SAA Council Approves FY 2013 Budget, Adopts Advocacy Agenda

At its June 8-10 meeting in Chicago, the SAA Council approved a Fiscal Year 2013 budget that projects $2,336,555 in revenues, $2,323,076 in expenses, and a net gain of $13,479. In presenting the budget, SAA Treasurer Aimee Felker stressed the Finance Committee’s view that it is important to budget for a net gain so that the Society has funds to invest in new product/service research and development and technology upgrades.

The Council also adopted an Advocacy Agenda (see sidebar) that is “intended to articulate the Society’s public policy positions and provide a framework for creation of clear and compelling issue briefs that guide SAA’s advocacy efforts.” Various member groups will be asked to prepare issue briefs.

In other actions related to programmatic areas, the Council:

  • Established a Communications Task Force, intended to provide the Council with a set of recommendations on practical ways to enhance SAA’s communications in the areas of audiences, content, and tools. A call for volunteers was issued via the SAA website on June 18, with a deadline of July 9.
  • Reviewed and discussed the results of SAA’s 2012 Member Needs and Satisfaction Survey. The Council will conduct a thorough analysis of the results; present the results via the SAA website and other mediums and invite member comments and discussion of them; and incorporate the results and member comments into its strategic planning session at the January 2013 Council meeting.

The Council also dealt with a variety of governance matters. It:

  • Adopted changes to Section IX (Sections) and Section X (Roundtables) of the SAA Governance Manual to address inconsistencies and improve clarity. In the interest of fostering transparency, particularly in the selection of leaders, roundtables now must have bylaws. Existing roundtables that have no bylaws must prepare them to be voted on by their members at the August 2013 Annual Meeting.
  • Discussed the use of blogs and auxiliary websites by SAA component groups. Formal permission to create an external site is no longer required, but component groups must notify their Council liaisons and the staff upon creation of an auxiliary site (e.g., website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, etc.) and must provide a link to that site from the group’s official microsite.
  • Approved revisions to the Publications Board charge to reflect current practice and provide for a streamlined process for evaluating the Publications Editor.
  • Disbanded the Fellows Steering Committee with thanks on the basis that it has been relatively inactive and that Fellows have other opportunities to make contributions to the life of the Society.
  • Discussed the roles, responsibilities, and rationale(s) for SAA’s appointed representatives to external organizations. The Council will conduct a review of the value of each existing appointment and develop criteria to determine to which organizations SAA should have a representative going forward.

The nine councilors who are not officers elected Donna McCrea to represent them on the 2012-2013 Executive Committee.  Dennis Meissner and Kate Theimer were selected to serve on the 2012-2013 Nominating Committee.

All materials presented at the June meeting are available via the meeting agenda. Minutes of the meeting will be posted on the SAA website no later than 60 days after the meeting. View agendas and minutes.

The SAA Council will meet again on August 6 and August 11 in conjunction with the Annual Meeting in San Diego. The deadline for proposal of agenda items for all Council meetings is four weeks prior to the start of the meeting. Forward your agenda items to SAA President Gregor Trinkaus-Randall (gregor.trinkaus-randall[at] or SAA Executive Director Nancy Beaumont (nbeaumont[at]

Society of American Archivists
Advocacy Agenda (2012)

Because archival records ensure the protection of citizens’ rights, the accountability of organizations and governments, and the accessibility of historical information, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) believes that the archival profession must take an active role in advocating for the public policies and resources necessary to ensure that these records are preserved and made accessible. This Advocacy Agenda identifies a limited set of broad priorities that serves to guide the Society’s advocacy efforts in the public policy and legislative arenas.  Requests for SAA’s commitment to a specific advocacy issue will be more vigorously pursued if that issue fits within these priorities.

The Public’s Right to Equal and Equitable Access to Government Information

American citizens have a right to know the actions and intentions of their government and its leaders. Government officials at all levels should assume that the public has the right of access to documents prepared by a government official or entity, including communications between government officials or entities. To ensure access, government officials have an obligation to preserve such records properly until they are appropriately reviewed, appraised, and declassified when appropriate. This preservation requirement applies to all records, regardless of format.

The Public’s Need for Strong Institutional Stewardship of the American Historical Record

The records found in our archives contribute to a more open and pluralistic society. Records are used by citizens in the pursuit of public accountability, transparency, civil rights, protection of corporate rights and responsibilities, continuity of civil operations, and good governance. To hold government accountable and to provide evidence of the diverse and complex elements of the human experience, it is essential that concerted efforts are made to preserve and make accessible a comprehensive and trustworthy American historical record.

The Public’s Right to Timely and Reasonable Use of Information

America’s first copyright act (1790) sought to strike a balance between encouraging the creation of new works and granting monopolies over knowledge, learning, and expression. Over time, both the scope and duration of copyright monopolies have increased, to the detriment of learning and broad creative expression. A more appropriate balance must be struck between the right of authors to benefit from the fruits of their labors for a limited time and the need of the public to use freely material for the greater benefit of society.

The Public’s Right to Personal Privacy in Certain Categories of Records

An individual’s right to privacy with regard to certain information—for example, records mandated by government, attorney-client records, and medical records—historically has been weighed against the public’s right to information.  Personal privacy should be respected throughout an individual’s lifetime in appropriate ways.  Documents recording private information about living Americans should be disclosed involuntarily only when disclosure accomplishes a greater public purpose.

The Public’s Interest in Adequate Funding of Archives and Archival Programs

The records found in our archives ensure administrative continuity, help hold government officials accountable for their actions, and create documentary sources through which we come to understand our society.  Because of the importance of these functions, archival institutions at all levels of government and throughout society must be adequately funded.  Funding should include sufficient resources both to renew and invigorate undervalued operations and to support innovative and transformative projects that enable archives to preserve extraordinary documentary resources for the public.

Adopted by the SAA Council, June 2012