I. The Executive Officer, Administrative Office, and the Board of Directors
Relationship to Institutions Hosting the Executive Officer and the Administrative Office
The Society contracts with the host institutions to secure the time and talent of their employees to manage the affairs of the Society. According to the By-laws, the Board of Directors shall designate by their action the person or persons responsible for crafting the agreement and contracts between host institutions and the Society. The Board of Directors, or those persons given authority by the Board to sign such contracts, must approve the contracts.
Until 2009 the same institution hosted both the Administrative Office and Executive Officer, under the name of the Executive Office. By negotiating a contract like those written with granting agencies and foundations, the funds of the Society may be channeled through the host institution’s financial structure. The Society’s operations may then be recognized by the larger community as a part of the operation of the host educational or non-profit institution. Fringe benefits provided to the persons who work for the Society are the same as those provided to other employees of similar status in the host institution. The provision of fringe benefits in this fashion saves the Society from having to deal with negotiating separate contracts with health insurance, pension, and related fringe benefit providers. In addition, since the employees are paid through the host institution, the Society does not have to keep financial records on Social Security payments or withhold federal income tax. The host institution does this when it pays the employee.
From 1990-2008, the University of Tennessee, Department of Sociology hosted the Executive Office. In 2008, the Executive Officer wrote a separate contract covering his relationship with the Society and agreed to fulfill the responsibilities associated with the position. This agreement represented a change from the previous contracts with the University of Tennessee where the Executive Officer served as the contract officer and as an employee of the University of Tennessee.
Changes in the document below represent the current approach in the sense of having separate contracts for the Executive Officer position and the Administrative Office positions. Since August 2009, the Society has an agreement, approved by the Board of Directors, with the University of La Verne where the current Executive Officer is employed as a full-time faculty member. Despite the geographical distance, the Executive Officer and the Administrative Office work closely with one another, communicating electronically and by telephone on a regular, and at times a daily basis.
At the 2009 Annual Meeting, Dr. Tom Hood resigned as Executive Officer. In anticipation of this, the Society signed a three year contract for the Administrative Office to be hosted for the calendar years 2009-2011. The contract to host the Administrative Office provides the benefit to the University of Tennessee of a Graduate Research Associate position for a UTK graduate student and a sum awarded to the Department of Sociology for hosting the Society. Salaries to the Administrative Office staff are paid through the University, according to guidelines set by the University for these positions. If the salary approved by the Society is higher than the guidelines approved by the University, the difference is paid directly to the person. All employees of the Administrative Office are considered employees of the University with rights and duties associated with such appointments. The Head of the Department of Sociology serves as the contract officer and has responsibility of making sure that the Society and the University fulfill the terms of the contract. The Society compensates the contract officer for these duties. The University of Tennessee agreed to waive the customary overhead on the contract. Fringe benefits for the persons filling the positions in the Administrative Office are the same as other employees of the University of Tennessee and are paid by the Society. The Executive Officer and the Board of Directors have the responsibility of reviewing the Administrative Office contract according to the By-laws.
At the 2012 Annual Meeting, the Board of Directors authorized the creation of a new position for a permanent part-time employee for the Administrative Office, to be hired for January 2013. Currently in addition to the Executive Officer and Administrative Officer, the work of the Society requires a half-time Administrative Assistant, a half-time Information Technology Specialist, and a half-time Graduate Research Associate.
The host institution provides the Society with operation space, a tuition waiver for the Graduate Research Associate, and utilities without charge. The board approved that the SSSP should sign a five-year contract with the University of Tennessee, effective 1/1/12–12/31/16.
The Executive Officer is responsible for ensuring that the work of the organization is carried out and policies established by the Board of Directors are implemented. The Executive Officer is also responsible for representing the organization to the public and for coordinating with other organizations. The Executive Officer is responsible for supervising the work of the Administrative Officer. The Appendix contains the detailed job description for the Executive Officer.
