April 2003 Councilor's Report
Doug Coe

The American Chemical Society's 225th National Meeting was held in New Orleans from April 23rd - 27th, 2003.  

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.   

While in the long term the ACS intends to find the support for this increase within its budget, in the short term, it plans to add a $2.00 surcharge to the annual dues to pay for the increase in funding.  Here is how your annual dues would increase during these four years assuming a constant $4 dues escalator:

2004        $120 annual dues + $2.00 = $122
2005        $124 annual dues + $4.00 = $128
2006        $128 annual dues + $6.00 = $134
2007        $132 annual dues + $8.00 = $140
2008        $136 annual dues

Your councilor both spoke (in the general council meeting) and voted against this proposal.  While philosophically I am in favor of increasing the support to divisions and local sections, I am opposed to the short-term plan to fund this petition.  Over four years our approximately 180 section members would contribute $3,600 of this support.  This is roughly 20% of the Montana Section's dues allotment over the same time period.  Most of this increase in funding during this period would be going to divisions.  The divisions primarily would use these increased funds to offset loses that they have incurred in developing programming for the national meeting (for every $5 they spend on this programming they only get $1 of help from the society).  Divisional programming at national meetings is well done and constitutes the bulk of the presentations given at national meetings.  However, only a relatively few members of the Montana Section attend national meetings and take advantage of this programming.  I saw it as unfair to tax all members of the society for a program that would primarily benefit only some members.