Against a backdrop of newly refined strategic priorities, and with a mind to ongoing economic conditions, the SAA Council reviewed and adopted at its May 26 – 28 meeting in Chicago a Fiscal Year 2011 budget with revenues of $2,421,521, expenses of $2,420,943, and a projected net gain of $578. Included in the budget work plan are a host of activities directed to moving SAA toward the desired outcomes associated with its strategic priorities (technology, diversity, and public awareness/advocacy). In other actions, the Council:
Discussed the Committee on Education’s recommended revision of Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Science (GPAS) and assigned Council members Helen Tibbo and Bruce Ambacher to review the document in more detail and suggest additional revisions. The document may be considered for an interim vote of the Council prior to its August 2010 meeting.
Discussed drafts of an SAA “Statement on Diversity” and an SAA “Values Statement,” both of which will be posted for member comment this summer.
Approved creation of a Digital Archives Continuing Education Task Force, which will develop a workshop curriculum on the subject of digital archives per the strategic priority activity that, “SAA will provide education and training to its members to ensure that they are aware of relevant standards and adopt appropriate practices for appraising, capturing, preserving, and providing access to electronic records.” The new curriculum is due in time for related activities to be included in the FY 2012 budget. A call for volunteers to serve on the task force appears in the June 8 issue of In the Loop.
Declined recommendations to 1) investigate reciprocal membership and registration programs with related professional organizations and 2) fund two scholarships to the Modern Archives Institute out of operations.
Approved creation of a task force to develop policies for vendor participation in SAA activities. Consisting of representatives from relevant stakeholder groups (institutions, vendors, individual members), the task force will “review existing SAA policies, research other organizations’ policies, and draft a balanced policy for SAA that would assist the SAA staff, Council members, and members to respond to the host of issues surrounding vendor participation in SAA programs, activities, groups, and listservs,” with interim reports to the February and May 2011 Council meetings and a final report with recommendations to the Council in August 2011. A call for volunteers to serve on the task force will be issued via an upcoming issue of In the Loop and the home page.
Rescinded a February 2010 motion to recommend a Constitutional amendment to grant Fellowship eligibility to “primary contacts” of institutional members, pending further research and discussion of institutional member benefits.
Discussed Mosaic Scholarship funding options; the scheduling of committee meetings during the annual meeting; and the DC 2010 Joint Annual Meeting schedule.
Voted to bestow Council Exemplary Service Awards on three individuals for their outstanding support of SAA. The awards will be announced at the DC 2010 Awards Ceremony on Friday, August 13, from 5:45 to 7:00 pm.
The SAA Council will meet again August 9 and August 14 in conjunction with the annual conference in Washington, DC. If you have recommendations, requests, or concerns to bring to the Council's attention, contact SAA President Peter Gottlieb (peter.gottlieb[at]wisconsinhistory.org) or Executive Director Nancy Beaumont (nbeaumont[at]archivists.org) for information about how to submit your ideas or materials for Council consideration. Information must be received by Monday, July 12, in order to be considered for inclusion on the agenda.
Two Constitutional Amendments to Be Considered at August 14 Membership Meeting
At recent meetings (February and May 2010) the Council approved two recommendations for amendments to the SAA Constitution, both of which will be discussed at the 2010 Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C., on August 14.
Foreign Associate Members’ Eligibility for Fellowship
MOTION: That the SAA Constitution be amended as follows: [underline = addition]
B. Fellows of the Society of American Archivists
To recognize sustained and outstanding achievements in pursuit of the goals of the profession and the work of the Society, there shall be a special class of individual dues-paying members, known as Fellows of the Society of American Archivists, which shall consist of members elected to that class by a seventy-five percent (75%) vote of the Committee on the Selection of Fellows. The number of Fellows shall be no more than five percent (5%) of the total individual membership reported at the last annual business meeting of the Society. No member of the Society shall be elected a Fellow who has not been a full member or a foreign associate member of the Society in good standing for at least seven (7) years immediately preceding election.
Support Statement: Per the recommendation of the Committee on the Selection of Fellows, this change would "enable SAA to honor foreign associate members who have made a substantial contribution to the Society or to the archives profession. Such members regularly attend SAA meetings in addition to the meetings of their own national associations." The requirement for seven years of continuous membership may be met with any combination of full membership or foreign associate membership. Domestic associate members are not eligible to be SAA Fellows.
Fiscal Impact: None.
Membership “Grace” Period
MOTION: That the SAA Constitution be amended as follows: [strikethrough = deletion, underline = addition]
A member shall be enrolled upon the first payment of dues and shall receive benefits during the period for which dues have been paid. All dues shall be payable in advance. Membership in good standing shall cease when dues are ninety (90) twenty-eight (28) days in arrears. Changes in membership dues shall be determined by a majority vote of those members present and voting at the annual business meeting of the Society.
Support Statement: SAA conducted general elections via an online ballot for the first time in 2009. In the course of configuring the electronic voting system, staff discovered a discrepancy between a policy in SAA’s Constitution and long-standing administrative practice. According to Article IV of the SAA Constitution, “Membership in good standing shall cease when dues are ninety (90) days in arrears.” For at least the past 10 years, office procedure has been to cancel member status approximately one month after the dues expiration date. SAA’s old association management software system (AMS) was set up according to this model no later than 1999. (No records are available at SAA Headquarters regarding procedures prior to that time.) Unaware of the discrepancy, staff configured the new AMS according to the same logic in April 2007. For the purpose of the 2009 and 2010 elections, the 90-day grace period was honored. At the Council’s February 2010 meeting, staff brought this situation to the Council’s attention and was directed to reconfigure the AMS to bring procedures in compliance with the Constitution. No member has contested the operational one-month grace period in the past ten or more years. Currently members receive their first dues renewal notice via email 90 days prior to their expiration date. Four additional notices are sent to members prior to cancellation, two by first-class mail and two by email. In staff’s professional opinion, these procedures provide necessary and adequate notice for member retention purposes. Given the speed of communication enabled by modern technology, as well as the advent of online credit card transactions, a one-month grace period – defined specifically as 28 days in order to accommodate February – constitutes good policy and good stewardship of SAA’s resources.
Fiscal Impact: If approved, this amendment will save the Society approximately $10,000 per year in direct expenses for printing and mailing of Archival Outlook.
Council Proposes Phased-In Dues Increase Effective July 1, 2011
Based on a recommendation from the Finance Committee, the Council voted to put forward to the membership at the 2010 Annual Membership Meeting a motion that, effective July 1, 2011, a graduated dues increase be phased in over a three-year period. The Council noted that implementation of a phased-in dues increase “is critical to support the ongoing financial stability of the organization, to reflect cost-of-business increases since the last dues change (in January 2008), to accommodate changes in non-dues revenue streams (including publications, workshops, and annual meetings), to ensure a fair distribution of the dues burden among the various categories of membership, and to bring SAA into alignment with association best practices and recommendations [regarding the ratio of dues revenue and non-dues revenue].” For more information about the proposed dues increase, click here.