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ASOR Finance and Executive Committees Meeting

May 5, 2006 – Boston, MA


PRESENT: P.E. MacAllister, Chair, Martha Joukowsky, Vice President, Andy Vaughn for COP, Eric Meyers, Larry Geraty, President Joe Seger, Rachel Hallote for CAMP, Eric Cline, Holly Andrews, Assistant Director, Selma Omerefendic, Accountant, and Britt Hartenberger, Interim Publications Manager

ABSENT: Burt MacDonald for CAP, B.W. Ruffner, Treasurer, James F. Strange, Secretary

VISITORS: Nan Frederick, Tammi Schneider, Ann Killebrew, Timothy Chester

1. Call To Order           10:30AM

2. Approval of minutes:

Be it resolved that the minutes of the meeting of February 12, 2006 be approved as distributed. It was moved by Eric Meyers and seconded by Andy Vaughn.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

Eric Meyers introduced Timothy Chester. Mr. Chester has over 20 years experience working in museums throughout the country. He is the former director of the Grand Rapids Museum in Michigan where he was involved in the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit in 2003. He now works with  two exhibit firms – United Exhibit Group and Exhibitour. He and Eric Meyers have been in conversation about doing a collective ASOR exhibit, involving the overseas centers. The exhibit would focus on American archaeologists working in the Holy Land, and involve artifacts, texts, etc. Exhibitour is very interested in doing this project with ASOR and already has investors in the Detroit area who are willing to put up 2.5 million dollars as an initial investment. ASOR would not have to put in any money to set this up. It would plan to launch in late 2008 or early 2009 and would travel throughout the country for about 2-3 years in museums in major metropolitan areas. Exhibitour is willing to pay all up front expenses, all they need from ASOR is the commitment and will, and curators for each of the exhibits.  ASOR may expect a small profit -$250,000-300,000 over five years; and if it publishes the programs, a profit on that as well.

Be it resolved that the Executive Committee accept the proposal for an ASOR traveling exhibit and work with Exhibitour to begin the planning of this project. It was moved by Eric Meyers and seconded by Andy Vaughn.  PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.  Reporting back to the Board for authority to proceed.

Mr. Chester then left the meeting.

Andy Vaughn noted that the signed Release Agreement with Doug Clark needs to be officially accepted by the Executive Committee at some point during the weekend. Copies were then distributed. Andy then made a motion to reconsider the previous agreement which had mandated that all Executive Committee members would sign this document.

Be it resolved that since the Release Agreement with Doug Clark has already been executed and since ASOR’s legal counsel has advised that no further action is necessary, no other member of the Executive Committee needs to sign this agreement and that all members of the Executive Committee are in agreement with its contents. It was moved by Andy Vaughn, and seconded by Martha Joukowsky. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

Eric Cline inquired about the Jordanian Conference set for Washington, DC in 2007. He asked if plans were moving ahead. Martha Joukowsky assured that all arrangements have been made for this event and everything is on track.

3. Report from the Chairman – P.E. MacAllister

P.E. talked about re-structuring the ASOR membership categories to include a category unconnected with publications, but interested in support of ASOR. He would like to have a membership card produced. He also would like each member of the Board to bring in at least one new member over the next year. He thought it would be helpful if the Board could receive a monthly update on new members.

P.E. would like to create some new grants for excavators in the field; he suggested the program may be called “Excavator Quest”. Perhaps individuals or corporations may adopt a dig and support a digger at the cost of $2,500 each.

P.E. next suggested that 3 new lay (business/professional) trustees be brought on board over the next year, and three more the year after. He recommended that 3 of the new board members be from the Boston area. He has already made contact with 2 Boston individuals that may be good prospects.

P.E. then suggested we clean up the ASOR’s legal documents – By-laws, Articles of Incorporation, and the Procedure Manual, so there are no conflicts, and all are in agreement with how ASOR is to be governed. This process has already been started, and Eric Cline is in charge of seeing this project through.

4. President’s Report – Larry Geraty

Larry said he did not have much to report, he wanted to thank the IMC and staff for their good work moving things forward over the last couple months while ASOR has been transition. Martha Joukowsky advised that P.E. or someone in position of authority put out a statement that ASOR is alive and well and the future looks bright. There have been sentiments circulating that ASOR is in bad shape and many people are wondering what has been going on in the organization since the Annual Meeting in November. P.E. said he would write this letter and it will be mailed to the membership as well as be put up on the ASOR website.

