Aerarium Societatis

This is the Comitia (members' council) of the Societas Via Romana. While guests may read this forum, only registered members of the SVR may post or vote here.

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Aerarium Societatis

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Fri Aug 03, 2007 8:05 pm

Patres Conscripti, Avete.

Ego maxime vero contribuere vellem; sed quo modo? Certiter non dives, verum aliquod pecuniae possem.

Nostra tribuendi consuetudino quae est? Vel illa iam non constituta?

In amicitia,
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Check, please...

Postby Aldus Marius on Fri Aug 03, 2007 9:51 pm

Salve, mi Iohanne!

We've just been sending our individual checks to one person--currently the site owner, Piscinus; he forwards the money to Octavius.

As far as I know, there's really not a good way for us to do any formal fund-raising without having to register ourselves with one or more governmental entities. I'd thought of starting up a
cafepress.com shop for us, but there'd still be the sticky matter of who should handle the money.

And site hosting/registration are not the only expenses we've incurred. I had to purchase an FTP program to do my work on the server, and industrial-strength anti-everything software for those Spammer background checks. (I visit their sites; some of them turn out to be legit, and even interesting and on-topic. *Some.*) I suppose the space on my hard drive is worth something; a monthly backup of everything on the Board goes there. And the special gloves I now wear since blowing out both wrists on this job were also out-of-pocket.

The point to mentioning all this is not so everyone can pity poor Mari, nor laud him to the skies for the sacrifices he's made for his "country". The point is...We have got to find a better way to do this.

Perhaps we should open a new topic and discuss it?

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SVR Finance thread?

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Fri Aug 03, 2007 10:01 pm

Salve, Alde Mari -

Yes, a Finances thread (or call it a Budget thread?) seems in order.

You all are the Quirites here; I've never been involved in the inner working of a messageboard before; like some clueless Herul, I'm just standing around, wondering if I can be of any assistance.

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:52 am

Gn. Dionysius Draco Valerio Claudio SPD!

A few years ago we did look into registering ourself as an NPC under Belgian law (as over half of our administration was composed of Belgae), but the major stumbling block was that at least 2/3 of your board of directors has to be Belgian.

What we could do, however, is to become what we already are, and what is called in Belgian legal terms "a factual union". It is quite simple do then have someone holding an SVR account in the US and one in Europe. In Belgium this means that at least two people would have access to the account to check on each other and to serve as each other's back-up.

Tell me what you think.

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*pricks ears*

Postby Aldus Marius on Sun Aug 05, 2007 5:14 am

Salve, mi Draco!

I like it...tell us more.

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Mon Aug 06, 2007 11:25 pm

Salve mi Draco

Yes, do tell us more. There is another group with which I have contacts that might be interested as well.

"Passing the hat" covers our current expenses. Incorporating as a not-for-profit corporation would instead require that we file regular financial reports, thus increasing our accounting and legal costs. IMHO This would be needless expenses, and also unnecessy complications, for what SVR is currently. We could use some sort of status that is simple and flexible, to meet whatever needs SVR would have in the future, without changing its basic character.

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Wed Aug 08, 2007 5:23 pm

Salvete Piscine Marique,

It is quite simple: two people go to the bank together, set up an account for SVR which they jointly share, give an address and wait a while until they get a card for that account. If somehow one of the two people cannot fulfill their duties for an extended time, another person should replace them and the former account holder should relinquish all rights to that account to the new person.

The only problem with this status is that SVR would not become a legal entity, and any financial problems or other legal troubles would squarely fall into their lap as private persons.

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De Aerario

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Wed Aug 08, 2007 10:05 pm

Salvete, Notabiles -

I was wondering (more ignorance showing), would the Mos Maiorum with regard to public monies give us any inspiration here? What would a Quaestor of old do?

(And I guess this is why there never were any Quaestors among our magistrates!)

Valete bene.
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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Thu Aug 09, 2007 1:09 am

Salve mi Valeri,

As far as I know the money of the Respublica was given to it by wealthy people who ran for office, or Senatores, who also had to pay a sum to retain their rank - a plutocratic system. But I'm sure that others will be able to elaborate on this better.

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Fri Aug 10, 2007 4:10 pm

Salvete Gnae Draco et Sodales omnes

Gnaeus Dionysius Draco wrote:If somehow one of the two people cannot fulfill their duties for an extended time, another person should replace them and the former account holder should relinquish all rights to that account to the new person.


