I have a concern I feel should be addressed publicly. I hate for Paul to be
the center of this and Paul I apologize for bring you to the limelight
here. But its about the big laser conversation at the board meeting.
First let me copy and paste that section of the board meeting:
"Big Laser: >$6500 to replace, $2500 to repair + 100+ hours. Public
response: member was using, violated procedure, left the room and came back
to inferno. What should our response be? Not considering termination at
this point, though will keep option available. We need to discuss with Paul
What he feels responsible for and what he feels he is able to cover. Hive13
needs to repair the laser, no matter what. Any contribution from Paul will
be a reimbursement.
Will B. will contact Paul and speak with him in person to answer what he is
responsible for and can afford. "
Here is my issue, we all have or will break a tool while at the hive, that
includes EVERY member, officer and board member. This is what we have extra
funds for as well as should have insurance for. My issue is this statement:
"Not considering termination at this point
*, though will keep option available."*This was a bloody accident. Some
laser jobs can take hours. People need to take breaks for drinks, and
bathroom. Did he make a mistake sure, but why was termination even brought
up? Are we at the point of removing anyone for making a mistake? I am
pretty sure we still have marks on the wall from where a project went wrong
and something shot across the room.
If i sound like I am coming off blunt I am, i find this completely
unacceptable that us as a community would even go this far. He made a
mistake, its not like he did something to cause harm.
This next part alone doesn't bother me as much until its combined with the
option of termination is still an option available: Regarding how much he
owes, I know this will vary from person to person. I am against him feeling
pressured to make any form of reimbursement (the hive minute words there.) *The
option of termination, adds that pressure.* The reason we have a shop like
this is simple most people cant afford to keep and maintain tools of this
magnitude, thats what our Dues are for.
*steps off soapbox.*
Daniel, I mostly agree with everything you’ve said. Unlike you, I think there is a point at which negligent member actions deserve some form of accountability. Up to this time, there have been no clear rules or precedent to establish where “shit happens” stops and “you fucked up, own it” begins. I do not think that hive membership gives members carte blanche to destroy tools or materials in the space. I also don’t think it’s at all fair to hold members responsible for the costs of purely accidental damage, even if expensive tools were damaged. In the ‘real world’ we have lawyers to argue negligence. I don’t think that taking such a legalistic approach benefits a makerspace but I also think that this incident highlights an area where the organization can do much to improve clarity and transparency in terms of responsibilities. Paul was certified on the laser and experienced in its operation. He knew how to operate the machine well. He made a bad choice of material. He made a bad choice to step away and leave the machine unsupervised. We all are paying the price for his poor decision making. Anyone who thinks this is going to be the last time that this happens is naive at best and outright stupid at worst. IMHO, there is no business at all in even considering kicking Paul out for this incident but we should take every opportunity to make it CRYSTAL CLEAR what your responsibilities are when using tools at the hive and when you as a member can be held personally liable for your actions. I think certification is a great step in this regard but some further kind of consensus needs to be reached on what happens when members violate rules for using machines and things go south.
Just throwing this out there…
What if Paul had gone to Camp Washington Chilli to get some food and run into a friend there and got chatting, leading to the machine being unsupervised for hours. What if someone had left some isopropyl alcohol, acetone, etc. in the fablab for cleaning up 3d prints with the lid off? What if a couple gallons of accelerants had gone up underneath a residential apartment? What if the fumes were toxic enough to kill someone, if the fire didn’t?
None of these nightmarish scenarios happened - but they’re at least plausible.
In the case of a “real” disaster where someone was hurt/killed or non-hive property was damaged, who would get sued? What if other member materials/projects were damaged? Would the hive extend its insurance to cover the liability created by one of its members or would the member be forced to assume personal liability?
These are this kind of things no one wants to think about but we really should. The hive is a great place to do a bunch of dangerous shit but it’s worth remembering that reality is ultimately inescapable. The best time to think about disasters, discuss them and prepare properly is BEFORE a disaster happens.
Paul, I’m not meaning to single you out in any shape or form. Please understand that you’re just the unlucky bastard who caught the laser on fire.
There are a few questions in this email, I’ll do my best to provide answers.
“Why was termination even brought up?”
Because it is possible for something to come up in conversation without it being under serious consideration. There was no vote, no proposal, not even an earnest suggestion. Just a topic of discussion.
“Are we at the point of removing anyone for making a mistake?”
Well, obviously not. The minutes you quoted specifically state that it is not being considered. You skated pretty rapidly over that part.
“i find this completely unacceptable that us as a community would even go this far.”
As far as what exactly? Talking? Nothing has happened other than a conversation. A fairly long conversation from which you have quoted an out-of-context fragment.
Next time you think you’ve spotted a mountain, check the size. It might turn out to be a molehill.
That “molehill” is "still an option, which is what makes it a mountain. That’s ridiculous in this case. And that’s the mountain. I agree with Dave B, there could have been worse cases. But the conversation of removal came up make the minutes over the rest of that conversation beyond reimbursement. Nothing about other options.
