Report #5 by

Chuck Doswell

on my activities as a

Councilor of the

American Meteorological Society

Created: 21 October 1999

Disclaimer: Everything contained herein is associated with me personally, and has no connection with my employer [NOAA/ERL/NSSL] or with the AMS. That is, these are my personal observations, opinions, and recommendations and have no official standing or sanction. If you are offended or bothered by any part of this, take it up with me <>, not with either my organization or the AMS.

If you have not seen them before, I have other writings concerning the AMS at this Website. Please consult my campaign statement for some of this, and you can find my first report from the council meetings here, my second report here, my third report here, and my fourth report here.


The Council - as of the September/October 1999 Council Meeting (at AMS Headquarters)

The Council consists of (see Article VII.1 of the Constitution):


* Councilors not in attendance at this meeting. Note, some Councilers arrived late and some others left early. A quorum was present at all times (with the possible exception of the occasional "biology breaks").

$ Councilors about to finish their terms.

# Dr. McPherson is also the new Executive Director, who is a non-voting member of the Council


Thus, there are 21 members on the Council (four AMS officers, two past presidents, and 15 Councilors). The Executive Director and the Secretary-Treasurer are appointed by the Council (Article IX of the Constitution), not elected by the membership as a whole; they are ex officio members of the Council, not eligible to vote. Therefore, there are 19 voting members, and so a two-thirds majority is 13 members if all voting members are present at a meeting. A quorum is a simple majority (10) of the voting members.

My Fifth AMS Council Meeting - Impressions

Formal minutes of the meeting will appear in a future issue of the AMS Bulletin (probably in January, 2000) and, possibly, on the Web at some earlier date. If the latter possibility works out, I'll update this and provide a link to those minutes.

As a now-grizzled veteran of Council meetings ... you have to go from a neophyte to a verteran pretty fast, since there are only seven meetings during one's tenure on the Council (see discussion below) ... I was again rather disappointed with the way things went at this meeting. Part of that is the fact that some things I wanted to see happen did not happen. However, I think I saw some suggestions that the Councilors tend to view themselves as taking on the role of Society leaders in ways that disturb me ... notably, in taking stands to disapprove recommendations from the membership. I realize that we have to do such things from time to time, primarily as a matter of conscience but, as I was told in my first meeting, we shouldn't take such actions without doggoned good reasons! I am not convinced that some of our negative reactions to member-initiated items were based on very good reasons. I take seriously the notion that we Councilors should be commited to serving the members, and not be too taken with our role as leaders of the members. If we get too far out "in front", we end up being alone and isolated.

Although the 10-Year Vision statement has been approved by the Council, I have serious doubts that most of the membership has read it, or even know about it! Nevertheless, it was clear during this meeting that this statement is literally driving all our Council decisions. This makes me somewhat nervous. As capable as Charlie Hosler (Planning Commissioner, who was the primary person responsible for developing the 10-Year Vision statement) is, and as carefully as this statement was developed, if the members are not as committed to it as we Councilors are, is it appropriate for us to be acting as if it has become a de facto By-Law in our Council decision-making? Should we be trying to force the membership into doing things they are not necessarily doing on their own? I am not convinced this is our role.

As usual, the following items are not in any particular order.

If you have read this far and have an opinion on whether or not you feel disenfranchised and disillusioned with the process by which the AMS makes decisions, send me an e-mail: <> and you might consider passing it to Ron McPherson (see e-mail address above), as well.