Fiscal restraint preserves budgetary equilibrium
Posted May 15, 2004
The AVMA Executive Board held the initial phase of its spring meeting April 1-3 in Schaumburg, Ill., then recessed for travel to Washington, D.C. Once in the capital, the board reconvened April 4-6 to tour an office building the Association has been considering for purchase as Governmental Relations Division headquarters. The board completed its action agenda in Washington, was briefed by various authorities on legislative and regulatory affairs, and visited their respective legislators on Capitol Hill.
At the outset of the board meeting, AVMA treasurer, Dr. James F. Peddie of Ventura, Calif., voiced concern that approximately a million dollars in initiatives were being proposed (excluding the purchase price and renovation of the Washington building, if that transaction comes to fruition).
The treasurer appealed to board members to prioritize and carefully weigh the merits and long-term implications of each recommendation. "If ever there was a time to show your leadership, by organizing and prioritizing this flood of projects with their associated expenditures," Dr. Peddie said, "it is now."
Why the surge of recommendations? Dr. Peddie senses there is a perception that the AVMA is "financially fat," making this an opportune time to float funding proposals. "We are not fat," he asserted. As one gauge, he cited the AVMA policy of maintaining the equivalent of 50 percent to 150 percent of the annual operating expenses in the reserves. Currently, the Association is at 104 percent, which, the treasurer noted, is right where it should be.
Board chair, Dr. Joe M. Howell of Oklahoma City, added that most everything proposed for consideration at the April meeting was worthwhile, but board members must vote by priorities. For that, the board referred frequently to the eight ranked priorities it had set (see chart above), although board decisions did not always correspond with those rankings. The board had set the priorities during two visioning sessions held in conjunction with the November and April board meetings.
By the end of the meeting, the board authorized $74,275 from the contingency funds budgeted for 2004, and $441,870 from the reserve fund, for the newly approved initiatives (excluding the cost of the pending purchase and renovation of the Washington building). Many approved recommendations—such as appointments, position statements, and advocacy activities—did not involve any expense.
The board disapproved, tabled, postponed, or referred back to the sponsors a number of recommendations, disapproving initiatives in excess of $420,000. Board members were disinclined to authorize funds for proposed new ad hoc groups to address single issues, preferring that existing councils and committees attend to those concerns.
The newly approved recommendations, which range from food supply veterinary initiatives to a national, Web-based mentoring program, are reported on pages 1725 to 1742.