I think Kevin’s meeting notes have been some of the best we have had im a while. And I believe he knows how put the important bits in the minutes. The fact it was “still an option” followed by conversation about wanting him to reimburse the hive. Not about revoking his laser certification or suspension. That’s why it’s a concern to me. So maybe I’m wrong and the minutes arent up to snuff and don’t define the conversation well enough, but this is what minutes are for, To convey what happened and discussed at a meeting for those who can’t make it. If that’s the case maybe we should look at recording meetings?
You say i skated over the fact it’s not being considered. No I brought up the concerning part of the comment, “its still an option” It being brought up and an agreement that it wasn’t a consideration would have not caused too much alarm by itself. But it’s “still an option” so what would make it be reconsidered? He says he can’t or won’t reimburse the hive? He doesn’t put enough hours into repairing it?
But Dave also brings up further points, that need to be addressed, which makes me think and ask is any part of the hive fully up to firecode? (This is a question of me not knowing.) If we had a fire Marshall wall through right this minute what would pass and fail… also do we have insurance for accidents?
Speaking as one who was there: Ian is correct that it was never under consideration. The context around the end of the conversation was Hive13 always retaining the option to kick out a hypothetical member in the future for much worse negligence - not about this specific case.
Chris, by no means does the context of the meeting notes convey that. the comment of “Not considering termination at this point, though will keep option available.” was in direct connection regarding the fire. So are you telling the meeting notes are wrong or misleading? I would hate to think that our secretary would make such a mistake.
Speaking also as a person who was at the meeting and part of the conversation I want to point out that the discussion was DEEPLY respectful of Paul! We discussed some of the very things Daniel is pounding his fist about and are largely in agreement.
Kevin does a great job as secretary and taking notes. Sweat was coming off of his brow that night as he tried to be part of an important discussion and keep up with note taking. Daniel, to demand that the public notes be nuanced and to go over them with a fine tooth comb for their wording is kinda insulting when you could have just shown up to the meeting which is ALWAYS public.
Dave, are you telling me we as members don’t have the right to question leadership now? I didn’t goto the meeting because I had other things i had to do. It’s not a requirement for members to go, but it is a requirement for the board and officers to keep meeting notes for the members to know what happened.
I am not demanding the notes be nuanced, but if the notes read a certain way, thats how they read. So it’s either Kevin giving a bad impression based off his notes, or its the board jumping the gun on even bringing up termination. I started with believing that Kevin wrote good notes down. Ian and Chris are the ones saying that isn’t the case. I have an issue with the fact that one of leadership’s first step is to think about termination, even if it isnt voted on. Leaving it on the table, followed by talking to Paul about “reimbursement” to the hive for the damages. Thats how the minutes read.
And with that how it reads, I find this can easily lead to an abuse of power, so I rather bring this to public attention now. Be insulted over the fact I call out an issue when I see it, thats on you, I find leadership keeping the option available, while asking Paul to repay for damages insulting while there is NOT one mention of any other form of action, nothing about suspension, nothing about removal of a certification that isnt even tracked properly. Its insulting that you think I am " demand that the public notes be nuanced " When all i have said is that its crap.
Its pretty simple to clear this up instead of being insulted i called this out. Leadership can step up as a whole and give clarity and confirmation of what happened. Until then I am gonna go off the notes as they are presented.
I would like to propose a litmus test: If you were this person’s supervisor, would they be fired?
In this specific incident our hypothetical employee had one job: to watch the laser. There are direct and explicit and instructions to watch the laser. These are safety directions. This is not an ambiguous case. This was not an accident. Our hypothetical employee knowingly and willingly violated very clear safety instructions. I cannot think of a more clear case for termination.
More importantly, I could not disagree more about the responsibility of the membership in not breaking things. Taking the stance that a makerspace exists for people to break equipment and walk away without consequence is creating a mechanism for abuse. I strongly believe that accountability for actions should be paramount in our organization.
I feel that if this is not done, we will find our coffers drained by a contingent who feel that abusing the hospitality of others is their right.
‐‐‐‐‐‐‐ Original Message ‐‐‐‐‐‐‐
Daniel - chill. You’ve made your point. You’re undermining it now. Let’s not be argumentative?
Jeff - workplace procedures are codified, or at least based on precedent. We have neither explicit rules agreed on by membership nor precedent. My point is that there is a vacuum that should be filled by discussion, consensus and precedent. This should be an active topic of discussion among board and membership so that WHEN this happens again, we have agreed on a litmus test(s) that will not come as a surprise or arbitrary to anyone.
I disagree in that we have in several places language which says a member should not walk away from the laser.
I do agree that the way forward is not so clear and that both of these things could use attention.
I don’t believe, however, that a lack of precedent prevents the organization from exercising its responsibility.
So here I bring up a concern on how the board is acting, they have now proposed termination of my membership. Is this the board you want? they get challenged and try to kick out a member?