mascot
ghost neko

Kumoricon Staff Membership Policies

Table of Contents

Staff Policies Summary

Last modified February 6, 2017

1. Get permission before spending money.

All spending is budgeted. Staff may not spend money for Kumoricon without prior approval from their director or manager. Reimbursement requires written approval and itemized receipts.

2. Don't make promises without prior approval.

Staff may not sign contracts or make verbal or written promises to outside parties without prior approval from their director or manager. This includes negotiations beyond an introduction, and reaching out to other businesses, industry, guests, or press.

3. Avoid speaking on behalf of the con without permission.

This rule can be tricky, and staff need to be careful. Staff are not allowed to speak as representatives for the convention without permission. This includes speaking to the press and making any statement visible to the public, in whatever format, including web posts and social media comments. Even if you are not using any official organization resources, if it is known to the public that you are staff, your statements can be interpreted as official statements. If in doubt, please ask your director or our Publicity department for guidance.

4. Keep confidential information private.

It's ok to talk to people outside the con about the work you do for the con, and what your job is like. But certain information is sensitive and should only be shared with staff who have a genuine need to know. If you aren't sure, it's your responsibility to ask your supervisor about what is sensitive. Certain things are always treated as very sensitive:

  1. Personally identifiable information about attendees, including but not limited to attendee or member databases, addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, or birthdates
  2. Disputes or incident reports involving staff or attendees
  3. Department or organization budgets
  4. Identities or details of guests of honor, industry guests, or partners which have not been publicly announced
  5. The existence or details of venue contracts which have not been publicly announced
  6. Any type of information planned for announcement at a later date or time
  7. Any type of information that we are treating as sensitive or confidential
5. Honor your staff commitment.

Joining staff means you're pledging a commitment that lasts through the next upcoming convention. Some of your work obligations might be pre-con, and some might be at-con. You're also promising to be available during emergencies and shortages during the times you are on site. If you hold more than one position, then it's your responsibility to make sure you communicate time conflicts in advance.

6. Keep in contact.

Keep in communication with your manager or director. Not sure about something, or what to do next? Ask!

7. Set a good example.

People will make judgments about the entire convention based on the actions of a single staff member. Show the world—and your fellow staff—your best.

8. Follow the code of conduct and staff policies.

The full staff policies are available to registered staff on the website, along with additional staff training and resources. The attendee code of conduct is publicly available on the website. The board may change these rules without prior notice. You will be notified if we make changes that change any expectations we have of you.

9. For managers only…

Managers and executive-level staff are subject to additional policies and required training. After you register, you may be given a date by which you must complete these to maintain your manager-level or executive-level staff status.

Privacy notice

Staff members may be listed publicly by name and position. Staff member names, positions, email addresses, phone numbers, and cities are listed in a directory only accessible to current staff members. We may take your photo when you register as staff, or when you check in at the convention. Your photo is displayed to all staff up and down your chain of command, and to all convention executives. You may change a privacy setting to make your photo visible to the entire staff. Staff members who have positions reporting to them may also access the email addresses of previous staff to ensure registration invitation emails are sent to the correct address.

Registration Requirements
  1. You have completed and signed the form.
  2. You are signing up for a specific position, initialed by the director for each position.
  3. The staff quiz (see pages 3 and 4) is attached, unless you took it in a previous year.
  4. You are at least age 16 at time of registration. (We sometimes make exceptions.)
  5. If under age 18 at time of registration, you have submitted a parent permission and liability release form.
  6. The Secretary ratifies your registration.
A few other things…
  • You can change or add staff positions later, provided you have the permission and approval of each director.
  • Staff registration covers your convention entrance. You don't need to pay or register as an attendee separately.
  • If you previously registered for Kumoricon 2017 as an attendee, then your staff registration is an upgrade and you are eligible for a refund. Please contact membership@kumoricon.org to request this.
  • All Kumoricon staff are unpaid volunteers—even the top executives and board of directors.
Resignation

A staff member may resign from one or more staff positions by delivering written notice to either the Secretary or to the director to which the staff member reports. Because it is possible for a staff member to hold more than one position, the resignation should specify the exact position(s) the member is resigning from. Resignation from all current staff positions will result in resignation as a member of Altonimbus Entertainment.

Removal

Unfortunately, it is occasionally necessary to remove a staff member from a position. The director to which a staff member reports for a specific position will make such a decision if it becomes necessary. The staff member may request an appeal from the director or the whole board regarding a removal. The director or the whole board will decide whether to hear an appeal on a case-by-case basis.

