Afterburn Report Question

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Afterburn Report Question

Postby d a m i a n » Sun Jun 28, 2015 9:17 pm

What should the consequences be, if any, for a coordinator or department that fails to submit an Afterburn Report?
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Re: Afterburn Report Question

Postby reverend_dave » Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:46 pm

Presumably, the consequence is that no report gets filed for that coordinator or department.

If it's of deep concern to you, you could try explaining to the offending coordinator or department why you feel it's important that they do paperwork.

(If it's a department that gets a budget and/or reserved tickets: in the interests of transparency, yeah, there should be a report.)
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Re: Afterburn Report Question

Postby Owsla » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:02 pm

Well there's also the issue now of it being an actual requirement to keep our BMOrg regional status.

Whether or not we decide as a community that we want to keep that status is certainly a discussion that could be had, but I think it would be wrong for us to lose that status not because of community decision but because of the negligence of potentially a single person or department.

So I think making sure an Afterburn report is submitted (whether by direct action or by delegation and follow up) is the duty of each department coordinator.

As to what should be done if one isn't submitted? I agree first step would be to try and reach out and get that person/team to do so. It's annoying and yeah it may make one feel like a mommy or daddy to have to chase someone around to get them to do their job, but that is still probably the first best step.

So what then if the coord or department just flat out refuses to do so? Well... I think if they're failing in their duties then eventually they may need replacing. Is it an easy line to draw? Hell no. But if it's going to come down to the whole org possibly losing something that the community has been a part of (and hasn't decided to not be a part of), then again the community decision shouldn't be highjacked by one person/department just refusing to take some minutes to submit the required report.

Beyond that, Afterburn reports are useful to have around, so it's not just paperwork for the sake of paperwork. Yes, some departments have really simple Afterburn reports (e.g., "There were fires. We drummed. All was well."), but the simpler it is the less time it takes to create, so I don't really think it's a burden even if perhaps one thinks there's not much value for posterity in the simplest of reports.
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Re: Afterburn Report Question

Postby d a m i a n » Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:57 am

I'm not specifically pushing for removal or any particular penalty. I'm mostly just looking for any clarity on what seems like an incomplete policy.

If we say that afterburn reports are required, there must be some consequence triggered by not submitting a report - be it dismissal, demotion, having your budget/reimbursements frozen, not being eligible for a reserve ticket in the future, wearing a scarlet A, anything really. But a requirement requires a process triggered by non-compliance. It could be a specific action or something general like the department/coordinator being subject to PC review with each instance handled on a case by case basis. It can work out in innumerable ways. What happens needs to be worked out in advance though so that people are not treated differently when this comes up.

Alternatively, there can be no penalties at all, but we would need to stop saying that Afterburn Reports are required and that they are instead merely suggested. This also would theoretically have consequences for our regional status as Owsla suggests.
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Re: Afterburn Report Question

Postby Owsla » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:03 am

I understand you. But I'm not sure I'm convinced that we need to figure out an exhaustive policy of what steps are taken exactly when etc.

I think freezing department budgets or anything of that nature would be akin to shooting ourselves in the foot. We'd be removing functionality from our own community event because a single coordinator refused to submit a report; that's just as bad if not worse than forced loss of regional status b/c of the (non-)actions of a single individual. So I strongly disagree with that route.

I think ultimately it would come down to removal of the person who's unwilling to do the full job, and thus opening a position up to someone else in the community who is willing to do the full job. Again though, I'd be really surprised if we ever got that far past the steps of hounding them to get their damn report in (or to delegate that duty to one of their assistant coords).

To be honest my suspicion is that any Coord who can't even be bothered to take a bit of time to make their report (nor even be bothered to delegate the duty to someone else!) is probably going to have been sliding in other areas as a Coord too. People who step up to be Coords are generally very involved and proactive people. Yeah burnout happens over time, but that's generally also the time for a Coord to step down anyways and let someone else drive the department for a while. If inability to get an Afterburn report turned in is the sign, then it's probably signalling more than just an aversion to writing a couple paragraphs about the awesome event you just were part of making happen.