The Administrative Officer is the only full-time employee of the Society through the host institution. The Administrative Officer is responsible for the day-to-day oversight of the organization. The Administrative Officer works with the Administrative Assistant, Information Technology Specialist, and the Graduate Research Associate, and interacts directly with the Society’s officers, committee members, and the division chairs. The Administrative Officer keeps the financial records of the Society according to the instructions of the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee and the auditors of the Society’s books. The Administrative Officer maintains records on the current activities of the Society and sends historical material (records more than 5 years old) to the Society’s archive in Special Collections at Brooklyn College. The Administrative Officer provides administrative support to the Executive Officer, if needed. Since 1993, the Administrative Officer has contracted with the Society to act as the Meeting Manager. If a separate Meeting Manager is employed, the Administrative Officer will serve as the key coordination point between activities of the Administrative Office and the Meeting Manager in preparing for the meeting. The Appendix contains the detailed job description for the Administrative Officer.
The Administrative Office is responsible for maintaining current membership records gathered from the initial membership application and the membership renewal form. The database contains current membership information including: Member ID number, current membership year, the date the record was created (i.e., when the member first joined), special problems division memberships, membership brochures requested, willingness to serve on various committees; contact information including: name, address, country, home, mobile, fax, and work numbers, and e-mail address; demographic information including ethnicity, gender, and type of affiliation; privacy and communication preferences; and financial information that is tracked over time (since 2007) including: dues amount and dues category, contributions to various awards/funds, extra division fee, and international mail fee, method of payment, and payment date. Members can log in to the web site and update their contact information at any time.
The Administrative Office is responsible for contacting members and urging them to renew their membership. In October, the first renewal is sent via e-mail to all current members and members from the previous year, encouraging them to renew for the upcoming year. After two weeks, a renewal form is mailed to those who have not renewed, and also to life members, emeriti and sustaining members who do not owe dues. The membership renewal form gives life members, emeriti and sustaining members the opportunity to update contact and membership information. In November an e-mail is sent to all current members informing them that the November issue of Social Problems is their last issue unless they renew. The Administrative Office sends additional renewal e-mail notices in mid-December, early January, and mid-March. The Administrative Office mails additional renewal notices in mid-late January and early April. The membership renewal notices include a letter from the President. An automated receipt is sent by e-mail when members join or renew their membership. An automated welcome e-mail is generated when a new member joins.
In addition to membership renewal, the Administrative Office and the Executive Officer work with the Membership and Outreach Committee and the publisher of Social Problems to promote membership. The main tools used for membership promotion have been the membership brochure and flyer. The Administrative Office, in cooperation with the publisher of Social Problems, the Executive Officer, and the Membership and Outreach Committee Chair, typically completes the design and contents of the membership brochure and promotional flyer.
The distribution of brochures to potential members has been accomplished in a variety of ways. These have included: direct mail with a cover letter signed by the Membership and Outreach Committee Chair or President to membership lists purchased from other professional associations, lists exchanged with other organizations, or lists provided by members. Brochures and promotional flyers are also available upon request for members to distribute in their departments or at other social science organizations’ annual meetings. This method has occurred most frequently with regional societies. Brochures and promotional flyers have also been mailed to Departments that have graduate degree programs in Sociology and to each SSSP member with a request that they pass them on to a potential member.
In an effort to reduce promotional costs and increase membership, the Administrative Office in cooperation with the Membership and Outreach Committee has recently developed promotional web pages. Targeted e-mail blasts are sent to Graduate Program Chairpersons, SSSP Graduate Students, and SSSP Members (no students). The e-mail message encourages prospective members to visit the promotional web site. The goal is to send messages that can easily be passed on to listservs and in social networking media. In addition to the targeted e-mail blasts, banner ads have been placed with Contexts, JSTOR, and Wiley. Recruitment of new members by existing members has been shown to be the most effective way to recruit new members.
The Administrative Officer sends the mailing list of those who request a paper copy of Social Problems to the press that publishes the journal shortly before each issue is distributed. According to the By-laws, members will be granted a grace period for voting for up to six months but will not receive Social Problems until dues are paid. New members begin receiving the current volume year at the time of application. All current members have electronic access to the current and back issues of Social Problems.
The Administrative Office receives membership list requests from publishers of books and journals. Unless the member has requested that his or her name not be distributed, we rent our mailing list for a fee, on a one-time use basis.