Also, occasionally, an individual will be barred from becoming staff either indefinitely or for a certain period of time. Such an individual may request an appeal to lift this status. The board will decide whether to hear such an appeal on a case-by-case basis. Appeals will usually not be heard in the 90 days leading up to the convention. In hearing an appeal, the board will decide whether the appeal will be heard by the whole board, or only by certain directors. The board, among other factors, may consider the amount of time that has passed since the individual's offenses in deciding either whether to hear an appeal or in considering a specific appeal. The board may contact the individual with questions prior to deciding whether to hear an appeal. If the board decides to lift the status barring an individual from becoming staff, understand that this does not mean the individual has now been granted a staff position; it only means that the individual may now apply for positions. It is possible that an individual will be unbarred from staff but will then not, in fact, be appointed to any staff positions.

Staff Agreement

This agreement is signed upon registration.

By signing, you are registering for voting membership in Altonimbus Entertainment for the 2017 term, and pledging a commitment as a volunteer staff member for Kumoricon 2017. Your registration for both is not complete until we ratify it after meeting the requirements (see below). Voting membership status is governed by the bylaws of Altonimbus Entertainment. Staff status may be terminated at will by either you or us. Unless informed otherwise, your staff status lasts through the 2017 convention as well as past the convention as needed or as agreed upon to fulfill the duties of your position(s), some of which may be year-round. It does not automatically renew for 2018. While you are staff, you are expected to follow the full staff policies, which we may amend without prior notice. You must also uphold your confidentiality obligations past the duration of your staff status in order to remain in good standing with us. Your contractual rights and obligations will not be changed without your affirmative consent.

Adjudication Process

Last modified October 1, 2017

  1. This process will apply:
    1. In any situation required by the bylaws or applicable law;
    2. In any proposed institution, revocation, or change in disciplinary action (including but not limited to redlist status), for which at least two board members request this process be used;
    3. A conflict of interest situation referred to it by the board; or
    4. Any other situation referred to it by the board.
  2. Except when acting only on a final decision is required by the bylaws or applicable law, the board will decide whether the action under consideration will be imposed on an interim basis until the adjudication process concludes.
  3. A review committee will be assembled, meeting these requirements:
    1. Consist of at least 5 people, or at least 7 people for any case that may lead to removal from the board or ineligibility to be on the board;
    2. Consist of members not having a conflict of interest involving the respondent, unless unavoidable;
    3. Consist either of neutral parties, or be about equally divided between those in favor of and against the respondent;
    4. Consist of at least one-third executive-level staff members; at least one-third non-executive-level staff members; and at least two board members;
    5. Consist of at least one-third persons (and if possible, at least majority) who were not firsthand involved in the original dispute;
    6. If possible, not have a conflict of interest between committee members. If this cannot be avoided, then prior to commencing proceedings, all but one person in the conflict should be designated non-voting, and such non-voting members will not count for any count or composition requirements.
    7. There is no permanent committee; a separate selection of people will occur for each proceeding. There should be no person who "always" or almost always gets selected; participation should rotate.
    8. Any of these committee requirements may be waived by the respondent.
  4. The board, consistent with applicable requirements, will specify to the review committee their role for this particular proceeding, which may include one or more of the following:
    1. Finder of fact
    2. Determiner of whether certain facts warrant a guilty finding
    3. Decider of punishment
    4. The role may be limited in scope; for example, only considering guilt over one specific set of facts.
  5. The committee will select a chairperson who will communicate with the respondent, and must stay in reasonable communication.
  6. Fair and reasonable notice must be given to the respondent, and to all committee members, of the proceedings and outcome.
  7. The committee must accommodate reasonable scheduling requests of the respondent.
  8. The committee must move with reasonable speed through the process. Generally, at each adjournment or step, a specific date for the next meeting or deadline should be communicated to affected parties.
  9. There will be a hearing at which the respondent can present arguments and evidence in their defense, and answer questions from the committee. This may be by phone or in person, based on reasonable accommodations of all parties involved.
    1. The only persons at the hearing should be committee members, witnesses, and if requested, one accompanying person for the respondent, who may assist in their defense; and any other person with a strong justification for being present.
    2. If agreed to by the respondent, a written process may substitute for a live hearing.
  10. There will be a discussion session with only committee members present for discussing and/or voting on a decision.
  11. All discussion involving any committee members must include all committee members, except for absences at a reasonably scheduled meeting, unless an exception and a reason for it is disclosed to the committee chairperson, which the chairperson should share with the committee to the extent reasonable.
  12. The committee may request additional hearings or discussion sessions as needed or desirable.
  13. Decisions of the committee:
    1. A vote of the majority of all committee members of a specific action shall constitute the decision of the committee.
      1. "Majority" means more than half. Equally divided votes are not more than half. Majority is measured out of total committee members, so an abstention is functionally a "no" vote.
    2. Findings of guilt, or of lack of guilt, are separate motions requiring separate votes.
    3. A failure to reach a majority vote for any decision after extensive committee action—being "hopelessly deadlocked"—shall be treated as no action taken by the committee. Once the committee concludes it is deadlocked, the adjudication process is over. A new one may be brought again later, but it must be restarted, with a new committee selection process, and so on.
    4. A failure of the committee to act in a timely manner shall be treated the same as (c).
  14. The respondent may waive any or all provisions or steps of this policy that act to their advantage, including, if desired, their entire participation in the process.
    1. If the respondent does not respond to or cooperate with this adjudication process within a reasonable amount of time, or engages in abuse or frivolous behavior with committee members, it shall be treated as a waiver.
    2. In cases of explicit or implicit waiver, the committee may proceed without the respondent's defense and accelerate all remaining portions of the proceeding as desired.
  15. The committee proceedings are confidential, but records may be accessed by board members, current or future, and any other persons who have a direct need to review the proceedings. They may be restricted from board members only for conflict of interest reasons.
  16. The board may override an adjudication committee decision only in cases where the bylaws or this policy does not require this adjudication process to be used. However, a new adjudication committee and proceeding may review or amend an earlier decision.