5. Affirmation of New Slate of Officers

Chairman of the Board—Joe Seger

Past President—Larry Geraty

President—Eric Meyers

Vice President—Eric Cline

Vice President—Tammi Schneider

Secretary—Jim Strange

Treasurer— P.E. MacAllister

Be it resolved that the new slate of officers be elected and that the terms begin on May 6, 2006 and go for 18 months (though December 2007). There will now be a Past President on the Board and co-Vice Presidents. Eric Cline will serve as Vice President for Governance and Tammi Schneider will serve as Vice President for Membership. Resolution was moved by Andy Vaughn and seconded by Joe Seger. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

Joe Seger proposed distributing the motion for the Past President position to the Board and asked for a vote by mail within three weeks. The new office of “Past President” as an automatic member of the Executive Committee was passed by the Executive Committee at the February 12 meeting.

6. Report from the Treasurer – P.E. MacAllister reported for B.W. Ruffner

P.E. noted that at the February meeting, ASOR had a deficit for the year of $311,429.  Part of the deficit was due the “Ruffner Policy” of escrowing subscription money to pay for publications, meaning it can no longer be used to pay monthly operating expenses.  In truth ASOR has been raising much more money than in past year than before.  For the next six weeks we need only about $8,900.  Dr. Geraty announced he has a promise to makeup the shortfall so we balance on June 30.  Larry Geraty noted that three trustees especially have contributed a significant portion of the donations.

A motion was proposed by Larry Geraty and seconded by Joe Seger as follows:  BE IT RESOLVED that ASOR publicly thanked P.E. MacAllister, Dick Scheuer, and Atremis and Martha Joukowsky for their generous gifts to ASOR. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

There was brief discussion on the budget for FY2007. Andy noted that we will use the money from the Publications opportunity fund for all book publications not associated with salary.

Investments are looking relatively good thanks to the work of Austin Ritterspach. Austin’s report was circulated and accepted by consent.

7. New Business

  • Discussion about the Interim Management Committee – should it continue as is, or change? It is working well now and functioning efficiently, so it should continue.

P.E. MacAllister appointed a Management Committee (MC) and assigned it responsibility of overall operational management.  B. W. Ruffner serves as Chair with Andy Vaughn, Eric Meyers, and P.E. MacAllister as members. The MC is empowered to act as is needed to improve our operation. The MC makes regular reports to the other officers who in turn communicate these reports to the appropriate ASOR constituencies. The MC will next report to the Executive Committee at the November meeting where its continuing status will be re-visited. Motion to continue was moved by Andy Vaughn and seconded by Martha Joukowsky. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

Eric Cline brought up the idea of a total restructuring of ASOR from the ground up due to the transitions that have been going on. We need to look into the way the organization is governed and make recommendations on how to proceed going into the future.

BE IT RESOLVED that Eric Cline and Tammi Schneider will undertake a thorough review of the governance and operation of ASOR and bring a preliminary report with recommendations and suggestions to the next Executive Committee meeting. It was moved by Joe Seger and seconded by Eric Meyers. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

  • Discussion on the Ethics of Publishing Unprovenanced Materials

ASOR is working on revising its policy statement to address this issue. We want to rise above the fray and take the moral high ground. The revised statement will re-affirm ASOR’s commitment to doing solid ethical work and finding innovative ways to do scientific research. It will state that we will respect the host countries in which we work and not tell them what regulations they should establish. We do not want to be colonial. If the host country says the material is legitimate and that it should be studied and published, then we will do so. ASOR needs to inform the membership that we are addressing this issue and working to devise a strong statement.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Executive Committee met on May 5, 2006 and voted to establish a committee to revise the ASOR policy statement as it pertains to the publication of unprovenanced materials. This committee will consist of Eric Meyers (chair), Andy Vaughn, and Tammi Schneider and be advised by Patty Gerstenblith, the Chairs of COP, CAP, CAMP and the Baghdad Committee, and the editors of the three ASOR journals. This statement will be vetted by membership. It was moved by Joe Seger and seconded by Eric Meyers. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

Two items were then discussed and added to the Board of Trustees meeting agenda for the following day:

 - The document concerning ASOR’s support for the overseas research centers.

 - Power of EC to override all financial decisions


BE IT RESOLVED that the Executive Committee recommend that the Board of Trustees vote to rescind the resolution made under #11 on the Board agenda from November 19, 2005 that gave the Executive Committee full power to override any financial decision made by any other committee. The resolution is unnecessary given ASOR’s By-laws. It was moved by Andy Vaughn and seconded by Eric Meyers.