Isn't that the same problem we had before? The owner of our former domain name societasviaromana.com did not continue paying for web hosting by iPower. My colleague was lost in Germania for a while. We had problems paying for it ourselves because we were not the actual owners, but in the end iPower was happy to get someone's money and restored service to SVR. However not before Wolfie pulled tuffs of fur from his hindquarters over it. Meanwhile we went looking for a new host. We had been discussing it before this minor crisis occured. But then that former owner kept ignoring emails to have the domain name transfered, so we had to get a new domain name, i. e.societasviaromana.net. And if anyone wonders why we aren't SVR.something or other, it is because we are not the "new and improved" KGB http://svr.gov.ru/

Really, this is all just minor. We had to do a little shuffling around, and the cost was not so great. What is a concern is stability - the ability to hand off responsibility from one person to the next so that our boards and website remain up. Stability, we think, has been improved somewhat, by having one of our own Sodales provide web hosting. And we should point out that iPower was having its own problems, which we've put behind us Now we just need a secure means to ensure Octavius is reimbursed each year for his services.

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:37 pm

Salve Piscine,

Well it's not such a hard task for me to keep up a bank account. Chances are slim I'll completely slip of the radar. I still read e-mails during my inactive period in SVR, so...

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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:53 pm

Guys, I have to wonder to what end we would like to collect and accumulate funds. As Piscinus points out, passing the hat has worked up until now. You can count on me to continue contributions, and I'm sure others would step up as well. Why do we need a bank account or treasury? Do we need money to accomplish one of the objectives of the Societas per the Regulae?

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Postby Gnaeus Dionysius Draco on Sat Aug 11, 2007 2:41 am

Not as far as I'm concerned, I was merely offering the possibility :).

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A use for funds

Postby Aldus Marius on Sat Aug 11, 2007 7:12 am

Salvete omnes,

> Do we need money to accomplish one of the objectives of the Societas per the Regulae?


It'd be nice to be able to (a) have a regular, consistent payment system for our site fees and associated expenses; and (b) be able to print up promotional materials, to be handed out by such of our members as might be attending any live events, some other way besides out of Mari's pocket.

I don't like passing the hat. I don't like the uncertainty and the delays, year after year. I don't like owing more than one person money; this year I've sent checks to Piscinus and Octavius, ne'? It's led to some confusion. We transferred the site when? December-ish? And we're only now pretty certain that we've paid for everything we were supposed to? Was Piscinus ever fully reimbursed? And next spring we're going to go through this again? How humiliating.


> ...not before Wolfie pulled tufts of fur from his hindquarters over it.


Correction: *Their* hindquarters. That was the only fun part of the whole experience. iPower's gonna remember me for a long time... [feg]

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Postby Horatius Piscinus on Sun Aug 12, 2007 3:09 pm

Salvete Sodales

"Money changes everything." I recall pointing this out to another group when they first began to think of collecting membership dues. As I happen to be a member of Nova Roma's Senate and currently on a committee incestigating its financial accounts, it would not be proper to go into details. However, they do not have a proper means of accountability, their legal officers do not have access or control over its accounts or even their financial records, thus neither the Nova Roma Senate nor its magistrates were previously informed on the amount of funds it actually had accumulated or disbursed. And this does not consider what conflicts money can generate within such an organization once acquiring it becomes a focus.

Do not assume anything. Do not assume how something will work before you impliment it. However, some thought has been expressed on SVR returning to a "state" form of organization. We could make it the responsibility of the Consules, or of some other magistrate, to pay the annual hosting fees. They would take office on the same date that those fees are due, and if they had not paid between election and the beginning of their term of office then they would not be allowed to hold office. It would be up to them then to find contributors willing to reimburse them for their expenses. The responsibility would fall on both, so at this point the expense to each is only $60 USD. If we were to incur regularly scheduled fees, then we might assign those to other magistrates as a responsibility of their office. But in any case, any Sodalis could always offer to reimburse the magistrate for costs. This would be closer to the Roman way of doing things than imposing "taxes" on "citizens" as Rome disgarded taxing its citizens in the 2nd cent BCE. We can't assume this would work, or for how long. It is not much different than what we do now, only that the responsibility would be clearly stated and, we assume, costs would be paid before their due date rather than scramble afterward and risk disruption of our web hosting.

