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Actions Taken At August Board Meeting

The APS Board of Directors met on Wednesday, August 11, in a marathon session lasting 13½ hours. Now, not all of that was a board meeting! We did have a strategic planning session for 4½ of those hours, as the Board works towards developing a long-range vision and goals to support that vision. I will keep you apprised of the progress through my president's column. APS member Steve Zwillinger, who is a strategic planner for the U.S. Department of Education, is facilitating the planning sessions. Steve is doing this as a volunteer, and we all owe him our gratitude.

The Board heard reports from our Society attorney Virginia Eisenstein and our Executive Director Bob Lamb. Past President Peter McCann, who is the APS representative to the international federation of philately known as FIP, reported on the upcoming FIP Congress in Singapore in September.

Our dealer liaison to the Board, Jim Dempsey, presented a report to the Board that conveyed the dealers' perspective on many issues.

We reviewed the APS Winter Show AmeriStamp Expo and examined its financial impact on the Society. It was the sense of the Board that we should continue the Winter Shows, and work hard to at least break even with the expenses. We believe the Winter Shows are a great way to publicize our wonderful hobby, gives us a venue to try new and exciting ideas, and brings the APS to a wider audience.

The Chairman of the Committee on the Accreditation of National Exhibitions and Judges, Ann Triggle, brought two proposals to the Board. The first was a housekeeping measure that proclaimed there must be at least five award levels for one-frame exhibits won at national World Series of Philately shows and designated that these awards are national award-levels. This is necessary because one-frame exhibits are now being accepted at FIP shows and in order to participate exhibitors must receive at least a vermeil medal in national competition.

The second proposal adds a new experimental class at our Winter Show called a Showcase Competition, in which one specialist society each year will be allowed 100 frames to showcase exhibits of their specialty. The show judges will select one of the exhibits in the Showcase to be the best, and that exhibit will be able to participate in the Champion of Champions competition later in the year.

The Fund-Raising Committee presented a framework for the second year of our Project One Capital Campaign, with the goal being to maintain the momentum we have built in the first year. The Capital Campaign's goal is to raise $10 million in ten years, at an average of $1 million each year. I am pleased to report that we are on target to reach our first year's goal, thanks to the generosity of our members. The APS Board extends our deepest gratitude to each of you who made a donation, whether it was large or small. You are building the future of philately.

Our treasurer Nick Carter presented next year's budget for approval. The Board also approved the elimination of the $5 early payment discount given to those members who pay their dues before January 1. This will help but not entirely offset a deficit in the budget that the Board approved. Our treasurer told the Board that we will need to recruit 25 members more each week than we do at present to stem the tide of declining membership and the resulting decrease in membership income; and that we had to generate more income from our investments. You can help! If everyone reading this would recruit just one new member in the coming 12 months, we would cease having a declining membership and the resulting decline in membership income.

Our Executive Director Bob Lamb outlined plans to offer a new service for members. This will be a fee-based listing service for placing lots on eBay in which any unsold lots would then be automatically listed on the APS Internet Sales Unit.

APS dealer member Eric Jackson introduced two resolutions. The first was a proposed resolution that the APS oppose the destruction of philatelic materials for any reason by any group, individual, or organization; with exceptions for government stamp issuing agencies or collectors and dealers who discard damaged, uncollectable stamps.

The second resolution proposed the APS oppose the planned destruction of revenue stamps and the inherent manipulation of the stamp market by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Both resolutions failed.

The Board discussed the new APS logo, which was designed by an advertising agency for use in the capital campaign. The Board had not formally adopted the logo for other purposes and in a very narrow vote, the Board decided to revert to the old logo.

APS Director-at-Large David Straight requested the Board set a policy for selecting auction firms to handle donated collections and legacy gifts to APS. A committee was set up to handle this.

The Board of Vice Presidents proposed a resolution that defines "conduct unbecoming a member," which is a reason for disciplinary action by the Society. The resolution names several specific types of behavior. This resolution was adopted.

Resolved that Conduct Unbecoming a Member shall consist of, but is not limited to, the following types of unacceptable action on the part of any APS member:
  1. Any conduct in violation of the APS Code of Ethics;
  2. Use of abusive or obscene language in any communication, spoken or written, with any director or member of the APS staff acting in an official capacity;
  3. Use of violence or a threat of violence against any APS staff member, director, or other APS member;
  4. Use of falsehood, trickery, or misleading tactic to obtain a judgment against anyone in the course of an APS disciplinary process, including proceedings before or adjudicated in a court of law if those proceedings become part of an APS disciplinary hearing;
  5. Abuse of the APS complaints procedure, including, but not limited to, submitting a frivolous or groundless complaint against a member;
  6. Harassment or retaliation against a complaining party for sanctions imposed by the APS, including the filing of counter-complaints against the original plaintiff after the decision of the Board of Vice Presidents or Appeals Tribunal becomes final, for matters related to the original complaint.
  7. Failure to provide pertinent information or documentation requested by the Board of Vice Presidents during an APS disciplinary investigation, membership application review, or hearing;
  8. Intentionally deceptive or misleading claims in sales, purchases, or exhibits.

A committee of all of the living APS past presidents (Bud Sellers, Joe Foley, John Hotchner, Peter McCann, Randy Neil and chaired by Bill Bauer) presented a report that suggests several APS election reforms. Some of the suggestions were adopted and others were sent to the APS Ethics Committee for further review.

We approved the application of the Armenian Philatelic Association to become an APS affiliate, and we passed a resolution of thanks and congratulations to Frank Sente, APS Director of Administration, who is retiring at the end of this month after a 32-year career with APS. We wish Frank much happiness in his retirement. We will miss him.

That is what the Board did at our board meeting, but I want you to understand that this is not all the Board does. Our Vice Presidents meet every eight weeks to act as the disciplinary arm of the Society. The Treasurer signs the vouchers on a monthly basis, presents the budget, and chairs the Finance Committee. The Secretary is responsible for keeping the meeting minutes and attesting to the signing of documents. The Directors-at-Large are used in a variety of ad hoc committees. All of the Board members are unpaid volunteers who spend countless hours working diligently on your behalf.

On behalf of the APS Board, I invite each of you to visit the new American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte. This is your Center, created by your generous donations to foster your knowledge and enjoyment. We believe you will be proud of what you see.

(A complete transcript of the minutes of this meeting is available on the APS website at: http://www.stamps.org/almanac/alm_meetminutes.htm)

Janet Klug
October 10, 2004

Published by permission. ©2004 Janet Klug

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