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Board, Council Act in Philadelphia

Funding requests approved, petitions voted on at busy meetings

September 27, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 39


At their meetings last month in Philadelphia, the ACS Board of Directors and Council had full agendas. In addition to hearing reports from committees and on special projects, the bodies voted on issues that will affect the society's future.

As usual, one of the first issues addressed at these meetings was the ACS financial condition. The society is expected to end 2004 with a net contribution from operations of $1,531,000, which is $60,000 favorable to the approved budget. After including results of the Member Insurance Program and the sale of the Belmont Conference Center, which is expected to be finalized before year's end, the society's overall projected contribution for 2004 is $1,278,000--$42,000 favorable to the approved budget and in compliance with all board-established guidelines.

The board received presentations on and discussed three program funding requests for 2005. It approved funding for ChemCensus 2005, the all-member employment survey conducted every five years. The total cost of ChemCensus 2005 is projected at $229,000, which was the amount approved.

Next, the board heard a proposal for funding a leadership development plan. The plan includes 2005 costs of $111,000 and total costs through 2009 of $668,000. On the recommendation of the Committee on Budget & Finance, the ACS Board voted to defer consideration of the funding request until issues of the program's focus and metrics are clarified. This is expected to be handled quickly by the Board Oversight Group on Leadership Development.

The board also approved a proposal for continuing the ACS PROGRESS Plan through 2007. The PROGRESS Plan is a three-year pilot project to test, develop, and evaluate programs that promote the full participation and advancement of women chemists and chemical engineers. Full funding for 2005 and funding for staff salary and fringes for 2006 and 2007 were approved at the levels of $160,000 for 2005, and $94,000 and $98,000 for 2006 and 2007, respectively. The society is receiving grants from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation and the National Science Foundation to support this project.

In other actions, the board voted to expand ACS's fund-raising activities and to continue its examination of the society's executive compensation program.

The board approved two cosponsorships: a cooperative cosponsorship for a Conference on Organic Microelectronics, July 10–13, 2005, in New England, sponsored by ACS, the Institute of Electrical & Electronics Engineers, and the Materials Research Society; and a nominal cosponsorship of the American Meteorological Society's 85th Annual Meeting & Exposition, Jan. 9–13, 2005, in San Diego.

The Board Committee on Grants & Awards voted to accept the recommendation of the Green Chemistry Institute Governing Board for funding three grants totaling $240,000 from the GCI-ACS Petroleum Research Fund Programming Initiative allocation. The committee voted to renew sponsorship by the ACS Division of Nuclear Chemistry & Technology of the Glenn T. Seaborg Award for Nuclear Chemistry & Technology for the 2006 presentation. It also voted to allow the ACS Award in Separations Science & Technology to lie fallow for the 2006 presentation.

At the four-and-a-half-hour ACS Council meeting, three petitions were passed. They are listed in the table above and can be accessed in their entirety through the July 12 edition of C&EN Online .

Only the petition on electronic balloting was contentious. Speaking on the council floor, former ACS president Attila E. Pavlath deemed the petition "not yet ready for action." He and others stated concerns about Internet security and possible hacking or fraudulent voting. These concerns were addressed to the extent that they could be by members of the Committee on Nominations & Elections (N&E). The petition passed, and electronic voting in ACS national elections will likely start in 2005.

RAISING SOME IRE at council was N&E's decision to reduce the maximum number of words in ACS candidates' statements from 1,000 to 750 words. Merle I. Eiss, chair of the Council Policy Committee, reminded the council that election matters were the purview of N&E, that the committee has the specific authority to make this change, and that the bylaws do not grant council any authority over this matter.

Nevertheless, some councilors spoke vehemently against N&E's decision and insisted that council should speak on this issue. Pavlath then moved that a "sense of the council" vote be taken that would specify that the council believes that the maximum length of candidates' statements in C&EN and on the ACS website should be no less than 1,000 words.

Councilors lined up to address the issue. Dennis Chamot, ACS at-large director, supported the motion, saying that the "single most important means of communication is the statements that are mailed with the ballots." He also noted that there was a "big difference between overseeing [the elections process] and unilaterally changing rules." George E. Heinze, councilor from the North Jersey Section, commented that "playing with the number of words won't work." He said N&E needs to "pose more challenging questions" to the candidates. Maureen G. Chan, another councilor from the North Jersey Section, opposed the resolution, agreeing that "sharper, more focused statements are better." Michael P. Doyle, councilor for the Organic Chemistry Division, reminded councilors of the brevity of the Gettysburg Address.

When the vote was called, the "sense of the council" motion was defeated by a vote of 206 to 196.

SOON AFTER this debate, the council turned its eye to a motion to establish an ethics committee. The committee had been proposed with the following charge: "To coordinate the ethics-related activities of the society; serve as an educational resource and clearinghouse, but not as an adjudication body, for ACS members seeking guidance on ethics issues; raise awareness of ethics issues through meeting programming and columns/editorials; review recognition opportunities for acknowledging ethical behavior; and develop and oversee such other ethics-related activities as will serve ACS members and increase the standards of ethical conduct within the profession of chemistry and its related disciplines."

For the second time, the council meeting contained a half-hour discussion on a topic of interest. At this meeting, the topic was the growing interdisciplinary nature of chemistry. Councilors engaged in a lively discussion of how the society could best deal with the opportunities and challenges facing chemistry and its expanding boundaries.

Council adopts three petitions

Petition for Membership Requirements for TeachersBylaw I, Sec. 3,a,(6) and bExpands society membership requirements to include career precollege teachers of chemistry or a related scienceApproved

Petition To Change Division Annual Report DeadlineBylaw VIII, Sec. 7,aMakes the annual report deadline consistent with that of the local sectionsApproved

Petition for Electronic BallotingConstitution: Article X, Sec. 4; Article XVII, Sec. 2,fAllows electronic balloting in ACS national electionsApproved
Bylaw III, Sec. 1,e,(3) and h,(2); Sec. 5,b,c, and d 
Bylaw V, Sec. 2,c and d; Sec. 3,b and c; Sec. 4,d,e, and f; Sec. 7,b; Sec. 8,c and e; Sec. 10,b and c; Sec. 11; Sec. 13,c,d, and e 



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