Council

Report on the Council Agenda for August 31, 2011

The Council of the American Chemical Society will meet in Denver, CO on Wednesday, August 31, 2011, from 8:00am until approximately 12:00pm in the Centennial Ballroom A - E of the Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel.  All ACS members are welcome to attend, although only Councilors are permitted to vote.  A continental breakfast is usually available at 7:00am for all attendees.

There are a number of items for Council Action, but the majority is routine and not major.  The action items are summarized below. 

Nominations and Elections

Council Policy Committee

Council will vote to fill four slots on the Council Policy Committee.  There are eight nominees as follows:  Spiro D. Alexandratos, Lawrence Barton, Michael J. Brownfield, John W. Finley, Mark D. Frishberg, Peter C. Jurs,  Mamie W. Moy, and Eleanor D. Siebert.

Committee on Committees

Council will vote to fill five slots on the Committee on Committees.  There are ten nominees as follows:  Matthew K. Chan, Richard S. Danchik, Rigoberto Hernandez, Roland F. Hirsch, James. M. Landis, Jr., Bonnie Lawlor, Zaida C. Morales-Martinez, Howard M. Peters, Sara J. Risch, and Jason E. Ritchie.

Committee on Nominations and Elections

Council will vote to fill five slots on the Committee on Nominations and Elections.  There are ten nominees as follows:  R. Gerald Bass, Cherlynvaughn Bradley, William H. (Jack) Breazeale, Jr., Catherine C. Feneslau, Lydia E. M. Hines, Robert L. Lichter, Anne T. O’Brien, Robert A. Pribush, Andrea B. Twiss-Brooks, and Steven W. Yates

Town Hall Meeting

A Town Hall meeting organized by the Committee on Nominations and Elections is scheduled for Sunday, August 27, 2011 in the Hyatt Regency Convention Center Hotel, Centennial Ballroom F/G, from 4:45pm - 5:45pm. It will highlight a Q&A session with the candidates for Directors-at-large.  All ACS members are encouraged to attend.  It is a great way to gather first-hand information and decide for whom you might want to vote in the fall election.

 

Change in Committees

The Committee on Committees (ConC) will put forth a recommendation for the continuation and/or dissolution of the committees that have been reviewed as required by the Committee Sunset Laws.  The committees were not named in the Agenda Book.  ConC will also honor all committee chairs and members who have reached their statutory limit of service and will recognize Councilors who reached the milestones of 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 and 40 years of service.

 

Division Dissolution and Division Creation

The Division of Fuel Chemistry and the Division of Petroleum Chemistry wish to combine effective year-end 2011.  In June, the Committee on Divisional Activities (DAC) voted to support the following motion: "The Committee on Divisional Activities recommends to Council that the Division of Petroleum Chemistry be dissolved, and that its assets and members be combined with those of the Division of Fuel Chemistry, under the new name of the Division of Energy and Fuels, effective December 31, 2011."  DAC will bring this recommendation to Council for a vote in Denver.

DAC will also recommend that the probationary Division of Catalysis Science and Technology (CATL) be granted full Division status.  CATL’s bylaws have been approved by the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws (C&B), and C&B will recommend that Council approve the Bylaws as part of their being recommended for full Division status.

 

Special Discussion Item

On occasion, an ACS President will request that a special discussion item be placed on the Council agenda. In Denver, the topic "How can ACS best cultivate a culture of safety in U.S. universities and colleges?" will be discussed in response to devastating incidents in academic laboratories and observations by many that graduates do not have strong safety skills.

In June 2011, the Safety Culture Task Force (SCTF) held a retreat to discuss and begin efforts to prepare publications that might assist academia in strengthening its safety cultures. Specifically, SCTF seeks to identify the best elements and best practices of a good safety culture, identify academic institutions that are currently using these best practices, identify specific recommendations that could be used by universities and colleges to strengthen their safety culture, and identify tools and resources that could be beneficial in these efforts.

Elements that SCTF believe to be critical to strengthening safety cultures are: leadership; teaching basic laboratory and chemical safety; safety ethic/attitude/safety awareness; learning lessons from laboratory incidents; collaborative interactions; promoting and communicating safety; and encouraging institutional support of safety by budgeting for safety programs and supplies.

SCTF seeks: 1) input, suggestions, and recommendations for strengthening the safety culture in academia; 2) "bright spots" – those places within academia that provide exemplary examples of one or more of the above mentioned safety culture elements; and 3) good resources and instructional materials that can be used to build strong safety cultures.  Send your comments and suggestions to Marta Gmurczyk, ACS Staff Liaison to the Committee on Chemical Safety at M_Gmurczyk@acs.org

 

Bylaw Changes for Council Vote

Petition on Position Statements
(adapted from the Council Agenda Book)

The ACS Constitution makes it clear that any position statement that expresses the position of the Society as a whole requires the approval of the Board of Directors.  ACS Bylaws (Bylaw IX) regulate the issuance of position statements by any “Society Body” other than the Board.  Theses bodies include Local Sections, Divisions and, presumably, ACS Committees.

As currently written, Bylaw IX could potentially conflict with the Board Regulations governing position statement development.  This petition is intended to allow for a clear and consistent position statement development process for the Society.

