April 25, 1988

Executive Committee of the American Institute of Physics

Minutes of Meeting

1. Convene – Roll Call
Ford, in the absence of Chairman Frauenfelder, introduced the attendees. Members of the Long Range Planning Committee attended the morning session.

Members Present:
Peter B. Boyce
Kenneth W. Ford, Executive Director
Roderick M. Grant, Secretary
William W. Havens, Jr.
David Lazarus
James A. Purdy
F. Dow Smith
Martin Walt
Jack M. Wilson

Member Absent:
Hans Frauenfelder, Chair of the Board

Non-voting Participants:
Robert T. Beyer (ASA)
Jerry M. Woodall (AVS)

Gerald F. Gilbert, Treasurer
John S. Rigden, Director of Physics Programs
Bernard Dolowich, Controller (afternoon session)
Lawrence T. Merrill, Assistant to the Executive Director
Paul A. Parisi, Manager, Special Projects
Nathalie D. Wagner, Assistant to the Secretary
Spencer Weart, Manager, History Division and
Chair, Long Range Planning Committee (morning session)
Members of Long Range Planning Committee:
Darlene Carlin, Lawrence T. Merrill, Paul A. Parisi,
Beverly Fearn Porter, John T. Scott

For clarity in presentation with reference to the printed agenda, events recorded here are not necessarily in the same chronological order in which they appeared.

  1. Election of Chair Pro-Tem
    Grant said that, as Frauenfelder is unable to attend this meeting, it is necessary to elect a chair pro-tem. Lazarus’ nomination of Ford, seconded by Smith, was unanimously CARRIED.

2. Secretary's Report
Grant said the minutes for the February and March Executive Committee meetings were not as yet ready for review. The completed Aide-Memoire for each of these meetings is available for reference if needed.

3. Long-Range Planning
(Members of the Staff Long-Range Planning Committee were present for this discussion. As the purpose of this part of the meeting was the exchange of ideas and viewpoints, the details of the discussion are omitted here. They were forwarded to Weart for his committee's consideration.)

Ford said the goal is to produce a long-range plan for presentation to the Governing Board in October, after further review by the Executive Committee in June and September.

Weart said that general guidelines for the plan have been derived from a number of meetings within the staff. Their work to date is now being brought for discussion purposes to the Executive Committee to see where it agrees and disagrees with the staff, and to review priorities. When the list of long-range objectives has been approved by the Executive Committee it will be sent to the Governing Board for further discussion. Tactical planning (details) will not be started until the plan is approved by the Governing Board.

Boyce said it is very important for an organization to have a long-range plan. He saw some unevenness in how much detail was included. He has the feeling that it is weighted to the way AIP staff sees it. He thinks it would be helpful to have an outside person look at the process with an unbiased view, to keep us on the right road and to help the process along.

Ford said he thinks this can be decided after the discussion.

Walt said he thinks a long-range plan is great, but it should be done continuously and updated. What are the plans for future revisions?

Ford said his concept is to have a five-year plan which would be reviewed and updated every year.

Smith agreed with Boyce and Walt. He thinks this preliminary work has been valuable. The question is what assignment has been given to staff? Are they to look at long-range planning for AIP as a whole or to look at a document for management? He thinks these two approaches are mixed up here.

Weart said they did not distinguish between these two approaches, and agreed that they are mixed up here.

Ford said that, from his perspective, the benefit of planning is to provide guidance to management as to what should and should not be emphasized. Be suggested that the committee focus first on the nine draft objectives which follow from the adopted mission statement.

Following considerable discussion, Ford, noting a consensus toward reducing the number of objectives by consolidating the statements, tried to summarize the top priorities as follows:
1) Publishing;
2) Education for all levels;
3) Fiscal efficiency and prudence.

Next, Weart led the committee through a detailed review of the section on AIP SWOT: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.

Several people commented on the need for a viewpoint here from the side of the Member Societies. When AIP does a job poorly, the Societies feel that they pay for it. There is a perception that AIP costs are high and performance poor; perceptions are a problem. There is a question of the quality of service. There has been a feeling within at least one Member Society that AIP has not functioned with the objective of providing services. The response seems always to be the denial of a problem, rather than interest in resolving it. AIP does not appear to have concern for the customer; it does not have a service-oriented attitude (according to some Society representatives).

Ford asked whether the Executive Committee feels that AIP has been too slow to identify and deal with problems of inadequate performance. There was agreement on this point.

