The meeting was certified at ~13:00 UTC, with the following members present: Lou Burnard (LB), Julia Flanders (JF), Daniel O’Donnell (DO), Veronika Lux (VL), Daniel Pitti (DP), Laurent Romary (LR), Susan Schreibman (SS), Sarah Wells (SW) and Christian Wittern (CW).
A draft of the proposed 2010 TEI Board Budget was presented and discussed. The initial draft had a sizeable deficit, primarily due to reduced income from membership dues. Dues fell 15% from 2008 to 2009, and we can reasonably expect that the decline will continue in 2010. The economic cutbacks that are prevalent in many universities are likely to continue, so it seems reasonable to prepare for continued reductions in membership and thus in income.
DO gave an overview and explanation of costs broken down into two basic categories of Discretionary, Programme, and Administrative Expenses, and all other costs. Some costs are non-negotiable and outside the Board’s control, such as insurance and tax preparation. Some costs are negotiable but are tied to essential programmatic or administrative work. There was prolonged discussion of these discretionary costs and how to best use the limited funds to fulfill TEI’s obligations to its membership. Primary candidates for cuts were administrative, membership, and editorial costs at Virginia, Nancy, and Oxford, and travel costs.
It was generally felt that administrative and membership costs are disproportionally high and that tasks such as credit card costs, membership invoices, and accounting could be streamlined by the implementation of a more efficient and centrally located database. This would require an investment of time by several people and therefore have upfront higher costs. While everyone agreed that this is necessary, it is not yet clear that the Board can or should allocate funds from an already anemic budget to this work this year.
Rather than making one or two drastic cuts, SS suggested a more general smaller cut to all administrative, membership, and editorial funding this year. However, the host institutions were also asked to submit a more detailed explanation of costs, so that the Board has a more complete picture of the work being done and the costs incurred at each institution.
The initial budget draft provided funding for two Council face-to-face meetings, one in Berlin in October and one at the Members Meeting in Croatia in November. It also allowed for one face-to-face Board meeting at the Members Meeting in Croatia in November. The Board discussed limiting funding to a single Council meeting and lowering the amounts available for travel at both meetings.
These two programmatic reductions would create a small surplus, which could be held in reserve for emergency travel costs, database development work, and any unforeseen costs. The Board asked SW and SS to draft a new version of the 2010 using the proposed cuts and to submit it to the Board. A second phone conference to review this draft willl be scheduled for as soon as possible.