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Minutes of the NACBS Business Meeting

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Minutes of the NACBS Business Meeting

Fri, Nov 11, 2016

Washington, DC

Present: Susan Pennybacker, Anna Clark, Paul Deslandes, Andrew Muldoon, Elizabeth Prevost, Keith Wrightson, Martin Weiner, Sandra den Otter, Krista Kesselring, Dane Kennedy, Philippa Levine, Reba Soffer.

The meeting came to order at 6:08 pm.

President’s remarks

Susan Pennybacker expressed her gratitude to the National Museum of African American History and Culture for hosting the NACBS plenary and reception.

Pennybacker reported that the Executive and Council had held productive meetings, with discussion focused on finance, vis two isssues: 1) the JBS editorship’s unexpected personnel change, and 2) staffing.  Holger Hoock’s shortened term as editor will bring with it the end of substantial resources provided by the University of Pittsburgh. The NACBS will not announce any funding up front before a new editor is named, but it needs to be prepared to subvent that person’s resources.  Pennybacker announced the formation of a search committee for the new editor, chaired by Anna Clark, and urged members to help with recruitment efforts.  Following a Council resolution, a financial committee will be formed to help advise the Treasurer on these financial questions and to set the budget. 

Pennybacker announced the formation of a rights task force, which has been charged with looking at race, LGTB, and international membership and conference inclusion relative to changing politics and locale. Pennybacker named the task force members and urged the membership to work with them.

There was a question from the floor about this year’s unusually high registration fees.  Executive members emphasized the cost of holding the annual meeting in large, attractive, expensive cities and noted that the NACBS does now offer financial assistance for graduate students and un/deremployed members to attend.  Moreover, the number of delegates for this meeting – 465 – hit a record high.  Pennybacker qualified that the NACBS had also gained 100 new members through registration for this meeting.  Discussion ensued about the costs and benefits of the high fee for the organization’s income.

Marty Weiner moved to adopt a policy that all surplus income from the conference be put toward the cost of the next year’s meeting.  The motion failed for lack of a second, but Andrew Muldoon will take the point under advisement with the new advisory committee.

Treasurer’s report

Andrew Muldoon reported that the NACBS’s finances were sound, and that its endowment was healthy.  His recommendation is to leave intact the endowment and current dividends that have been reinvested.  All told, the endoment’s current $650K generates $14-18K per year. At this point, the NACBS could reduce or halt new investments into the endowment if it wanted to direct that money to an expanded operating budget. If so, it could do so by freeing up vanguard funds.

There was a question from the floor about why it’s necessary to continue building the endowment if it’s already been grown. Muldoon responded that the endowment needs further cultivating to get to the point where it can fund more initiatives and release the NACBS from its sole dependency on CUP, membership, and conferences.  The new financial committee will poll and advise on these questions going forward, but for the present time, the Executive and Council has determined that they support using NACBS resources to fund mission-driven expenses.  Discussion ensued about the extent to which the endowment should be deployed to expand the organization’s initiatives. 

New business

Reba Soffer expressed thanks to the program committee, Executive Committee, and local arrangements workers for mounting an excellent conference.

The meeting adjourned at 6:39 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Elizabeth Prevost (Associate Executive Secretary)

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