Motion on Standing Committees

Tue Jun 17 14:11:31 EDT 1997

  - - The original note follows - -

                  Rationale for Motion on Standing Committees

    The purpose of the motion on the following page is to clarify the
Society's Standing Committees and their duties, and I would appreciate hearing
what you think of it.  The underlying philosophy is that Officers of the
Society make policy oriented decisions while Standing Committees make
recommendations to the Officers in the form of motions (often outlining
possible options), provide "expertise and memory" for the Officers, and make
recurring, often technical decisions between Executive Council meetings.  In
other words, although Standing Committees do much of the work of the Society,
the power to make policy decisions is vested in the elected Officers.
    This motion is needed for three reasons.  First, as an Executive Council
member for a number of years, I do not recall seeing a list of Standing
Committees or a clear outline of duties for each committee.  For example, do
you know when the Membership Committee was created, what are its duties, who
is its Chair, or how this Chair was appointed?  Do you realize that the
Editorial Board, Librarian, Nominating, and Auditing Committee are
constitutionally mandated whereas other committees are not?
    The second reason for this motion is that there are recurring technical
decisions that need to be made, for which Officers may not have expertise.
For example, do you know who decides how many copies of the News are printed
or how this decision is made?  Do you know the technical aspects of soliciting
bids for printing the Journal?  These are the kinds of decisions and
recommendations that have historically been made by Standing Committees,
whether or not they were called a committee.  FURTHER, BECAUSE STANDING
    The third reason for this motion is that Officers serve 1-3 year terms,
which creates a problem with Society "memory."  For example, do you remember
that our Society was incorporated last year?  Do you know who the Directors
(required by law) of the Society are?  Imagine the ignorance on matters that
are a decade old.  Many organizations solve the problem of Society "memory"
with a paid permanent manager.  Our de facto solution has been Standing
Committees, and this motion will hopefully make Executive Council meetings
more efficient by having well-thought out motions, by making responsibilities
clearer, and by eliminating lengthy discussions of issues for which
information or expertise is lacking.
    According to the Constitution, the President appoints and is an ex officio
member of all committees except the Editorial Board.  Thus, the Standing
Committees proposed on the next page would serve at the pleasure of the
President during his or her term.  Additionally, each Member-At-Large of the
Executive Council would choose a Standing Committee, in consultation with the
President, on which they would serve.  Hopefully, this process would aid the
flow of ideas between Officers and Standing Committees.  Finally, the
Editorial Board, Librarian, Nominating, and Auditing Committee are not part of
this motion because they are constitutionally mandated.
    I am not sure how many of the Standing Committees in the motion already
exist, which I suppose is a telling remark, but it includes most committees of
which I am aware and a few that do not exist in name.  The committee list and
associated duties is still a Very Rough Draft In Need of Improvement.  Please
help with your suggestions.  Ideas are crucial, diplomacy is not.  And a last
comment.  This motion outlines and partitions responsibilities, nothing more.
Any "system" of committees will work only if good people run the committees.


    Be it moved that the President, upon taking office, appoint six Standing
Committees (listed below with their duties), superseding previous Standing
Committees of the same name, and consult with and assign each Member-At-Large
to a Standing Committee.  Committee members serve at the pleasure of the
President, but may be reappointed annually.  To improve Society "memory", it
is the sense of the Executive Council that annual reappointment be considered
the "norm", not the exception.

1. Database Management (Asst. Secretary is ex officio member, usually Chair)
  a. Maintains and updates membership database.
  b. Provides the membership list for exchange or sale.
  c. Prepares membership directory biennially for the News.
  d. Prepares ballot in coordination with the Assistant Treasurer.

2. Budget & Publications (Treasurer and Asst. Treas. are ex officio members)
  a. Finds and recommends nominees for Treasurer to the Nominating Committee.
  b. Recommends changes to dues structure, when necessary.
  c. Oversees financial aspects of Society publications.
       1) Recommends stipends or other support for Society editors.
       2) Periodically solicits bids for printing Society publications.
       3) Ensures that publications comply with postal and IRS regulations.
       4) Recommends the number of copies of each publication to be printed.
       5) Determines with Asst. Secr. cost for renting membership list.

3. Membership
  a. Prepares and distributes membership brochure to prospective members.
  b. Sets up and oversees procedure for e-mail membership applications.
  c. Distributes the Society's Collecting Policy to outside organizations.
  d. Oversees the Society web site.
  e. Sends sample issues of News to prospective members.
  f. Supervises sales of publication back issues and other Society items.

4. Records (The Secretary is an ex officio member)
  a. Finds and recommends nominees for Secretary to the Nominating Committee.
  b. Advises on constitutional matters at Executive Council Meetings.
  c. Advises on old business at Executive Council Meetings.
  d. Maintains Exec. Council minutes that Officers can access electronically.
  e. Gives Nominating Committee Chair list of previous Officers.

5. Meetings
  a. Solicits sites for annual meetings.
  b. Provides annual meeting organizers with guidelines and timetable.
  c. Ensures that annual meetings are announced in the News on a timely basis.

6. Awards
  a. Raises funds for the Karl Jordan, Clench, and other Society awards.
  b. Acts as judges for the Clench Award.
  c. Determines amounts for money awards.

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