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ASOR Offices at Boston University

656 Beacon St., 5th Floor

September 8, 2007


Present: P.E. MacAllister, Chairman of the Board, Eric Meyers, President, Joe D. Seger, Eric Cline, Vice President for Programs, Sheldon Fox, Treasurer, Tammy Schneider, Vice President for Membership, Andy Vaughn, Executive Director, Jeffrey A. Blakely, Interim Vice President for Publications, Orly Nelson, Ann Killebrew, Vice President for Archaeological Research and Policy, Chris Rollston, Vice President for Publications, B.W. Ruffner, Jim Strange, Secretary.

Absent: Terry Hofecker, Vice President for Development; Larry Geraty, Past President.

I.                    Call to order 9:00 AM.

II.                 Agenda was approved unanimously.

III.               Approved minutes from April meeting. It was pointed out that p. 2 of the minutes does not mention the terms of those appointed to various offices.  The Secretary calls attention to the Board minutes, which contain the term information.

IV.              Action Items:

A.     The Executive Committee affirmed Jeff Blakely as Interim Vice President for Publications unanimously by voice vote.

B.     Appointment of new members for the Committee for Archaeological Research and Policy--Ann Killebrew reported that because of committee member rotation, she needed replacements.  She brought the names of Greg Mumford, Larry Herr, Leigh-Ann Bedal, Ben Saidel, Ben Porter, and Tom Levy. 

BE IT RESOLVED that the Executive Committee recommend these names to the Board of Trustees as members of CARP. Moved by Ann Killebrew; seconded by Tammi Schneider. passed unanimously.  The Secretary will forward these names to the Board for their email vote.

C.     Jeff Blakely for the Officers’ Nominating Committee noted that Stuart Swiny cannot continue on the committee. Blakely recommended that he be replaced by Joe Seger. The nomination was affirmed unanimously by voice vote.

V.                 Announcements of actions made by the management committee.

A.     The Executive Committee received the management committee’s endorsement of the recommendation from the Investment Committee to reinvest dividends from Sequoia Fund in mutual funds held with Charles Schwab. This was to achieve gradual diversity.

B.     The Executive Committee received the decision of the Management Committee to hire a new staff person for membership services. This will be an hourly employee.

C.     The Executive Committee received the action of the Management Committee to hire Parent, McLaughlin, and Nangle, CPAs, Inc. for auditors.

D.     The Executive Committee received as information the Management Committee’s charge to Chris Rollston to present a reorganization plan for publications. Since then Chris Rollston has resigned, so the Management Committee decided not to take further action until a new VP for publications could be named. Chris reported that he resigned due to the demands of the job of VP for Publications. Considerable discussion ensued about the transition of Publications from an office of its own to integration into the central office in Boston.

E.      The Executive Committee received as information that following Chris Rollston’s resignation, the Management Committee voted to recommend that board chairman MacAllister appoint Jeff Blakely as interim Vice President for Publications. Chairman MacAllister did so. (See item IV.A above.)

F.      Following the resignation by Sandra Scham as a co-editor of NEA, the Management Committee appointed Jeff Blakely as an interim co-editor to serve through a transition period.

G.     The Executive Committee received the action of the Management Committee, namely, approval of the recommendation from the Executive Director to allocate $1,223.43 from Smith Barney settlement to ASOR’s endowment.

H.     The Management Committee formally affirmed Boston University’s “Rules of Conduct” (Section 401 in the Personnel Policy Manual; see for all communication and interaction between board members, officers, committee members, and ASOR staff. The Executive Committee took the following action:

BE IT RESOLVED that the language above be changed to “The Management Committee formally affirmed Boston University’s “Rules of Conduct” (Section 401 in the Personnel Policy Manual) for all communication and interaction between ASOR members and ASOR staff who are Boston University employees.” Ann Killebrew moved; Tammi Schneider seconded. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

BE IT RESOLVED that the Executive Committee recommends that all board members and other committee members strive to maintain the highest standards of conduct and civility in their interactions with one another. Eric Meyers moved; Ann Killebrew seconded. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

VI.              Discussion Items:

A.     Stipends for journal editors: ASOR has had ad hoc policies in the past. Two of three journals offer stipends of $13,000. The three co-editors of NEA split one stipend, and the editor of BASOR is paid one stipend.  The editor of JCS has no stipend. The stipend involved is a token considering the amount of work. Should the new COP chair deal with this?  It may be that these are not stipends but research funds to support production. Editing NEA, a semi-popular journal, requires different skills from editing BASOR or JCS as academic journals. If we could increase the number of institutional subscriptions, we could improve the publication finances. We provide bibliographical checking for BASOR and other services. It is important that editorships have fixed terms and that there be a customary way to proceed with appointment of editors. It was also noted that the amount that is paid to editors depends on the amount the Boston office must work for a given publication.

