#239 - ACS Council Meeting

Report from the ACS Council Meeting held on March 24, 2010

The Council of the American Chemical Society met in San Francisco, CA on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 from 8:00am until approximately 12:10pm in the Yerba Buena Salons 9-15 of the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. The meeting opened with a moment of silence in respect for the Councilors who have passed away since the last Council meeting. The minutes of the Council meeting held in Washington, DC in August 2009 were approved and Dr. Thomas Gilbert was confirmed as the Vice-Chair of the Council. Additional key items from the meeting are as follows:

Nominations and Elections

President-Elect: The Committee on Nominations & Elections (N&E) had identified four nominees for the office of 2011 ACS President-Elect. However, on February 3rd one nominee withdrew for personal reasons. N&E attempted to identify a fourth nominee, but was unable to find anyone who could accept and get employer permission within the time constraints involved. As a result only three nominees participated in the Town Hall meeting held on Sunday, March 21st and presented at the Council meeting. These were Luis A. Echegoyen, John P. Fackler, Jr. and Bassam Z. Shakhashiri. By electronic ballot, the Council selected Luis A. Echegoyen and Bassam Z. Shakhashiri as the candidates for 2011 President-Elect. The names of these two candidates, along with the names of any candidates selected via petitions, will be placed on the ballot for the Fall National election.

The Committee on Nominations and Elections announced the results of the election to select candidates from the list of nominees to represent District II and District IV on the Board of Directors for the term 2011-2013. Nominees for District II included: George M. Bodner, Andrew D. Jorgensen, V. Michael Mautino, and Joseph R. Peterson. Nominees for District IV included John W. Finley, Larry K. Krannich, Will E. Lynch, and Ingrid Montes. By mail ballot, the Councilors from these districts selected George M. Bodner and Joseph R. Peterson as District II candidates; and Larry K. Krannich and Will E. Lynch as District IV candidates. Ballots will be mailed on or before October 10th to all members in District II and District IV for election of a Director from each District.

And finally, The Committee on Nominations and Elections announced the selection of the following candidates for Directors-at-Large for a 2011 - 2013 term: Janan M. Hayes, Robert L. Lichter, Kathleen M. Schulz, and Kent J. Voorhees. The election of two Directors-at-Large will be conducted in the fall. Ballots will be mailed to the Council on or before October 10th.

ACS Dues for 2011

Council voted to approve the recommendation from the Committee on Budget and Finance to increase the 2011 membership dues from $145 to $146. The increases to ACS dues 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 2010: $145.00

Change in the Consumer Price Index, Urban Wage Earners, Services Category:

    December 2009 CPI-W Services: 254.519
    December 2008 CPI-W Services: 252.176
    Change in CPI-W Index: 0.929%

2011 Dues, fully escalated: $145.00 x 1.00929 = $146.35
2011 Dues, Rounded: $146.00

Spring National Meeting Attendance Report

As of March 24, 2010, the ACS Spring National Meeting had attracted 18,076 registrants as follows: Regular attendees, 9,715; Students, 5,705; Exhibitors, 1,219; Exposition only, 923; and Guests, 514. This was a much better turnout than for the Spring 2009 National Meeting in Salt Lake City that drew approximately 10,668 attendees.

It was reported that the 2014 Spring National Meeting scheduled to take place in Washington, DC will be moved to Dallas, Texas due to a potential shortage of rooms in DC at that time (Congress will still be in session and the dates may coincide with the Cherry Blossom Festival). The national meetings scheduled for 2020 will be held in Philadelphia (Spring) and San Francisco (Fall).

Job Fair at National Meeting

At this meeting in San Francisco there were 1,018 members seeking employment. Only 40 potential employers were present having a total of 116 positions available. Career information and information for unemployed ACS members can be found at http://www.acs.org/careers and http://www.acs.org/unemployed .

ACS Membership Statistics

ACS membership grew by almost 8K in 2009 for at the close of the year. Society membership totaled 161,783 compared to 154,024 for year-end 2008. The number of new membership applications received last year was the highest ever. The 2009 number also reflects the transition of 6,658 former Student Affiliates to the new student member category in June 2009 and the recruitment of 6,341 new student member undergraduates.

Local Section Allotment Calculator

The Committee on Local Section Activities recommended that the current formula for determining allotments to local sections be continued for another three years. Council VOTED to approve the recommendation.

