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Message from the Treasurer

Ron Dimock

    The financial news is outstanding, not the least reason for which is that we do NOT have any SICB funds in dot com or tech companies! The Society is solidly in the black. The dark days of the early 1990's are well behind us, and the future looks bright. Of course that rosy outlook is contingent upon our continuing to reduce expenses, generate income from subscriptions to American Zoologist or its next morph, and the successful recruiting of new members. There is financial news below that relates to all of these points.

    The excellent financial condition of the Society has nothing at all to do with me. It is very largely the result of the excellent stewardship, financial and overall, that the Society enjoyed under the guidance of Past-President Martin Feder and former Treasurer Kim Smith. These two officers, together with the assistance of several foresighted Executive Committee members, set SICB on its current course of stability and prosperity. We all owe Martin and Kim a debt of gratitude, and sincere thanks.

    The current financial position of SICB is due largely to cost-cutting and the elimination of a number of debit categories in the budget. These measures include, but are not limited to, ceasing to publish Integrative Biology, reducing the cost of the annual meeting, and holding our assets in conservative financial instruments. A major reason for our secure position is the change of professional management from Smith Bucklin Associates (SBA) to Burk & Associates, Inc. (BAI), a change that was effected largely by the initiative of Martin and Kim. The Society was well served by SBA at a critical time in its history. However, the philosophy, style and expertise of BAI, together with that agency's extensive experience with moderate-size scientific societies, foretold a good match and a good reason to make this change. In the approximately one year since the transition to BAI, the evidence suggests that the move was correct.

    For example, with the guidance of BAI, SICB is on track not only to reduce the more than $100,000 annual debit that recent annual meetings have accrued, but actually to have that meeting break even, or generate a profit. In addition, there are numerous cost categories that simply no longer exist in the operating budget. The result is that we have good news.

    The Executive Committee voted in Chicago to allocate in excess of $20,000 to the Editorial Office of the American Zoologist to fund the development of a new format for the journal and to eliminate the current backlog of symposium proceedings. The outcome of the latter will mean that symposia held in January may, in future years, appear in print as early as June. The ExComm also agreed to continue the approximately $34,000 subsidy of student participation in the annual meeting, including free housing and the Graduate/Post-Doc luncheon. Furthermore, and very happily so, the Committee voted an additional reduction in dues. Thus, for individuals renewing membership for 2002 with the early notice that will appear later this summer, or joining the Society for 2002 prior to the New Year, the following rates will obtain:

Full Member$85
Full Family$125
Emeritus with Journal$70
Emeritus without Journal$60
Post-Doc Family$60
Graduate Student$36
Graduate Student Family$59

    The most significant reduction is in the post-doctoral categories, with a nearly 37% reduction in single dues, and almost 49% in the post-doc family category. The intent, obviously, is to make membership more attractive to these young scientists who frequently are not much more financially secure than they were as graduate students.

    Coupled with the reduction of the registration fee for the annual meeting to under $200 and the elimination of the abstract fee, this new schedule of dues returns members' expenses to the lowest level since 1994 when dues increased from $65 to $110 per year. Thus, the promise that was made to all members, but especially to those loyal members who contributed significantly to help retire the very large debt the Society had incurred, has been kept. Pass the word to former members, and recruit new members among your colleagues and students.