8. Report on Development – Ann Killebrew (interim chair)

NEA - Ann reported that about $23,000 has been raised toward the production of NEA. We have also been awarded a generous challenge grant of $25,000 from Notre Dame, contingent on our raising a matching amount from our member institutions.  Several of said institutions have made gifts or pledges toward that goal. To assure the Notre Dame match, we need to raise about $14,000 additional. She urged everyone to approach their institution to consider a contribution to ASOR before June 30.

Institutional Members - We have a goal of 10 new institutional members by year’s end, so far we have secured 6. Tammi Schneider commented that she would draft a letter to go to the institutional representatives at the end of the year to update them on ASOR business and inform them of the new membership benefits.

Tammi noted that we should encourage all membership to contribute artifacts from their digs to the ASOR exhibit. Preference would go to CAP affiliated projects and consortium members.

9. Report from Publications – Andy Vaughn

The Publications report had several items seeking Executive Committee/Board approval:

  • Motion to approve the search for a new Publications manager and the search Committee as proposed. ACCEPTED
  • Motion to extend the contract of Sandra Scham for three years. ACCEPTED
  • Motion to make the Newsletter largely electronic. ACCEPTED
  • Motion to raise the price of BASOR from $60.00 to $70.00 for individuals. ACCEPTED
  • Motion to increase the international mailing fees to $13.00 for mail in the U.S. and $25.00 for international mail. ACCEPTED

Tammi Schneider has persuaded the Sacred History Society to join ASOR as a member. They will be giving us a gratis full page space in their magazine. Half the page will be an advertisement and the other half will be an article of our choosing. It is sold in many places, including airports and now, Wal Mart. The distribution is expected to be about 150,000. COP will oversee this.

The first billing for Membership Renewal has just gone out from the Boston office, thanks to Britt Hartenberger and Katie Chaple.

Due to the lapses in NEA, we have lost more subscribers than we have gained in the past year. The plan is to be caught up with NEA by December 31, 2006. This may mean we have to do another double issue, COP is still discussing this. Billie Jean Collins will be concluding her contract with ASOR at the finish of the next issue, (68:4).

We are about $7,500 down in memberships from what was budgeted for the year, but we are above what we projected for subscriptions by about $20,000.

We currently have 82 institutional members who have paid for the year. We would like to bring this figure back up to 100. Including our new institutional members, we should bring in about $94,000 in dues for the year.

  • Review of NEA

Andy and Sandra would like to get away from doing topical issues. They would like to see grouping of articles, but no particular theme.

One reason we haven’t been able to attract more interest in NEA is because we have not been able to afford professional editors and art direction, but must rely on our own scholars.

What would we like NEA to be? Should it be more popular, or scholarly? We definitely need to include timely issues. We need to appear active, perhaps do something like a president’s column in each issue with photos showing ASOR reps. at various events, openings, etc.

We need a scholarly response to what’s being said on the news or on the internet, and something different from what people are getting in BAR. Ann Killebrew says that she would like to see NEA be a high class BAR.

We may want to due something on the history of ASOR - “Excavating ASOR”.  As we research our own files and material written by Wright, Cross, Albright, etc. generations ago, we can deal with the Dead Sea Scrolls and other historical ASOR achievements.

Currently, NEA is ambivalent. It has a flashy cover and pictures, but the content doesn’t reach the same audience that those pictures appeal to. We must pick one or the other, it’s a dichotomy.

Andy encouraged submission of comments and suggestions to him or the Boston office. P.E. would like to see a focus group put together on this issue.

10. Report on Annual Meeting and Program – Rachel Hallote

Rachel reports that Sten LaBianca is stepping down as Awards Chair and Sandra Scham will be taking over. The Program Committee has just started to put the actual program together for the Annual Meeting. There are 5 new sessions this year. We haven’t had a budget for the Lecture Series in the past year, so it has been difficult to do much.

BE IT RESOLVED that $2,000 be allocated in the FY2007 budget for the Lecture Series. It was moved by Andy Vaughn and seconded by Ann Killebrew. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY

One idea for the Presidential Forum is to have it focused on the Dead Sea Scrolls. We could have photos of them blown up and mounted with accompanying text for the President’s Reception following the session.

Our legal counsel, Jim Joseph, lives in the D.C. area. We should nominate him for an award for his service at this year’s meeting. Rachel will bring it up to the Awards Committee.

11. Old Business

Martha wanted to know if someone would be willing to go to the ALCS meeting next weekend, May 11-13 in Philadelphia. Britt will look into going if she is able.

Andy thanked Larry Geraty for his years of service to ASOR as president.

12. Vote to adjourn 4:25pm

Respectfully submitted,

Holly Andrews, Assistant Director (for James Strange, Secretary)