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2012 Q4 Executive Briefs (Your national executive council uncovered)

So, you've seen the pictures of the national executive council (NEC) hard at work by now, and you have an idea of what we look like as we discuss association issues. Not very exciting pictures, I know. But beneath that unexciting exterior there's lots of neat stuff going on. These quarterly summaries will give you a brief, informal resumé of what we did during the most recent meeting. If you want more info, you can read the official minutes when they are posted.

If this is Q4, it must be budget time!

When we left our intrepid NEC members, they were squirrelled away in downtown Montreal for the Q3 face-to-face meeting, busy orienting new members and discussing committee strategic plans. For the most recent, Q4, meeting, we moved to beautiful downtown Toronto, and the focus this time of year is always budgeting.

Saturday started off with housekeeping duties: approving the previous meeting's minutes and taking care of business arising from that meeting. Fearless leader Greg Ioannou was unable to attend, so yours truly had the thrilling task of chairing the meeting.

Herding cats

*Note to self: Chairing a meeting of editors is like…herding cats. Bring catnip to next meeting.

Lots of cool things: We recorded some interesting votes, including approval of the new Peterborough twig (yay!!). And good news: We now have a new editor-in-chief for Active Voice/Voix active: Carole Sigouin. The conference committee is presently reviewing ideas for sessions submitted by members, and the francophone group working on their vision of certification, called agrément, has submitted their first report and is moving on to the next step in this exciting journey.

We also voted to raise membership fees 1% in March 2013. A little history here: at the 2009 AGM, a motion was made from the floor to increase fees substantially. Membership fees had remained unchanged for several years while staff salaries and other basic costs had risen, and the association was finding it difficult to provide the services members expected. This largish increase was approved by the membership at that meeting, but it was suggested we initiate smaller annual increases to keep up with inflation and avoid fee-shock. Last year we increased fees 3% and this year we are implementing a 1% increase.

Psst… Did you know that we now have an exhaustive list of all motions passed by our various executives over the last 30 years? Thanks to Lee d'Anjou for doing the lion's share of the work and her meticulous records for making this possible.

It costs money to run a national association and all the benefits and programs that go with it. We have assembled an excellent staff in the national office that support all our activities, and we need to pay their salaries. Also, in an effort to be truly national, the NEC usually meets four times a year in different Canadian cities. NEC members need to be mindful of the situations in all branches and twigs and our presence and interaction with local branch/twig members have proven a good way to do this.

Sunday was the "Danielle and Carolyn Show" (Treasurer Danielle Arbuckle and ED Carolyn L Burke) and we got to play with the budget. Back in the fall, all national committees were asked to submit action plans for 2012–13 along with their budget requirements. The financial team went through the requests and put together a budget that took all financing requirements into account. Unfortunately, the total exceeded our revenues, so some serious editing was needed to cut about $89,000. Among other decisions, we decided to try to eliminate one of the NEC quarterly F2F meetings to save travel and accommodation costs. We haven't figured out a way to get the same amount of work done, but we are working on it. We did not touch funding for any priority programs and managed to finish the day with a balanced budget, operating funds covered, program financing in place…and money in the bank for a rainy day.

Psst… Did you know that there are THREE official EAC annual periods that have to be taken into account?

  • Fiscal year: Jan. 1 to Dec. 31
  • Association admin year (based on AGM): June 1 to May 31
  • NEC member terms: Sept. 1 to Aug. 31

See you in March in Vancouver!

*But wait! There's more! Feeling left out? Want to be in the thick of the NEC action? Some participants post on social media during the meeting so you can follow #eacnec on Twitter (meeting weekends only) and check out EAC's FB page for updates directly from the meeting.

Jacquie Dinsmore
NEC, Vice-President