Every year, following the Annual Meeting, the Administrative Office produces a roster of Officers and Committee members. The roster is distributed to those listed in it and to other members upon request via e-mail. The roster is a valuable tool for working with the core leadership of the Society.
The following mailings are processed by the Administrative Office: membership renewal notices, promotional mailings, special mailings requested by the President or Board of Directors, and the Call for Papers and the Student Paper Competition flyer poster. Whenever possible and approved by the Board, the Administrative Office uses electronic distribution of publications and information for the membership.
The Society uses the bulk mailing permit of the current printer, if needed. Bulk mailings cannot be used for foreign addresses. This higher cost is reflected in the mailing fee charged to members outside of the United States.
At the 2012 Annual Meeting, the Board of Director approved the development of a Society Listserv according to the following stipulations: that it is not moderated, does not accept attachments, that it is digestible, and that the default response option will be reply to sender. Subscription to the Listserv will be optional. Subscribers to the Listserv must be active members of the Society, and a subscriber will be dropped from the Listserv if their membership lapses. Nancy Mezey agreed to serve as Listserv Moderator for the first two years.
The financial records of the organization are kept by the Administrative Officer and reviewed quarterly by the Executive Officer, the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee, and the Board of Directors. An annual audit of the financial records is conducted by an independent accounting firm in April. The accounting firm prepares the tax returns and advises us as to changes in tax laws pertaining to our operations. The audit is completed so that the results may be reviewed with the auditor by the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee during its annual mid-year meeting and by the Board of Directors during the annual meeting. Fees for the accounting services as well as maintenance of the accounting software are included in the annual budget for the Administrative Office.
The financial year of the Society runs from January 1 to December 31. The books for the preceding year are closed by March 1 of the current year. The Society uses the accrual accounting method and Open Systems accounting software to maintain the records of income and expenditures. The Society’s budget operates with accounts set to correspond to the major functions of the organization. Subdivisions within these major categories are added as needed in consultation with the accounting firm and the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee. Major sources of income are: Membership Dues, Journal and Publications, Annual Meeting, Contributions, Investment Income, Investment Income/Temporary, and Other Income. Major expenditures are: Executive Officer, Administrative Office, Journal and Publications, Annual Meeting, Committees, Program of Divisions, Board Governance, Investment Gains and Losses, and Board Restricted Expenses.
The Administrative Officer in conjunction with the Treasurer and Executive Officer manages and monitors the Society’s reserve monies and operating accounts in checking, savings, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, mutual funds, and other accounts. The convention has been to consult with the Treasurer and the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee Chair before making short-term investments. Long-term investment decisions are made by the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee and held directly by the Society. All investment decisions are subject to review and are guided by the statement of investment objectives and policies and the guidelines for investing SSSP reserve funds in community development financial institutions adopted by the Board of Directors.
The Society is incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the state of Indiana and reports annually to that state office. Accordingly, the Administrative Office must file forms each year with the appropriate state agencies in Indiana, reporting on the activity of the corporation. The Society is recognized by the U.S. Government as a non-profit corporation and has 501 (c)3 status with the Internal Revenue Service. Appropriate tax forms detailing the financial activities of the Society must be filed each year. The accounting firm conducting the annual audit prepares these forms as well as those required by the state of Indiana. The Society is also exempt from sales tax and registers to solicit funds for charitable purposes in the state of Tennessee.
The investments generate income to support the Society’s Purposes as set forth in its By-laws, Article II, Section 1.
The primary social objective of investments is to use the Society’s funds to foster a higher quality of life, social welfare, and positive social relations in society and the global community.
The primary long-term financial objective for the Society’s investments is to preserve the inflation-adjusted purchasing power of assets and income, after accounting for spending and investment management costs. Performance of the overall investments against this objective is measured over rolling five (5) year periods.
As provided in the Society’s By-laws, Article VI, Section 13, the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee shall invest the Society’s reserves in socially-responsible mutual funds and other socially-responsible equities, fixed-income assets, and cash equivalents to best achieve the social, financial, and investment objectives consistent with the policies and requirements set forth in this statement, and subject to the standards of social responsibility and the business-judgment rule for fiduciaries of non-profit corporations.
The Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee will allocate new funds and redistribute existing funds on the basis of how well each socially-responsible investment meets the social, financial, and investment objectives of the Society.
Asset Selection and Allocation
The Society’s portfolio may be invested in readily-marketable socially-responsible mutual funds and other socially-responsible equities, fixed-income assets, and cash equivalents. The total portfolio shall be diversified to include investments in more than one socially-responsible mutual fund, and a diversity of other socially-responsible equities and fixed-income assets in order to limit risk.
Socially-responsible mutual funds should use social/ethical screens that seek out companies that do not foster or encourage exploitation, injustice, or inequalities among human beings and human beings as they relate to the natural environment. Such mutual funds should both avoid offensive investments and seek out positive investments that enhance the quality of life in the community, workplace, society, and international context.
Funding of Specific Society Projects. Investments in socially-responsible equities and fixed-income assets should be made to maximize the positive social impact of the Society’s reserves. Such investments should seek to ameliorate existing social problems such as improving the quality of life among the economically and/or socially disadvantaged.
The purpose of investments in socially-responsible mutual funds is to earn high inflation-adjusted total rates of return, to provide both long-term capital appreciation and current income in order to fund the Society’s on-going commitment to such efforts as the Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Scholarship, C. Wright Mills Award, Lee Founders Award, etc. In keeping with this purpose, investment should be made in balanced socially-responsible mutual funds that include holdings in both stocks and bonds. Generally, investment in growth socially-responsible mutual funds that give primacy to capital appreciation should be limited due to their higher level of risk. Acceptable socially-responsible mutual funds will include holdings in equities with high liquidity and/or investment-grade bonds.
Other Investments. Investment of most of the remainder of the Society’s reserves should be made in socially-responsible equities and fixed-income assets in such a way that their impact on ameliorating existing social problems is maximized while maintaining at least the inflation-adjusted purchasing power of such reserves. Such investments may be at rates of return below market value for comparable investments provided that the rates of return at least equal the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Examples of such investments might include deposits with federally-insured, community development credit unions that provide services and loans to people in predominantly low-income communities, or investment in community development revolving loan funds.
Investment in short-term, socially-responsible cash equivalents is allowed to provide adequate liquidity for investment reserves and current operations and from time to time to serve as mutual fund, equity, and fixed-income substitutes for defensive purposes in adverse investment conditions.
The precise allocation of the Society’s assets between socially-responsible mutual funds, equities, fixed-income assets, and short-term cash equivalents will depend upon the extent of the Society’s on-going financial commitments to efforts such as the Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Scholarship, C. Wright Mills Award, etc., and other immediate needs and purposes of the Society.
The performance of socially-responsible mutual funds will be evaluated relative to the Domini Social Index (DSI 400) and rating on the Lipper Index that measures the performance of mutual funds that have the same investment objectives. The long-term investment objective is for the total return of mutual funds on the Lipper Index the top three quintiles (60%) of balanced mutual funds. Overall performance of mutual funds against this objective is measured over rolling five (5) year periods.
Performance of socially-responsible equities, fixed-income assets, and cash equivalents will be made relative to the rate of inflation. The investment objective is for these investments to equal or exceed the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index.
Proxy Voting Policy
The Executive Officer of the Society, in consultation with the Treasurer and Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee, will vote all proxies for the Society.
Review of Policy Statement and Investment Performance
This statement shall be reviewed by the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee on an as needed basis. Presentation on investment performance relative to the policies set forth in this statement shall be made annually to the Board of Directors.
The SSSP board-approved investment policy stipulates that the Budget, Finance, and Audit (BFA) Committee shall invest cash reserves that are not Board restricted in “socially-responsible equities and fixed-income assets in such a way that their impact on ameliorating social problems is maximized while maintaining at least inflation-adjusted purchasing power of such reserves.” Over the past several years, the BFA Committee has opted to invest a portion of its cash reserves in community development financial institutions (CDFIs).
