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#234 - ACS Council Meeting


The Council of the American Chemical Society met on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 in the Sheraton Chicago Ballroom of the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The meeting opened at 8:00am with a resolution and moment of silence honoring recently deceased ACS Past Presidents, Robert W. Parry (1982) and Fred Basolo (1983) and three deceased Councilors.


Total registration at the Chicago meeting was 14,520.  This number includes 7,152 regular attendees, 5,059 student affiliates, 1,283 exhibitors (representing companies with 424 booths), 573 exposition only attendees, 453 guests, and 119 high school teachers.  The total attendance was about 1,000 less than for the 2006 Spring meeting in Atlanta.  It was noted that a record number (1,264) of undergraduate and Student Affiliates Chapter posters were presented at this meeting.


The Committee on Meetings and Expositions (M&E) recommended, and Council voted to approve the dates and sites for the 2017 national meetings as follows:  April 2-6, San Francisco, California; and September 10-14, St. Louis, Missouri.  M&E also reported that in 2006 the ACS Regional Meetings set a new standard for excellence.  There were 4,717 abstracts and the attendance figure was 8,000 - a 30% increase over 2005.  M&E plans to make the ACS meetings “greener,” and will be communicating with ACS staff and governance on long and short term actions related to this goal.  ACS and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) will be holding their 2008 Spring meetings in New Orleans next April.  An ad hoc working group consisting of members of DAC, M&E and AIChE are actively exploring joint programming opportunities.


The Committee on Science is planning two events for 2008. The first, “Balancing Security and Openness,” will gather data to determine if the recent emphasis on security is hindering scientific progress.  The second event, “Transitioning Chemical Science to Commercially Successful Products,” has the goal of evaluating the current infrastructure and making recommendations to shorten and straighten the road along which basic chemical science research travels to reach market success.


The Committee on Nominations & Elections identified four nominees for the office of 2008 ACS President-Elect: Pat N. Confalone, Thomas H. Lane, William A. Nugent, and Howard M. Peters. Council voted and elected Thomas Lane and Howard Peters as the two candidates who will run for office in the Fall of 2007.  Peters is one of the founders of the ACS Division of Chemistry and the Law – a division that began as a subdivision of CINF – and he and his wife Sally are active CINF supporters.


Candidates for the 2008 – 2010 Director-at-Large positions are:  Janan Hayes, Bonnie Lawlor, Kent Voorhees and Frankie Wood-Black.  Candidates from District II are Joseph Peterson and Diane Grob Smith and from District IV are Eric Bigham and Gregory Robinson.  All of the Director elections will also take place in the Fall of 2007.|


The Committee on Divisional Activities (DAC) reported it will make a recommendation to Council at the Boston meeting to revise the formula for funding of Divisions.  The revisions will more greatly reward interdisciplinary programming and will result in a simpler, more transparent formula.  DAC encourages divisions to consider extending the reach of the content they deliver at national meetings through Internet-based distribution channels and will support worthy efforts in this direction via innovative program grants.

DAC also reported that it will transfer the process of choosing and organizing themes for future ACS meetings to a new group that will represent all Divisions.  Meetings were held in Chicago to accelerate the transfer and to choose themes for the 2008 meeting that will be held in Philadelphia.   It was noted that all of the Divisions and one Secretariat had submitted their annual reports on time.  Recipients of the 2006 ChemLuminary Awards have been selected and will be announced at the Boston meeting.


The Society ended 2006 with a net of $12 million from operations.  This was a $7.8 million favorable variance from the budget and all Board financial guidelines were met.  The positive result is primarily due to the very strong performances of Chemical Abstracts Services and the Publishing Division – their combined revenue was $43 million – to investment revenue of $8.3 million and net dues revenue of $5.1 million. Cost savings from lower-than-budgeted health care costs and reduced IT spending also contributed to the positive variance.  


