ACS Council

Report from the ACS Council Meeting

The Council of the American Chemical Society met in New Orleans, LA on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 from 8:00am until approximately 12:00pm in the Grand Ballroom A-C of the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel. The meeting opened with recognition of deceased Councilors and a moment of silence in their honor. The minutes of the prior Council meeting held in Philadelphia, PA were approved as was an interim action of the Council Policy Committee who had elected Carolyn Ribes as Vice-Chair. Below are highlights of the meeting as well as the results of actions that were taken during the meeting.

Nominations and Elections

President-Elect: The Committee on Nominations & Elections (N&E) identified four nominees for the office of 2014 ACS President-Elect. They were as follows: G. Bryan Balazs, Charles E. Kolb, Jr., Carolyn Ribes, and Diane Grob Schmidt. The four nominees answered questions at the Town Hall meeting that was held on Sunday, April 7th, and each gave a three minute presentation at the Council meeting. By electronic ballot, the Council selected G. Bryan Balazs and Charles E. Kolb, Jr. as candidates for 2014 President-Elect. These two candidates, along with any candidates selected via petitions, will stand for election in the Fall National Election.

Other Elections

The Committee on Nominations and Elections announced the results of the election to select candidates from the list of nominees to serve as Directors from District II and District IV on the Board of Directors for the term 2014-2016. Nominees for District II included George M. Bodner, Jed F. Fisher, Alan A. Hazari, and Robert A. Pribush.  Nominees for District IV included John P. Fackler, Jr., Rigoberto Hernandez, Larry K. Krannich, and John A. Whittle. By mail ballot, the Councilors from these districts selected George M. Bodner and Alan A. Hazari as District II candidates; and Rigoberto Hernandez and Larry K. Krannich as District IV candidates. Ballots will be mailed on or before October 10 to all ACS members in District II and District IV for election of a Director from each District.

The Committee on Nominations and Elections also announced the selection of the following candidates for Director-at-Large for a 2014-2016 term: Susan B. Butts, Thom H. Dunning, Jr., Dorothy J. Phillips, and Kathleen M. Schulz. The election of two Directors-at-Large will be conducted in the fall. Ballots will be mailed to the Council on or before October 10, 2013.

Two vacancies on the Committee on Committees were created by the election of Ingrid Montes to the ACS Board of Directors and the appointment of H.N. Cheng as chair of the Committee on International Activities. Prior to the New Orleans meeting, the Committee on Nominations and Elections presented to the Council the following slate of candidates for membership on the Committee on Committees beginning 2013: Christopher J. Bannochie, Arindam Bose, David Lohse and Jason Ritchie. Christopher J. Bannochie and Jason Richie were selected to fill three-year and one-year terms, respectively.

ACS Dues for 2014

Council voted to accept the recommendation from the Committee on Budget and Finance with regard to the 2014 membership dues (an increase of $3.00 - from $151 to $154). The increases to ACS dues are based upon an escalator defined in the ACS Bylaws (Bylaw XIII, 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 2013: $151.00

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

  • December 2012 CPI-W Services:       268.661
  • December 2010 CPI-W Services:       262.954
  • Change in CPI-W Index:    2.17%

2014 Dues, fully escalated:   $151.00 x 1.0217 = $154.28

2014 Dues, Rounded:     $154.00

Change in Committees

The Committee on Committees (ConC) put forth a recommendation for the continuation of the committees that have been reviewed as required by the Committee Sunset Laws. The committees reviewed were the Committees on Chemical Abstracts Service, Environmental Improvement, and Younger Chemists. Council VOTED unanimously to continue these committees until their next evaluation. Continuation of these three committees requires Board concurrence.

Petitions for Vote

Petition to Amend National Election Procedures

After some discussion, a vote to approve the Petition to Amend National Election Procedures FAILED (85% against, 15% in favor). The petition sought to shorten the campaign period for candidates for President-Elect and to charge the Committee on Nominations and Elections (N&E) with proposing two candidates for President-Elect. Currently, N&E proposes four nominees from which Council selects two candidates. Other nominees, as now, would be put forth by members by petition, and procedures for preferential balloting would remain unchanged. All candidates would them be invited to a public forum, such as a Town Hall meeting, at the fall national meeting, and would appear on the ballot. This process would shorten the campaign period, allow all candidates to be seen by Council and other members, and ease the burden on N&E. However, under this petition, Council would no longer vote on a list of nominees.  In collaboration with the Committee on Nominations and Elections, the Council Policy Committee authorized a joint task force on election timelines and procedures. This task force will examine the entire election system. 

It should be noted that this change was not put forth by and was opposed by the Committee on Nominations and Elections.

Revision to Charter Bylaws for the International Chemical Sciences Chapters

The Committee on Constitution and Bylaws (C&B), in cooperation with the Committee on International Activities, asked Council to approve changes in the Charter Bylaws for the International Chemical Sciences Chapters. These changes are primarily in the Amendments section, for C&B to review bylaw changes before proposed changes are approved by the membership of the chapter. Other changes are editorial. The Council VOTED to approve changes to the Charter Bylaws for New International Chemical Sciences Chapters.

