ACL Officials' Duties

ACL Secretary-Treasurer and Office Manager
25 February 1994
Prepared by Karen Sparck Jones in consultation with Fernando Pereira


The descriptions for these positions assume a new ACL
administrative structure, as envisaged for Don Walker's
retirement, with a Secretary-Treasurer (ST) and an Office Manager
(OM): they are intended for use in making the new appointments
that are necessary, as was originally envisaged as applying from
1 January 1995, when Don would have retired. It is clear that
explicit job descriptions are needed, for three reasons: first,
for the Secretary-Treasurer, because Don's dedication to and
interpretation of the role was unique and could not be assumed
for a successor; second, for the Office Manager, because a base
for an explicit contract of employment is required; and third to
make clear the relationship between the two positions. The
current presumption is that the proposed arrangment will come
fully on stream from 1 January 1995: we hope that ad hoc
arrangements will hold ACL together during 1994, with the
beginning of the transition to the new state taking place during
the latter part of the year.

Under the proposed eventual structure the ST will have overall
responsibility but not too great a workload, and the OM will do
the major part of the administration, supported as necessary by
office staff: the latter is assumed not to be large, say one part
timer. For convenience below, except where the distinction is
specifically relevant, I shall refer to the OM's work regardless
of whether it is actually executed by the OM personally or is
done by others under the OM's supervision. (The ST/OM division,
compared with that which applied till recently, is that some of
the more straightforwardly administrative work done by Don as ST
will be done by the OM, and that all of what was done by Betty
(except handling back publications which are to be removed from
the office altogether), will be done by the OM.) I shall refer to
the combined operation of ST and OM as the ACL Office,
distinguishing the specific OM's office where required.

The presumption is that the general formal structure of the ACL,
as laid down in the constitution, determining the formal duties
and relations of the ST, Executive, etc, remains the same. There
is no need to change the constitution to have an OM. The
essential point is that the OM will be paid by the ACL (though
whether as an employee or through a contract with someone who is
self-employed remains to be decided: I shall refer to the OM as
an employee for convenience), whereas in accordance with the
legal status of the ACL as a not-for-profit entity registered in
New Jersey, the ST is not paid. The position of Associate ST,
currently covered by the constitution, can remain, even if the
position is not filled.

The purposes of this document are (a) to provide the job
information needed in discussions with possible STs and OMs, and
(b) to provide the basic specification for the OM's position, to
be worked up into the actual employment contract that is
required. The ACL Office's operations have essentially just grown
over time without any formal specification, under an extremely
broad constitutional characterisation of the ST's duties. There
is thus no existing documentary basis for the job descriptions
that are now required. A clearly important point to bear in mind,
however, is that the ST is currently the only ACL Officer with a
long term of office, and thus the only person within the
executive able to maintain continuity of knowledge and action; it
is clearly desirable from both the ACL's and the OM's points of
view that any contract between the two should be for a period of
several years.

Under the ACL Constitution, the ACL is formally administered by
the Executive Committee, chaired by the President. The Executive
Committee's duties include e.g. fixing meetings, selecting
editors, levying dues etc. There are three Officers: the
President, Vice-President, and Secretary-Treasurer. The
Secretary-Treasurer holds office for not more than two periods of
five years, with a preliminary year as Associate Secretary-
Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer has the formally-specified
duty to mail notices of nominations to the membership, and is
formally empowered to deposit and disburse funds and to enter
into contracts as appropriate to conduct the business of the ACL.
However as the Officers' and Executive members' terms of duty are
of not more than two years, the ST is in practice the linch pin
of the entire organisation and is responsible both for executing
most of the ACL's business and for ensuring that the Officers and
Executive discharge their duties.

