The American Numismatic Association is to be commended for its first webcast of its board of governors meeting Oct. 22.
I look forward to more of them. I might be the only one, because word was that just 23 outsiders were watching. While it is possible there was more than one viewer per computer screen, it is not likely.
It is probably fortunate that so few members were watching, because with such a limited agenda on public view, it can tend to skew one’s impression of the organization.
The most important action the board could have taken at its October meeting was adoption of the annual budget. It did not do so. It only agreed to fund operations for three months.
Why? That was not explained during the public board session.
After the meeting I talked to Jake Sherlock, the ANA’s marketing and communications director, and asked for a copy of the draft budget. Apparently the board does not want that released because there are some significant revenue issues.
Webcast viewers were simply given notice of the delay in adopting the budget without any reason. Instead, what webcast viewers got was a lengthy discussion about joint convention promotion with the Royal Canadian Numismatic Association in 2014.
With all due respect to our Canadian friends and Clifford Mishler’s comprehensive history of Canadian-American amity and cooperation, I very much doubt that the average ANA member much cares. Certainly I am all in favor of it, especially since it will not cost the ANA anything, but I would much rather know about the budget, which got more mysterious in my communications with headquarters after the meeting.
Treasurer Larry Baber said the draft budget had some numbers in it that were not realistic and the board will meet on a more frequent monthly basis by phone and other means to iron them out.
Are we talking a return to big deficits and big problems as in times past? I don’t know, but the entire membership now has three months to let their imaginations run wild and for headquarters staff and board members to selectively leak tidbits either by accident or on purpose.
Also in the webcast meeting there was a long discussion about length of board member terms, term limits and the concept of staggered terms. This was initiated by a bylaws committee report.
No action was taken at this time, but there is worry by some in ANA that there is a risk of loss of institutional memory if we have another electoral housecleaning of the kind that happened in 2007.
Elections also seem to cause ANA headquarters staff to feel “jitters.” This was something that was brought up by staff to board members when they met at headquarters the day before the webcast.
I don’t think anybody is in favor of gratuitously inflicting jitters on anybody at ANA, but is that a reason for holding fewer elections? If you watched the webcast, you might think that is how at least some board members view things.
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