Statement to Foundation's Hiring Practices

This is a English language translation of our statement. Its discussion and development happened in German language so in case of differences in exact meaning between the German and English text the German version will more accurately represent our position

After the board of the OpenStreetMap Foundation presented its plans for hiring additional paid staff some time ago and explicitly asked for feedback from the local chapters, we discussed the topic in the FOSSGIS and came to the following recommendations, which are supported by the FOSSGIS board. These ideas have been discussed in the German OSM community during the last weeks in the German OpenStreetMap forum and on the mailing list Talk-de. We believe that these recommendations can be useful and important for a long-term sustainable and harmonious collaboration between paid staff in the OSMF and the diverse global OSM community.

We are in broad agreement that a clear, publicly communicated job description, approved by the board prior to awarding any paid work, should be a fundamental requirement for any paid work. This must ensure that the work falls within the OSMF mission, is necessary for its fulfilment, and does not exceed its limits. Before employing paid staff, the job description should be checked to see whether the work can be carried out by volunteers from the community or whether volunteers could be indirectly displaced or demotivated by the paid workers. Such a job description must ultimately form the actual basis for the activity of the paid people.

In order that these questions will be assesed by a wide range of active members from different cultures and parts of the community, we think that both the general principles of personnel policy and the concrete creation of new jobs based on a job description should be subject to approval by OSMF members. We also think it is sensible and important that paid staff should be accountable for their work not only to the OSMF Board, but to the entire OSM community.

In addition, we attach great importance to the fact that when paid workers are employed - regardless of the type of contract - OSMF lives up to its social responsibility as an employer or client towards those working for it. This applies in particular the contract desig. For example, it must first be decided how long-term employments are to be budgeted and contractually structured and how human resources management in practical work is to be organised, particularly taking into account the challenges of cooperation between paid staff and volunteers in the community.