This petition seeks to amend Bylaw IX so as to assure that: The Board of Directors has primacy in issuing position statements that establish policy for the full Society, and that Society bodies other than the Board may issue statements on issues that fall solely in their jurisdiction so long as they do not impair other Society bodies’ ability to do the same.

The Budget and Finance Committee has examined the petition and concludes that it will have no financial impact on the Society.  The Committee on Constitution and Bylaws (C&B)  has prepared a revised version of the petition, making editorial changes to clarify the wording and to remove wording that was not necessary, and to include additional new language from petitioners that addressed C&B’s concerns.  C&B finds the petition to be legal and consistent with other provisions of the Society’s documents.   A two-thirds vote of Council is required for approval. If approved by Council, the amendment will become effective upon confirmation by the Board of Directors.

 

Bylaw Changes for Consideration Only

Petition on Market Data Collection
(reproduced from the Council Agenda Book)

In March 2010, the ACS Board and President established the ACS Board-Presidential Task Force on Society Services and Associated Dues Pricing Models.  The Task Force was charged with reviewing and making recommendations based upon member input related to any concerns, questions, and/or suggestions that they had in these areas.  In seeking member input, the Task Force relied on three main sources:

  • Actual input from Divisions, Committees, Local Sections and individual members
  • Results from the 2010 ACS Membership Satisfaction Survey and,
  • Information as to why the Society loses over 20,000 members per year – almost 11.5%

Based upon the findings from these sources, the Task Force proposed the following recommendations: 

  • Allow for test marketing of membership concepts
  • Review the dues escalator
  • Minimize dues category information within the Society Bylaws
  • Consider permitting institutional memberships

The Society has historically changed bylaws without the benefit of test data.  This petition seeks to add a provision to allow for the recommended controlled market testing to collect data before the Society changes benefits, dues, or membership categories.

The financial impact of this petition is still being assessed. The Committee on Constitution and Bylaws (C&B) has reviewed the petition and finds it to be legal and consistent with other provisions of the Society’s documents. However, C&B is concerned that there are no stated limits to market testing, either in scope or duration.  There appears to be no precedent in the Society’s documents for allowing a Council Committee to override the Bylaws by setting dues and other member benefits without stated limits.  There is also no provision to report to the Board on a yearly or other stated time period.

Comments and suggestions from committees, petitioners and other interested members on the substance of the petition should be directed to the Committee on Membership Affairs, which has primary substantive responsibility for the petition. Other comments and suggestions may be directed to C&B.

Petition to Amend Recorded Vote Request Procedure
 (reproduced from the Council Agenda Book)

Since March 2009, the Council has routinely used a clicker system for voting and surveys.  While only numerical results have been reported, the computer that totals the votes can list votes by clicker number from which it can be determined how each Councilor voted.

Because the new technology can facilitate recorded votes without the need to put all business on hold while signed ballots are collected and counted, Bylaw III, Sec.4, d, was recently amended to permit clicker voting, or any other method from which it can be determined how each Councilor voted, to be used for recorded votes.

This recent change in the Bylaws raises secondary issues.  Can a call for a recorded vote come after a clicker vote, and if so, should there be a second clicker vote or should the record from the first clicker vote be the one published in Chemical & Engineering News?  Clarification is necessary.

To address this issue, the Council Policy Committee (CPC), which has the authority to set the Council’s agenda and procedures, issued guidelines for first use at the Spring 2011 ACS National Meeting.  The guidelines provide that "Whenever the Chair chooses a clicker vote, Councilors should be asked if there is a request for a recorded vote." The guidelines also provide that there will be only one clicker vote on any one issue.  In addition, at its spring 2011 meeting, CPC agreed to prepare a petition to clarify the Society Bylaws on this issue in collaboration with the Committee on Nominations and Elections and with the advice of the Committee on Constitution and Bylaws.

The proposed Bylaws change makes it clear that there will be only one recorded vote possible on any one issue.  It also makes it clear that other voting, such as a voice or show of hands, can precede the recorded vote.  However, a call for a recorded vote after clicker voting has commenced will be out order as would a call for a recorded voted after the initial clicker voting has taken place.  A variation of the phrase "a voting method from which it shall be determined how each Councilor voted" already in this Bylaw has been added to the first sentence of the Bylaw.  Although apparently redundant language, the first phrase clarifies procedure; the second defines a recorded vote.

Clicker voting is referenced in this explanation because it is the specific technology that has raised the issue.  The more inclusive language in the proposed Bylaw, “a method from which it can be determined how each Councilor voted” has been chosen to allow for other technology that Council may use in the future. Council’s traditional method of signed ballots is also covered by the inclusive language should Council ever wish to return to that method for a recorded vote.

The financial implications of this petition are still being assessed. The Committee on Constitution and Bylaws has reviewed the petition and finds it to be legal and consistent with other provisions of the Society’s documents.

Comments and suggestions from committees, petitioners and other interested members on the substance of the petition should be directed to the Council Policy Committee, which has primary substantive responsibility for the petition. Other comments and suggestions may be directed to C&B.

 

Respectfully submitted July 25, 2011

CINF Councilors

Bonnie Lawlor
National Federation of Advanced Information Services (NFAIS)
blawlor@nfais.org

Andrea Twiss-Brooks
University of Chicago
atbrooks@uchicago.edu