Petition to Charter One new International Chemical Sciences Chapter

One legal application had been received for the formation of the Romanian International Chemical Sciences Chapter. It consists of the Territory of Romania which is not part of any other Local Section or Chapter of the Society. The application was signed by members in good standing of the Society who reside in the Territory. It met all of the requirements and included a proposed budget for the Chapter’s operations (which includes no funding from the Society). The ACS Board has authorized this action and was seeking Council approval, after which (if given) the Chapter could begin operation. The Council VOTED, in concurrence with the Board of Directors, to approve the petition to charter the Romanian International Chemical Sciences Chapter, consisting of the Territory of Romania.

Approval of Academic Professional Guidelines

The Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs (CEPA) submitted for Council approval a revision of the Academic and Professional Guidelines. It contained updates to the current version which was last revised in 2008. This was a minor revision. A more extensive revision is underway and will be presented for Council consideration in 2014. This draft was presented for Council consideration in Philadelphia and has been approved by ACS legal Counsel. The Council VOTED to approve the Academic Professional Guidelines as submitted by the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs. These guidelines apply to those members of the academic community whose job function impacts directly or indirectly on scientists practicing the profession of chemistry. 

Proposed Formula to Distribute the Local Section Allocation

The Committee on Local Section Activities (LSAC) proposed a new formula for the distribution of the Local Section Allocation beginning in 2014. The proposed formula replaces an existing formula that is not tied to the Local Section Allocation, but is instead expressed in dollar amounts that is adjusted upwards each year. The present formula is being replaced because distributions may soon exceed the Local Section Allocation. The new formula will use percentages. The total base allotment of 49% of the total local Section Allocation will be shared equally among all Local Sections. The per member allotment of 43% of the total Local Section Allotment will be divided by the total number of Local Section members and distributed based upon the number of members in a Local Section.  The LSAC program funds of 8% of the total Local Section Allocation will be used to support Society initiatives, strategic planning, and Board directives. The Council VOTED to approve a new formula for the distribution of allocations to individual Local Sections beginning in 2014. 

Re-alignment of Electoral Districts

At the 2012 fall meeting, Councilors called for a broader and long-lasting solution to requirements that Board electoral districts have parity in member populations. At this meeting, the Committee on Nominations and Elections reported on their discussions of a revised redistricting proposal which brings all six election districts within 400-1,000 members of the mid-point of the permissible range. This proposed action is designed to eliminate the need for frequent small changes for some time to come. The proposal will be up for vote at the fall Council meeting in Indianapolis.

Society Finances

The Committee on Budget and Finance reported on the current status of ACS’ finances. Despite the sluggish economy, ACS generated favorable operating results in 2012. Total revenue was $490.7 million, which was $6.1 million or 1.3% greater than the approved budget, and 3.9% higher ($18.6M) than 2011. The Net from Operations was $20.2 million, or $4.3 million favorable to budget. This was largely attributable to better-than-expected performance by ACS Publications and CAS, and represents the Society’s 9th consecutive year of positive operating results. While operating performance was favorable, Unrestricted Net Assets declined $1.4 million to $100.6 million:

Net from Operations: $20.2M
Investment Gains: $28.2M
Leadscope Expense:   ($22.6M)
Pension costs: ($27.2M)
  ($1.4M)

 Finally, ACS ended the year in compliance with four of the five Board-established financial guidelines.

Member Statistics

Society membership at the end of 2012 was 163,322 - 893 lower than the total for year-end 2011 despite recruiting 24,943 new members. The net loss occurred primarily in the Regular, full member category. There was continued growth in both the Student Member undergraduate and international categories, which helped mitigate the overall decline in membership. The Membership Affairs Committee approved five pilot market data tests to increase membership.

Divisional Activities Name Change Request

The Divisional Activities Committee (DAC) received a request from the Division of Colloid and Surface Chemistry to change its name to the Division of Colloids, Surfaces and Nanomaterials. Six divisions have registered opposition to the proposed name, largely due to the use of the term ‘nanomaterials.’ DAC will ask Council to vote on the new name in Indianapolis, with a recommendation to approve.

Attendance Report

As of the morning of Council, the spring national meeting had a total of 15,596 attendees as follows:

  • Regular:  8,105
  • Guests: 347
  • Students:  5,793
  • Exhibitors: 946
  • Exhibit-only: 395

Spring meeting attendance since 2004 is as follows:

  • 2004:  Anaheim, CA:  14,141
  • 2005:  San Diego, CA: 15,385
  • 2006:  Atlanta, GA: 12,546
  • 2007:  Chicago. IL:   14,520
  • 2008:  New Orleans, LA:13,454
  • 2009:  Salt Lake City, UT: 10,668
  • 2010:  San Francisco, CA: 18,076
  • 2011:  Anaheim, CA: 14,047
  • 2012:  San Diego, CA: 16,864 (as of Tuesday, March 27th)
  • 2013:  New Orleans, LA: 15,596 (as of Wednesday morning, April 10th)

11,232 papers in total were presented.

