August 2002 Councilor's Report
Doug Coe

The American Chemical Society's 224th National Meeting was held in Boston from April 18th - 22nd, 2002.  There were 17,121 attendees at this meeting.  This was the largest event in Boston since 9/11!

The following actions were taken on petitions before the Council at the Boston Meeting:

This petition would fundamentally change how the annual allotment for local sections and divisions is determined.  Currently all local sections receive a base allotment of $2,400 plus $3.00 per member for the first 2000 members and $2.00 per member thereafter.  These amounts were established in 1986.  From 1987 onward this allotment has been multiplied annually by the same ratio (usually a ratio of CPIs) used in calculating the dues escalator for each year.  This petition would replace this method of funding local sections with an annual allocation equal to 20% of the dues revenue generated by the number of members and National Affiliates of local sections.  The Committee on Local Section Activities would determine how this dues revenue would be distributed among local sections.  The distribution procedure would be approved by Council and would be reviewed by Council once every three years.  The distribution method must include a base allotment, an allotment tied to local section membership, and distributions based on other factors such Society initiatives, strategic planning, and Board directives.  The method for funding divisions would be essentially the same.  This petition rather dramatically increases the allotment to divisions (from ~ $378,000 to $1,171,000, using FY 2002 figures).  While the allotment for local sections also increases, the increase is considerably smaller (from ~$1,318,000 to $1,431,000, again using FY 2002 figures).   Under the current system may divisions are experiencing financial difficulty, e.g., the Division of Colloids and Surfaces was reported to have a current deficit of $20,000.   It is not clear how individual local sections would fare under this petition.   

In an effort to improve the nomination and election process the ACS will provide web sites for candidates and will host a Nominee Town Hall Meeting at National Meetings.  Candidates will no longer visit each of the regional caucuses. 

Eli Pierce reported that 25% of current and 50% of new ACS members are women.  

Items on the ACS Board of Directors agenda include:

There has been on average 1 SciFinder Scholar installation per day at academic institutions with 815 installed at the time of the meeting.

The Committee on Chemical Safety announced that the 7th edition of Safety in Academic Chemistry Laboratories will be available at the end of the year.

The Committee on Minority Affairs will award 100 new scholarships in the Fall of 2002.  This program, which has attracted more than $3M in outside funding has provided support for 1,200 students of whom 430 have graduated.  The Committee plans to sponsor a symposium at the annual meeting for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).

The Committee on Patents and Related Matters continues to oppose the recent practice of diverting funds generated by the Patent and Trademark Office to support other government activities.  A proposal in the works to increase the filing fee for a patent application from the current $1,046 to $24,000, would effectively decrease the access of the average patent applicant to the patent system.