February 2013

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February 2013

News From Lea Asbell-Swanger, USITT President

Meetings Move Swiftly -- Electronically

President Lea Asbell-Swanger makes sure the Executive Director keeps his head down and his nose to the grind stone during the run-up to the Annual Conference & Stage Expo.

Photo/Barbara E.R. Lucas

Welcome to February! In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where I live, the most important date this month is February 2 because that is Groundhog Day. For those of you who might not know its meteorological significance, according to Pennsylvania German lore, if the groundhog comes out of his winter den and sees his shadow, he retreats because winter weather will continue for six more weeks. If the day is cloudy and he sees no shadow, he stays out as the weather will continue to be moderate.

What the groundhog decides has more than passing interest for us this year since six weeks from now most of us will be gathering in Milwaukee for the Annual Conference & Stage Expo, and it would be helpful for all travelers if winter weather was behind us.

As most may know, the Conference is one of the two times a year that the Board of Directors gathers in person to work on behalf of the membership. The other face-to-face meeting occurs in the late summer. In addition to those meetings, there are usually at least three more virtual or e-meetings which traditionally occur in June, November, and January.

As I write this, the January meeting was only days ago, and I want to share some of what transpired at that meeting for two reasons. First, so that you can appreciate how much work is done by incredibly dedicated volunteers to keep USITT moving forward and making the most out of opportunities as presented, and second, because you’ve made it clear that you want to know.

For some, one of the most anticipated moments was the approval of the final two policies from the existing Policy & Procedure Compendium. When the USITT bylaws were updated in 2012, part of that process involved removing items that were actually policies and procedures, combining those documents with existing policies and procedures and then, reviewing and modifying as necessary the whole thing. This required input from all corners of USITT, tireless management and editing by Jean Montgomery, and finally review and approval of all the contents by the Board.

In some ways, it’s miraculous that it only took this long. Now that it is complete, the final version will soon be uploaded to the USITT web site so that members can access all the policies and procedures of the Institute.

Another momentous event was the approval of the FY 2014 budget. Typically, the upcoming year’s budget is not approved until one of the board meetings at the Conference. Because of the good work of Treasurer Dan Culhane, the Finance Committee, and all the volunteers and staff that provide input into the budget’s creation, we found ourselves ahead of schedule. The Board was able to receive the budget draft prior to the January meeting with appropriate time to review it, formulate questions and/or concerns, and have those discussed and addressed appropriately so that approval was achieved.

You should be pleased to know that the FY 2014 budget, which will become effective as of July 1, shows a modest surplus.

There were other actions and information shared at this meeting, and all the details will be included in the official minutes, but I thought I’d share these highlights. Also, as you prepare to attend the Conference in Milwaukee, you are encouraged to join the board meeting which will be held on Tuesday, March 19 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center.

Lea Asbell-Swanger

We'd like to hear your comments on this story.
Please e-mail Lea at Lea.Asbell-Swanger@usitt.org.