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To: gentoo-nfp@g.o
From: "Daniel Robbins" <drobbins@...>
Subject: Re: Words of Caution
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 18:16:58 -0700
> Here are some New Mexico documents that Grant has been using lately, in
> his heroic efforts to get things back on track:
> It might be a good idea for potential trustees to have a read of those,
> and see how much they can make sense of (and see just how uninteresting
> the task seems to be, at least in my opinion!)
> Daniel
> --
> gentoo-nfp@g.o mailing list

Hi everyone, figured I'd jump into this discussion here.

I actually disagree with the suggestion that trustees should become
legal experts. While some knowledge is helpful, they should primarily
rely on a competent lawyer and/or accountant to guide them through the
process of running the Foundation and filing all paperwork properly.

I think one of the major mistakes made in the past is that the
Foundation trustees relied on free legal help, and the lawyers
assisting the Foundation had no experience practicing law in the state
of New Mexico.

So not only did the lawyers had no financial incentive to work quickly
(since, presumably, they had a fairly demanding "day job" that was
their priority,) but they did not have the necessary experience to
offer timely assistance regarding NM state law. This is not to knock
their generous donation of legal services, it's just that a NM lawyer
knows how to do all the NM paperwork because they do it every day. So
I would call this a lapse of judgment on the part of the trustees, or
a lack of focus.

The first task of the new trustees should be to find a lawyer who has
experience practicing law in the state of New Mexico, as well as
finding a registered agent service. The trustees are supposed to be
looking out for the health of Gentoo as a whole, not trying to be
lawyers. When trustees try to be lawyers is when I think things have
the potential to go downhill as the trustees then are distracted with
issues they don't have clear answers for and they aren't particularly
skilled at.

I think another downfall has been this lack of focus - basically
"majoring in the minors" and not simply diving in and successfully
running the organization as it currently exists for a while before
trying to improve things democratically, organizationally, etc.

The problem is that all the developers and trustees have convinced
themselves that they are supposed to be doing all the legal stuff and
nothing more. This is exactly what they shouldn't be doing. However,
they should be making sure that the legal stuff *gets done.* Again
note that making sure it gets done is not the same as trying to do it

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Updated Jun 17, 2009

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