Board looks at veterinary economics, AVMA finances

Economics steering committee, policy on contract oversight receive approval
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The AVMA Executive Board, while meeting April 7-9, concentrated its attention on the economic challenges currently facing veterinarians individually and collectively.

The board approved the establishment of an ad hoc Economics Vision Steering Committee to initiate the process of creating an economics vision for the veterinary profession and of developing strategic recommendations for the AVMA to take leadership to attain the vision.

The AVMA Board of Governors—Drs. John R. Brooks, chair of the Executive Board; Larry M. Kornegay, AVMA president; and René A. Carlson, AVMA president-elect—recommended establishing the economics steering committee because of concerns that economic issues pose a serious threat to the profession in areas such as education, workforce, and practice.

Dr. Carlson
Dr. René A. Carlson, AVMA president-elect, makes a point during the April meeting of the AVMA Executive Board.

The steering committee will plan a retreat for the August meeting of the Executive Board to allow board members "to look at potential plans for reaching a better economic situation for veterinary medicine in the future," Dr. Carlson said after the April board meeting. The committee also will start developing plans for future actions to address economic issues, possibly including one or more stakeholder summits.

"Transformation will take several years, with constant attention to the mission from leadership at many levels," Dr. Carlson said. She said the board will seek input from the membership and other AVMA entities in formulating the economics vision.

The members of the economics steering committee come from the board and the House Advisory Committee.

AVMA finances

During the April meeting, the board also took a number of actions relevant to AVMA finances.

The board approved a $30 million balanced budget for 2012. Revenues in 2012 will be similar to revenues in 2011, as member dues will not increase next year.

A new "AVMA Policy on Executive Board Contract Oversight" received approval. The new policy provides for the following:

  • The Board of Governors and AVMA treasurer must approve all contracts involving an expenditure of more than $500,000.
  • The CEO must approve all contracts that involve an expenditure of $75,000 or more or that involve a time commitment beyond three years. The board will receive information on these contracts on a quarterly basis.
  • The CEO or a division director must approve contracts for an expenditure of less than $75,000 or a time commitment of less than three years.
  • Staff members may not sign contracts without having attended training on contract review and management.
  • The AVMA's general counsel must review most contracts, including any contracts for $5,000 or more.

"These policies will help the Association manage legal risks that are inherent in business transactions by minimizing exposure to liability while maximizing legal protections," said Isham Jones, AVMA general counsel, after the board meeting. "It is simply a responsible business practice to routinely obtain legal review of business arrangements and to keep the Executive Board well informed of how staff is carrying out the Association's activities."

Among other monetary items, the board chair's stipend was increased from $5,000 to $15,000. The chair's stipend had not increased in recent years, unlike those of the president and president-elect, who each currently receive a $50,000 stipend.