The job descriptions, giving a detailed itemisation of the duties
and work of the ST and OM that follow thus fill out what running
the ACL's business actually involves. NOTE however that
particularly with respect to the ST's responsibilities, there is
a distinction between formal duties and their operational
delegation. Thus while the description of the ST's formal
responsibilities, which is the natural starting point for the two
job lists, may appear somewhat daunting, virtually all of the
work could in practice be delegated to the OM, and the intention
is that this delegation should be made. This point is considered
again, after the itemisation, in a more detailed comment on the
actual allocation of operational responsibility and work between
ST and OM. It is nevertheless essential to emphasise, NOW, that
the job specification for the ST position that this document as a
whole provides is a much `lighter-duty' one than that which has
applied hitherto. But it is nevertheless, because the ST is the
prime long-term official of the ACL, the main international
organisation in the field, a prestige position with visible
public status and the interests and benefits that go with this.

* Thus the two job descriptions detailed below can be summarised as     *
*                                                                       *
* SECRETARY TREASURER : low workload, high public profile in a position *
*                       in the very centre of the field, varied         *
*                       professional opportunities and contacts         *
*                                                                       *
* OFFICE MANAGER      : serious workload, responsible and varied tasks  *
*                       with considerable autonomy and visibility as    *
*                       an effective manager                            *
*                                                                       *

Secretary Treasurer

The ST is responsible to the ACL, through the Executive Committee
(Exec), for the general management and conduct of the ACL's

This specifically covers

1. Finance
The ST is empowered to conduct, and hence is responsible for, the
financial affairs of the ACL. The ST's financial duties include
keeping the ACL's accounts, providing financial reports to the
Exec and membership (and specifically publishing the ACL's
accounts annually), filing with the IRS, preparing of ACL
budgets, collection of membership dues, supervision of ACL
operations and contracts with major financial elements e.g.
conferences, journal, and general oversight of the actual
handling of moneys in the Office. In the future financial duties
will probably also include arranging for auditing of the ACL's

2. Formal ACL government matters
The ST is responsible for ensuring that the constitutional and
similar formal requirements of the ACL as an organisation are
met, including those for the nomination and election of Officers
(though the responsibility for making nominations lies with the
Nominations Committee), holding of annual business meetings of
the ACL, publication of annual reports, holding of annual
meetings of the Executive, also that eligibility conditions e.g.
for SIG officers, and guidelines e.g. for workshops or SIGs, are

3. Membership matters
The ST is responsible for the 'keeping' of the membership, i.e.
for gathering dues, maintaining an uptodate and proper record of
the membership, monitoring eligibility, and ensuring that the
membership files are held, and information about the membership
is published, in a manner meeting any legal requirements on
organisations about data privacy etc.

4. Subsidiary organisations: Chapters, SIGs etc
The ST is responsible for ensuring that the formal conditions
under which any subsidiary organisations within the ACL are
satisfied including those specifying the subsidiary's purpose and
structure and those specifting the reporting and accounting
relations from the subsidiary to the parent body. The ST is also
generally responsible for monitoring the operations of the
subsidiary organisations, though others may have specific duties,
for instance the Vice-President be responsible for SIGs.

5. Formal documents
The ST is responsible for the preparation, negotiation, keeping
and where necessary publication of any formal documents relating
to the ACL, including those concerning the ACL itself, e.g. the
constitution, and those to which ACL is a party including e.g.
contracts with publishers, with conference sites, with
organisations such as those managing data archives and with any
body undertaking specific tasks on behalf of the ACL. (This
includes safeguarding ACL copyright.) The ST is also responsible
for the preparation and application of ACL's internal 'guideline'
documents e.g. for programme committees, workshops etc.

6. Conferences and meetings
While the Executive is responsible for the choice of Conference
Chairs and Programme Committees for ACL's conferences, the ST is
responsible for ensuring that these are properly instituted and
for generally monitoring their operation, that conferences are
publicised, and that conference proceedings are appropriately
prepared and published. The ST is similarly responsible for
ensuring that Local Arrangements for ACL conferences are
satisfactory. In both cases this covers approval and oversight of
relevant financial matters including provision and approval of
conference budgets.