The Society's Finances

The Committee on Budget and Finance (B&F) reported that the Society’s total 2009 revenue ($460 million) was up +1% from 2008, but fell short of the 2009 approved budget by $19.5 million or 4.1%. Fortunately, the revenue shortfall was fully anticipated in early 2009. Therefore, contingency planning actions and cost containment initiatives were implemented across the Society, resulting in expense savings totaling $22.5 million. Significant reductions were realized in salaries and fringe benefits, and in discretionary accounts such as travel, training, and professional services. As a result, the Society’s Net Return from Operations was $13.7 million, or $3.0 million greater than anticipated in the 2009 Approved Budget.

Unrestricted Net Assets rebounded in 2009 to approximately $124 million, from a previous $60 million at the end of 2008. The significant increase can be attributed to the favorable operating results, investment gains, and a net reduction in the Society’s post-retirement benefit plan liabilities. The Society ended the year in compliance with four of the five Board-established financial guidelines. The Fund Balance Ratio Guideline, which measures the adequacy of the Society’s unrestricted net assets, was not met. The financial outlook for 2010 is better, and ACS management expects the Society to meet the 2010 approved budget.

The slides from the B&F presentation are available on the ACS website at: http://portal.acs.org/portal/PublicWebSite/about/governance/committees/b.... The 2009 Auditor’s report can be found at: http://portal.acs.org/portal/PublicWebSite/about/aboutacs/financial/CNBP....

Executive Director’s Report

Madeleine Jacobs, ACS Executive Director, reported that ACS is developing a Technology Trends Roadmap to ensure that ACS is prepared for such trends. CAS has several technology projects in the works and accelerated development for its products; for example, SciFinder will have had three new releases in just six months and mobile access is now available. (note: Chris McCue, CAS Vice President, Marketing, gave a presentation on CAS innovations at the 2010 NFAIS Annual Conference. To view the slides go to: http://www.cas.org/ASSETS/FF1A4814108746BEB966AC50591847E3/NFAIS_3-9-10_...)

Madeleine also reported that the ACS network now has more than 23K members. If you have not joined, you can sign up here.

Bylaw Changes for Action

There were three Bylaw changes on the agenda for Council Action:

Petition on Admissions Committee

In the report of the Summit on ACS Committee Structure of July 2007, the Committee on Committees (ConC) was asked to remove the Admissions Committee from the Bylaws and to transfer those functions to the Committee on Membership Affairs. This petition responds to those requests. The procedure raised a problem with respect to appeal of admission decisions which had been assigned to the Committee on Membership Affairs. The appeal function has been transferred to the Council Policy Committee. The change will not have any financial impact on the Society. The Council VOTED to approve the Petition on Admissions Committee.

The Board of Directors will vote within 90 days on whether to ratify the Petition on Admissions Committee.

Petition on Candidate Selection by Member Petition

The purpose of this petition is to ensure that those entitled to vote in an election also have the right to nominate, under appropriate conditions, candidates to stand for election without any further screening in addition to candidates nominated by any other means. This was positioned as an “urgent petition” to counter act a petition being put forth by the Committee on Nominations and Elections that would ensure that all candidates go through the same vetting process (i.e. approval of Council). This petition has no impact on the finances of the Society.

There was considerable discussion on this issue. It was noted that the current bylaws allow petition candidates to stand for election without any further screening by Council. However, those who put forth the petition want this restriction placed in the ACS constitution - not the bylaws- in order to make it more difficult to change in the future.

After considerable debate, a motion to approve the Petition on Candidate Selection by Member Petition FAILED. The vote was 53% against and 47% in favor. The closeness of the results generated additional debate and voting (and lots of confusion!), but in the end the petition FAILED to carry.

Petition on Election Timelines

Councilors and candidates have asked the Committee on Nominations and Elections (N&E) to change the timing of the national election process. The process, from the time of being asked by N&E to run for election and the time of the election, is long and candidates complain. They also complain about the actual “campaign” time that begins one month after the Spring National meeting and runs until the ballots are counted in November. The proposed timeframe will make the campaign process less onerous and allow full participation of candidates in the Council review process. With this change, N&E would submit the names of nominees by March 1 rather than by January 15. Petition candidates would be identified by June 15 rather than July 15. Council would select candidates for President-elect at a meeting to be held no later than October 1 (rather than May 1). The selection would no longer be limited to two candidates, but would be limited to half of the number of nominees (the sum of those chosen by N&E and by member petitioners). If an odd number of nominees is on the Council ballot, then the number of candidates to be selected to the next higher integer.