Wilson said he thinks it is more than performance. A weakness is an us-against- them attitude, which has resulted in an erosion of confidence. Some of the project failures reinforce this, with subscription fulfillment being an example.

Ford then agreed that two weaknesses should be added to the list:
1) Inadequately vigorous customer orientation;
2) Performance monitoring and slow response to problems.

In conclusion, Ford suggested that members of the Executive Committee review this document again, note any point of view they would like entered, and forward this to Weart as soon as possible. He then thanked the members of the Long Range Planning Committee for their fine efforts to date, and the members of the Executive Committee for their many constructive comments.

(The meeting recessed from 12:20-1:10 p.m. for lunch.)

4. Report on Subscription Fulfillment Development Plan
Ingoldsby could not be present. Ford reported that the plan, as presented at the previous meeting, is on track. Management made the decision to purchase Wang hardware, and some of the equipment has arrived. Reorganization of the Information Technology Branch has taken place, and the Information Services Division was dissolved. As a part of this change, a Scientific Classification Division has been established.

Boyce asked if AIP could serve as a buying agent for buying copies of the Oracle software. It is expensive; if all Member Societies go together, perhaps it could be obtained more cheaply. Ford said he would look into it.

5. Report on Status of PI-NET
Merrill reported that a programmer has been hired, and that they are now looking for a systems analyst. They are now looking at modules and at initiating electronic mail within the system. The target date for startup of the new system, when new services and charges for the use of PI-NET can be instituted, is 1 Sept. Included in the system on this target date are the following: conversion of PI-NET services to the Gould computer, the inclusion of electronic mail as an option, and bringing over PI-MAIL users from Telemail.

Lazarus expressed his concern that the bottom line shows an extraordinary subsidy. He views it as frightening that this subsidy serves such a small coterie of people.

Ford agreed that the PI-NET project is beginning to create apprehensions similar to subscription fulfillment. We have to get over a threshold. Present users number far below what we had hoped. If, after the implementation of the new enhanced system, we cannot succeed, the choices are either to beef it up with further new services or to terminate the project. He said he wants to reassure the Committee that management is deeply concerned. They do not want this to be a creeping drain, but want to develop the services.

6. Revised 1988 Budget
Gilbert referred to his 11 April 1988 memo to the Executive Committee on Revised 1988 Budget (excerpts attached as Appendix A). As a result of changes in the subscription fulfillment development plan, revisions are required in the 1988 Budget approved in December, 1987. In preparing the suggested revisions, management concentrated on certain changes which would significantly affect the bottom line of the budget. His memo notes areas of adjustments in salaries and employee benefits covering current key personnel and new positions. The net result of these changes reduces the Net Revenue from $756,900 to $390,300.

Lazarus made the following motion, which was seconded by Boyce and unanimously CARRIED.

MOVED that the 1988 Budget be revised to a new Net Revenue of $390,300.

Walt asked how we have done in the past with the budget. Gilbert said we estimate conservatively and always have made more than budgeted. The big question is the number of pages; this has a major effect on the bottom line. Another major concern was the renewal of the Soviet program. The outcome of the negotiations was successful, but the cost of the negotiations is deferred into next year. Ad rates will be increased for 1989.

7. Rental Rates in Midtown Manhattan
Gilbert referred to his 11 April 1988 memo to the Executive Committee on rent for New York resident Member Societies. Management was asked at the February meeting to make a study of rental costs for comparable space in the vicinity of our 335 East 45th Street building. A survey of rents in eleven nearby building was made. Moat rentals were about $35.00 per rentable square foot, plus electricity.

Walt asked what resident Societies are paying now. Gilbert said it is $22.00 plus utilities, which factors in rented space at 140 East 45th Street. He is now starting to work on estimated coats.

The following motion, made by Lazarus and seconded by Walt, and which appears here as modified during subsequent discussion, was unanimously CARRIED.

MOVED that AIP charge resident Societies market rates for rental of space, effective 1 January 1989.

8. Gemant Award
Rigden said he has contacted Burke, the current chair of the Gemant Award Committee, but Burke has not contacted his Committee as yet.

Smith moved the following, which was seconded by Havens, and unanimously CARRIED.

MOVED that the Secretary be requested to conduct a mail or telephone ballot of the Executive Committee in order to name the 1988 Gemant Award winner when a recommendation is received from the Gemant Award Selection Committee.

9. Meggers Project Award

Rigden reported on the action of the Meggers Committee, which met on 16 April in Washington. They received 27 proposals. Five were chosen, totaling $25,000.

