expected in the cost of the proposed personnel.

2. Efficiencies of cross-functional organization anticipated in the conference management model were less than expected, and the conference chair and committees have found that a single point of contact is needed to support their work.

Schweitzer explained overhead as the cost of running an office, but noted that part of the $7,000 was for an administrative assistant's salary.

Hart asked about the effect of not paying the $7,000. Schweitzer responded that drastic changes would need to be made in order to perform the duties requested.

Schweitzer excused himself from the call.

Bransford was uncomfortable with the motion's approach of splitting the difference in the mistaken overhead. Everyone has known since September that SIGGRAPH 98 needs the people and now the group is questioning overhead. He asked whether EC was trying to penalize CMG or was questioning the cost. He felt that this approach could backfire by causing contractors to bill SIGGRAPH for services not specified in contracts, whereas many contractors now go far beyond their contracts at no increase in cost. Approving this motion could lead to stopping these additional unbilled services.

Whitton noted that the proposal was extended in October on the basis that the request would come through SBA. Cunningham reminded the group that at the direction of the conference chairs, CMG and SBA have been working independently without any active oversight of CMG by SBA. The conference chairs have been going directly to the CSE rather than going through the SBA channels. Cunningham is to follow up with a call with SBA by the end of business February 11, 1998 and report back to EC via email.

Motion (Hart): To table the Whitton/Barr motion
Motion failed due to a lack of a second.

Vote: (1, 6, 1; for: Whitton, abstain: Lang, absent: Spencer, Hansen)

Motion (Schaller, Bransford): To accept the proposal for contract amendment through November 11, 1998 upon the recommendation of the request from SBA for no more than $13,666.67 per month.
Vote: (7, 0, 1; abstain: Whitton, absent: Spencer, Hansen)

Call ended at 5:00 PM EST.