N&E has done surveys of Councilors and Members, beginning in 2004 and all results have been consistent in asking for refinement of the election process. This petition has no impact on the finances of the Society.

The Council also thoroughly debated the merits of this petition and the motion to approve it FAILED.

Bylaw Changes for Consideration

There were three petitions up for consideration only.
Petition on International Chemical Sciences Chapters

The objective of this petition is to allow for travel subsidy for the Chair or Chair-Elect of an International Chemical Sciences Chapter to attend governance meetings under the same conditions as provided for Local Sections and Divisional Councilors to attend Council meetings. The base will be twice the amount allotted for a Councilor (due to the distances traveled). The financial implications of this petition are still being assessed.

Petition on President-Elect Eligibility

The objective of this petition is to codify the long-standing practice of alternating Presidents from academic and non-academic backgrounds. It applies to both nominees (selected by N&E or by Councilor petition) and candidates selected by member petitions/ (note: “academia” consists of institutions that are degree-granting). The financial implications of this petition are still being assessed.

Petition on Recorded Votes

The objective of this petition is to allow Council votes to be recorded by audience response devices (clickers) and not be limited to written votes. It eliminates the time required for a manual counting of hand-written votes. The information stored in the voting system would be subsequently retrieved and printed, showing the recorded vote of each Councilor as prescribed by the Bylaws. The financial implications of this petition are still being assessed.

All three petitions will be up for Council vote at the Fall National Meeting in Boston tin August 2010.


Committee Actions

The Board received reports from its Executive Committee, Committee on Grants and Awards (G&A), and Committee on Planning.

The Executive Committee closely examined its role and that of the Planning Committee, and concluded that both committees add value and are important to the overall work of the Board of Directors.

The Committee on Grants and Awards presented the Board with a screened list of nominees for the 2011 Priestley Medal, the Volunteer Service Award, and the Parsons Award. The Board agreed to review the screened list and announce the winners of these three awards after its June meeting.

The Board’s Committee on Planning met with the Board in executive session. At that point, the Board Chair announced that the Board of Directors had VOTED to grant full voting rights on the Planning Committee to the chairs of the Committees on Local Section Activities and Divisional Activities. (CPC & B&F already vote.) The committee and the Board then discussed the results of an external environmental scan and offered suggestions that could be used to refine the Society’s Strategic Plan for 2011 and Beyond. The committee and the Board also reviewed the committee’s role and considered some modifications to its charge and to its frequency of meetings.

Presidential Task Force on Diversity Reports

The Board received a report from the President’s Task Force on Diversity Reports. The task force was charged with assessing the recommendations from the diversity workshop reports in the context of current efforts and committees of the Society, and developing a road map for the implementation of the recommendations. The task force also urged that the ACS move into a leadership role in promoting the education, professional development, and inclusion and equity of present and future generations of chemical professionals that reflect the diversity of America. The Presidential succession and the full Board VOTED to refer the task force report to the Board Standing Committee on Professional and Member Relations for prioritization, assignment of accountability, and development of implementation timelines, and discharged the task force with sincere thanks for its excellent work.

The Executive Director/CEO Report

The Executive Director/CEO, along with several of her direct reports, updated the Board on the activities of Chemical Abstracts Service, the Publications Division, and the Society’s General Counsel. As a follow-up, the Board VOTED to approve a new appointment and three reappointments of journal editors.

On the recommendation of the ACS Governing Board for Publishing, the Board VOTED to accept a recommendation to authorize an additional member position on the Governing Board whenever additional expertise or perspective would help it execute its duties.

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.

Other Society Issues

The Board was briefed by its working group monitoring 2010 Board Logistical Training. This plan, which currently includes four broad topic areas, is designed to enhance overall Board effectiveness. The Board also received reports from several international guests representing the following scientific societies: Brazilian Chemical Society, the Chemical Society for Canada, the European Association for Chemical and Molecular Sciences (EuCheMS), the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

Bonnie Lawlor and Andrea Twiss-Brooks, CINF Councilors

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