CDFIs have economic development in low-income communities as their primary mission. CDFIs provide loans, investments, and basic financial services to individuals, businesses, and nonprofit agencies within low-income communities that would otherwise be denied these opportunities by mainstream financial institutions. In addition, financing often is linked to other developmental activities such as business technical assistance, job training, and home-ownership counseling. There are five types of CDFIs that differ according to their general purpose, financial products and services offered, sources of capital, borrowers, governance and ownership and regulators.
Community development banks provide capital for targeted loans and investments to rebuild economically disadvantaged communities. Financial products and services provided include mortgage financing, home improvement loans, commercial business loans, loans to nonprofit community agencies, student loans, and traditional consumer banking services. Sources of capital include deposits from individuals and institutions, and funds from federal, state, and local governments. Borrowers include nonprofit community organizations, individual entrepreneurs, small businesses, and housing developers (i.e., institutional borrowers more than individuals). Community development banks are for-profit corporations owned by stockholders that have community representation on their boards of directors. These banks are federally regulated and insured by the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, and state banking regulatory agencies. There are approximately 24 banks that have been designated officially as CDFIs.
Community development credit unions cultivate ownership of assets and savings, and offer affordable banking and credit services to low-income people, with a targeted emphasis on economically empowering minority communities. Particular banking services include personal loans, credit cards, home rehabilitation loans, share and share draft accounts, and check cashing privileges. These institutions also make loans to individual entrepreneurs. Consistent with their purpose, community development credit unions also provide credit counseling and business planning services. Sources of capital include credit union member deposits, non-member deposits from social investors, and funds from federal, state, and local governments. Borrowers include members of the credit union, usually individuals. Community development credit unions are nonprofit financial cooperatives that are owned and operated by the lower-income people who are members of the credit union. These credit unions are federally regulated and insured by the National Credit Union Administration, and state regulatory agencies. There are approximately 170 credit unions that have earned the designation of “low-income status” as defined by the Federal Credit Union Act which allows them to accept deposits from non-member investors.
The remaining three types of CDFIs are community development loan funds, community development venture capital funds, and microenterprise development loan funds. Investments in these funds are not federally regulated and insured, and rates of return tend to fall below competitive market rates. Much of the capital comes from foundations, banks, religious organizations, corporations, and individual donations rather than investments.
What follows below is a set of criteria designed to provide guidance to the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee in making decisions with regard to investment of the Society’s cash reserve funds in CDFIs. These criteria fall in three general categories–geographic, social, and financial.
The SSSP is a national professional society of activist scholars. Accordingly, it is important to insure that, over time, the Society’s CDFI investments be equitably distributed across the nine regions of the nation defined by the Census Bureau. It is recommended that the BFA Committee strive to place its future investments with CDFIs in the across all nine regions in an equitable manner.
The BFA Committee has attempted to maximize the racial-ethnic and urban-rural diversity of the low-income communities its deposits benefit. It is recommended that the BFA target future investments to CDFIs that serve low-income communities and provide loans and other services to the diversity of racial-ethnic groups that exist in the region and to women.
In order for the Society’s investments to benefit the low-income communities served by recipient CDFIs, it is recommended that deposits be made for a minimum of three to a maximum of five years, provided that the Society does not need to use the funds to meet its other financial obligations. To maintain flexibility, deposits might be made in the form of one-year certificates of deposit, with the goal of renewing them for a minimum of three years. To meet its fiduciary responsibility to the Society, the BFA Committee should strive to make deposits in CDFIs that offer competitive rates of interest and where these deposits are federally insured.
Consistent with the above criteria, over time the Society has invested funds with the following CDFIs:
- Carver Federal Savings Bank, New York, NY
- Self Help Credit Union, Durham, NC
- Shore Bank, Chicago, IL
- Hope Community Credit Union, Jackson, MS
- Winthrop Federal Credit Union, Winthrop, MA
- Liberty Bank and Trust Company, New Orleans, LA
- Tulip Cooperative Credit Union, Olympia, WA
- Native American Bank, Browning MT
- Louisville Community Development Bank, Louisville, KY
- First American Credit Union, Window Rock, AZ
- Community Bank of the Bay, Oakland, CA
The Society works under an annual operating budget authorized by the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee and the Board of Directors. The Treasurer and Administrative Officer approve all purchases. The Administrative Officer selects venders, in consultation with the Executive Officer. The Administrative Officer receives all invoices, codes all expenses in Open Systems, and prepares all checks. The President, Treasurer, Executive Officer, and Administrative Officer are authorized by the By-laws to sign checks for the Society. Checks greater than $1,000 or those for the purpose of payment of salary of salaried employees must be signed by two of the four. Since 1990, the combination used for the two signatures has been the Treasurer and the Executive Officer.