7. Publications
The ST is generally responsible for ensuring that the ACL's
publications are appropriately produced. However the details vary
considerably, by category of publication. For the journal,
`Computational Linguistics', the prime responsibility is with the
Editor, and the ST's role is to support the Editor in dealing
with contractual matters, and for monitoring the financial side.
For the newsletter, `The Finite String', the prime responsibility
is again with the Editor, but the ST's duty is to provide formal
and official announcements e.g. about elections; reports e.g.
annually about the state of the association; etc, in a timely
way, and again to monitor financial aspects. For conferences, the
ST's role is to ensure that Proceedings are prepared to the
relevant standard, published in a timely way, and are publicised
and accessible to members. The same applies for e.g. workshops,
tutorials etc held in conjunction with the ACL's conferences. For
occasional publications, e.g. course survey, sponsored workshops
etc, the ST's duty is to ensure standards, acknowledgement,
availabliity etc, and and to maintain financial controls.

8. External liaison
The ST has a general responsibility for ensuring that the ACL's
role as the main international organisation in its field is
suitably maintained and enhanced by such means as providing
representation to other bodies, submitting information and
documents to inquiries, programmes, initiatives etc, supplying
material to data resources, insofar as this is practicable within
the scale of the ACL's operations.

9. Support for the Executive Committee
The ST has a general responsibility to support the Officers and
Exec in their duties by providing background information about
ACL's practices, by maintaining a task calendar and stimulating
individual officers to action eg. to choose a Programme Committee
chair; the ST has also to respond to requests for action from the
Officers and Exec falling within the scope of the ST's generic
remit to sustain the ACL.

10. Generic remit
Thus the generic remit of the ST is to sustain the ongoing life
of the ACL, and to advertise it wherever and whenever

In addition, when there is an OM,
11. The ST is responsible for the OM.

These are the ST's formal, and substantive practical, duties. As
noted, the intention is that much of their detailed implementation
will be devolved to the OM: thus the OM's job description consists
primarily of items embodying more detailed operational versions of the
ST's tasks. It must thus be emphasised that the OM's job entails
serious responsibilities and implies considerable managerial
independence and scope for initiative in relation to the conduct of
the ACL's business. The OM also has their own specific responsibility
of managing any support office staff. It must however be emphasised
that the ST is vested with formal financial duties which cannot,
either legally or in the interests of sound financial operations, be
entirely devolved: that is, the buck for anything to do with the ACL's
money stops at the ST. The OM's job description can therefore be
indicated as follows.

Office Manager

The OM's responsibilities and duties can be itemised to match
those of the ST. Thus under the general rubric `as delegated by
and under the general authority of the ST, to whom the OM is
formally responsible, and recognising that the Exec has the
primary responsibility for all substantive matters relating to
the ACL', the OM has the tasks:

1. Finance
To conduct the ordinary financial business of the ACL.

2. Government
To support the routine government operations of the ACL.

3. Membership
To maintain the ACL membership, including collection of dues and
keeping records.

4. Subsidiary organisations
To maintain operational liaison with Chapters, SIGs etc.

5. Formal documents
Draft formal documents and monitor that they are adhered to.

6. Conferences
Managing conferences including supporting local organisers,
ensuring publicity etc.

7. Publications
Managing production of the ACL'S publications where this is not
the duty of specified editors, and also supporting these.

8. Liaison
Providing materials as needed for liaison purposes, and
monitoring external relations.

9. Executive Committee
Providing general `in-service' support for the Officers and Exec,
e.g. documents, past practice facts, name lists.

10. General remit
To carry out or manage all routine operations required by a
professional organisation of the kind and size represented by the

The detailed amplification of the summary OM task list is
provided by the ST itemisation. The OM also has a specific
responsibility of their own:

11. Office management
The OM is responsible for the management of any subsidiary office
staff, under conditions of pay and employment agreed by the ST.