The new ACS web site will be launched in September 2007.  The theme for version 1.0 is “findability.”  It will have a unifying global navigation and provide a dramatically improved user experience.  It will group information into 10 main categories:  Publications, Members and Networks, Careers, Meetings, Science Policy, Education, Funding and Awards, About ACS, Newsroom and Support.  The plans for version 2.0 are in the preliminary stages.  If anyone has questions about Web Presence or would like to participate in a future user test or focus group, send an e-mail with your contact information to:


It was also reported that ACS launched at the Chicago meeting a new “ACS Expert Services” business venture entitled ChemInsight.  This venture was developed in response to the growing demand for scientific experts in the legal, accounting and consulting fields.  It will allow members and other scientists in chemical and related fields to earn additional income and solve challenging problems in a new context.  For more information, or to register your services, go to:


The Society Committee on Budget and Finance recommended, and Council voted to approve, that the 2008 dues be set at the fully escalated rate of $136 (a four dollar increase over 2007).

Dues increases are dictated by the ACS Constitution and Bylaws.  The increases are based upon an escalator defined in the ACS Bylaws (Bylaw XII, Section 3,a).  The dues are calculated by multiplying the base (current) rate “by a factor which is the ratio of the revised Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (Service Category) for the second year previous to the dues year to the value of the index for the third year previous to the dues year, as published by the United States Department of Labor, with the fractional dollar amounts rounded to the nearest whole dollar”.

Base rate 2007: $132.00
Change in the Consumer Price Index, Urban Wage Earners, Services Category:

                        2006 CPI-W Services: 236.6
                        2005 CPI-W Services: 229.2
                        Change in CPI-W Index:          3.23%

2008 Dues, fully escalated:        $132.00 x 1.0323 = $136.26
2008 Dues, Rounded:                                          $136.00


After completion of the regular performance reviews, the Committee on Committees (ConC) recommended, and Council approved, that the following three Committees be permitted to continue:  Younger Chemists, Women Chemists, and the Committee on Science. ConC is developing its recommendations for 2008 committee appointments and Committee preference forms for this purpose will be sent to all Councilors and Alternate Councilors no later than May 2007.


Chemical Abstracts Service is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year.  The first issue of CAS appeared in January 1907.  During its first year, CA contained fewer that 12,000 abstracts.  In 2006, CA published one million abstracts.  CAS databases today contain more than 27 million records of journals and patent literature and more that 170 million citations.  The CAS Registry has more than 30 million substance records, 1.5 billion predicted and experimental properties and some 12 million reactions.


The Local Section Activities Committee (LSAC) recognized five local sections that are celebrating significant anniversaries in 2007:  Savannah River – 50 years; the Northeast Tennessee section, 75 years; and the St. Louis, Syracuse and Wisconsin sections, 100 years.

A legal petition had been submitted for the formation of a new local section to be known as the Snake River Section, with headquarters in Boise, ID.  The territory consists of the following Idaho counties:  Ada, Canyon, Custer, Owhyee, Boise, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, Jerome, Twin Falls, Payette and Maleheur county (Oregon).  All counties mentioned in this petition are not currently assigned to an ACS Local Section and 101 members are residents.  The petition was signed by 52 members in good standing who reside in the proposed territory.  There was one dissenting vote.  The adjacent section, the Idaho Local Section, was contacted and has expressed no opinion regarding the formation of the Snake River Section. LSAC recommended, and Council approved, the creation of this new section.


ACS closed 2006 with 160,491 members – the highest year-end membership total since 2002.  Of the 17,857 applications processed in 2006, more than 1,000 came from the Member-Get-A-Member Campaign.  Membership retention remained strong at 92%.


The Council received three amendments to the ACS Bylaws (Petitions) for action:  1) the Petition on Election Procedures 2006, 2) the Petition on Rules for Nominating Members of N&E for National Offices, and 3) the Petition on Multi-Year Dues.   
Petition #1: Change of Date for Run off elections – approved

The first petition was the most controversial and resulted in the most discussion (refer to Bylaw V, Section 2 -Manner of Election).   The committee on Nominations and Elections (N&E) recommended that the petition candidate process and the election process for President-elect and all Director positions be brought into alignment.  An absolute number (300) is used as the signature requirement for petition candidates for President-Elect and Directors-at-Large, but a percentage (1% of the District membership) is used for District Directors.  Because the membership of the Society changes, N&E believes that it is more logical to use a percentage rather than have to adjust the Bylaws on a periodic basis.  The proposed change requires a 1% requirement for President-elect and a 0.5% requirement for Director-At-Large.  The net effect under the current membership will be to increase the signature requirement from 300 to 1,500 for President-Elect and from 300 to 750 for each of the Director-at-Large positions.  In a recent survey of Councilors and non-Councilors, 71% favored an increase in the number of signatures.