Prior to April 15, 2009, the Executive Officer reviewed the invoices and all financial statements before signing checks. Following the 2009 Annual Meeting, the Treasurer reviews the purchases journal and approves the expenditures before the Administrative Officer prints the checks. This review serves as an appropriate segregation of duties for cash disbursements, considering the Society’s limited personnel available. The Administrative Officer makes all purchases and is aware of all items requiring accrual at end of periods. Most expense items are recurring, so the Administrative Officer checks for recurring items not received by end of period and scans expenses in comparison to prior year for other items that may require accrual.
Currently, we use digital signatures on all checks (one signature on checks under $1,000, two signatures on checks over $1,000, and checks for the purpose of payment of salary of salaried employees). The financial statements are reviewed quarterly by the Executive Officer and by the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee. All checks are processed through the Accounts Payable ledger and require an expense or asset coding for each payment; the Society rarely writes any manual checks. On rare occasion, the Society makes a wire transfer. The Treasurer and Executive Officer review the information prepared by the Administrative Officer, and then the Administrative Officer executes the wire transfer with the bank.
The Administrative Assistant opens the mail, codes each check, photocopies the checks, and prepares the deposit slip. The Administrative Officer verifies the coding of each check, prepares a spreadsheet containing the name, check number, amount of check, and breakdown of each item, and makes the deposit. This spreadsheet is used to reconcile the revenue recorded in the general ledger.
The Administrative Assistant processes credit card transactions received via the US Postal Service. Online credit card transactions are processed through Authorize.Net. Authorize.Net closes and settles each batch daily. The Administrative Officer verifies each transaction and prepares a spreadsheet containing the name, credit card type, transaction amount, and breakdown of each item. This spreadsheet is used to reconcile the revenue recorded in the general ledger.
A significant portion of the Society’s revenue is generated from subscription sales of the journal Social Problems. The Society contracts with the University of California Press, who collects all subscription records from subscribers, receives payment and remits the Society’s portion through monthly wire transfers. The Administrative Officer reconciles the remittance and cash deposited to monthly statements from the University of California Press.
The Administrative Officer has custody of the checks but does not have custody of the credit card transactions received. The Administrative Officer reconciles the bank accounts to the accounting records monthly. The Treasurer reviews and approves the bank reconciliation of the Society’s checking account monthly.
The Society uses the accrual method of accounting and the Open Systems accounting software. Open Systems is a standardized ‘canned’ software package and the Society has not made any significant modifications to the system. The current accounting programs are in the same version as the Society’s. As a result, only the data requires physically copying to the recovery system. The existing data was moved and the Society’s data placed on the system. All mission-critical functions were tested, including general ledger transaction entry, reporting, and accessing of all prior years of history (1994-2012). Additionally, trial balance reporting and financial statement reporting were also tested. The accounts payable invoice entry, posting, and check processing functions were all tested. All tests were successful with no issues.
Should an actual situation occur where disaster recovery was in place, the data would be copied to the recovery system as well as 3 printer-related files that would ease the transition from one printer to another and maintain the Society’s special printer configurations. These files are contained within the folders that are backed up when performing the osas7.52 (entire folder) backup. The actual recovery time (time required to begin processing) should be less than one hour, depending upon the amount of data files being copied to the recovery system and any printer tweaking that might be involved.
In addition, the Society purchased the Administrative Officer a Maxtor One Touch Backup and flash drive that enable the backup of the majority of the mission critical programs and data including the accounting programs and data. The flash drive is always maintained with the Administrative Officer. In November 2009, the Administrative Officer signed up with MozyPro, an online backup service. In April 2012, the Administrative Assistant and the Graduate Research Associate signed up with MozyPro. In addition, they utilize an external hard drive to backup their files.