Meeting of the Council

9 January 2000

Long Beach, California


President Frederick called the Council to order at 8:10 a.m. on 9 January.

Present: President Frederick; President-Elect Kimpel; Past President Rasmusson; Councilors Colman, Curry, Doswell, McVehil, Wakimoto, Brown, Hayes, Spengler, Wallace, Zevin, Emanuel, Leetmaa, MacCready, Uccellini, Wood; Commissioners Avery, Ban, Rosen, Schubert; Executive Director McPherson; SecretaryBTreasurer Spengler; Recorders Seitter and Annese.

1. Introduction

After the role call, President Frederick introduced the new Council members and reviewed the planned agenda for the meeting.

2. Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Bulletin

Councilor Colman reported on the activities of this committee, and led a discussion on changes in the Bulletin format and content that have been suggested by the committee. The most significant aspect of the committee's plan is the division of the current Bulletin into two publications -- one that was primarily articles geared toward a broad audience of professionals and the other representing the bulk of the "house organ" functions. Colman asked the Council for approval of a set of recommendations that will allow the process to move beyond the scope of the ad hoc committee. The Council authorized the Executive Director to form an interim editorial board for the Bulletin charged with the task of creating a business plan for a new Bulletin structure, including a very detailed outline of what that structure would include, and establishing a set of criteria for a new editor-in-chief position for the Bulletin. The Council asked that the business plan include an analysis of ways to decrease costs as well as increasing revenue, and suggested that the interim editorial board include at least one individual from another society publisher with expertise that would bear on the redesign of the Bulletin.

3. Report of the Ad Hoc Committee on Member Services

In the absence of Commissioner Hosler, Executive Director McPherson briefed the Council on the efforts of this committee. He reported that the committee was still gathering information and exploring ideas. A more complete report from this committee may be available for the fall Council meeting.

4. Journal production time

Deputy Executive Director Seitter briefed the Council on a plan developed by Headquarters staff to achieve and maintain an average production time for journal manuscripts of 150 days. There was an extended discussion of the need to achieve this goal as quickly as possible, and the Council endorsed the plan.

5. AMS video

In preparation for the discussion on Headquarters facilities, the recently completed video on the historical aspects of the Headquarters building at 45 Beacon Street was shown during a break.

6. AMS facilities

McPherson reviewed for the Council the architectural plans for the renovation and restoration activities being proposed for the Carriage House attached to the main structure of AMS Headquarters. He discussed the growth of Society activities over the past dozen years, the consequent growth in staff, and the current overcrowded conditions in the main Headquarters building. He then outlined those aspects of the plan that were necessary to achieve structural stability of the 200-year-old building, and those that would result in a conversion of the space from an assembly hall to much needed office space for the staff. McPherson outlined in some detail the care taken in the architectural plans to preserve the character of the space, retaining the open feel and the exposed roof timbers and brickwork, and to restore aspects of the building, such as the large carriage door, to its former glory. At the fall Council meeting, concern had been expressed at the loss of the three remaining horse stalls in the building, and McPherson showed modifications of the plans that preserved the facade of the stalls, and added back the facade of a fourth stall that had been removed when AMS first modified the structure over two decades earlier.

McPherson then led an extended discussion that covered details of the plan, as well as options for space elsewhere, projections for future growth, and long term space needs for the Society. Secretary-Treasurer Spengler presented his views that the value of the meeting space available in the Carriage House was not appreciated and urged consideration of other options. A motion was made to accept the proposed plans for renovation and restoration of the Carriage House presented originally at the fall Council meeting with the modification of the horse stalls as presented at this meeting. The motion was approved by a vote of 16 for, none against, and two abstentions.

7. Glossary dedication

On the recommendation of the Glossary Advisory Board, the Council approved the dedication of the revised Glossary of Meteorology to Werner Baum and Charles Talman.

The Council recessed for lunch, 11:45 a.m.-1:05 p.m.

8. New members for the Board on Meteorological and Oceanographic Education in Universities

On the recommendation of Commissioner Avery, the Council approved the appointment of Carol Clayson and Gene Takle for three-year appointments ending in January of 2003.

9. Financial philosophy of the Society and dues

Executive Director McPherson reminded the Council that the current operating philosophy of the Society is that the Bulletin and other member services operate at a deficit, currently about $450,000, which is covered by excess revenue of about the same amount from the AMS journals. The Society's meetings, as well as its books and educational activities, are expected to operate at about break-even financially. McPherson proposed that this philosophy be changed to one in which each of the four major operating budget areas on average over a number of years be financially self-supporting. He then pointed out that the last dues increase was in 1982 and if AMS dues had simply kept up with inflation the 1999 dues would be $65. A dues rate of $70 with the current membership would bring the Bulletin and member services activities to about break even, and would allow the excess revenue generated by the journals to be used for the journals to get their production time to 150 days.

The Executive Committee had recommended that the Council approve a dues increase to $70, effective January 2001, with a mandatory re-evaluation of the dues structure every five thereafter. After discussion the Council voted to accept the Executive Committee recommendation. Included in the motion were the provisions that the dues for all classes of membership eligible for student privileges would remain $15, and that this rate would also be extended to full-time K-12 teachers. The motion was approved by a vote of 17 in favor, one opposed. It was noted that the mandatory re-evaluation portion of this decision represented a change in the AMS Bylaws.

10. Earth Interactions

Deputy Executive Director Seitter briefed the Council on plans to restructure the copublishing arrangements between the AMS, the American Geophysical Union, and the Association of American Geographers so that AMS would take on a greater role in the production and dissemination of the journal. No Council action was required.

11. Special Initiative funding

The Council approved the recommendation of the Executive Committee that special initiative funds available during 2000 be applied in the following prioritized order: $40,000 to fund development of a unified manuscript tracking system for the volunteer editors, $25,000 to fund activities aimed at increasing the economic base of the atmospheric and related sciences, $30,000 toward getting the nonarticle content of the Bulletin on the AMS Web site to supplement the legacy data project, and any remaining available funds be used to increase the funding levels of the programs in Public Information, Development, and the Atmospheric Policy Program. The Council also asked staff to develop a proposal for a program to draw students into use of the Web.

12. Executive Director's report

Executive Director McPherson reviewed his performance initiatives for the year 2000 and the goals of that plan that have been accepted by the Executive Committee. This plan will be provided to the membership in an upcoming "From Headquarters" column in the Bulletin.

13. Statements

It was agreed that at least two AMS statements were nearly ready for approval, and that final discussion on them would take place via e-mail with a Council vote by e-mail ballot occurring in mid-February.

14. Thanks to outgoing members

The Council expressed it appreciation to President Frederick on his year as President and to those Councilors who were completing their terms with this meeting.

15. Next Meeting

The Council will next meet immediately upon the close of the Business Meeting, approximately at 6:00 p.m.

The Council adjourned at 3:40 p.m.

President Kimpel called the Council to order at 5:50 p.m., noted those present and declared a quorum.

On the motion of President Kimpel, the Council voted to elect Councilor Mary Glackin to the Executive Committee for the 2000-2003 period.

Thus, the Executive Committee for 2000 will consist of President Kimpel, President-Elect Serafin, Past Presidents Frederick and Rasmusson, Councilors Brown and Glackin, Secretary-Treasurer Spengler, and Executive Director McPherson.

The Council will next meet in Boston, tentatively scheduled for 27-28 September 2000.

The Council adjourned at 5:55 p.m.