1 March 2000
RE: AAUAP Update after February 26 – 27, 2000 Board Meeting
Greetings from the AAUAP Board of Directors. The Board met on February 26 – 27, 2000 in Washington DC and I am writing to provide an update on the status and activities of AAUAP. I send this to provide information about organizational matters and a range of activities, knowing that you also are receiving frequent emails from Executive Director, George Jesien about a host of current issues and opportunities for the entire Network of Programs and AAUAP.
Overall, I am pleased to communicate this message about the growing improvements in AAUAP, financially and as an organization. And to note a number of content issues we are now more capable of addressing. Last Fall, I sent a letter to you describing the Board structure and working committees we were putting in place. This structure has proven to be very productive as you will see in this letter and in additional communications in the weeks ahead.
Budget and Finance Committee: Chaired by Keith Miller
The Financial Reports reviewed by the Board and now also reviewed by the Budget Committee monthly, show the tremendous improvements in AAUAP’S financial situation. One year ago today, we were digging through real and possible liabilities and debts with an uncertain financial future. Today, based on the Network’s willingness to restructure the Association Dues schedule and deal with a ‘one time assessment,’ along with the Board’s and George Jesien’s fine work we can now say we are ‘in the black.’ A combination of fiscal conservativeness, new fiscal controls, and the additional resources from the membership have made this a reality.
Under separate cover, you are receiving a letter about current dues, along with a complete description of the fiscal systems we have developed and put in place. These systems include a mix of internal processes, external processes, and Board involvement. We believe these systems give the Association the needed confidence in our finances over the long term. We are now receiving and reviewing regular financial reports that are typical of a not for profit organization. We welcome your comments on these fiscal controls.
I must also say that attention to the organization’s finances is and will continue to be very important. Our Network of Programs ‘suffers’ from a plethora of great ideas that are good for UAP’s, good for the Network and are needed contributions on disability issues. In addition, it is important that the Association build long term financial stability. Hence, a great deal of work should continue to go into the finances of AAUAP. Keith Miller and the Budget Committee, along with George Jesien, have done an exceptional job of guiding the Board and the Association on this for many months.
Program Committee: Chaired by Bob Bacon
In November 1999, we reconfigured the Board’s Program Committee and gave it a new charge on issues. These issues included: developing a process for AAUAP to create ‘position statements’ or ‘policies’ on disability issues; creating AAUAP internships and fellowships and developing a policy on AAUAP support of and/or participation in, grant proposals. The committee has begun a review of other organization’s processes for position statements. As you may know, such processes can be fairly complicated. In the February 2000 Board Meeting, the Board passed motions approving the development of student internships and leadership fellowships in AAUAP. More work is now needed to work out the processes for such leadership opportunities that will benefit individual UAP’s and the Association.
To date, AAUAP has not had a written policy about supporting grants written by members and non-members, nor about AAUAP participation in grant proposals. Under separate cover you are receiving a policy on this issue that was adopted by Board. As you know, this topic gets complicated quickly and we realized that not having a policy was a problem and made if very difficult to know how to respond to requests and opportunities. The Policy you will be receiving represents a good start on this issue. We ask that you read this carefully. We know that the issue is complex. As such, we have installed this policy with a stated plan to review it in one year. Your comments are welcomed. We know there are additional areas that a long term policy should cover that are not addressed in this initial policy. None the less, having ‘no policy’ has created difficulties and we believe the policy we have created addresses some of the areas of need.
The Program Committee has also been working to support the efforts of the Legislative Affairs Committee, especially at this important time of the Reauthorization of the DD Act. Bob Bacon and the Program Committee have been very productive in a short time on these and other issues.
IASSID/ Annual Meeting Committee: Chaired by Bob Stodden and Gloria Krahn
As you will recall AAUAP is a cosponsor of the IASSID Conference to be held in Seattle in August 2000. In addition, this will also be the time and place of our Annual Meeting. Both the conference planning and the annual meeting planning are going very well. More than 1200 abstracts were received for presentation, many coming from our Network. And, the AAUAP Annual Meeting business and activities are being planned and scheduled. One event is a poster presentation session highlighting AAUAP members and projects to the international community. We are hoping that all or nearly all AAUAP members will be able to have poster presentations at that time, Wednesday, August 2, 2000. This working group has lent a great deal of assistance to IASSID in planning the conference as well as in planning our own Annual Meeting. Bob Stodden, Gloria Krahn and the committee, along with Jacalyn Cox in the AAUAP office, are commended for their fine work in planning such a ‘one of a kind’ event. Sharon Ely has also been working with the Planning Committee to hopefully arrange for reduced registration costs for people with disabilities and family members. I hope to see many of you from our network in Seattle in August 2000.
Organizational Committee: Chaired by Penny Seay
In November 1999, we formed an Organizational Committee to deal with a number of structural issues for AAUAP. There are three specific matters this committee is addressing: needed bylaws changes; a process for the expected need to change the name of the association; and, committee and council structure. The committee has focused on the first of these. Our bylaws need change because they no longer reflect the structure and organizational processes that have emerged in recent years. These bylaw changes are largely obvious ones and you will be receiving information in late spring about the specific changes proposed. We will then vote on the changes at the Business Meeting at our Annual Meeting in Seattle in August 2000.
We are also trying to anticipate the need to change the name of the Association. If the DD Act passes Congress with the changes proposed in the Senate version dealing with what our programs are called in the Act, we will need to align the name of our Association with that language in some fashion. While it is premature to consider possible changes at this time, we know that we need to anticipate the matter and develop a process that will be workable.
Finally, in the months ahead, this committee will begin to review the Council and Committee structure of the Association. These structures provide the vehicles for discussion of issues, the exchange of information and contributions to the Network. We also know that we might be able to develop improvements in this structure that may work better. Because of the time factors of the matters of bylaws changes and a possible name change, the committee and council review will come later. Penny Seay and this committee have done a great job on these structural issues that are detailed and important to the Network of programs.
Work has also continued with the MRDDRC’s. This includes work on increased appropriations for the Centers. Also, the Centers’ representatives have made a presentation at NICHD. And, a new and very attractive brochure highlighting MRDDRC’s in nearing completion.
On March 4 –5, 2000, there is a LEND Program meeting in Washington DC. This will include meetings between MCH government officials and LEND Directors.
The Board is also dealing with other matters related to our Councils and with Legislative Affairs, in addition to the current commitments of AAUAP. While we are still not quite "caught up" with the work resulting from the delays and issues of the last several years, we believe we are making real progress and we have a number of difficult issues now behind us. It has been the commitment and efforts of the many people who have been on the Board in recent years as well as so many people in the network who have contributed time, money and energy that have made it possible to move ahead in the way I have described here.
We also commend George Jesien and our staff for their productivity and timely work. The AAUAP office is running well based on a core staff. George joined us only eight months ago and has very quickly provided leadership, understood and supported the network, developed a strong staff and brought ideas to all of us for the future. I should also mention that the Board is developing a process for evaluation of our Executive Director.
The Board has monthly board meetings via conference call. Please let me know if there are questions or issues that should be brought to the Boards’ attention. We welcome your ideas and thoughts on these and other matters that are important to us all.
David Mank, Ph.D.