AFTERBURN REPORT 2008
Many people are surprised that Burning Man even has an Administration department. And while there is a core administrative staff, many departments and managers pitch in to cover a wide variety of administrative tasks both on and off the playa, handling logistics, ensuring smooth communication flow, and coordinating projects and events, both big and small. Many of these activities take place in the San Francisco Office, which provides a home to many Burning Man year-round staff and hosts countless events such as staff meetings, trainings and some Burner community events like the annual Regional Leadership Summit.
Our second permanent office holds down the fort in Gerlach, Nevada. As the Burning Man event draws near, this small operation explodes into action, providing a working base for the ever-growing event staff. The week before the event, our entire administration team moves from San Francisco to Gerlach. Once onsite, First Camp becomes the temporary headquarters for administrative operations. Located this year at 11 o'clock on the Center Camp “wheel,” by the Esplanade, First Camp hosts some members of the Board (LLC) and Senior Staff, and acts as an operational nerve center. The External Relations Team (XRT) also uses First Camp as their welcome center for Burning Man friends and visitors, and as a starting point for tours of Black Rock City.
The Safety Committee consists of representatives from the Board, Senior Staff, Emergency Services, Black Rock Rangers and Department of Public Works. Their mission is to ensure that pre-event and on-playa work activities are conducted safely. The committee is happy to report that there were few issues that needed review in 2008.
The Legal Team had smooth contract negotiations throughout the year, and there was good news on the litigation front with regard to the John Law complaint, and others. The grassroots efforts of Lawyers for Burners and the Law Enforcement Oversight Program kept law enforcement in check both off-playa and on, as did the ACLU who visited Black Rock City this year for the first time.
The Accounting Department handles all of the organization's financial matters, including accounts receivable, accounts payable, and payroll. And new for 2008, the Accounting Department also took on handling insurance for the organization and the event. Various policies covering a host of exposures must be managed from year to year, and this proved to be a major drain on resources in 2008. This department also oversees Tickets and the Box Office, which opened earlier in 2008 to better accommodate volunteers and theme camp crews who set up for the event.