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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Sun Aug 12, 2007 8:04 pm

Piscine, I like it! A lot! Besides having Roman analogs, your proposed system would take the uncertainty out of paying for hosting and encourage those most interested in the administration of the Societas to put their money where....

My only concern is whether such a system might discourage poorer members of the Societas, e.g. our university students, from seeking high office.

Otherwise, is this something that we could institute informally, as a custom, or would it require a change in the Regulae?

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Change

Postby Aldus Marius on Mon Aug 13, 2007 8:00 am

Salvete magistri! (that's everybody here, O Wise Ones)

I'll take the second question first; here's from our Regula Fundamentalis, Article IV: Officers...


a. The Comitia may elect officers to act on its behalf to administer the Societas, its website and the fora of the Societas. The individual titles of the officers and their individual duties shall be established by the Comitia.


. . .


g. The officers are authorized to establish administrative procedures to be used in the Societas and its Comitia, propose policies for the Societas, manage relations with persons and entities outside the Societas, and grant honorary titles to any sodalis and/or awards of recognition to its members or others. At the initiative of any sodalis, such decisions of the officers may be subject to approval or rejection by a vote of the Comitia.


It's like I've been saying: We have no real rules, no set procedures for much of anything. The Regula leaves the details of any such to be hashed out by the Comitia and/or the "officers" themselves. By that light, we'd just have to decide whether to treat any ideas for financial policy as "officers' duties" (to be defined by the Comitia) or as "administrative procedures" (to be exercised autonomously or submitted to the Comitia for approval). So, no, I don't think we need to amend the Regula...as with all else, we would just flesh it out by rogatio or decree.

As to assigning/dividing this responsibility, I'm not sure what other proposals may be floating around out there. But my own rogatio, described in extreme brevity in Comitia-->Rogatio Servilia de Legati, would have only one of each magistrate. Does the single Consul for each year get stuck with the whole bill, then? Would he split it with the Censor or the Aedilis? How 'bout spreading it around that itty-bitty Senate? Just askin'.

But noster Timavus raises an extremely relevant concern here:


> My only concern is whether such a system might discourage poorer members of the Societas, e.g. our university students, from seeking high office.


Absolutely. Not just the students either; anybody on a limited or fixed income. Military reservists and veterans, maybe? We do have older folks here, and probably some working poor. If anyone had told me in 2005 how much I was going to spend on this job, I'd have blanched. It's not a huge amount just to look at it...but I've felt it, and I didn't even spring for the whole thing. Well, I'm in for the duration now...I don't see anyone stepping up to take my place. But it's going to be next year before I can think of doing it again.

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Postby Q Valerius on Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:28 pm

Concerning the comment by Horatius, I know I pressed for regularity in financial matters when I urged for the rehaul. The main difference between NR and SVR is that NR is a legal non-profit incorporation, while SVR isn't. We could sue for violations of accountability, but the legal system which we would get entangled in would be a complete mess.

Incidentally, my next paper for my Roman Culture class is Roman Law. As Horatius also mentioned, there is some thought of returning to a "State"-like government. I gave an analogy to a board of directors - consules aka presidents, praetores vice presidents, quaestores treasurers, etc... As one who has been ardently studying Roman society from an academic point of view (this is my future career, folks), and as one who has (admittedly) been studying the way NR has done things, I'm not impressed with them at all, and think if the SVR would be willing, something better could replace them.

Believe it or not, there is room for a micronation like NR and a societas like SVR to exist side by side, each helping each other in their quests.
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De ratione Piscini

Postby Valerius Claudius Iohanes on Wed Aug 15, 2007 2:58 am

Quirites omnes, Salvete -

Horatius Piscinus's idea seems solid and - surprisingly after all - it bears something of the flavor of the mores maiorum. But the simplicity of it is what recommends it the most.

Piscinus's idea points toward certain offices not now in effect. But as things stand - as I understand it - we have only Curatores, no traditional offices, as Consul, Praetor, Aedilis, Rogator, etc. Is this currently the constitutional intent, or are the Curatores temporary types of office?

And, as mentioned, people in office may not have the $$ or Euros free to spend to fulfill the office. Hmmm. That would lead the Comitia/Senatus to discharge them or waive the requirement and pass the hat again.

Quid censite, quirites?
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Postby Primus Aurelius Timavus on Wed Aug 15, 2007 3:29 am

The Regulae permit the Curia to establish titles for any or all of the "officers" to add color to the organization or to more clearly establish responsibilities. There is no need for an amendment of the Regulae.
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