B.     Travel support for officers to ASOR board meetings: There are no current guidelines for current practice.  It has been an ad hoc arrangement for certain Executive Committee members who have asked for help.

BE IT RESOLVED that this issue be turned over to Sheldon Fox, Treasurer and Andy Vaughn, Executive Director, to develop a policy to return to the November Executive Committee meeting for action. Tammi Schneider moved; it was seconded. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

C.     Discussion of CAP and the up-coming retreat: (In the minutes of the Executive Committee of 10 Feb 2007 the new VP for the Committee for Archaeological Policy was charged to “re-envision CAP’s mission and its operating procedures; the new VP will be charged with holding a retreat or intensive meeting to carry out the said envisioning and to report no later than the November meeting.”) Rather than using ASOR funds for a CAP retreat, Ann Killebrew proposed first a reconfiguring and reconceptualizing of CAP using current and former members of CAP at the November meeting. After the discussion, we may or may not proceed with retreat planning.

BE IT RESOLVED that the reconfiguration and restructuring of CAP will have its preliminary discussion in November, and CAP will make a decision about holding a retreat and who will attend. CAP will report to the Executive Committee and to the Board in November. Ann Killebrew adds that she would prefer that the CAP meeting should be open to all who have an interest in attending, except for the vetting process, which has confidentiality issues. Ann Killebrew moved; Tammi Schneider seconded. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY.

D.     Discussion of publications: Chris Rollston, Ann Killebrew, and Andy Vaughn reported that NEA may be caught up by middle 2008. Ann Killebrew suggested that in 5-10 years we will become totally electronic. Perhaps the new head of COP should put together a plan to do so.

E.      Discussion of membership survey on the Annual Meeting: ASOR has a signed a contract for 2009 for New Orleans, meeting on it own just before the SBL meeting. The consensus was that there seems to be no clear mandate from the survey of changing or not changing the date and venue of the Annual Meeting with SBL. Other factors would have to be weighed, such as costs and the mission of the annual meeting, to decide whether we change.

F.      Discussion of the kind of support ASOR officers would like from the central office: Job descriptions of all ASOR staff (including the Executive Director) were distributed and will be available for reference. It was asked whether the Executive Committee could have a list of the official job description in comparison to what each staff members actually do. The main item people seem to need from staff is information. 

VII.            Administrative reports:

A.     Report from Board Chair P. E. MacAllister: History is surprisingly popular today on TV and in movies. Some very good materials have been presented by our own ASOR officers, yet still other misunderstandings of the past by those who exploit it. Ancient Rome has been featured on TV, with some interesting characters.  Others are improperly depicted. That Rome could dominate such a large part of the ancient world is amazing in itself. Pompey plays a significant role in ancient history.  Pompey seized a significant part of Alexander the Great’s empire.  Antiochus IV marched to Egypt to add it to his reign.  Rome told Antiochus to withdraw.  His weakness allowed a Revolt to break out in Judaea. The three centers of power declined with the raise of a sort of feudalism. The countryside was overrun with crime. The seas overflowed with pirates. The civil war between Hyrcanus and X signaled a series of these disorders.  Pompey brought order to this disorder. A new policy went into effect of moving into new areas and setting up Roman order by slaying their Rulers or striking a deal with them. The Hellenic pattern of the polis was used to form an orderly environment under Pompey’s hand. If the local rulers do not work out, then replace them by a procurator, prefect, or other functionary. Rome was ambitious to set up law and order and keep the peace.  This allowed Paul to exploit protected routes in his journeys. The parallels with ASOR: 1. We are no longer under erratic finances. Much of this success was due to B.W. Ruffner’s labors.  2.  Leadership and human affairs.  The people across the Middle East were the same.  What was new was the order or Rome, or the establishment of a managerial order. Leadership and fellowship make the environment work. If the structure is good, it makes choices easy.  But ASOR does not have the same control.  We have to induce, request, and persuade our followship. It is less clear who drives the vehicle. This puts the responsibility on the command structure to be clear and persuasive to carry it forward as though it were the membership’s assignment. We would be well served it make clear to all who is in charge, what is needed, and the time frame. If there is no one to carry out the program it does us little good.  “I wonder if we have done a good job of deploying our membership.” We need to assign vocal people to committees so that they can put their efforts where their oral commitment is. We don’t have committees because of the by-laws. We have committees to strengthen and execute the mission of ASOR. We need more people at work with a clear vision of what is to be done. These are not recommendations, but observations. The time is ready for P.E.’s successor.

