Advisory News (Winter 2004)

by Charlie Karukstis

Hmm— an advisory committee? You’re probably asking yourself: why does the Society need one? Granted, there’s no shortage of them across the country: the Federal Government alone has over a thousand of them, enough to prompt the existence of a Federal Advisory Committee Act. It seems like every organization one comes across has them, and of course their effectiveness probably varies quite a bit. I’m sure quite a few of us remember the quote by former Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg (1908-1990): “If Columbus had had an advisory committee he would probably still be at the dock”. So how exactly does an advisory committee help the Society?

When created in 2001 by the Society, ANS President Donald Partrick stated that “In addition to its role as a ‘focus group’ for the membership, the Committee will also consider specific matters delegated to it by the Council”. Indeed, the first task undertaken by the Committee, ably led by our first Chairperson Doug Rohrmann, was a complete revision of the Constitution and By-Laws. While delegated tasks will continue to be a key role for the Committee, of equal importance is our responsibility to listen to the membership. It is in this task that the members of the Advisory Committee feel a special urgency: to reach out to the general membership and Fellows of the Society, make sure their voices are heard, and incorporate their thoughts, suggestions and concerns into regular communications, both to the Board as well as back to the general membership.

We recognize that it isn’t always an easy thing to have your voice heard, or to keep in touch with much of the work being done. To that end, part of the mission of the Advisory Committee is to exist as a point of contact, for members to be able to communicate with fellow members. The current roster of the Committee is a wonderful cross-section of long-time members of the Society: Catherine Bullowa-Moore, Jay Galst, Robert Leonard, Jr., Scott Miller, Normand H. Pepin, Donald Scarinci, Stuart Sears, Lawrence Stack, Edward J. Waddell, and Frederic G. Withington. It is our hope that there is at least one member whom you recognize and feel comfortable enough to communicate your ideas and concerns. If not, let us know, as we’d like to get to know all members of the Society.

We’re interested in what you have to say, whether it’s a comment on work currently underway at the Society or suggestions for improvement. To make it easier for you to contact us, an email address has been set up: Members of the Advisory Committee will be happy to respond back to you, and of course we will not only discuss member’s comments and suggestions at our regular meetings, but help propel worthy ideas into new initiatives for the Society.

The Society is entering into a very special era of growth and rejuvenation, and there has never been a better time for all members to contribute their time, energy and ideas. We’d like all members to be part of this effort, and we look forward to hearing from you. In the next issue, I’ll talk about some of the issues currently being discussed by the Advisory Committee. As always, we thank you for your support of the Society!