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Executive Briefs: A report from the NEC 2015 Q1 meeting

Your national executive council (NEC) held its 2015 Q1 meeting via videoconference on Saturday, March 28, 2015. The minutes will be posted once they have been approved. In the meantime, here's a brief summary of our meeting.

Why by videoconference?

It's unusual for us to hold a quarterly videoconference meeting, and in fact, we had originally been scheduled to meet in Vancouver over the same weekend.

When the preliminary 2014 year-end financial report came out in January, it was apparent we had lost a considerable amount of money last year. Each NEC face-to-face quarterly meeting represents a significant investment of resources. This fact, coupled with the need to immediately find savings, led us to replace one face-to-face meeting with monthly teleconferences and a three-hour videoconference.

So how did it work?

NEC members had mixed reactions. Everyone prefers the dynamics of a face-to-face meeting. Speaking personally, I think it offers a good alternative to at least one face-to-face meeting a year and saves a considerable amount of money. Some NEC members agreed; others did not.

New NEC members and positions

As you recall, Jacquie Dinsmore resigned as president in November 2014. Two other NEC members also resigned in the fall. When we met for the 2014 Q4 meeting in Montreal, the NEC voted to fill the missing executive positions. I became the interim president, Anne Louise Mahoney the interim vice president and Emily Staniland the interim secretary. Since then four other candidates stepped forward for the remainder of this term: Michelle van der Merwe as director of communications, donalee Moulton as co-director of publications (with Anne Louise Mahoney), Michelle Boulton as co-director of professional standards (with me) and Breanne MacDonald as co-director of volunteer relations (with Emily Staniland). This was our first quarterly meeting with this team.

What was discussed and what decisions were made?

Audit and finances
The 2014 audit is complete and is being translated for the Annual Report. It shows that our Association lost approximately $80,000 last year. The loss was in all areas, including membership fees, digital products, certification tests, study guide sales and copyright fees. We brought in about $35,000 less in revenues than the previous year. As well, expenses were up, primarily because of the focus on governance changes and CASL (Canada's anti-spam legislation) and the delay in rebranding that affected the new website, marketing, publications, staff time and volunteer morale. 

We also discussed ways of trimming the budget (without reaching conclusions) and reallocating resources from discretionary budget items to ones that are needed.

Conference 2015
Greg Ioannou and Gael Spivak (conference co-chairs) reported that more than 300 people had signed up for the conference to date, making this the largest EAC conference thus far!

The NEC voted to provide chairs and co-chairs with in-kind compensation in the form of complimentary registrations as per Operational Policy 10: Volunteer Involvement and Recognition (3.7.4).

Rebranding rollout
The NEC agreed to strike a task force to shepherd the rebranding rollout over the coming year. As the original task force has disbanded, we need volunteers. Please contact Anne Louise Mahoney

Because the rebranding was put on hold in late August, we lost considerable momentum as well as our web developer. We cannot pick up where we left off because of the time lag and now because of budget shortfalls. We need to re-design the rollout. 

CSC: computer-based testing and proficiency testing
The Certification Steering Committee (CSC) will be developing computer versions of the copy editing and stylistic editing tests. There will be a pilot of the structural editing test in the fall of 2016, with the hope of going live in 2017.

The February membership survey revealed that members agree with the concept of developing a proficiency test. With 27% of members responding, the results were (rounded off) 60% in favour, 18% opposed and 22% undecided. The CSC has formed a sub-committee to proceed with next steps.

Programme d'agrément en révision linguistique – Réviseurs Canada
French competency testing will begin this fall with the first administration of the first of two tests, revision générale. Congratulations to Sandra Gravel and her team for their incredible work. 

Editing Canadian English 3
ECE 3 successfully launched its online version in February. A print version is underway and will be available at the conference. Many thanks to Anne Louise Mahoney and her team.

HR committee
The HR committee will be advertising for a new executive director in April. Our current ED, Carolyn L Burke, will be leaving EAC in June after seven years of exemplary service.

Moira White, interim president