And on that note, I'm going to go hound the Coords who haven't turned in their reports yet and see what kind of response I get... :P
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Re: Afterburn Report Question

Postby reverend_dave » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:52 pm

I think there are a couple questions getting conflated here, and I'd like to separate them out (in part so that people with better memories than mine, or who check PC minutes more carefully than I do, can take issues with specific parts).

1. Do all coordinators need to turn in a report?
I believe there is not currently a policy on this; by convention and tradition, usually at least one coordinator from each department does put in a report, but there's not a "or else" associated with it. It's never been an "all coordinators" thing, as far as I know.

For the last couple cycles, I've been the one to call for reports, and I don't think I've ever said that reports _must_ be submitted. (I'm not claiming ownership of this, I'm just sometimes a bit absentminded and leave the wristband on as a reminder until I get a report posted. Anyone else is welcome to call for reports if they call for them before I do.)

2. Do all departments need to turn in a report?
Given that a department is a coordinator and one or more people who feel like helping, and a coordinator is anyone who says they are a coordinator, my opinion is no. I'd suggest any department that doesn't have a budget or reserved tickets probably doesn't need to put in a report, because that probably isn't a department that's been recognized by the PC (for instance, both firefighters doing fire safety during spring PDF got their reserved tickets elsewhere, and any related equipment purchased via PC budget usually gets budgeted through burning art). Having said... Anyone (including non-coordinators) is welcome to turn in a report, and that certainly includes ad-hoc coordinators and departments.

3. Do all departments with a budget and/or reserved tickets need to turn in a report?
As mentioned in (1), I don't think there's a policy on this. My opinion is that, for reasons of transparency and accountability (a reserved ticket may not be the coolest perk going, but it's still something with a certain value, and being able to identify essential volunteers can make planning a lot easier), I think there should be _something_ summarizing that the department did their bit for the event.

4. Do we need a policy specifying an "or else"?
My opinion is that we really don't. I think most coordinators will be willing to write a few lines about their burn if gently prodded, and gentle prodding takes a lot less effort (and burns a lot less good will) than trying to push disciplinary action through the PC. I think freezing a budget or withholding reserved tickets from someone who is otherwise doing an OK job has the potential to be a far bigger problem for the event than for the individual or department. Consider what happens if I flake and burning art gets its budget blocked... you seriously would attempt a burn with no firewood? Or if fire-safety-also-known-as-fire-team gets their reserved tickets blocked (and, consequently, just decide not to bring their gear)?

5. What about Burning Man and our affiliation?
I think seeing exactly what Burning Man expects from us (not a summary from a RC, but the actual text complete with relevant context) would be helpful here. Context is important, because PDF's organizational structure is probably a bit different from what Burning Man expects of a regional.
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Re: Afterburn Report Question

Postby Owsla » Sat Jul 04, 2015 7:36 am

As to #3, as far as I'm aware we don't have officially recognized departments without reserve tickets, and one of the hallmarks of an official department being created is the associated creation of coordinator position for said department (which comes with a reserve ticket). Thus questions 2 and 3 are, I believe, speaking to the same set.

Sure, someone can run around and start calling themselves whatever they want, but I'm not aware that we have anyone doing that so it's sort of a moot point. I suppose it's good to distinguish between official departments that are recognized by PDF and people who may just be running around calling themselves the coordinator of fancy hats or whatever.

As to the fire safety team, regardless of whether or not those people actually got their reserves from the allocation of fire safety team reserves or got them in the normal course of ticket buying or got them because they already were getting a reserve ticket because they also volunteer in other capacities, that is still an officially recognized department of PDF (with its own set of reserves) that performed its (very important!) duties admirably again this past burn, and as such yes there should be a report turned in...

This all being said with the notion that yes this is now a requirement to keep our BMOrg status, which is surely a different conversation than why we as PDF may want to require that all departments turn in Afterburn reports (which as you say, we may or may not have an official policy on that). The two are somewhat related, but yes they are separate issues. However the set of departments required by the BMOrg rules is the same set as I want to see turning in Afterburn reports anyways for our own reasons.

