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The Council of Representatives met in Toronto on Aug 6 and 10, 2003 during the regular APA convention. Div 3 rep Harry Bahrick was present for both days, and I required a substitute (with Tom Zentall doing that for me) on Day 2. As has become quite usual, there was rather little on the agenda pertaining directly to research and researchers, or academic psychology generally. Of special note for Division 3 and the other “science divisions,” however, was the resignation, shortly before the August meetings, of Kurt Salzinger, the science director of APA, effective at the close of 2003. Of special additional note was that, while Council was informed, and considerable hallway conversation took place regarding this development, little official information either about the science director’s resignation or the plans for replacement was forthcoming.
Robert Sternberg presided over the meetings with humor and seeming effortlessness, and was lauded for his presidency, which has been dedicated to unification and peace among our parts. CEO Normal Anderson recounted the difficulties which APA administration encountered because of the SARS scare in Toronto very soon after he came to this new position. The decision to go ahead with the Toronto meetings was difficult, especially because many members seemed determined not to attend. (As it turned out, the circulating news at the convention was that attendance was mot seriously affected.)
Anderson’s report and that of chief financial officer Jack McKay revealed that in February of 2003 it appeared that there would be a 2004 deficit of perhaps up to four million dollars. By the time of our meeting, however, there had been sufficient voluntary staff reductions and other savings found to be possible, along with some major refinancing of realty holdings, that the 2004 budget now showed a surplus of $639,700! We are a large organization, with about 85,000 members and 50,000 affiliates. With a budget of more than $85,000,000, APA is highly dependent for its fiscal health on its publications program which presently yields 62% of our total income; dues produce only 16% of the operating capital.
Although there were no items on the agenda bearing directly on scientific affairs, the establishment and funding of a new electronic information base (PsycEXTRA) was approved, to enhance the PsycINFO and PsycARTICLES offerings now existing. PsycEXTRA is intended to be especially helpful to the information-seeking public, schools, libraries, and mental health centers.
To enhance communications among the many boards and committees, Council approved reinstating the practice of having two annual consolidated meetings per year instead of the one each year that had been the policy before fiscal problems arose. The second meeting is estimated to cost $300,000., which will reduce the aforementioned surplus for 2004 to $339,700. Also, a presidential task force on governance recommended specific measures that may be taken to improve functions and interactions of committees, boards, and the Council, and these measures were approved.
Among numerous actions that were routinely acted on with little debate, probably because extensive documentation had been mailed prior to the convention, and committees had done extensive work on the items already:
a) the field of clinical neuropsychology was approved as a specialty in professional psychology;
b) a set of guidelines for professional practice with older adults was approved;
c) 142 new Initial Fellows (not yet fellows of any division) were elected;
d) policy was approved stating that divisions (or other units of APA) may file amicus curiae briefs, but not in instances where APA itself is doing so;
e) Council may adopt, endorse, and support resolutions or policies of another organization, but APA policy takes precedence over any such endorsements;
f) action was taken to ask APA members to decide whether both pro and con statements would be sent with ballots on amendments (that vote has now occurred, and it was decided to retain the con statements in the mailed documents);
g) consistent with the action of Council in 2000 to “institute the practice of increasing the APA dues annually by an amount linked to the consumer price index…”, Council voted to approve a $6.00 dues increase from $236. to $242. and an additional increase of $5.00 for the year 2004 to $247. Additionally, a graduate student increase dues of $1. was approved, bringing dues for APAGS members to $42.
Pursuant to the report of the chief financial officer, and study of the documentation provided, Council approved measures to be taken by APA over the years 2004-2006, pertaining to attainment of net worth goals and assurance of cash flow from building operations as a regular source of revenue. Steps are to be taken to include operating budget funding for the Public Education Campaign and the Academic Enhancement Initiative.