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Report from the Executive Board

Keith W. Kintigh

The SAA Executive Board meets twice a year, at the annual meeting and during the fall. Although the draft minutes of the May 1995 board meeting run to 20 pages, this article reports only on the major issues considered and actions taken. Additional reports will follow subsequent board meetings.

Strategic Planning. The board spent a day following up on the strategic planning meeting held in the fall of 1994. One result was the development of a draft statement of goals for SAA that will be published in the SAA Bulletin for discussion and comment by the full membership.

Ethics, Certification, SOPA, and SAA. The board accepted the report of the Joint SAA/SOPA Task Force [SAA Bulletin, 13(3):6-9, 14-15]. Following considerable discussion and a meeting with the SHA and SOPA boards, the SAA board asked the task force to prepare, for Executive Board approval, a specific proposal that could be brought to a vote of the full SAA membership. Generally, it is proposed that SAA participate in the creation of a Register of Professional Archaeologists (ROPA) in collaboration with the Society of Professional Archeologists (SOPA), the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA), and the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).

Under this proposal, SOPA would cease to exist and many of its key functions would be taken over by ROPA. The goal of this effort is to expand professional commitments to basic ethical principles and standards of professional performance. Archaeologists voluntarily joining the Register would declare themselves accountable to a code similar to that maintained by SOPA. The Register would be governed by a board of directors and would be legally independent of SAA and the other sponsoring societies. It would be supported financially by the registered professional archaeologists and by the sponsoring societies.

The task force was asked to prepare informational materials concerning the proposal that would be distributed prior to votes on the proposal by the memberships of SOPA and the sponsoring societies. Currently, SOPA is expected to vote in May 1996; if approved, the proposal will be voted on by SAA, SHA, and AIA members in June.

Government Affairs. The board heard reports both from the Government Affairs Committee and from Donald Craib, SAA's manager of government affairs and counsel. The board expressed considerable concern over impending revisions to Section 106 or its regulations, the effects on archaeology of agency downsizing and reorganization, and potential actions of Congress that would affect the conduct of cultural resource management.

Augmenting SAA's substantial government affairs budget, the board authorized the expenditure of SAA reserve funds for efforts needed to protect the vital interests of archaeology from anticipated attacks. It was agreed that the government affairs efforts would be coordinated and executed by the Government Affairs Committee and Donald Craib, assisted as needed by members of the board. The board approved the recommendation presented by Judy Bense, the new chair of the Government Affairs Committee, that the committee would be reorganized around issue teams with strategies to deal with both short and long term issues.

In addition, the board established three new task forces. An informal task force was formed to work with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation on the revisions to Section 106. The Task Force on Archaeology and Ecosystem Management will be asked to draft policy statements and action items regarding the profession's concerns with ongoing ecosystem management initiatives. The Task Force on Federal and State Agency Archaeology will be asked to identify the concerns of agency archaeologists and to suggest workshops and other agency activities that could be associated with the SAA annual meeting. At the request of BLM, a representative (Shereen Lerner) was appointed to attend a Wyoming meeting concerned with restructuring the 106 process. This was felt to be especially important in that an anticipated programmatic memorandum of agreement resulting from this meeting may be seen in Washington as a test case.

Public Education. Following a recommendation of the Public Education Committee, the board asked the Committee to develop a proposal for a national survey concerning public attitudes toward archaeology and historic preservation and identify possible sources of funding. While the board considers the recommended hiring of a permanent public education coordinator a high priority, there do not now appear to be sufficient funds to commit to this position. However, this question will be reconsidered at the November board meeting when more information on the accuracy of the 1996 revenue and expense projections will be available.

Publications. It was announced that Lynne Goldstein will be the new editor of American Antiquity and that Gary Feinman and Linda Manzanilla will be the new editors of Latin American Antiquity. The board approved new procedures recommended by the Publications Committee for the appointment of editors of the xociety's three major publications: (1) publish calls for proposals from prospective editors; (2) the committee will compile a list of those making proposals and, if necessary, solicit additional names; (3) the committee will rank order the list of possible editors; and (4) the Executive Board will make a final decision.

The board considered three options for the disposition of Current Research: a return to American Antiquity, moving it to the Bulletin, or the provision of an electronic version on an SAA server expected to be on-line in January (possibly with a hard copy version available separately at reasonable cost). Despite the fact that the board had intended to make a final decision, it was generally agreed that more input from the membership is needed.

Native American Relations. The board approved the recommendation of the Task Force on Native American Relations that the task force be transformed into a continuing advisory committee.

Latin America. The board approved the Task Force on Latin America's recommendation that it be transformed into a continuing advisory committee, the "Committee on the Americas." Several other task force recommendations intended to expand participation by Latin Americans in SAA were referred to appropriate committees or approved. The board approved SAA's cosponsorship, with INAH, of a conference, "Protecting the Archaeological Heritage of the Americas," for the fall of 1997.

NPS. Kate Stevenson, Associate Director for Cultural and Partnership Programs for the National Park Service, met with the board. She solicited SAA's advice on the issue of assessing significance under Section 106 in the context of the need to keep the costs of historic preservation associated with federal actions at reasonable levels while maintaining high professional standards. President Lipe encouraged the NPS to consult on this key issue outside the Park Service and indicated that there would be real benefits by involving SAA and the research community generally in these consultations. Stevenson listened to our concerns about archaeology within the Department of the Interior and indicated her and Director Kennedy's support for and interest in archaeology.

History of Archaeology. The board approved a recommendation from the History of Archaeology Committee for the establishment of the "Gordon R. Willey-Society for American Archaeology Symposium in the History of Archaeology," to be held at the annual meeting on a two-year cycle.

Budget and Administration. Fred Limp, SAA treasurer, reported that the society remains financially solvent and fiscally conservative. With minor changes, the board approved the fiscal 1996 budget recommended by the Budget and Planning Committee. This projects revenues and expense of about $1.0 million with a surplus of $22,000. The board unanimously approved a very positive review of Ralph Johnson's performance as executive director.

As this summary indicates, the Executive Board relies heavily on the society's committees. The board is most grateful to committee members and chairs and to those members who have provided input to the board. We encourage you to participate in the committees (a Committee Interest Form is in the last issue of the Bulletin) and to communicate your ideas to the board. A list of board members with their addresses is printed on the inside front cover of American Antiquity and the inside back cover of Latin American Antiquity. A list of SAA committees and their members appears in Archaeologists of the Americas.

Keith W. Kintigh is secretary of the SAA Executive Board, and is with the Department of Anthropology at Arizona State University.


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