[HCoop-Discuss] Treasurer duties

Adam Chlipala adam at chlipala.net
Wed Oct 6 10:09:30 EDT 2010

Richard Darst wrote:
> Some of us (me, docelic, clinton) were wondering what is involved in
> the treasurer duties, and where it may be documented.  That way, one
> of us can take over.
> Adam - Is this documented somewhere?  If not, can you let us know /
> document it somewhere?  How would you like to do this transition?

Jet lag woke me up early, so here's my answer ahead of time!

These are the things I do as treasurer.  I don't mean to imply that any 
of this is the right way to go about things; there are substantial 
opportunities for innovation and streamlining.  I've tried to give the 
items in decreasing order of how frequently I do them.

- Manually process every PayPal or Checkout payment from a member and 
every bill from a provider, using forms on the HCoop portal.
- On the second last day of every month, use the portal to bill dues to 
- About a week after a month begins, use the portal to see which members 
are due to have their accounts frozen or deleted, based on being two or 
one months away, respectively, from owing us money (the portal automates 
the calculation).  Send manual e-mail to each such member.  I primarily 
started doing this because no one volunteered to get our announcement 
e-mail going on a separate IP address from @hcoop.net forwarding.  
Forwarding has caused all major e-mail providers to mark all mail from 
us as spam, so I have to send manual messages from my local ISP, to be 
sure members get messages warning of low balances.
- Manually process all new account creations, once an accepted applicant 
has sent his first payment.  This involves submitting a portal form and 
running a command line on deleuze (with an admin account).
- Handle Bugzilla tickets asking for account closure.  This involves 
running a command-line on deleuze and using the
portal's "retire member" feature.  (In fact, these requests won't all 
come nicely as tickets, as some members insist on e-mailing individual 
volunteers, despite ample wiki text asking them not to.)
- In the last week of each month, use a command-line on deleuze to 
freeze the accounts of all freeze-worthy members whose attention wasn't 
gotten by my manual e-mails.
- At around the same time, create a poll asking the Board for permission 
to delete the accounts of deletion-worthy members.  Assuming the vote 
passes, delete these accounts right before billing dues.
- Take charge of dialogues with members who have any kinds of 
questions/requests about payment/account closure/etc..  Members often 
don't take seriously the time costs created for volunteers by slow 
responses, so I've found I need to maintain a list of the states of all 
ongoing support conversations.
- The treasurer holds our bank debit card and tries to use it to make 
all hardware purchases online.  Historically, this has been hard, 
because many merchants block orders to shipping addresses that don't 
match billing addresses.  The card has had my home address as its 
billing address, while we usually want to ship to the data center.  This 
problem seems to have lessened in recent years, though that may be a 
coincidence.  I tried to get the bank to record Peer 1's address as an 
OK shipping address, but they screwed it up and changed that to the 
primary card address, so that, when the card expired, a replacement card 
was mailed to Peer 1, which caused a significant amount of trouble.
- Deal with our recurring automated billing from upstream providers.  I 
had to do a lot of manual work (even talking to people!) when our debit 
card expired and the above snafu prevented me from getting my hands on a 
replacement for a while.  Our upstream provider, Tech Co-op, has also 
historically used a very crappy credit card payment provider.  There was 
a while when I was on the phone every few months with that payment 
provider, trying to convince them that our card was being declined 
because of a bug in their software (which was always the case).  We've 
since switched to prepaying for a year of Tech Co-op at a time, with 
PayPal, so the treasurer is responsible for making this payment.
- In general, the treasurer should be the guardian of the PayPal 
account, which includes frequent, manual balance transfers to our bank 
- Periodic audits of financial records also seem appropriate.

That's all I'm thinking of right now.

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