Division of Work Between Secretary Treasurer and Office Manager

In general, the aim is to delegate all of the normal work of the ST to
the OM so, as mentioned earlier, the OM's role is one of material
responsibility and initiative, and is by no means merely a hack
job. Under this arrangement, the OM is primarily responsible, as a
function of the effective carrying out of all the ACL Offive busines,
for the general wellbeing of the ACL.

However while the ST's task description essentially becomes that for
the OM, the ST retains certain specific roles, as follows.

a) Final, formal responsibility for the ACL's moneys remains with
the ST; the ST has to ensure the soundness of the ACL's books.

b) The ST, as the visible, long-term officer of the ACL, has a
particular duty to maintain and enhance the public status of the

c) The ST is the primary officer supporting the Exec in its
conduct of the ACL's business.

d) The ST is formally resonsible for the proper conduct of the
ACL Office and for the OM's work therein, including the OM's
money-handling operations.

e) The ST has to be present at the Annual Meeting of the ACL; at
the annual meeting of the Exec; and at the Annual Conference of
the ACL.


It is envisaged that the OM position will be an approximately
half-time job. The ST's job, once the new arrangement is
intituted and operational, can be estimated at a halfday per week
on average.

A specific employment contract for the OM, and `Letter of
agreement' for the ST, will be provided based on the job analyses
made in this document. It is assumed that while these analyses
allow for considerable variation in the details of both jobs,
substantive changes can only be made by formal agreement.

President's Duties

Specific Responsibilities:

1) Giving the after-dinner speech at the conference!

2) "Watching over" the conference for the next year.  This includes
selecting a program chair (voted on by the ACL exec).  The president
is responsible for inviting the program chair and making sure the
program chair has the necessary information (e.g., past history,
information from previous program chair).  Generally this should be
done in time to announce the program chair at this year's meeting (the
conference is a good place for a meeting of past, current, and next
program chair).

Working with the program chair and the local arrangements people for
the conference next year.

3) Making/moving forward any policy changes in the ACL.

4) Running the acl-executive committee meeting held at the conference
(and ensuring, in consultation with the secretary-treasurer, that
necessary people are invited), presiding over the executive committee
dinner and the business meeting.

Vice-President's Duties

Specific Responsibilities:

1) being the Exec's guardian of SIGs - e.g., if someone wants to have
a SIG the VP checks it out and facilitates the sig formation - there
are guidelines available on ACL listserv: this also means harassing
the Sigs to produce their annual reports.  The vice-president might
also initiate any policy changes with respect to the sigs.

2) being in charge of choosing the site for the next year but one's
conference, e.g., in 99 the site should be chosen for 2001; however
some special constraints as to the location may have been worked out
by the exec in advance.  The site is generally announced at the
conference two years in advance.

Note: there needs to be very careful liaison with the ACL
Secretary-Treasurer to check out some financial aspects *before* any
decision is made. (Attached to the bottom are the site-selection
guidelines that Don used.)  In the past the VP concentrated on
applying guidelines to do with whether there was a willing CL
community to do Local Arrangements etc, asking potential LA Chairs
etc, and did not investigate anything to do with such matters as
up-front financial deposits, whether the LA Chair would intend to use
a Conference Service etc. In earlier years there was a sort of cosy
academic style assumed, but one or two straws in the wind in recent
years suggest more care is needed not to get inadvertently into
untoward financial commitments.

3) doing the "thank-yous" at the ACL annual business meeting.

Program Committee Chair

The PROGRAM COMMITTEE CHAIR is responsible for:

(1) Selecting a program committee; it should be balanced for subject
matter and, to the extent possible, geography and sex; it should
not include people recently on an ACL program committee (list of
previous committee members provided).  The proposed members should
have their dues paid for the current year (as well as the year of
the conference), and they should regularly attend ACL meetings.
However, it is possible to include "outsiders" if new areas emerging
within computational linguistics justify it.  The list should be
submitted for review by the Executive Committee before contacting
prospective members -- or at least before confirming them, particularly
so some of these parameters can be checked.

