Budget Process Notes

From Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP)

November 24, 2009

Participants: Rob Raskin, Bruce, Caron Chris Lenhardt, Carol Meyer

Bruce presented a historical overview noting that Committees usually have not undertaken ‘work’. Typically they have funded ESIP Federation partner attendance at professional meetings, providing travel support for the member and exposure for the ESIP Federation. Also, some content development by graduate students has been supported through committees. He noted that larger development projects were troubling to the Ficom because the Ficom was not confident it could evaluate such proposals properly.

Bruce posed whether we needed a different process for considering requests that build infrastructure and services. Such items typically require a long-term commitment of resources and staff oversight.

Rob followed up with a proposal for an Infrastructure/Operations Committee (a new Administrative Committee) that would be formed to review such types of requests.

Chris concurred with the Infrastructure/Operations Committee suggestions and suggested that there are 4 areas about which we should be concerned:

  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Linkages to strategic goals
  • Fairness (size of requests; who makes decisions about those requests)

Chris also proposed that each committee be given an annual earmark ($5k-$10k), Federation budget permitting, which can be used for a proscribed set of activities. The activities would be identified during the budget proposal process (workplan) and would be linked to strategic goals. An action is needed to develop what the list of committee activities fall under this item.

Rob pointed out that FUNding Friday projects, in spite of their limited/one-time activity, may raise some of the same questions.

The Ficom would continue to receive all budget requests and would refer any proposal to a newly formed Infrastructure/Operations Working Group to consider the strategic and operational value proposed. The Working Group is proposed to have the following members: ESIP Federation VP (chair), Type I, II, III Representatives, ESIP Executive Director (ex officio).

An action will be needed to understand which items fall into the ‘infrastructure’ category. Some were identified up front: developing standards and best practices case studies, other content development, technology and infrastructure (e.g. testbeds), web infrastructure enhancements, and so on.

The group also considered whether a dollar threshold might be needed and proposes that a cap on travel for committees be put in place.

Carol will set up a wiki page for the recommendation’s development. (http://wiki.esipfed.org/index.php/Executive_Committee#Budget_Process_Subgroup)