Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

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Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Sam Hartman-5
Hi,

Let's try to restart the discussion on this. (the previous thread is at
https://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2013/08/msg00041.html ).

I would like to create a simpler process to allow DSA to make some expenses
without waiting for the DPL approval.

The process currently used by DSA is the following:
1. For some reason, DSA would like to make an expense (typical example: buy
   replacement hardware, pay shipping costs)
2. DSA gathers an estimate of the cost
3. DSA asks the DPL for approval
4. The DPL approves
5. DSA makes the expense
6. DSA asks a Trusted Organization for reimbursement

The steps 2-3-4-5 are quite inefficient. It often requires DSA to make all
the steps required for a purchase just to get the estimate, then wait for
the DPL approval (which can take a couple of days), and then do all the steps
again.  Of course, it makes sense to do the long process for major expenses
(e.g.; a new server), but not so much for more minor and noncontroversial
expenses such as buying a replacement hardware after failures, or paying
shipping costs.

I would therefore like to create the following process, which is only
an agreement between DSA and the DPL (it does not change anything for
TOs, which would still wait for DPL approval to proceed with the
reimbursement):
 
  DSA can make expenses for up to US$400 to support the operation of
  Debian infrastructure (pay shipping costs, purchase of cheap hardware
  such as cables, replacement disks, etc.).

  DSA does not need to wait for DPL approval to make such expenses. The
  DPL will always approve such expenses, provided that the total
  outstanding amount spent in advance of DPL approval never exceeds
  US$400.

  The process can be revoked at any time by the DPL. Expenses that were
  already made at the time of the revocation, and that meet the other
  conditions, will still be approved by the DPL.

  The expected implementation of the process is:
  1. DSA agrees internally on making an expense
  2. DSA proceeds with making the expense
  3. DSA submits the approval request and the reimbursement request
     in the same email (see [1], "How to get your reimbursement" for
     details).
  4. DPL approves.
  5. TO reimburses DSA.

  [1] https://wiki.debian.org/Teams/DPL/Reimbursement

Note that this is not new in Debian. DebConf has the same kind of
simplified process for using money: https://wiki.debconf.org/wiki/MoneyFlow

Comments?

- Lucas


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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Lior Kaplan
Is there any budget for the DSA team (or hardware replacement budget)?
Would probably save the need for approval each time.

(I'm the new guy on these issues, excuse me if I'm stepping on anyone's toes)

Kaplan


On Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 1:46 PM, Lucas Nussbaum <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi,

Let's try to restart the discussion on this. (the previous thread is at
https://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2013/08/msg00041.html ).

I would like to create a simpler process to allow DSA to make some expenses
without waiting for the DPL approval.

The process currently used by DSA is the following:
1. For some reason, DSA would like to make an expense (typical example: buy
   replacement hardware, pay shipping costs)
2. DSA gathers an estimate of the cost
3. DSA asks the DPL for approval
4. The DPL approves
5. DSA makes the expense
6. DSA asks a Trusted Organization for reimbursement

The steps 2-3-4-5 are quite inefficient. It often requires DSA to make all
the steps required for a purchase just to get the estimate, then wait for
the DPL approval (which can take a couple of days), and then do all the steps
again.  Of course, it makes sense to do the long process for major expenses
(e.g.; a new server), but not so much for more minor and noncontroversial
expenses such as buying a replacement hardware after failures, or paying
shipping costs.

I would therefore like to create the following process, which is only
an agreement between DSA and the DPL (it does not change anything for
TOs, which would still wait for DPL approval to proceed with the
reimbursement):

  DSA can make expenses for up to US$400 to support the operation of
  Debian infrastructure (pay shipping costs, purchase of cheap hardware
  such as cables, replacement disks, etc.).

  DSA does not need to wait for DPL approval to make such expenses. The
  DPL will always approve such expenses, provided that the total
  outstanding amount spent in advance of DPL approval never exceeds
  US$400.

  The process can be revoked at any time by the DPL. Expenses that were
  already made at the time of the revocation, and that meet the other
  conditions, will still be approved by the DPL.

  The expected implementation of the process is:
  1. DSA agrees internally on making an expense
  2. DSA proceeds with making the expense
  3. DSA submits the approval request and the reimbursement request
     in the same email (see [1], "How to get your reimbursement" for
     details).
  4. DPL approves.
  5. TO reimburses DSA.

