Bar, sections reach accord on financial arrangements

first_imgBar, sections reach accord on financial arrangements July 1, 2005 Senior Editor Regular News Bar, sections reach accord on financial arrangements New deal revamps CLE splits and administrative support for section activities Gary Blankenship Senior Editor With a few final changes, the Bar Board of Governors has approved revamping the way it financially supports the Bar’s sections.Outgoing Budget Committee Chair Jerald Beer, who headed a special committee that has been studying section finances for almost two years, outlined the alterations to the financial arrangements the board reviewed at its April meeting, and the board approved the changes unanimously.“I really think this is a good compromise,” said board member Jesse Diner.Immediate past President Miles McGrane appointed the special committee because of escalating amounts the Bar was spending to support sections. The committee also looked at the way the Bar and sections split CLE revenues, after the Bar lost a significant amount of money from 2000 to 2002. An increase in the cost of CLE has reversed that loss, but CLE finances remained a concern.In April, Beer presented a plan with several facets which included changing CLE financing giving sections 80 percent of the net proceeds, while the Bar gets 20 percent (with that change phased in over three years). If there are losses, the sections will absorb 80 percent of those expenses. (Currently, sections get 12.5 to 20 percent of the gross revenues and the Bar gets the rest, out of which it pays the course expenses.)The Bar would also end the subsidy sections get for using the Bar’s print shop, but sections will have the option of having their printing done outside the Bar.To offset direct and indirect administrative costs of supporting sections, the Bar would receive $17.50 per paying section membership from the section. This will be adjusted periodically in whole dollar increments to adjust this cost for inflation.The Bar also will continue to provide administrative support to sections, but cap the amount it spends beyond the $17.50 received from sections. That would be $10 each for the first 1,000 section members and $5 per member above that number.The Budget Committee also agreed to give sections a year’s notice before increasing the $17.50 per member it gets from each section to allow the sections to better plan their budgets. The committee agreed to help by including complimentary section members in calculating the cap on administration costs.Sections also questioned the indirect administrative support expenses that were being assessed to their operations, and the Budget Committee recommended reducing that by 20 percent.Finally, the plan envisioned crediting the handful of sections that actually do not cost $17.50 per member in administration to receive a rebate.Board member Gwynne Young, who is liaison to the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, said the section wasn’t happy with the cap on Bar support.“But the section appreciated the Budget Committee for listening to all they had to say. We would like to thank you for that, even though they’re not totally happy,” she said. Later in the meeting, incoming President Alan Bookman said he wants to work on improving relations between the board and sections in the coming year, noting that too often there seems to be an “us versus them” mentality.He urged board members who are liaisons with sections to attend those meetings and learn their sections’ issues. He also announced that he had appointed incoming Budget Committee Chair Mayanne Downs as liaison with the Council of Sections.“We found last year there may have been some bad communications between the board and sections,” Bookman said.last_img

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