The second proposed change in the election process would remove from the Bylaws a rigid date (November 15) that determines the timeline for run-off elections and replace it with a more flexible time frame (“…no later than four weeks after the first election results have been certified and in no event later than December 15th.”).  The Committee on Budget and Finance believes that the above change in the Bylaws will have a minor negative impact of the Society’s finances ($0 - $100,000).

Before the battle lines could be drawn, an amendment was put forth to split the two pieces for voting purposes – the petition signatures and the date change.  This amendment was approved and Council did vote to approve the removal of the date for a more flexible timeline.

Petition #1: Change in Number of Signatures Required for Petition Candidates – returned to Committee

Then another amendment was put forth to send the change to the number of signatures required for petition candidates back to the Committee on Nomination and Elections (N&E) for reconsideration. The general opinion was that 1,500 is too high.  Also, it was requested that N&E come back with a complete package that would 1) address the issue of the procedures required for the gathering and approval of electronic signatures on the petitions; 2) address how petition candidates will be handled with regard to the policy of alternating academic and corporate candidates for President-elect; and 3) address suggestions arising from the Governance Review Task Force pertinent to election procedures.    Council approved the motion.

Petition #2:  Waiting Period Prior to Running for National Office for Members of Nominations and Elections Not approved

This amendment to Bylaw III, Sec. 3b, (1), (b) was put forth to ensure that leadership (all Director positions and Presidential positions) in the Society is not being held within a closed circle.  It would ensure that slates developed by N&E will not include current members of the Committee as well as former members unless at least one year has passed since the time that a former member has left N&E.  There was both considerable support and opposition to this petition (N&E was opposed to it).  After much discussion, a Councilor requested that a recorded vote be taken.  A 3/10th positive vote of Council is needed to approve such a request and approval was granted.  A recorded vote requires that each Councilor sign their name to a card, vote for/against or abstain, with the results being published in C&EN, listing each Councilor and how they voted.  The net result of the recorded vote was 151 in favor, 254 opposed and 15 abstentions.

Petition #3:  Multi-Year Dues Payment Approved

Council approved the petition to allow members paying full dues the option of paying ACS membership dues at the most current rate for two or three years.  There will be no refund once paid.  Dues for Local Sections and Divisions will also be able to be collected for two or three years at the most current rate.  If any Division or Local Section wishes to raise its rates and pass those increases on to those who pre-paid, they may do so, but will have to do the billing and collecting themselves.

If multi-year subscriptions to CAS and ACS journals are not offered, the cost of billing multi-year members in years in which they do not owe Society dues should become the responsibility of CAS and the Publications Division.

The Committee on Constitution and Bylaws found that the financial impact of this petition will have a minor negative impact of the Society’s finances ($0 - $100,000).


One Bylaw change was included in the Agenda book for consideration only.  Action will be scheduled for Boston.  The petition will give the Local Section Activities Committee formal authority to approve affiliations between Local Sections and other technical associations similar to what the Bylaws currently dictate for Divisions (the Committee on Divisional Activities must approve affiliations between Divisions and other technical associations).

The financial impact of this petition has not yet been completely assessed.  The Committee on Constitution and Bylaws found the petition legal and consistent with other provisions of the Society’s documents


The Committee on Nominations and Elections (N&E) reported that they have developed protocols to be used by Local Sections and Divisions for Internet elections.  The information will be sent to the appropriate ACS committees for their review and distribution.  The protocols assume that the Divisions and Local Sections have revised their Bylaws to allow for electronic ballots.  N&E is responsible for annually reviewing the distribution of member populations within the six electoral districts to ensure that the districts have equitable representation on Council.  According to Bylaw V, Section 4(a), the member population of each electoral district must be within ten percent of the result of dividing by six the number of members whose addresses lie within these districts.  As of the most recent review, all six electoral districts have been found to be in compliance. N&E has determined that original or electronic signatures are acceptable on petitions for candidates for President-Elect and Director positions and will establish appropriate procedures for receipt of electronic signatures.  N&E will also sponsor on-line forums for input from Councilors and other interested members on issues related to nominations and elections between now and the Boston meeting.


