Magazine article American Libraries

Keeping ALA Fiscally Fit: The New Dues Proposal

Magazine article American Libraries

Keeping ALA Fiscally Fit: The New Dues Proposal

Article excerpt

Keeping ALA fiscally fit: The new dues proposal

ALA member-leaders don't propose a dues increase easily or lightly. Here's the how and why of the increase you'll be asked to approve.

When ALA members receive their ballots this month they'll find a bylaws proposal that would change membership dues for the 1991-95 fiscal years. What is being recommended is a five-year, $5-per-year increase. If approved, the increase will raise dues of regular members from $75 in 1988-89, to $80 in 1990-91, $85 in 1991-92, $90 in 1992-93, $95 in 1993-94, and $100 in 1994-95. No change is proposed for the current fiscal year.

To help members consider the proposal, I want to describe the ALA budget process and the steps that led to the recommendation of a dues increase.

Careful analysis

Projections of revenues and expenses are developed by ALA operating units and submitted to the Committee on Program Evaluation and Support (COPES) by ALA management. After careful analysis of the projections, COPES makes adjustments and adopts a budget for presentation to the Executive Board. The Board's Finance and Audit Subcommittee reviews the request approved by COPES and makes its recommendations before final Board action.

This process involves a broad spectrum of ALA officers and members and provides sufficient checks and balances to assure informed, thoughtful, and prudent considerations of our fiscal needs.

Consideration of a dues increase involves an even broader range of ALA members. The Membership Committee must consider the proposal and act on it. The Executive Board and its Finance and Audit Subcommittee also review the proposal and act formally on it. Before the proposal can be placed on the ballot, ALA's governing body, Council, must receive, discuss, and approve a resolution authorizing such action.

The dues increase proposal on this year's ballot was discussed and approved by all these groups before Council resolved at ALA's 1990 Midwinter meeting to present it to the members on this year's ballot.

A fiscally fit ALA

A report prepared by COPES was distributed to ALA Councilors. That report noted, "although ALA is now in strong financial health, stability is maintained by anticipating economic shifts and strengthening revenue sources before being confronted with fiscal problems."

Cost containment efforts by ALA staff that have contributed to ALA's strong financial position have included such actions as:

* Development of budgets that grow two percent less than inflation. …

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