Special Discussion Item

A special discussion item was put on the Council agenda for this meeting. ACS President Marinda Li Wu presented and moderated a discussion on “What else should ACS do to help members to thrive in the global chemistry enterprise?” ACS has established a strategic goal to “Empower an inclusive community of members with networks, opportunities, resources, and skills to thrive in the global economy.” In support of this goal, President Wu commissioned a task force entitled, “Vision 2025: Helping ACS Members Thrive in the Global Chemistry Enterprise,” to identify globalization opportunities and engage members in advocacy for improving the business and job climate. Following the presentation, 29 Councilors engaged in a robust discussion on what the Society currently offers or could offer to help members thrive in the global chemistry community.

Actions of the Board of Directors

The Board’s Committees and Working Groups

The Board of Directors received reports from its committees on Grants and Awards (G&A), Executive Compensation, Professional & Member Relations (PM&R), Planning, and the oversight group on Society Program Portfolio Management.

The Committee on Grants and Awards presented the Board with screened lists of nominees for the 2014 Priestley Medal and the Award for Volunteer Service to the ACS. The Board VOTED to approve the screened lists, and will now vote on, and announce, the winners of these two awards at its June meeting. The Board also VOTED to approve a Society nominee for the National Medal of Science.

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 of Directors.

On the recommendation of the Committee on Professional & Member Relations, the Board VOTED to approve an alliance with the Latin American Federation of Chemical Associations (FLAQ) and to renew an alliance with the Chinese Chemical Society. The signing ceremony for alliances with the Chinese Chemical Society and the South African Chemical Institute (which was previously approved) took place prior to the open meeting of the Board of Directors. The signing ceremony for FLAQ will take place at the fall national meeting. 

The Committee on Planning led a discussion based on its initial findings from the ACS Environmental Scan/Strategic Context Research; and the oversight group on Society Program Portfolio Management briefed the Board on its current activities, including plans for the remainder of 2013. In 2012, the oversight group outlined a process to effectively and efficiently enable the Society to routinely manage, prioritize and rebalance its portfolio of diverse Society programs.  Currently, the oversight group is developing the necessary processes, tools, and documentation related to the initiative to put a process in place for 2014.

The Executive Director/CEO Report

The Executive Director/CEO and her direct reports updated the Board on the following: highlights of accomplishments from 2012; the major challenges and projects facing the Society in 2013; and the activities of CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service), the ACS Publications Division, and the Society’s General Counsel. As part of the Publications report, the Board VOTED to approve journal editor re-appointments and an appointment to the ACS Governing Board for Publishing.

Other Society Business

The Board ratified several of its interim actions, including an appointment to the Committee on Executive Compensation.

The Board also received reports from the Presidential Succession on their current activities and plans for the remainder of 2013 and the beginning of 2014; a briefing from the new director of the ACS Green Chemistry Institute; and a report on the newly instituted ACS Career Pathways Workshops.

The Board’s Open Session

The Board held a lively, well-attended open session which featured a special forum focused on two questions: 1) “What one thing would you like from ACS that you don’t get now?” 2) “What one thing do you get from another organization that you wish you got from ACS?”

Members attending this standing-room only session received a brief overview of current Society offerings followed by an exchange of several ideas on future services and products.

Additional Information

The following is a list of URLs and email addresses presented on slides at the Council meeting. You will find the information noted on these sites helpful.

  • m.wu@acs.org – contact information for ACS President Marinda Wu
  • www.acs.org/leadscopeqa - ACS vs. Leadscope questions and answers
  • www.acs.org/newmember - information on “Why should I join the ACS?”
  • nomelect@acs.org  – email address for the Committee on Nominations and Elections
  • www.acs.org – then click on “About Us” and scroll down to ACS Financial Information for information on the Society’s finances
  • safety@acs.org – email address for comments and suggestions about chemical safety to the Committee on Chemical Safety
  • www.acs.org/bulletin5 - ACS governing documents including information on petitions and certified bylaws for all units
  • bylaws@acs.org – email to send petitions (deadline May 22)
  • www.acs.org/ei - information on the ACS Entrepreneurial Initiative
  • www.acs.org/sequester - location for completing the survey on sequestration
  • www.acs.org/supportfedscience - information on ACS materials related to federal S&T funding
  • www.acs.org/ethics - information on the ACS Committee on Ethics
  • http://nationalethicscenter.org – “Ethics CORE” web address and the chemistry landing page which links to chemistry related ethics content (click ‘resources by discipline’ then click ‘chemistry’)

Local Section Resources

Bonnie Lawlor and Andrea Twiss-Brooks, CINF Councilors