2009Q3 Reports: Office

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The membership report for 2009 is at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~lsl/acl/Memberships-2009-by-country-Summer.xls

The membership report showing statistics from 2000 to 2009 is at http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~lsl/acl/membership-report-2000-2009-Summer-statistics.xls

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Priscilla Rasmussen 12 July 2009


ACL Business Office Report

Our Office three-year lease comes to an end as of April 1st, with two one-year renewal options. The 2009/2010 year has been locked in at the same rental fee as has been paid over the past three years. Now that we are expecting 2010 and the future to require less space to house fewer (or no) hardcopies of both the journals and conference publications, I have been speaking to our realtor about possibilities of finding about half the current amount of space and there is a good possibility we can find space within the realtor’s own building. Otherwise, I will begin an earnest search for new space in late fall 2009.

Regarding the possible office move, first, the background: ACL has always paid 75% of the office rental; AMTA pays 10%; ARCS (my company) pays 15%. These percentages were derived based upon the amount of time I spend on ACL and AMTA activities and the remainder covers whatever other events I might pick up through ARCS (Digital Government Society, WISE, ISI, etc). So, currently:

$850 Rent = $630 ACL/$85 AMTA/$135 ARCS (expected increase April 1st to $900 = $675 ACL/$90 AMTA/$135 ARCS)

Plus security system (around $400/year) and electric utilities (around $1,000/year)

Yearly ACL office rental cost = $630 X 12 = $7,560 + $400 + $1,000 = $8,960

Separate phone/fax/internet are paid by ACL regardless of where office is located

New space, at about 450 square feet, will cost around $12-14 per square foot unless the realtor and I can strike a better deal. This means rental of the new space will cost around $500 per month, or about $5,500 per year. I would expect savings on electric, security, postal meter rental, etc. to also reduce the ACL cost burden. The potential new costs would be:

$500 Rent = $375 ACL/$50 AMTA/$75 ARCS

Yearly ACL office rental cost = $375 X 12 = $4,500

Separate phone/fax/internet are paid by ACL regardless of where office is located

So, ACL would stand to save about $349/month = $4,188/year or around $12,564 over the next three years.

Wachovia and safeguarding our funds: Wachovia Bank now has appointed a Small Business Representative with whom I have been working to optimize and, at the same time, safeguard our various accounts’ holdings. To this end, one account was cancelled and another, safer and with better interest rates, was established as our main “Operating Account”. I also verified that all of our accounts, except the Operating Account, are jointly FDIC (federally) insured up to $250,000 under new federal guidelines that came into effect last October. These new guidelines and the increased maximum insurable will be in effect through 2013. The Operating account is the most variable in amounts held each month and, when large sums come in, such as from conferences, I can move lump sums to one of our Money Market accounts which fall under the FDIC protection until the funds are needed.


Publications: With the low publications ordering in the last couple of years (only a handful of book resellers and very few member orders), we had made the decision in our last (Winter Executive) meeting to end the hardcopy publication sales before the impending office move next spring. To make this happen, I will offer a “fire sale” of all hardcopy publications in my office over the 3-month period of October-December 2009, at a flat $5 per copy plus shipping. This will include all years of the journal sets, ACL/EACL/NAACL/COLING main conference proceedings, and all workshops. We will then try to find libraries, especially in disadvantaged countries, who might like to stock “series” of some of our publications at no cost other than shipping. The goal will be to eliminate as much as possible before March 31, 2010.

If anyone knows of libraries who might be interested in some of our older publications, please let me know which ones and a contact person.

Membership: We had a record-breaking total of 2,123 members in 2006 and 2007 ended with 2,104 total members. In 2008, we took a large dip in final members, down to 1602, which I believe is greatly due to holding only one conference that year (membership is required for conference attendance). I am pleased to report that 2009 currently has 1909 members and more will come from the ACL-IJCNLP 2009 conference attendance plus some more individuals joining. So, it appears we are back on track and should expect over 2000 members by the end of the year. The changes to our membership types (elimination of Joint membership option) and benefits (going to electronic-only version of the Journal, offering select publishers’ discounts, etc.) have not seemed to discourage members from joining the ACL.

Walker Fund: Thanks to the Executive for their approval of increasing Student Travel Awards funding beyond the previously typical 1-3 Walker Fund awards (basically never exceeding 10% of the roughly $30,000 in the Walker Fund account). This year, for ACL-IJCNLP 2009, $10,000 was allocated to be distributed along with the SRW and AFNLP/COLIPS funding and the Student Volunteer Program to support as many students as possible.

Conferences:

While we know from media reports that there is an economic downturn worldwide which has effected many conferences with lowered attendance, this is not the case at all for our three ACL events in 2009. A concern we always have, when all three ACLs happen in one year is that there is a drop in anticipated attendance at each individual conference but, possibly this year, the economy has enticed people to stay in their own region but to come out in record numbers.

EACL 2009, held in Athens, Greece, enjoyed a record attendance of 515 people. Much of this success is due to the excellent stewardship of Alex Lascarides and Vangelis Karkaletsis and his tremendous local team.

NAACL 2009, in Boulder, Colorado, was also quite a success, in no small part due to Martha Palmer, Jim Martin and Christina Paterno of the University’s Conference Services Office. Their dedication and attention to detail (and the beautiful setting!) made for a successful meeting, with 682 attendees.

ACL-IJCNLP 2009 is almost upon us and is already exceeding our attendance expectations, with 751 pre-registered as of the end of last week. The coordination efforts of the entire planning committee and exuberant local organizing, headed by Haizhou Li, will ensure a superb experience for all who go to Singapore.

In April, Jan Hajic and I met with Joakim Nivre and others to conduct the ACL 2010 site visit in Uppsala, Sweden. The logistics were reviewed, sites seen and selected for the conference and banquet venues, and organizing matters discussed. We are excited to be going to Uppsala! And, Ido Dagan and I will be conducting the site visit in September for ACL 2011.

Conference Sponsorship:

I am very pleased to report that EACL 2009 reaped about 45,000 euros in conference support and NAACL 2009 received commitments totaling $30,750. And, ACL-IJCNLP 2009 has commitments of well over $30,000. This is a very healthy amount of support, indeed! Many thanks to all sponsors who continue to believe in the importance of our meetings and help to make our conferences successful!

The ACL Office will act as record-keeper of our sponsor contacts and assist any interested company representatives in making new, additional, or repetitive donations, clarify sponsorship benefits, and put potential sponsors in touch with the proper Sponsorship Chair(s).