Conflict of Interest Policy

Last modified October 1, 2017

These policies include wording from templates at Nonprofit Conflict of Interest: A 3-Dimensional View. Neither the publisher nor author of the article is affiliated with Altonimbus Entertainment, nor has reviewed or endorsed this policy.

Goal and purpose

The standard of behavior at Altonimbus Entertainment is that all staff, volunteers, and board members scrupulously recognize, disclose, and work to mitigate conflicts of interest between the interests of Altonimbus Entertainment on one hand, and personal, professional, and business interests on the other. This includes potential and actual conflicts of interest, as well as perceptions of conflicts of interest.

The purposes of this policy are to protect the integrity of Altonimbus Entertainment's decision-making process, to enable our attendees, staff, and members of our community to have confidence in our integrity, and to protect the integrity and reputations of volunteers, staff, and board members.

We recognize that potential and actual conflicts of interest are very common in community and fan-driven organizations such as ours, and are a part of having close beneficial ties throughout our communities. We handle this by scrupulously recognizing and disclosing potential conflicts. When possible, we attempt to turn "conflicts of interest" into "benefits from interest" by taking advantage of the connections that a close community provides, and setting up a process in advance to mitigate potential problems from any conflict.

This policy is meant to supplement good judgment, and staff should respect its spirit as well as its wording.

Definition

A conflict of interest is a situation where, as a staff member:

  1. You have a personal interest (including financial, family, romantic, business, or role in an organization) which may influence your decision-making in your role for Altonimbus; or
  2. You have duties of loyalty to both this organization and another organization which conflict with each other.

An interest in another organization includes being an owner (sole or significant part), partner, board member, executive decision-maker, influential donor, significant voting power holder, or the same in another organization closely tied to it. In some cases, it may include being an employee, contractor, or staff (paid or unpaid).

A situation that would be a conflict of interest for a given person is also a conflict of interest if it instead involves that person's close family member, romantic partner, business partner, or somebody in that person's reporting chain in another organization.

A conflict of interest is evaluated based on the "whole picture" and what a reasonable person at arm's length would perceive, not technicalities.

Disclosure

All staff members are expected to disclose any potential conflicts of interest, or significant changes in any potential conflicts of interest, and defer or recuse from making decisions related to the conflict until approval is given.

Staff members applying for a position are expected to disclose any potential conflicts of interest that may be created by holding the position, including elected positions.

When disclosing a conflict of interest, disclose to the staff member you report to. Board members should disclose to the board. If disclosing prior to an election and the potential conflict exists by virtue of holding the position, then disclose to the electing body, as soon as possible prior to the election.

When a conflict is disclosed to a supervisory staff member, that staff member will report it further up their management chain if it's needed to adequately address the situation.

A similar process may be followed if a conflict of interest concern is raised by a third party. An individual raising a concern should report it in the same way as if they were disclosing their own potential conflict of interest.

