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Dayton Section

Report from Council at the 233rd Meeting of the ACS

The Council meeting at the spring ACS meeting in Chicago was, in a word, contentious.  

The Region II Caucus on Sunday afternoon provided a hint of what was to come when Councilors debated the faults and merits of a petition that would require members of the Nominations and Elections Committee (N&E) to wait one year after leaving the committee until they were eligible for nomination for District Director, President-Elect or Director-at-Large.  Petition proponents’ argument was the avoidance of the appearance of impropriety and, besides, N&E members could always be nominated by petition, thereby bypassing the waiting period.  Petition opponents argued that we shouldn't make it more difficult for members to volunteer and, because of the election cycle, the waiting period is more like two or three years, not one.

At Council, it was argued that committee rules bar N&E members under consideration for nomination are barred from the nominating process and the ballots are secret.  Furthermore, only a few candidates have come from N&E with less than a one-year waiting period.   In addition, several members of N&E made it clear that they found insulting the petition in question because it questioned their ethics.  Councilor Ken Anderson, in a preface to calling for a recorded vote, said that where he comes from (somewhere in Britain, I’d guess) people don’t make charges unless they are willing to make them to their face (although, I’ve known a couple of Brits who were quite the gossips).  The recorded vote was approved (I voted for it just for the experience) and we proceeded to fill out ballots with our printed names, signatures, and affiliation (these will be printed in C&EN, I’ve been told).  I voted with the majority to defeat the petition (15 wimpy councilors abstained). 

Action on another petition that would have normally set the Council aquiver was by comparison rather pedestrian.  The Council voted to split consideration and action on the Petition on Election Procedures 2006 into two parts:  Part 1 changes the timing of runoff elections and specifies an election process for situations in which only one Director-at-Large position is open.  Part 2 addresses consistency in national election procedures by proposing changes to standardize the petition and election processes for President-Elect and all Director positions based on percentages of voting members.  It replaces language specifying a required absolute number of petition signatures for nomination of candidates for President-Elect, and Director-at-Large with language specifying a higher requirement for petition signatures as a percentage of the membership for nomination of candidates for these offices.  Petition critics said that these increases — by a factor of 7 or 8 — are much too large; the required number of signatures for nomination by petition would be larger than that typically received in the general election by the winner!  Petition advocates pointed out that the last election had two petition candidates (in addition to the two selected by N&E), requiring a runoff election and a large monetary cost to the Society.  Furthermore, the two candidates in the runoff were the ones chosen by N&E!  The Council voted to accept Part 1.  For Part 2, the Council voted to recommit this petition back to N&E and ask that they reconsider the signature requirements, procedures for processing electronic signatures, and those suggestions arising from the Governance Review Task Force pertinent to election procedures.   

N&E presented to the Council the four nominees for selection as candidates for President-Elect, 2008 — Pat N. Confalone, Thomas H. Lane, Howard M. Peters, and William A. Nugent, who formerly taught chemistry at Kettering’s Alter High School.  Nugent said that, if elected ACS president, he’d be the first  bench chemist to do so.  In a town-hall meeting the previous Sunday, Lane made it clear that he didn’t agree that human activity caused global warming or that global warming has even been established.  In contrast, Nugent said that industry cannot continue to use the atmosphere as a garbage dump.  Peters and Confalone were somewhere between these two viewpoints.  Peters proclaimed that he’s not the best public speaker and he was quite the cold fish.  Confalone was low key but presented himself well.

I voted for Confalone and Nugent but Council elected Confalone and Lane, ruining my perfect record.

N&E announced the results of the election to select candidates from the list of nominees to represent District II and District IV on the Board of Directors for the term 2008-2010.  Nominees for District II included:  Robin J. Hood, Joseph R. Peterson, Diane Grob Schmidt, and Steven W. Yates.  Nominees for District IV included Paul F. Barbara, Eric C. Bigham, John P. Fackler, Jr., and Gregory H. Robinson.  By mail ballot, the councilors from these districts selected Joseph R. Peterson and Diane Grob Schmidt as District II candidates; and as District IV candidates, Eric C. Bigham and Gregory H. Robinson. Ballots will be mailed on or before October 10 to all members in District II and District IV for election of a Director from each District.

Candidates for Directors-at-Large

The Committee on Nominations and Elections announced the selection of the following candidates for Directors-at-Large for a 2008-2010 term:  Janan M. Hayes, Helen A. Lawlor, Kent J. Voorhees, and Frankie K. Wood-Black.  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.

Committee Performance Reviews

As part of a regular review, the Council voted to continue the Committee on Science, the Women Chemists Committee, and the Younger Chemists Committee - subject to concurrence by the Board of Directors.  The Committee on Science provides an organizational framework to facilitate policy formulation, actions, and planning in several areas of ACS activity directly related to the science of chemistry.  The Women Chemists Committee was established to recognize women chemists and to encourage them to take an active interest in Society activities; and the Younger Chemists Committee facilitates communication of ideas and attitudes between the governing bodies of the Society and younger chemists.

Future National Meetings

The Council VOTED to approve dates and sites for 2017 national meetings as follows:  April 2-6, San Francisco, California; and September 10-14, St. Louis, Missouri.

New Local Section

The Council VOTED to establish the Snake River Local Section with headquarters in Boise, ID.  This brings the total number of local sections to 190.

Member Statistics

ACS closed 2006 with 160,491 members, the highest year-end membership since 2002.  Of the 17,857 applications processed in 2006, more than 1,000 came from the Member-Get-A-Member campaign, in which many councilors participated.

Governance Review

The Council received a report on the recent activities of the Governance Review Task Force.  Councilors were informed that since the last Council meeting, the task force has met twice and action teams have been actively addressing those areas under the “Advance” category. Councilors also learned that the Council Policy Committee and the Board of Directors VOTED, as recommended by the Governance Review Task Force, to accept four recommendations under the “Refine” category.

Chemical Professional’s Code of Conduct

The Council VOTED to approve the Chemical Professional’s Code of Conduct as submitted by the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs.  This document offers guidance for Society members in various professional dealings, especially those involving conflicts of interest.

Resolutions

The Council adopted resolutions in memory of deceased councilors and ACS Past Presidents Robert Parry (1982), and Fred Basolo (1983). 

Your faithful Councilor, Steve Trohalaki