Lazarus requested that in the future the award-winning proposals, be given to the Executive Committee in writing. He made the following motion, which was seconded by Walt and was unanimously CARRIED.

MOVED that the allocation of $25,000 from the William L. Meggers Fund for distribution as 1988 Meggers Project Awards be approved as recommended by the Meggers Project Award Selection Committee. [See attached summary of project titles and amount awarded.]

Grant noted that this is the first time for this award. He hopes that Public Information will publicize these locally and nationally to benefit the program.

10. Policy on Grants and Contracts
Havens had raised this question at an earlier meeting. He had asked the Secretary's Office for historical background on this topic and found nothing in the minutes that describes AIP policy or procedures for considering grants and contracts. He asked that management write this up and submit it to the next meeting. He thinks management should have guidelines for projects appropriate for AIP to undertake.

Ford and Gilbert reviewed the present internal procedures. Contracts come to the Executive Committee for decision. In the area of projects, most are in physics programs and most of these are in history. All proposals are reviewed by the Management Committee before they are submitted.

Ford said management could prepare a summary statement of present policy and will distribute a list of current procedures. This will be discussed in June, with information from management.

Havens commented that projects undertaken by AIP should have national importance. Ford remarked that AIP is now operating under an approved policy guideline that the Institute is encouraged to seek outside funding for projects, provided these do not require longterm commitments to people.

It was established that management is to provide the Executive Committee with an outline of its current administrative procedures for the approval of contracts and grants. The Executive Committee will give consideration to policy issues which surround any search by AIP for external funds for projects.

11. Other Business

  1. Authorized Signatures for Checking Accounts
    Gilbert distributed and read his 25 April 1988 memo to the Executive Committee regarding the present policy for authorized signatures. At present two authorized signatures are required for checks of amounts in excess of $10 ,000. With no one at present in the position of Director of Publishing it will often be difficult to secure two signatures. He recommends that the present limitation be raised to $25,000.

    The following motion was made by Havens, seconded by Smith, and unanimously CARRIED:

    MOVED that existing policy for authorized signatures for checking accounts be modified so that the Institute maintains two types of account signature authorizations, as follows:
    a. One requiring a single authorized signature for amounts up to and including $25,000, and
    b. One requiring two authorized signatures for amounts in excess of $25,000.

  2. Woodbury, L.I., Property
    Havens asked what is happening with the Woodbury property in reference to the statement made in a previous meeting that a plan needs to be drawn up to go the Oyster Bay Town Council.

    Gilbert said management met with William Weinbaum, our real estate consultant. He then met with members of the Oyster Bay Planning Board to feel them out regarding the present climate. Weinbaum said he did not get definite encouragement from them; rather, they said we should get an architect and present plans. Weinbaum obtained the name of an architect who has done plans in that area, and he is meeting with him today. He had previously thought our chances were 50/50, but that we should wait until the administration changed. It has now changed, so the timing is appropriate. Approval was previously given for AIP to engage an architect.

  3. Approval of Funds for Reserve
    Grant asked if there was a need for a motion on the reserve funds.

    Gilbert said we have no final figures yet. There is overall approval for everything over $200,000 to go into the reserves. It is the percentages that must be set. He has asked for a conference call of the Investment Advisory Committee to make a decision on the $2 million now available for investment.

12. Future Meetings
Future scheduled meetings (Executive Committee except as noted):

9-10 Jun (5 p.m. Thurs - 4 p.m. Fri) Washington, DC
8-10 Sep (9 a.m. Thurs - 12 noon Sat) Woods Hole, MA
23 Oct (12 noon - 5 p.m. Sun) Marriott Hotel, Tarrytown, NY
23-24 Oct (6 p.m. Sun - 4 p.m. Mon) Governing Board, Marriott Hotel, Tarrytown, NY
25-26 Oct Corporate Associates, IBM Watson Labs, NY
1-2 Dec (5 p.m. Thurs - 4 p.m. Fri) New York, NY
Feb (date to be selected)
30-31 Mar (1 p.m. Thurs -) Assembly of Society Officers
31 Mar (a.m.) Executive Committee (if necessary)
31 Mar (12:45-1:15 p.m.) Annual Corporation Meeting
31 Mar - 1 Apr (1:30 p.m. Fri - 1 p.m. Sat) Governing Board

13. Executive Session
The staff were excused at 3:15 p.m. and the Executive Committee meet in executive session, which is reported in the official minutes only.

14. Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 3:40 p.m.