Review and mitigation

When reviewing a conflict of interest, the staff member(s) or board should record the disclosure for future reference and review. In some cases, the conflict can be easily and simply resolved through a quick discussion, or an offer to recuse on a particular issue. In other cases, there should be more detailed discussion and a written mitigation plan.

The following are possible outcomes of a conflict of interest discussion:

  • The conflict may be too great to be allowed at all.
  • The conflict is allowed, but a designated person will be appointed who will handle the specific duties that would be imputed by the conflict. For example: Appointing a different staff or board member to make a decision on a contract, or appointing a person other than a staff member's normal manager who can review their performance or respond to complaints.
  • A staff member will be required to be recused from discussion or decision-making on certain matters.
  • A board member or committee member may be restricted from participation, votes, and/or accessing minutes or records relating to a particular issue.
  • A decision may be made to communicate the details of the mitigation plan to additional staff members who may be impacted (for example, people who report to the staff member).

The specific process of discussing, creating, and carrying out recusal or a mitigation plan is flexible and should be adapted as needed to serve the spirit and goals of this policy, as there are many unforeseen circumstances that may occur.

Conflict of interest decisions are set on a case-by-case basis, but should generally follow the standards set by previous similar circumstances.

Examples of potential conflicts of interest
  • Altonimbus is considering paying a vendor for goods or services, but a staff member is an employee there.
  • A staff member helps run a contest, but their romantic partner wants to enter.
  • A staff member helps decide applicants for the Exhibits Hall or Panels, but a family member applies.
  • Altonimbus is considering spending money in a manner that benefits both the organization and a staff member personally, such as travel for outreach, or software that they will use on their personal computer for both convention and personal work.
  • A staff member is considering hiring a romantic partner in a position reporting to them.
  • Two board members are in a romantic relationship.
  • A staff member routinely talks to representatives of other fan conventions, but they also hold a staff position in one of them.
  • An executive-level staff member is also an executive-level staff member or board member in another fan convention.
  • A staff member holds a similar position in another organization where confidentiality obligations may conflict.
  • A staff member holds a similar position in another organization in which opportunities based on inside information may need to be pursued for only one organization or the other, leading to a conflict.
  • Altonimbus is considering a contract with another organization, but a staff member considers undercutting the process and pursuing the contract personally, relying on inside information.
Examples of things not usually needing disclosure

These situations can be conflicts of interest, but they are not automatically considered to be. Staff only need to disclose these if there are additional circumstances such as those described above. Examples:

  • Your employer
  • Being staff for another convention
  • Membership in a social or advocacy organization
  • Having a certain political opinion that influences your decision-making
Grandfathering

We recognize that discussion about conflict of interest policy may be heated or even feel like it is targeting a particular individual. To help avoid this, we declare it to be part of the policy and culture of this organization that we grandfather in exceptions for specific individuals when we amend this conflict of interest policy (or when we pass it for the first time).

The decision to grandfather a specific individual's conflict should be based on whether the conflict existed in substantially similar form, or was being actively contemplated in that form, at the time the policy was changed or enacted. Sometimes this is difficult to tell, so we should review each situation with regard to what a reasonable person at arm's length would feel happened.

The policy of grandfathering doesn't avoid the need for disclosure, discussion, or mitigation of conflicts (with one exception noted in the next section). Rather, it means that when a specific conflict would otherwise be something we wouldn't allow if it happened in the future, we err on continuing to allow it if we allowed it in the past.

Grandfathering from disclosure

This policy also recognizes a special form of grandfathering from disclosure. There are certain situations where you may feel even just a disclosure is an unfair coercion of your privacy, such as about a romantic relationship. Therefore, you may be excused from disclosure if all of the following are true:

  1. The policy was enacted for the first time, or amended, in a way that requires you to disclose a situation that the earlier wording wouldn't have;
  2. For any of the positions you now hold, the enactment or change happened after you applied for that position or (if an elected position) announced your candidacy after the official open of nominations, for this convention year only;
  3. The disclosure would expose private information that can't be readily found online by the public; and
  4. Either:
    1. You sincerely believe that this disclosure would burden your personal privacy, the personal privacy of a romantic partner, or the personal privacy of a close family member; or
    2. The disclosure would violate a legal obligation you entered into prior to your acceptance of this conflict of interest policy.

If you make use of this exception, the burden to exercise your best judgment is all on you, and you still otherwise need to act to further the spirit and goals of this policy and your obligations to the organization.

Once an amended or enacted policy is in place through the next appointment or election of your position, this "grandfathering from disclosure" section no longer applies for that particular conflict of interest. You'll then need to make a choice between accepting a position for the subsequent year or making the disclosure.