The Council received a report on the recent activities of the Governance Review Task Force.  Councilors were informed that since the last Council meeting, the task force has met twice and action teams have been actively addressing those areas under the “Advance” category. Councilors also learned that the Council Policy Committee and the Board of Directors VOTED, as recommended by the Governance Review Task Force, to accept four recommendations under the “Refine” category.  

  • The number of Councilors will not be reduced as the data reviewed does not suggest that any action is required.
  • Appoint more non-Councilors to committees.  No action is required as this issue is already being addressed by the Committee on Committees (ConC).
  • Term limits for ACS Councilors will not be imposed as the data suggests that no action is required.
  • The roles of committees will be clarified in order to eliminate redundancy, maximize the policy role, and improve the effectiveness of committee oversight for programs.  Different models for the committee structure will be explored.  The Committee on Chemical Abstracts Service and Committee on Publications will be reviewed and revitalized in order to increase member involvement and communication with the membership at large.

The Board’s Standing Committees

The Board of Directors received a report on the screened list of candidates from the Committee on Grants and Awards for the 2008 Priestley Medal and the Volunteer Service Award.  The Board will announce the winners of these two awards after its June meeting.  The Board also VOTED to approve a new award:  the ACS Award for Affordable Green Chemistry, and an endowment to support the award sponsored by the Rohm and Haas Company.  The Committee on Grants and Award concluded its report with an update from the PRF Steering Committee.

The Board received a report on the activities of the Committee on Public Affairs and Public Relations where they were informed of its actions at this meeting and recent governance advocacy activities since the committee’s last meeting in December.

Activities of the Board’s Task Forces and Working Groups

The Board of Directors received status reports from several of its task forces and working groups namely:  the Governance Review Task Force, the International Strategy Advisory Group, Percy Julian Task Force, the Board Oversight Group on Leadership Development, the working group on 2007 Board Goals and the working group charged with planning the Board’s retreat. The Board VOTED, on the recommendation of the Governance Review Task Force, to accept four recommendations under the “Refine” category.  The Board also expressed its appreciation to the Percy Julian Task Force for its outstanding work and presented its members with plaques of the US House of Representative Resolution (February 2007) honoring the life and contributions of Dr. Julian.

Recognition of Chemical Society Milestone Anniversaries

The Board approved resolutions recognizing the 100th anniversary of the Hungarian Chemical Society and the 150th anniversary of the French Chemical Society.  The French Chemical Society’s anniversary will be celebrated in connection with its national meeting and the “C6” meeting, a summit of six large international chemical societies, in July.  The Hungarian Chemical Society will celebrate its anniversary in June.

The Review and Approval of Two Policies

The Board reviewed and approved a statement on scholarship as presented by the Committee on Education, and a series of policies for the acceptance of gifts as supported by the Task Force on Development Activities.

Compensation of Society Staff

On the recommendation of the Committee on Executive Compensation, the Board VOTED to approve several actions relative to compensation for the Society’s executive staff.  The compensation of the Society’s executive staff receives regular review from the Board.

The Executive Director/CEO Report

The Executive Director/CEO led a discussion on challenges facing the ACS, 2007-2011, including demographic/disciplinary, international, workforce readiness & science competitiveness, knowledge transfer and governance reform, and on priority recommendations for addressing those challenges.  She also, along with several of her direct reports, updated the Board on the following issues: the impact of evolving information and communication technologies and trends on the Society, the Web Presence initiative, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute, and the activities of Chemical Abstracts Service, the Publications Division, and the Society’s General Counsel.

Respectfully Submitted,

Bonnie Lawlor, CINF Councilor 2007 - 2009
Andrea Twiss-Brooks, CINF Councilor 2005- 2007

April 1, 2007