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ACS News

August 2, 2010
Volume 88, Number 31
pp. 58 - 59

Council Preview

Vote on one petition, open discussion on timing of council meeting will occur in Boston

Rudy M. Baum

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The American Chemical Society Council meeting in Boston, scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 25, promises to be a relatively quiet meeting. The council will vote on a single, straightforward petition to change the society’s bylaws and will engage in a special discussion item on whether to move the council meetings from Wednesday to Tuesday during national meetings.

The petition concerns “recorded votes” of council. Currently, recorded votes are conducted using “an identifiable ballot completed and signed” by each councilor. The record of each councilor’s vote is subsequently reported in C&EN. The petition would allow recorded votes to be conducted by electronic “clickers,” which have been used now for several years to conduct all other votes of council, including those that select the candidates for ACS president.

The special discussion item follows up on a request in August 2009 by then-ACS president Thomas H. Lane for council committee chairs to consider how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their committee’s work, including during ACS national meetings. One proposal that came out of that exercise was to reschedule the council meeting from Wednesday to Tuesday.

A survey of councilors and other stakeholders conducted earlier this year by the Council Policy Committee (CPC) asked the question: “Do you support moving the Council meetings to Tuesday mornings?” The survey received 546 responses, with 52.4% voting yes, 31.7% no, and 15.9% undecided.

CPC plans to assemble the feedback from the council special discussion, along with online comments in the New Councilor Group on the ACS Network and data from the survey and other sources. In consultation with the ACS Board of Directors, CPS plans to make a decision on the proposal to move council meetings at the 2011 spring national meeting in Anaheim, Calif.; the change, if approved, would likely not take effect until the 2012 national meeting.

The council will also elect, as it does at all fall national meetings, members to the Committee on Committees, CPC, and the Committee on Nominations & Elections.

Following is the text and associated reports of the petition scheduled for action at the ACS Council meeting in Boston. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 25, beginning at 8 AM at the Sheraton Boston.

Petition on Recorded Votes

Bylaw III, Sec. 4(d)


We, the undersigned Councilors and members of the American Chemical Society, hereby petition to amend the SOCIETY Bylaws as follows (additions underlined; deletions struck through):

Bylaw III


Sec. 4.

Meetings of the Council

d. Recorded Vote

Any member of Council may call for a recorded vote on the current action before the Council, other than an election, at any time before the Council has proceeded to the next item of business or recessed. Upon approval by three-tenths (3/10) of the Councilors voting, a recorded vote shall be taken without an intervening recess, either at the close of the debate or when approved, whichever is later. The recorded vote shall be administered using an identifiable ballot completed and signed by a voting method from which it shall be determined how each Councilor voted. The record of the each Councilor’s vote shall appear promptly in the official organ of the SOCIETY. (9/24/93)


During 2009, Councilors used clickers to vote on matters before Council. The current Bylaws do not allow recorded votes by any other means except by a written, signed ballot. Currently when recorded votes occur, Councilors are instructed to use one of their assigned, numbered ballots to vote, then to sign the ballot and pass it to the aisle. Members of the Committee on Nominations & Elections (N&E) collect these ballots, adjourn to a secluded room, and tally the votes. During this time, no business regarding the issue at hand may continue. After the votes are tallied, the chair of N&E announces the vote to Council, and the issue at hand is resumed. This process takes a minimum of 15 minutes. Changing the Bylaws to allow recorded electronic votes would permit results to be announced once the voting has closed. The information stored in the voting system would be subsequently retrieved and printed, showing the recorded vote of each Councilor, as prescribed by the Bylaws.

This proposed change is intended to allow a quicker response to recorded votes and to allow current and future technology to be used. It is also consistent with the Society’s Bylaw changes to authorize electronic voting in elections.

Signed: David W. Ball, Rachael Barbour, Mekki Bayachou, Frank D. Blum, Marcus R. Bond, William H. Breazeale Jr., Mary S. Chaklos, Dwight W. Chasar, Robert J. Cotter, Norman C. Craig, Philip W. Crawford, Milagros Delgado, Carol A. Duane, Merle I. Eiss, Catherine C. Fenselau, Andrew L. Graf, Bruce A. Hathaway, Ruth A. Hathaway, Donald A. Jaworske, Peter C. Jurs, David F. Miller, Bjorn Olesen, David A. Payne, Robert A. Pribush, Michael Rodgers, Arlyne M. Sarquis, Sharon P. Shoemaker, Herbert B. Silber, Kenneth W. Street Jr., Andrea B. Twiss-Brooks, Mark J. Waner, Teresa Wiltowska

This petition has been referred to the Committee on Nominations & Elections (committee having primary substantive responsibility), Council Policy Committee, Society Committee on Budget & Finance, and Committee on Constitution & Bylaws.

Final Statement of Financial Impact

The Society Committee on Budget & Finance has examined this petition and concludes that it will have a minor negative impact on the finances of the society ($0–$100,000).

Report of the Committee on Constitution & Bylaws

The Committee on Constitution & Bylaws has prepared a revised version of the petition, making editorial changes to clarify the wording and to remove wording that was not necessary.

The committee finds the revised petition to be legal and consistent with other provisions of the Society’s documents.

A two-thirds vote of Council is required for approval of amendments to the Bylaws. If approved by Council, the amendments will become effective upon confirmation by the Board of Directors.—Alan M. Ehrlich, Chair

Committee Actions

  • Read official reports of committees that met during the June meeting of the ACS Board of Directors in the ACS News section of C&EN Online, www.cen-online.org/acsnews/88/8830acs2.html. Included are reports from the Standing Board Committees on Grants & Awards, Professional & Member Relations, and Public Affairs & Public Relations.
Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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