SOCIETY COUNCIL CONFERENCE CALL
call was initiated at 2:00 PM EDT. On the line were Jose Cordero,
Kathy Sulik, Phil Mirkes, Elaine Francis, Barbara Hales, Bob Kavlock,
Carol Lemire (ex officio), Eve Kagan (ex officio), and George Daston.
Dr. Cordero presided.
Cordero informed Council that the purpose of the call was to discuss
the proposed contract submitted to Tony Scialli by the Keystone
Resort for our 1999 annual meeting (copy attached). He summarized
the salient points: Keystone agrees to forgive all but $10,000 of
the $65,000 penalty we incurred by not meeting our room night quota
in 1996 if we will hold our 1999 annual meeting at Keystone during
one of two weeks of their choosing during June and July (most likely
the week ending in July 4). They agree to offer only 12,000 square
feet of meeting space gratis (vs. 16,000 this year). He also reported
that our net revenues from the 1996 meeting were more than $10,000,
so we would still be in the black after paying the reduced penalty.
Francis questioned the validity of the meeting revenue estimate,
as not all of the bills have been received. Dr. Sulik replied that
the estimate was based on a revenue statement from the end of June
of $153,391, with expenses to that date of $105,800. Only the speaker
expenses were still outstanding at that time, which she expected
to be not more than $20,000. Ms. Lemire concurred with these estimates,
but that the exact amount of our profit cannot be known yet.
Francis inquired as to whether the Society's letter to Ralcorp,
Keystone's parent corporation, asking to forgive our penalty had
been answered. Dr. Cordero reported that a reply had been received
indicating that Ralcorp was no longer a part of Ralston Purina,
and that no donation would be forthcoming. Dr. Francis also suggested
that we consult our attorney as to whether we could seek arbitration
of the penalty rather than sign a contract for a 1999 meeting. Dr.
Cordero replied that he thought that it was premature to do this
before we had negotiated on Keystone's proposal. Dr. Mirkes concurred,
but believed that we should be seeking our attorney's advice.
Francis also indicated that the exact amount of the 1996 penalty
needed to be obtained from Keystone, as it has ranged in different
correspondence from $65,000 to $100,000. Dr. Sulik believed that
the higher number was generated by the accounting office before
they had spoken to the meetings office, and that the lower figure
was accurate. However, an exact figure would be obtained from Keystone
before a contract was signed.
Kavlock expressed his opinion that the meeting duration as proposed
by Keystone was one day too long, that the room distribution was
still unduly weighted towards the more expensive one bedroom condominiums,
and that no room rates would be quoted until 1998. Dr. Cordero replied
that he had done a comparison of the proposed room distribution
and the 1996 figures and that the two contracts are close based
on estimated revenue. There was considerable discussion about room
rates, with a consensus emerging that we must have these agreed
to before signing the contract.
Daston restated Dr. Kavlock's concern about the meeting length,
and that a shorter meeting may be better attended.
Mirkes stressed that Dr. Scialli must negotiate the room slippage
allowance, the amount of the penalty, the length of the meeting,
and the room rate ceiling. Dr. Cordero believed that costs of food
service functions would need to be added to the contract as well.
Cordero requested that Dr. Daston summarize for Dr. Scialli all
of the points that Council would like to have addressed in his further
negotiations with Keystone. Dr. Cordero will ask Dr. Scialli to
fax a letter to Keystone this week with all of these points; to
report back to Council about the negotiations; and to have our attorney
review the contract, and to ask about the pros and cons of arbitration.
Kavlock asked whether others on Council thought that scheduling
over July 4 would affect attendance. It was agreed that Councilors
would conduct an informal survey of colleagues at their workplaces
to determine whether this poses a significant problem.
call was ended at 3:30 PM.
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