Minutes of the January 27, 2004 SGB EC Conference Call

1) Allocation Delta

Berenbaum began the call with the action item related to the allocation motion unanimously passed at the SGB meeting in September. He reminded the SGB EC of the motion and action.

Motion: Move to accept the following change in the allocation formula and minimum:

Reduce minimal allocation to $10K
New variable rate per $125K
Start at 16% +delta
Decrease by .8% every $125K
Minimum of 5.35% + delta
Delta calculated to adjust for budget variance based on previous year actuals
Maximum of 2% for change

The related action item was for the SGB EC to approve the FY'05 variable rate starting point. It was agreed that ACM HQ would make a recommendation for the delta based on the guidelines in the motion.

The issues:

FY'04 July 1, 2003 - June 30, 2004

Allocation return to ACM is expected to be $2,575,441. Based on the current operating expenses for FY'04, we project that the SIGs will return $2,149,694. There is $86K in the SIG Allocation Reserve Fund (SARF) which will be used to offset the $425,747 shortfall bringing it to $339,298.

FY'05 July 1, 2004 - June 30, 2005

Allocation return to ACM will not go up and will remain at the FY'04 level of $2,575,441. Utilizing the FY'04 operating expenses and the new allocation method including a delta of 2%, the SIGs will return $2,517,656. The shortfall will be $57,785+ $339,298 from FY'04 for a total of $397,083.

The shortfall will continue to increase and the SIGs will be unable to catch up. How do we solve this?


ACM will absorb � of the total shortfall in FY'04

Cost to the ACM general fund for FY'04 = $169,649

ACM will lower and freeze the allocation at $2,400,000 in FY'05 and FY'06

Cost to the ACM general fund for FY'05 and FY'06 = $479,654

The SGB EC supported the recommendations and decided to hold the delta at 2% for FY'05 and up to 2% for FY'06. They agreed that this plan should allow the SIGs to meet their allocation obligations and build the SARF. There was discussion about undoing the DL distribution policy and using the entire revenue source to offset the total allocation. Some members of the SGB EC voiced concern over the perceived inequities in the distribution model. The SGB EC was reminded that several task forces looked at a variety of distribution methods and the current distribution scheme was unanimously accepted by the SGB. The SGB EC agreed that no revenue distribution would be fair to everyone and it would be inappropriate for the SGB EC to undo an SGB decision that took 3 years to resolve.

Berenbaum will explain to the SIG Chairs that we are committing to fully paying off the ACM allocation with a positive rounding error and enough additional revenue to build up the SARF. They also need to understand that if the ACM EC approves the recommendations that the organization is relieving the SIGs of a much greater financial burden.

Action: Berenbaum to inform SGB of allocation recommendations and the SGB EC's decision to raise the allocation delta to 18% in FY'05 and up to 10% in FY'06.

Action: Berenbaum to bring allocation recommendations to the ACM EC if endorsed by the SGB.

2) Fund Balance Requirements

Berenbaum recently reviewed the SIG fund balance requirements as part of a SIG financial meeting with ACM HQ. As everyone is aware, the total SIG fund balance has decreased over the past 2 years and is projected to decrease again at the close of FY'04 making this a good time to review financial policies.

The fund balance is a SIG's net worth, the cumulative net of all a SIG's revenues and expenses. In accordance with the approved recommendations of the 1990 Presidential Commission on ACM SIGs, each of the SIGs is required to retain an amount equal to 50% of their annual operating expenses (not including conference expenses), and 20% of their conference gross expenses.

The 50% represents an amount which is generally adhered to by the association community. Conferences should have been included in the definition of operating expenses, but given the state of the SIGs in 1990; the Presidential Commission recommended requiring only 20% of gross conference operating expenses. The SIGs were under great financial pressure at the time and 20% was suggested to ease the new financial restrictions.

Berenbaum reminded the SGB EC that the last few years have shown the risk associated with conferences. Chesnais and R. Walker related recent financial concerns regarding the SIGGRAPH and SIGDA events. The SGB EC has witnessed conference losses having a large effect on SIGMICRO and SIGMOBILE.

Some SGB EC members voiced concern over changing the requirement believing that it would put too much pressure on the SIGs and some would have to stop supporting programs to keep their fund balance requirements at the minimum. Others thought it wise to increase the requirement considering the risk of financial conference activity. The SGB requested that a chart be developed showing the current requirement and the proposed requirement of 50% organization and 40% conferences as well as 40% organization and 40% conferences. The SGB EC committed to making a recommendation following review of the chart.

Action: Baglio and Ramdin to issue fund balance requirement options in chart format as requested by the SGB EC.

3) SIGs that fall below their fund balance requirements

The SGB EC discussed the 5 SIGs whose fund balances fall below the requirement. They include BED, CAPH, MICRO, ITE, MOBILE and SAM. As new SIGs, it was no surprise that BED and ITE were on the list. The SGB EC expects they'll remain on the lit for 2-3 years while they develop their membership programs and conferences. The SGB EC continues to be concerned about SIGCAPH and believe there could be other options for them other than continuing as a SIG. There is a willingness to permit this for now. SIGMICRO and SIGMOBILE are on the list as a result of conference losses. The MICRO conference had a small surplus this year and the MOBILE conferences are projected to have surpluses. The SGB EC will continue to monitor their activities and will consider an approval mechanism on their spending if things don't improve.

4) SIGs in transition

SIGCAPH and SIGGROUP are currently in transition. There are currently 2 SIGs in transition: SIGCAPH and SIGGROUP. Berenbaum planned to contact the SIGCAPH leadership. He will appoint the current VC, Vicki Hanson to the Chair position and ask her to put together a program plan to get SIGCAPH back on track. Bob Walker has been in touch with Wolfgang Prinz of SIGGROUP and is waiting for a slate of candidates as well as an update on activities so that a recommendation can be made on their transitional status.

Action: R. Walker will remind Wolfgang Prinz that he needs to provide a slate and activity update to the SGB EC.

5) Exception to Allocation for Grants Update

R. Walker reported that he was asked to head a task force to look at expenses associated with grants to determine if they could be excluded from the allocation. The task force includes Keith Marzullo of SIGOPS, Joe Konstan of SIGCHI and Donna Baglio. They are scheduled to meet on Friday, January 30th to discuss this.

6) Conference Paper Submissions

Baglio suggested that the topic of conference paper submissions be placed on the SGB agenda. Conference leaders are reporting an increase in paper submissions and it could be valuable for the SIG leaders to share their experiences in this area. The increase is requiring larger program committees and more spending. The SGB EC determined it would be beneficial to have a facilitator for this topic rather than just expect it to come up during best practices. Hal Gabow was asked to facilitate and accepted. The item will be added to the SGB EC agenda for 20 minutes.

7) Other SGB Agenda Items

Chesnais and R. Walker were asked to report on their conference experience with DVD, MM and graphics at the SGB meeting. There will also be a presentation suggested by SIGCOMM for free video-casting services. Chesnais will facilitate the discussion during the SGB meeting.


  • Alan Berenbaum
  • Hans Boehm
  • Alain Chesnais
  • Hal Gabow
  • Mark Scott Johnson
  • Bruce Klein
  • Tamer Oszu
  • Darren Ramdin
  • Henry Walker
  • Robert Walker
  • Alex Wolf