2021 might not be the year that Joomla releases Joomla 4, but that didn’t stop OSM from releasing a press release wihch we can’t allow to fly under the radar, as it illustrates everything that is wrong with Joomla.
Spoiler alert: it’s OSM.
OSM, the organization which was created to support the Joomla brand, has issued a press release, in which the announced that over 37,000 dollars have been embezzled by a former President. You can read the full press release here: https://www.opensourcematters.org/news/310-expenses-determined-to-be-outside-osm-financial-policy.html
There’s even an FAQ, which doesn’t answer the real question: How could this happen.
If you can’t wrestle through the press release by OSM, we’ll do you a favor and summarize what they tried to say. Why use many words when few words do trick.
It has come to OSM’s attention that, during a period from 2018 to 2020, the President of the non-profit has been stealing money from the organization. They estimate that nearly 37,000 dollars have been embezzled. That’s about 10% of the total savings of OSM.
In a press release that can’t possibly have been greenlit by anyone with a legal or PR background, OSM goes on to reveal that the money was embezzled by a former President of the organization. And the unprofessionalism doesn’t end there; they also volunteer the name of the person that has stolen the money!
If you want to find out who it is, you won’t find the name here. There’s a thing called “protection your own reputation” which we strongly believe in. Okay, we believe in it a little bit. Enough not to point fingers at individuals in what is the biggest scandal in the history of Joomla -yes, even bigger than the existance of Joomla 1.6.
Although OSM is quick to point in the direction of the former President and claims to have made “significant changes” in a FAQ, this raises questions.
Questions OSM should ask themselves
The obvious question is “how did we get to this point?”. The point being where someone can steal 37000 dollars from a non-profit without anyone noticing.
As it turns out, the ever-so-enterprisy organization doesn’t believe in check and balances. You’ll have to read the nightmare of a FAQ for yourself, but as it turns out only two people had access to the bank account and full accounting statements at any given time.
No word is spoken about auditing processes that were set in place, or systems of signing off on expenses. OSM, which loves processes and paper tigers, somehow managed to setup a procedure which makes you wonder how much more money has vanished at any given time.
In your average non-profit, with competent management, this scenario would have simply been unacceptable. Non-profits don’t always have time for paperwork and formalities but one thing you can be assured of: a good non-profit will have systems and people in place to keep an eye on the finances. Especially if they’re managing half a million dollars.
I can speak from personal information when I say that the organizations I worked for held themselves to high financial standards. While not everyone could access the bank accounts, everyone on the board was always able to check the financial books of the organization as they were accessible by any of the members of the board. There were also monthly, 3-monthly and yearly external audits, because the one thing you don’t want to screw up in, is in your financial department.
Has OSM failed in this regard, be it because their procedures sucked or because they didn’t appoint the right people? Yes, but also, yes. I’m almost willing to bet 37,000 dollars on that being the answer.
Although OSM is happy to point at the former President, they should be pointing in the other direction: themselves. It’s hard for an outsider to understand why the procedure that was in place, sounded like a good idea and didn’t become a problem until someone abused this obvious loophole. Was it incompetence, a complete lack of interest or perhaps malice that made people look the other way? It’s hard to tell, because nobody knows the exact procedures the organization in the shadow operates within, except a select few and you know nobody is going to be the whistleblower. Not anyone that isn’t on a black list of OSM, anyway.
Should we be surprised by this mis-step, however? Not exactly, because OSM has a track record of managing things poorly and we shouldn’t be shocked to see that this extends to how they manage their finances. During the years, OSM has developed a reputation for frivolous spending and making expenses that were sometimes questionable at best. Although it doesn’t justify the behaviour of the person the press release addresses, OSM’s laissez-faire approach to how they handle their financial affairs has inevitably lead to the moment where they somehow found themselves to be the home of some people people with a “what’s a few dollars more?” mentality?
Editors note: We edited the above section since the original section wasn’t reflective of the hard work that Joomla volunteers have done in the past, and because it violates our policy of “don’t be a dick if you don’t have to.”
We can analyze what happened for as long as we want, but this event is a systemic event which is a result of the lack of transparency which has plagued OSM for years now. The non-profit which was supposed to protect Joomla, has done no such thing. Instead, their culture of secrecy, overorganizing and intellectual and election inbreeding has added yet another page to the chapter of “How do I damage what was once a World Class CMS – By caring more about money than Joomla.”
Without wanting to offend individuals, the only logical conclusion we can makes is that Joomla has a problem. However, OSM will likely never be able to find a solution for these problems. They are the problem.