It's not a bad point that you raise that the language of the requirements should be looked at; and to be honest I thought it had been looked at by our BOD and RC, and that the word that came down from our BOD/RC several months back about how all departments now need to turn in an Afterburn report was because of that. Subsequent conversations that I had with one of our RCs and some BOD member(s) is where I got my currently used standards for what departments are required to do this (the general answer being, any and all departments that have reserves and/or budget; i.e., those that are officially recognized by the PC and are "on paper").

Personally I'm pretty happy trusting our RC and BOD (some of whom are currently the ones signing off on our BMOrg compliance agreement) to tell us what's up and what needs to be done in that regard. But if the text is provided I'll likely take a look at it myself anyways b/c I'm curious like that. :)
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Re: Afterburn Report Question

Postby d a m i a n » Sat Jul 04, 2015 10:06 pm

Everything I'm reading makes sense in terms of what the different sides of the question are.

Part of the impetus for me asking is self-interest, I'm trying to assemble a combined afterburn report for the BoD that will be a section of the end of year report. Knowing what the status of the missing reports lets me know whether or not my report is complete as it stands. If the reports are not actually missing and only non-required, then I'm done with my data collection for spring PDF and can start formatting and editing.

The question of what the consequences of not turning in an afterburn report aren't as specifically of interest to me as whether or not the reports are required and who they are required of. My list of potential consequences weren't meant as recommendations but guesses at what theoretical consequences could look like. If consequences are needed however, whatever they might be, I wouldn't recommend spurning them because they would be inconvenient. Any system missing a procedure for corrective action is likely doomed to entropy. The flip side of that, it speaks volumes about how great the coordinators actually are in general that we are this far into the life of the event and it's still ambiguous how a coordinator is removed. Whatever the consequences, if any, is probably moot also because once policy is set it's hard to imagine any coordinator not actually either submitting a report or stepping down because of how easy it should be just to assemble a report if they wanted to.

In terms of the question of BM regional status, I believe (so don't quote me) that the position of the BoD is that they are fine leaving the long-term question of whether or not PDF wants to continue as an official regional up to the PC, only asking that the event be compliant until a full debate and decision can be made. (Dove just went through all of this with Portal getting their official status so I would defer to her on what specifically BM is asking for.) So, if BM regional status is up to the PC, then the PC should have the power to vote down regional status and make the requirements for afterburn reports whatever they like long term. So, I think we can sidestep the BM regional requirement issue in favor of just narrowing on what existing policy actually is or what the PC wants it to be.

Additionally, absent pointing to specific text from previous minutes or PONY posts, how exactly do ambiguities and disagreements about policy get resolved? Can final policy decisions be made here on the PONY or does there have be a proposal to to discuss the issue on a future PC call? Or does conversation just continue on the PONY until a consensus is reached?

I know I probably veered a bit in the above, but in truth the only specific question I'm looking for an answer on is the status of the current missing reports. My read on them is that the are required and that they are now very overdue, but would be fine hearing that they are non-required and I can go about finishing my combined report with what I have.

Apologies for anything above that was unclear. I'm typing all this into my phone while trying to keep a five month old asleep.
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Re: Afterburn Report Question

Postby Owsla » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:26 am

I agree that they're currently required. I don't know if I would call them "very" overdue as opposed to just normally overdue, because I haven't heard anything from our RC and/or the BOD members who've been signing the compliance agreement saying that we're about to miss the boat.

I did reach out Friday to the remaining four departments that have yet to turn in their reports. One coord said they had it ready to go (and had even thought they'd posted it recently), and would check on that and re-post. I haven't heard back from the other three yet, but it's only been a couple days and over a holiday weekend so... let's see what the week brings?
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Re: Afterburn Report Question

Postby d a m i a n » Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:55 pm

I happily retract my 'very'.
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Re: Afterburn Report Question

Postby Owsla » Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:47 am

:P
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