B.     Report from President Eric Meyers: The management committee meets by telephone regularly, and Eric Myers and Tim Harrison stay on the same page.  Tim Harrison was continually involved until he left for Turkey.

The Archives Initiative was a challenge for various reasons. The application for the NEH grant was electronic. In the process of writing the grant and collecting the data, it was found that the data stored in AIAR was not in good condition. This altered the budget, as recovery and conservation of these data are central to recovery of our history.  The overhead recovery rate was reduced because of the restoration costs. There are also vast amounts of materials stored at the Harvard Semitic Museum. Some crucial components of the Albright-Wright correspondence are in ASOR’s collections. Researchers have not had access to the ASOR material. Eric Meyers reports that old Minutes have extensive materials that recent minutes no longer contain.

The appearance of NEA 69/1 resulted in extensive email correspondence for the Management Committee and Chris Rollston. Until Publications is running efficiently and on time, we will not be able to stay in the black.  This new search for the VP for Publications is therefore timely and promising. We stand in need of more lay Trustees who have a love of archaeology and can help us financially. Caari has archival materials that relate to the ASOR history and AIAR history. Archival work shows the necessity of linking historical and archival information with other institutions.

C.     Report from President Elect Tim Harrison. Tim Harrison, Andy Vaughn, and Jeff Blakely have begun the task of drafting VP job descriptions. He reports a steep learning curve but has felt good about being brought in on discussions with various groups and committees as a part of the learning process.  He appealed for communication from all about concerns and what we can change or reform so that ASOR realizes its potential. Finances are still precarious, but it is clear that we are advancing. He has been considering an exercise with the VPs and all who want to give input on items for the agendas or a mission statement for ASOR for the next few years. He sees developing strong relationships with the Centers as a priority, as well as with the American Research Institute in Turkey, among others. He sees a priority to rationalize the jobs of the VPs and the office staff. He asked for feedback in these tasks. 

D.     Report from Treasurer Sheldon Fox (distributed). The Treasurer noted that the auditors should provide an audit by the November meeting. Our investments returned about 13%, which is roughly how the stock market performed. The Sequoia Fund has outperformed the market in down markets.  We are about 2/3 concentrated in the Sequoia Fund.  Over half of Sequoia’s investments are in six stocks and about ¼ in one company. That led the committee to move the dividends into other investments to diversify. Membership and Subscriptions cash flows are behind at this point (two months into the fiscal year) compared to last year.  The critical quarter is next quarter. Sheldon Fox would like to see a monthly report which the Treasurer can then review and distribute to the Executive Committee. The other recommendation is that ASOR expand its financial reporting so that we can see net profit and loss program by program.

E.      Reports from Vice Presidents

                                                            1.      Publications: Christopher Rollston—(report distributed beforehand). Publications are moving toward being on schedule. The ASOR Annual will soon go to press with the Eric Meyers Festschrift. The Altimira proposal for the ASOR book series was presented to COP, but COP decided that there is not enough benefit to ASOR to proceed with the proposal. The series may be beneficial in the future.

                                                            2.      Membership: Tammi Schneider—Lawson Younger has agreed to be in charge of  the regular membership committee. We met our 90 institutional membership goal last year. Three new Institutional members will also join this year. There is a new initiative to pursue small museums with an ANE collection to join ASOR.  

                                                            3.      Archaeological Research and Policy:  Ann Killebrew (see above.)

                                                            4.      Programs:  Eric Cline--The Annual Meeting is developing appropriately.  The areas of challenge include Outreach, which is not in the program.  The other is the Honors and Awards Committee, which has very few nominations.

                                                            5.      Development: Terry Hofecker (absent—see distributed report.)

VIII.         Old Business—none.

IX.              New Business. Andy Vaughn mentioned the location of the spring meeting, Friday and Saturday, May 2-3, 2008 in Philadelphia with AIA and with the CAARI and Albright Boards.) The hotel is the Renaissance Philadelphia Hotel Airport.  There is not yet a venue for the February 8-9, 2008 Executive Committee meeting.  Durham, NC and Tampa, FL were mentioned as possibilities.

X.                 Announcements--none.

XI.              Adjourn: 3:04 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

James F. Strange, Secretary