This past year I have been concerned with three items, finances, membership and meetings. With respect to finances, there are two items to consider. First, by action at last year’s meeting we raised the membership dues for all three categories of membership, Individual members from $50 to $75, Contributing Organizations from $300 to $450 and Constituent Societies from $750 to $900. I wrote a letter explaining the change in dues that the Treasurer sent with the invoices. I heard no complaints from the membership but the number of organizations and people who have paid their dues is down slightly from last year so we have not realized much more profit to date than previously. I need to oversee the creation of a membership committee to follow up on the members who have not yet paid.
Last year’s meeting approved the creation of an AdHoc committee to look into ways of handling the financial crisis for CIE/USA caused by declining revenues on top of a very precipitous rise in CIE dues caused by the rise of the euro. A major focus of the committee was discussion on the pros and cons of joining a similar organization. Since Alan Lewis president-in-waiting for IESNA the subject was broached with IESNA in a workshop IESNA held last December, but only peripherally. IEEE was also considered as a possible host for CIE/USA, but no specific action was taken. My opinion, after much discussion, is that such a move is not viable. Another option was to approach US Government agencies such as the Departments of Commerce and/or Energy. This has been minimally pursued by my writing one letter to James Broderick, DOE’s NETL chairman as well as some discussion with Yosh Ohno. I have not been diligent in pursuing this path and need to do so with your help.
A third path consisted of a letter to Wout vanBommel, CIE President, questioning the CIE dues structure and asking for relief. No relief was given financially, but I did have a chance to give a PowerPoint presentation at the Leon mid-term General Assembly meeting. Thanks go to Norb Johnson who helped me put the presentation together. Mr. vanBommell responded to the presentation by saying that his vision of the CIE in the future was one where the CIE did not depend on national dues. However, this vision is a bit further off than we can afford to wait for.
We are slowly losing members, both organizations and individuals, but the organization loss is more critical. Further our membership is getting old. We are not attracting many young members to CIE work. This is part of the reason we have a financial problem. What can we do to attract new members? This question will be one of the topics we will discuss in the joint session with the Canadian NC following this meeting.
In response to the membership and financial issues I think we need to create a subcommittee within the Executive Committee to help address membership loss and help recruit new members. I have been slow in creating such a committee which should lead to the position of VP, Membership Services being added to the Executive Committee. I promise that this will be accomplished, at least in terms of definition of the job and a bylaws proposed change by next year.
With my wife, Marty, I was able to attend the CIE mid-term meeting in Leon, Spain. It was a marvelous experience. The Spanish hospitality is marvelous, if you do not mind returning from eating dinner until midnight or later. No restaurant opens before 8:30 or 9:00 PM. The San Marcos hostel was an exquisitely wonderful place to host the meeting. And who can forget the 5-hour lunch we had during our tour on Sunday. Leon is not on the tourist rout – so don’t expect to ask anything in English – but it is on the pilgrim route from France to Santiago de Compastella.. All in all it was a memorable experience.
Our Tucson mid-year meeting was a problem in that neither the Technical Committee or the Executive Committee had enough members to reach a quorum. Thus I had to send out all the proposed actions for vote by the Executive Committee, to be returned to the Secretary for tallying. Even this electronic voting request was not responded to well. As a result some of the items that were decided on at the mid-year meeting did not get sent out to the membership for vote.
I put some effort in keeping the web site updated. Further, a couple of weeks ago we changed ISP from Verio to Network Solutions, who own our address, and upgraded the web hosting package to one where we could set up to sell items using credit cards. This package at Network Solutions was cheaper than that at Verio where we had much less capability. The webmaster, Rex Becham, has moved the web pages to Network Solutions.
While the number one problem remains to solve the financial crisis a second is the capability to communicate well and provide adequate services to our members. To do this I think that it is important upgrade the web site so that financial dealings for meetings and sale of items can be handled using credit cards. I hope we can have this capability up by the mid-year meeting. I have put this recommendation as a motion under new business.
I am pleased with the attendance at this meeting and the excellent job done by the technical program chairs as well as the services provided by the Holiday Inn. Thanks to all for your help and willingness to keep the CIE/USA well and prosperous.
Rolf S. Bergman, President
29 October 2005