News & Notes 707:FAMC Monthly Report - June 2017

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707 icon.jpg   News & Notes 707
22 July 2017


FAMC Monthly Report - June 2017



To begin with, we would like to introduce Ayesha, who has joined our team as a full-time secretary this month. You will find her at the FAMC office, along with Angelo, 9.30 am to 12.30 pm on all working days except Thursdays. In this context, please also note revised meeting times and public hours below.

Secondly, the Residents’ Assembly Service (RAS) informed us that we can choose an interim member to replace Stephanie until the next selection process. However, this member would be without decision-making authority, according to the participatory working group document. It was agreed that such a member would be of little help to the group. And taking into consideration other factors, it was agreed and approved by RAS and AVC that FAMC will continue with just 8 members with the mandated quorum reduced from 6 to 5 till the next selection process.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, this summer we conducted a systematic review of our processes over 5 weeks guided by Elvira, in order to work more efficiently and effectively as a team and to make work a more joyful learning experience. Specifically, we prioritized four aims, which were:

  1. review the mandate,
  2. create a sense of team,
  3. reassess annual work plan objectives,
  4. identify tools and processes to support the work.

Then for each of these aims, we worked out in consensus, who our key stakeholders were, measurable achievements, and the criteria for those achievements.

At the end of the 5-week period, we noted that there were still details to be fleshed out. So at present, we are continuing this work by dedicating our Thursday morning meetings for this exercise. As one BCC member commented “the result of your work is apparent in your faces. All of you are smiling more!”

FAMC public hours: Members will be available to meet with you during the following hours in our office on 2nd floor, Town Hall, next to L’avenir library. Phone: 262-3649

  • Wednesday 9:30 to 11:30
  • Friday 9:30 to 11:30

FAMC meeting times: As a whole group we meet on:

  • Tuesdays 2:00 to 4:30
  • Thursdays 9:30 to 12:00

Completed issues

Units

  • HERS executive reappointment: A comprehensive report on financials and operation of HERS under the new management team was reviewed by FAMC. As recommended by the unit and ABC, M. Palani was reappointed as an executive. The reappointment was made for one year only. Gillian is the other executive. It has been communicated to ABC and the unit executives that FAMC would like to see Kumar (of WCom) be appointed as an executive because he is involved in the day-today operations of the unit and a transition period be planned.
  • Rangoli: The unit Rangoli was moved from Team Trust to Artisana Trust as per their request and in collaboration with all concerned.
  • Auroville Forex: Auroville Forex has moved out of Auroville Service Trust with effect from 2013. It has been consolidated under Auroville Maintenance, an Auroville unit, since then and only the paperwork needed catching up.
  • Auroville Health Services: The unit was moved from Auroville Village Action Trust to Health and Healing Trust in collaboration with all concerned.
  • Auroville Transport Service (ATS): The unit has now been closed with a zero balance sheet as is necessary for closure. A small debt of the unit in Financial Services has been currently taken on by ABC Trust. Saroja, as the main executive of the unit has submitted a statement that she is responsible for all other off-book liabilities. It was noted that some Aurovilians are helping Saroja to work out strategies to pay off these remaining debts. An FAMC member also volunteered to be part of this support group if needed. Future use of ATS assets, namely a leased plot of land and ATS phone numbers, will be dealt with by a subgroup of ABC Trustees and FAMC members.
  • Swagatam Guest House and Ms. D. Vijaya’s executive status: After 8 months of trying to work out solutions, which included the involvement of the Secretary, Auroville Foundation, we decided to endorse the Bharat Nivas Pavilion of India Trust resolution to dismiss D. Vijaya as an executive of the Swagatam Guest House. The Working Committee endorsed our decision and we have jointly dismissed Vijaya as executive. This has been communicated to her as well as the Guest House team, Bharat Nivas Trust, and Auroville Foundation.

Policies and Guidelines

  • Unit contribution policy amendment: We amended the unit contribution policy to specify that exceptions given to units to count specified contributions as part of the 33% unspecified are valid for one year only and need to be reviewed yearly by BCC for renewal. BCC and ABC have been informed of the same.
  • Contribution clarification: The BCC proposed to FAMC that the incorrect calculation of specified contributions by units to City Services should only apply to the last two years. The FAMC did not approve because it would have resulted in foregoing 3% of the total amount pending.

Housing

  • Staff quarters and Fraternal Contribution: Miniature requested a waiver on fraternal contribution for staff quarters. As individuals building houses in Auroville donate both the house and give a fraternal contribution to Housing, we did not see the reason for exempting units from this guideline. It was also noted that pros and cons of letting units build staff quarters needs to be studied.
  • Additional Housing Board member: We agreed to the recommendation from the Housing Service that K. Sundar, working in the Housing Service, will join the Housing Board as a member. According to the Housing Organization Mandate, this will be for an initial 3 month trial period.

Land related

Protection:

  • Kamataru security situation: The FAMC received notice from Rishi, steward of Kamataru Forest, of a difficult security situation and the need for protecting isolated plots there. Rishi’s request for emergency funds for fencing was approved by FAMC and sanctioned by Land Board.

Land purchase:

  • BO 40/6B: This land purchase was approved. The plot of 0.67 acres is totally surrounded by Auroville land and is located out past Gaia and Samriddhi.
  • BO 79/5A & BO 79/5B: Purchase of both these plots was approved. Each is 0.47 acres and connected, end to end. These two plots are adjacent to the backside of Sangha.
  • Land allocation: FAMC approved the decision of the Green Group and the iTDC to allocate the following plots to Bumadevi Farm under stewardship by Mani:
  • AL 65/7: 1.63 acres
  • AL 65/2: 0.49 cents
  • AL 66/3: 0.14 cents
  • AL 65/5: 0.12 cents
  • AL 61/5, 61/6, 61/7, 61/8, 61/10: 1.79 acres

Ongoing issues

Units and Trusts

  • Auroville Vehicle Service new unit application: A new unit application has been received with endorsement from the Auroville Board of Services (ABS). As this will be an income-generating service, we see the need for a few agreements in place before granting permission. This has been communicated to the proposed executives and ABS.
  • Auroville Service Trust: We are in conversation with the Trustees to see how best we can strengthen this Trust.
  • Tamil Heritage Centre construction audit: FAMC in collaboration with Auroville Foundation has contacted an outside forensic auditor and, as requested, we are collating the documents needed for this.

BCC-related issues

  • Budget Coordination Committee (BCC) mandate: We are in an on-going process with BCC to revise the BCC mandate.

Housing

  • Big Boys Boarding: Big Boys Boarding rooms have been occupied without authorization from Housing. In collaboration with the FAMC and Working Committee, the Secretary of the Auroville Foundation, as Estate Officer, issued an eviction notice to a non-Aurovilian after which this person vacated the place. At the end of this reporting period, Aurovilian Kittu, however, continued to occupy the building, despite requests and offers by Housing Service for other suitable places.

Loans

  • Abundance Guest House loan: Selvam of Douceur has applied for a loan of Rs. 25 lakhs to finish Abundance guest house before the 50th anniversary. The loan application is still being reviewed.

Miscellaneous

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST): As of the moment, all units are individually shifting to this new taxation framework, while we continue to explore the implications of this tax on our local economy and other legally accepted alternatives.


FAMC (Amy, Bindu, Chali, Chandresh, Lyle, Prabhu, Ulli, Yuval)