Author: Matt Grandbois, Councilor
The Spring 2023 Council Meeting of the American Chemical Society will be meeting for a hybrid session on Wednesday, March 29th starting at 8:00am ET hosted out of Indianapolis, IN during the Spring 2023 ACS National Meeting. There are several items that will be up for action both leading up to, and during, this meeting that I believe are impactful to PROF members. I summarize these items below and state my current intentions as your elected Councilor, but as always, feel free to review the full Spring 2023 Council Agenda available on the ACS website or contact me to discuss these issues:
- Due to the election of a member of ConC to the ACS Board of Directors, a special election is currently ongoing to fill this vacancy for a one-year term (2023) with the results to be announced during the Spring 2023 Council Meeting. Al Hazari (East Tennessee) and Daniel Rabinovich (Carolina-Piedmont) are standing for election. Neither candidate is a PROF member, yet both are incredibly well positioned to serve in this capacity as excellent and experienced leaders within the ACS. Due to his connectivity to the greater international community, I intended to vote for Daniel Rabinovich by the close of the election on March 2.
- Candidates for 2024 ACS President-Elect have been selected and will provide remarks as part of the open town hall scheduled for Sunday, March 26th at the ACS National Meeting in Indianapolis. Due to an unforeseen circumstance, one candidate withdrew earlier this year leaving three candidates that will be reduced to 2 candidates by Council vote this spring:
- Mary K Engelman (retired, Eastman Chemical)
- Dorothy J Phillips (retired, Waters Corporation)
- Florian J Schattenmann (Chief Technology Officer, Cargill)
All three are outstanding candidates with more than sufficient experience and professional qualities to fulfill their duties within the ACS Presidential Succession. None of the candidates are PROF members, yet I personally know all three of them and can attest to their leadership capabilities. I do not have a plan of action yet, as I will form it after listening to their remarks as part of the Spring 2023 Town Hall.
- Nominees for District III and District VI Director-At-Large positions on the ACS Board of Director include several PROF members and recently active members of PROF leadership. Past Chair Janet Bryant is standing for District VI and former PROF EC member Benny Chan is standing for District III. Only members of their district will be eligible to vote, so I encourage all PROF members to review the election slate and take an active position to elect your District representative to the ACS Board of Directors.
- In addition to District representatives, 2 Director-At-Large positions will be elected by ACS Councilors later this Fall for a three -year term (2024-2026). These candidates include:
- Wayne E Jones jr. (incumbent)
- Daniel Rabinovich
- Carolyn Ribes (incumbent)
- Joseph P. Stoner
Both candidates Ribes and Stoner are PROF members, with Joe being the most recent recipient of the PROF Henry Hill Award. PROF membership greatly influences my voting as your Councilor, yet I would be amiss to diminish the wonderful leadership and qualifications of both candidates Jones and Rabinovich. As voting will not occur until latter in the year, I would welcome hearing from PROF members on their thoughts prior to the Fall 2023 ACS National meeting.
- The ACS Committee on Nominations & Elections (N&E) is actively seeking candidates for ACS President, District Director, and Director-at-Large for the 2025 calendar year. Submissions are requested to go through the ACS Nominations Intake Form.
- The ACS Committee on Council Policy (CPC) has submitted a petition for action that would amend the duties of CPC within the ACS Standing Rules to act as the “conduct committee for Council” that would enable them to take action to remove ACS Councilors if there was sufficient evidence that such an action would be necessary to mitigate adverse impact on the Society. I am currently sitting on CPC as an elected Member and from my position I do support this petition with the intention of voting to approve it as it mirrors similar mechanism for the ACS Board and provides a mechanism for future action if needed. Without this amendment, there is no way to remove a Councilor if grossly negligent or if they conduct themselves in a way that significantly impacts the ACS in negative way.
- The ACS Committee on Committees (ConC) has submitted a petition for action that would amend the name and duties of the ACS Committee on Environmental Improvement within the Standing Rules. The proposed change would replace “Improvement” in name and duties to “and Sustainability” to better reflect this Committees mission and focus. If approved, the newly named Committee on Environment and Sustainability (CES) would continue to focus its efforts on environmental improvement through leadership promoting sustainability. I believe this is a good change and will be voting to in favor of this petition.
- There will be a special discussion on the floor of Council related to the current efforts of ConC to evaluate the ACS Committee System. An external consulting agency has been employed to help survey and provide recommendations to ACS on how to improve this system to better serve the current and future membership of ACS. Please contact me if you have opinions about this topic so that I can incorporate them into remarks I will give on the ACS Councilor floor.
- The ACS Committee on Nominations & Elections (N&E) has submitted a petition for action that would amend the Standing Rules to provide a “Plan B” in the case of a force majeure impacting the ability of a significant number of Councilors to cast their votes during a Council meeting. This language has been used an approved by CPC over the past few meetings, so this petition is merely to have this provision codified into the Standing Rules. As such, I plan to vote in favor of this petition
- The ACS Committee on Membership Affairs (MAC) has submitted a petition to change the 2024 Schedule of Membership. These changes include
- removing access of printed copies of C&EN (digital access will remain) to student members
- provide Society Affiliates access to a discounted Standard Membership as means to enable marketing of this adjacent potential membership base
- expand the disability waiver to eliminate the requirement of any span of time that a Member has experienced a disability and reduce the number of years of dues payment down to one in order to qualify.
- Remove the age requirement of 70 years of age from the Emeritus membership eligibility making this membership class accessible to any member who has paid due for at least 35 years.
This petition has been assembled with advice from the ACS Committee on Chemists with Disabilities (CWD) and Senior Chemists Committee (SCC). Furthermore, the ACS Committee on Budget & Finance has review this and found that this change would have a significant negative impact on the Society’s finances, but MAC has expressed that this will have a significantly positive impact on membership. I expect there to be much debate on this as it gets to the fundamental question of how much should ACS governance activities be supported by CAS/PUBS vs. membership dues. Due to this complexity, I have not yet formed my opinion on this vote.
- Finally, the ACS Committee on Constitution & Bylaws (C&B) have put forward a petition to add International Representation to the ACS Board of Directors by creating one International Director elected by ACS members that live outside of the United States and Canada who are not members of other Local Sections. The term and duties of this newly created position will be consistent with other members of the ACS Board. It is important to note that this petition is supported by all current members of the ACS Board. As representation of ALL ACS members is critical for a functioning professional society, I plan on voting in favor of this petition.
As your Councilor, I am very interested in hearing from you and hearing your thoughts, perspectives, and preference on any of the above items up for action. Feel free to contact me March 15, 2023 so that I can take your input into account prior to my vote on these items. Stay safe and take care!