(2) Working out a timetable for relevant events (negotiable proposed
timetable provided).

(3) Selecting a Tutorial Chair (list of previous chairs provided).

(4) Generating a Call for Papers, which should go out late August or
early September (copy of previous one provided).

(5) Distibuting papers to committee members and collecting reviews
(copy of review form provided).

(6) Convening program committee meeting and deciding on papers (list
identifying submissions and acceptances at previous conferences
provided), invited speakers, panels, and other features.

(7) Writing acceptance and rejection letters (copy of model acceptance
letter provided).  Format guidelines and copyright release forms
should be included with acceptances.

(8) Preparing program timetable with sequences of papers, break and
lunch times, invited speaker and panel sessions, and other features.


Here are the general guidelines for the ACL PC Chair:

1. Selecting the program committee

Program committee should be finalized by 9/15 latest in time
for the Call For Papers

1.  Exec approves Area Chairs proposed by PC chairs/GC
2.  PC chairs and General Chair approve PC members (not
    including the AC's) after getting input from the Exec.
3.  PC to have a hierarchical structure, with ACs and PC to meet,
    discuss, and reach consensus about the papers.
4.  GC to ensure that this happens.

July 31st:     (should be complete by end of July/mid-August)
	       Reviewers are contacted. Any negative responses will
	       generate need for new names. Again, keep Exec
August 31st    informed.

		Other selections to be made: tutorial chair. Again,
August 31st	propose suggestion to Exec and get feedback.

		Interact with Student Session Chairs to make sure
	        they are on track.

		Draft for Call For Papers formulated. Circulated at least
		to Secretary/Treasurer. Can be circulated to
Sept. 15	Exec for feedback if there any new points

			Call for papers should include:

			List of PC reviewers
			Information and call for student session
			Tutorial chair
			Local arrangments contact

Sept. 30th	Call goes to Priscilla Rasmussen who emails it out.
		Email version gets mailed once at end of Sept.
		and again at end of Nov.

		Have discussion with PC Committee on invited speakers
		before they begin reviewing. Decide on
		invited speakers early, contact them and get
Jan. 8th	a yes or no response.

The following dates are flexible and can change from year to
year. Some discussion should occur between PC Chair and Secretary
Tresurer on reasonable dates. These will be dependent on amount of
time needed for reviewing, date the Conference Announcement should go
out, how much time is needed for the publication process, etc. This
year is slightly complicated since we don't yet know who the publisher
will be. I've put last year's dates here with comments.

Jan. 8th	Submissions due
			Really nice to give a week between New Year's
			and due date so academics don't have to work
			over the Christmas break.

Mar. 1st	Tutorial program finalised. Tutorial Chairs provides 
			announcement in latex format. PC Chair should
			nudge the Tutorial Chair to be on time. Latex
			template and example is provided to TC.

Mar. 1st	Electronic reviews due

Mar. 15th	PC Committee meets

Mar. 15th	Student Session Chairs provide complete program to 

Mar. 31st	Program finalized and final file is sent to Secretary/Treasurer
			This entails setting times and dates for each
			paper, determining sessions, and breaks. You will
			be provided with a latex template to fill out,
			along with .html. We provided versions in .ps
			.html and ascii this year since everything goes
			out via email only. THis year it took the PC 3
			weeks after the meeting to provide me with the
			program. This was too long. Problem was multiple
			The longer we wait, the worse it is for publicity.

Mar. 31st	Authors are notified. Again, there was a delay this year.
			Due to multiple submissions.

Apr. 7th	Conference announcement goes out

May 1st		Final camera ready copy due. Papers are sent to PC CHairs
			who asemble the volume, prepare teh front matter
			(latex templates and examples are provided). This
			is then sent to Sec/Treas for proofing.

May 20th	Final proceedings due at OmniPress (will depend on who we
			use for overseas printing. This was for a June 23rd
			conference start. Coming up will be July 7th start
			but problems wiht overseas mailings, etc. mean that
			more leeway should be added.