  [1] https://wiki.debian.org/Teams/DPL/Reimbursement

Note that this is not new in Debian. DebConf has the same kind of
simplified process for using money: https://wiki.debconf.org/wiki/MoneyFlow

Comments?

- Lucas

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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Sam Hartman-5
On 12/09/13 at 14:10 +0200, Lior Kaplan wrote:
> Is there any budget for the DSA team (or hardware replacement budget)?
> Would probably save the need for approval each time.

Not really. There's a multi-year plan for hardware replacement, that was
discussed in [1] and [2].

I agree that a DSA budget, as well as, generally, a yearly budget for
Debian, would be a worthwhile goal. My problem as the DPL is that it's
extremely hard to get an overview of Debian's situation, and thus to
decide on what we could afford.

Actually, "periodically publish reports about changes in assets and
resources[...]" is part of the auditors' role as described in the
initial delegation[3]. Unfortunately, it turned out to be much harder to
do than it initially looked.

[1] https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2012/04/msg00006.html
[2] https://lists.debian.org/debian-project/2012/04/msg00074.html
[3] https://lists.debian.org/debian-devel-announce/2010/04/msg00017.html

Lucas


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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Ian Jackson-2
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-5
Lucas Nussbaum writes ("Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval"):
> I would therefore like to create the following process, which is only
> an agreement between DSA and the DPL (it does not change anything for
> TOs, which would still wait for DPL approval to proceed with the
> reimbursement):

Looks good to me.

Ian.


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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Josh Berkus-2
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-5
On 09/12/2013 04:46 AM, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
>  DSA does not need to wait for DPL approval to make such expenses. The
>   DPL will always approve such expenses, provided that the total
>   outstanding amount spent in advance of DPL approval never exceeds
>   US$400.

$400 over what period of time?

--Josh


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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Sam Hartman-5
On 12/09/13 at 09:58 -0700, Josh Berkus wrote:
> On 09/12/2013 04:46 AM, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> >  DSA does not need to wait for DPL approval to make such expenses. The
> >   DPL will always approve such expenses, provided that the total
> >   outstanding amount spent in advance of DPL approval never exceeds
> >   US$400.
>
> $400 over what period of time?

Over no specified period of time, other than "until the DPL approves the
expense". So the "brake" against possible craziness is the DPL approval,
not a time-limit.

Lucas


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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Josh Berkus-2
On 09/12/2013 10:17 AM, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:

> On 12/09/13 at 09:58 -0700, Josh Berkus wrote:
>> On 09/12/2013 04:46 AM, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
>>>  DSA does not need to wait for DPL approval to make such expenses. The
>>>   DPL will always approve such expenses, provided that the total
>>>   outstanding amount spent in advance of DPL approval never exceeds
>>>   US$400.
>>
>> $400 over what period of time?
>
> Over no specified period of time, other than "until the DPL approves the
> expense". So the "brake" against possible craziness is the DPL approval,
> not a time-limit.

That will be very hard for the SPI treasurer to track, so you'll need to
be aware that SPI can't realistically enforce the policy.  Leaving aside
that the DSA can request reimbursement from the other NPOs.

The only policy we can enforce would be "if the DSA asks for any
individual expense under $400, pay it, unless they ask for $400 severl
times in quick succession, in which case query the DPL".

Also, we will need the DPL to officially inform SPI who the DSA is, and
whenever there is a DSA change.

If that all works for you, then I have no further comment.  It would
certainly make things easier for the Treasurer to be able to just pay
these expenses without needing to look for, and track, approval from the
DPL.

--Josh Berkus


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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Sam Hartman-5
On 12/09/13 at 10:44 -0700, Josh Berkus wrote:

> On 09/12/2013 10:17 AM, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> > On 12/09/13 at 09:58 -0700, Josh Berkus wrote:
> >> On 09/12/2013 04:46 AM, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> >>>  DSA does not need to wait for DPL approval to make such expenses. The
> >>>   DPL will always approve such expenses, provided that the total
> >>>   outstanding amount spent in advance of DPL approval never exceeds
> >>>   US$400.
> >>
> >> $400 over what period of time?
> >
> > Over no specified period of time, other than "until the DPL approves the
> > expense". So the "brake" against possible craziness is the DPL approval,
> > not a time-limit.
>
> That will be very hard for the SPI treasurer to track, so you'll need to
> be aware that SPI can't realistically enforce the policy.  Leaving aside
> that the DSA can request reimbursement from the other NPOs.
>
> The only policy we can enforce would be "if the DSA asks for any
> individual expense under $400, pay it, unless they ask for $400 severl
> times in quick succession, in which case query the DPL".
>
> Also, we will need the DPL to officially inform SPI who the DSA is, and
> whenever there is a DSA change.
>
> If that all works for you, then I have no further comment.  It would
> certainly make things easier for the Treasurer to be able to just pay
> these expenses without needing to look for, and track, approval from the
> DPL.

