supporting our fellowship representative

Bernhard Reiter bernhard at
Tue Aug 28 09:09:09 UTC 2018

Hi Luke,

Am Dienstag 28 August 2018 10:18:11 schrieb lukerogers at
> I never saw an association cancel the elections.  Is that legal?

that is only part of the story:
Legally there is an association based on German law to support FSFE's work
where we have chosen a minimal approach for members because those members
are legally responsible, may hold legal assets for Free Software and we want 
to be sure that it cannot be taken over. (I darkely remember that we also had 
the history and some lessons of Richard Stallman's legal associations in 

The membership of the e.V. of course has to be able to vote and legally be 
responsible for the actions of the executive representatives.

In 2005 we wanted to have something like a "supporting membership", because 
many people wanted to show that they are continuously supporting us 
financially and otherwise as FSFE. We called this fellowship because we 
thought this to be a cool name and there we no voting rights. Later there was 
the idea to get more member into the e.V. maybe even changing the legal 
structure towards one that is much more open for members and refrains from 
the minimal principle. This is a course of action that some in the FSFE still 
believe could be worth examining or enacting the in the future. To do steps 
into this direction we started doing a temporary membership selected by our 
supporting members. This was governed by the constitution which a larger 
majority of the members have to agree to.

In the last years we found out that this was not working as we had expected.
Many supporting members fould the elections to be a hassle, they took up a lot 
of time and there was not as many candidates we would like to. Many time we 
had to do a lot to even find and encourage candidates. After trying to fix 
the situation a majority came to the conclusion that FSFE would be better off 
without those temporary seats to pursue other ways to include more people 
that care for Free Software and are willing to do the hard work of a small 
NGO. So the large majority changed the constituion again. In order to have 
more time to be dedicated to actually working towards furthering Free 
Software and organisation related to it.

> My fellowship contribution isn't going to FSFE next
> year, give the money to a local group where everything is done by
> volunteers and not careerists in Berlin.

In my conviction we need paid employees, many successful NGO have them.
The work needs full time dedication. The wages paid by FSFE are below the 
average for comparable tasks.

> The FSFE transparency pages are hilarious.  FSFE chose the transparency
> checklist from Transparency International because it lets them have
> transparency credentials but their checklist doesn't ask to publish the
> salaries like the FSF and other groups. 

Can you supply the link to the salary lists of those organisations?
(A quick search could't find it. Is there also information to place this 
salary in comparison what people in the same place and position would get?)

In order to be able to win and hold employees, we at FSFE negociate the 
salaries between e.V. and each person individually and in private. The 
salaries are controlled by the e.V. members, the public because you can 
divide the number of people with the published budget and see the average 
numbers and the tax office because we can only pay salaries that are 
comparable to similiar positions to retain our charity status.

Best Regards,

--   +49 541 33 508 3-3
Intevation GmbH, Osnabrück, DE; Amtsgericht Osnabrück, HRB 18998
Geschäftsführer Frank Koormann, Bernhard Reiter, Dr. Jan-Oliver Wagner
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