>From the TO's treasurer POV, this procedure does not differ from the
normal procedure. The TO's treasurer still waits for the DPL approval to
proceed with reimbursement, as they do usually, and no special tracking
is needed. (unless I misunderstood something in what you wrote?)

This procedure provides a simpler/faster process to make expenses, not
to get reimbursed.

Lucas


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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Steve Langasek
In reply to this post by Josh Berkus-2
On Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 10:44:36AM -0700, Josh Berkus wrote:
> On 09/12/2013 10:17 AM, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> > On 12/09/13 at 09:58 -0700, Josh Berkus wrote:
> >> On 09/12/2013 04:46 AM, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> >>>  DSA does not need to wait for DPL approval to make such expenses. The
> >>>   DPL will always approve such expenses, provided that the total
> >>>   outstanding amount spent in advance of DPL approval never exceeds
> >>>   US$400.

> >> $400 over what period of time?

> > Over no specified period of time, other than "until the DPL approves the
> > expense". So the "brake" against possible craziness is the DPL approval,
> > not a time-limit.

> That will be very hard for the SPI treasurer to track, so you'll need to
> be aware that SPI can't realistically enforce the policy.  Leaving aside
> that the DSA can request reimbursement from the other NPOs.

> The only policy we can enforce would be "if the DSA asks for any
> individual expense under $400, pay it, unless they ask for $400 severl
> times in quick succession, in which case query the DPL".

> Also, we will need the DPL to officially inform SPI who the DSA is, and
> whenever there is a DSA change.

> If that all works for you, then I have no further comment.  It would
> certainly make things easier for the Treasurer to be able to just pay
> these expenses without needing to look for, and track, approval from the
> DPL.

The proposed change doesn't require SPI to reimburse requests before they've
been officially and individually approved by the DPL; it only allows the DSA
team to spend the money in the knowledge that it fits Debian's guidelines
and *will* be approved by the DPL.

In fact, if I understand Lucas's proposal correctly, it does *not* authorize
SPI or other Trusted Organizations to directly reimburse DSA expenses before
they've been signed off by the DPL.

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Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
Ubuntu Developer                                    http://www.debian.org/
[hidden email]                                     [hidden email]

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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Josh Berkus-2
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-5

> From the TO's treasurer POV, this procedure does not differ from the
> normal procedure. The TO's treasurer still waits for the DPL approval to
> proceed with reimbursement, as they do usually, and no special tracking
> is needed. (unless I misunderstood something in what you wrote?)

Ah, OK!  I misunderstood the proposed procedure.

--Josh


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Re: Authorizing minor expenses by DSA without prior DPL approval

Joey Schulze
In reply to this post by Josh Berkus-2
Josh Berkus wrote:

> On 09/12/2013 10:17 AM, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> > On 12/09/13 at 09:58 -0700, Josh Berkus wrote:
> >> On 09/12/2013 04:46 AM, Lucas Nussbaum wrote:
> >>>  DSA does not need to wait for DPL approval to make such expenses. The
> >>>   DPL will always approve such expenses, provided that the total
> >>>   outstanding amount spent in advance of DPL approval never exceeds
> >>>   US$400.
> >>
> >> $400 over what period of time?
> >
> > Over no specified period of time, other than "until the DPL approves the
> > expense". So the "brake" against possible craziness is the DPL approval,
> > not a time-limit.
>
> That will be very hard for the SPI treasurer to track, so you'll need to
> be aware that SPI can't realistically enforce the policy.  Leaving aside
> that the DSA can request reimbursement from the other NPOs.

Why should they?  Lucas was so clever to write in his approval:

|  4. DPL approves.

To my understanding SPI still requires a DPL approval, just as it is
now.  For SPI there shouldn't be a real difference to the current process.
For the DPL the difference is that he only needs to be concated in
stage 4 and not in stages 1-3 and 4.

Regards,

        Joey

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