Board passes a balanced Bar budget

first_img Board passes a balanced Bar budget Senior EditorA “barely” balanced 2003-04 Bar budget that allows for continuing the Dignity in Law program and a free new Internet portal service for Bar members has been approved by the Board of Governors.The budget initially calls for $300,000 for outside contracted services for Dignity in Law, plus some additonal monies to supplement parts of the program brought in-house. Another $120,000 was budgeted for the Internet portal, which will offer a variety of free services to Bar members, including legal research and e-mail.The budget will come back to the board at its May 30 meeting for consideration of any Bar member objections, and then will be forwarded to the Supreme Court for review.A complete breakdown of the budget is included in this News, on pages 8 and 9.Incoming Budget Committee Chair Jesse Diner noted that when he reported to the board at its January meeting, the budget had not been balanced and tough choices would have to be made.“It is balanced now, but just barely,” Diner said at the board’s April 4 meeting in Kissimmee. “It’s also based on several assumptions which I hope to be true. One of those assumptions is we will earn on our investments $250,000.”Much of the board discussion focused on the Dignity in Law program. The budget presentation came after Christine Barney, of rbb Public Relations, which oversees the program, reported to the board and discussed what the agency could do next year with various budget amounts.Diner said the Budget Committee appreciated the importance of the program, noting it originally had been funded at $200,000, but the committee increased it to $300,000. More money might be available, he said, from other sources. One is members will again have a chance to make a voluntary contribution this summer on their Bar annual fee statement.He also said the equivalent of $250,000 to $300,000 of the program was being brought in-house, to be done by Bar staff. The program was funded at $750,000 last year, and more than $200,000 of that was offset from contributions from Bar members, sections, and other groups.Board member Robert Rush said he’d like to see the Dignity in Law program increased and made a permanent part of the budget.“I think we’re being very shortsighted in cutting this program down. Public relations programs take a long time,” he said. “Can you imagine any other business that is being beat up in the media. . . that isn’t going to try to mount a major public relations campaign? I would like to see this at 2 to 3 percent of our budget minimum. That’s still a small percentage of any business that’s running a $40 million budget.. . . “Without public relations, our critics have the floor. We are not responding adequately again, again, and again.”Board member David Welch, though, said many startup expenses from the first year of the program don’t have to be repeated, and many other segments can be done in-house at a substantial savings.“We have to be responsible about spending money. It would be great if we could just say it’s a great program, we don’t care what it costs, and just write checks. But we don’t have that luxury,” he said.Noting a special review committee examined the program and recommended the $300,000 budget, Welch added that panel “made a sensible choice. Three hundred thousand is adequate funding in my opinion.”Public member Royce Walden said it was important for the Bar to continue the program, adding it had just begun reaching people. President-elect Miles McGrane urged acceptance of the Budget Committee’s proposal.“I don’t want people thinking this is the death knell of the Dignity in Law program. This is what we’ve got, and let’s cut the best deal we can,” he said. “All I’m asking for is a fiscally responsible budget.” Rbb ReportBarney of rbb Public Relations updated the board on recent Dignity in Law activities, and outlined what the company could do for the Bar next year.She said judges are enthusiastically signing up for a program that will have reporters follow judges while they perform their duties, and that a survey of nonprofit entities showed many couldn’t survive without services donated by lawyers.In addition, rbb is working on a joint program with Disney World to underscore how lawyers and the legal system help children. “We’re very excited about it,” Barney said. “It would be an unusual way to deliver our message to mass consumers.”For next year, she outlined three proposals:For $300,000, rbb would delegate much of the work in-house, including running the Bar’s online media center, high tech e-mails to legislators, and preparing messages to the media. The agency would concentrate on getting positive stories into the media in five major markets in the state — Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Orlando.With a $400,000 appropriation, that media program would be expanded statewide, she said.At $500,000, the statewide media program would be accompanied by a major outreach program, such as the ceremony held at various football games last year or the pending Disney World program, she said.“Three hundred thousand is really the minimum,” Barney said. “At a threshold below $300,000, we wouldn’t be able to deliver enough meaningful results to justify the return on investment.”On the Web portal project, Diner said the $120,000 budget would allow the Bar to begin the project with all of the major elements previewed to board members last spring. That includes a basic legal research service, e-mail, docketing program, and various services that could be customized by each user, such as news service reports or notices of upcoming CLE courses in a specific practice area.Welch, chair of the Technology Task Force, said beta testing should begin on the portal in May and June, and it could be unveiled at the Bar’s June Annual Meeting, and ready for Bar members to use in late summer.Welch said contracts have been prepared and are being reviewed by intellectual property attorneys to ensure everything is as the Bar wants.“Everything appears to be in good shape as we approach our Annual Meeting this year,” he said. “Look for myfloridabar.com [the name of the portal service] on a CRT on your desk soon.” Other Budget DetailsAside from those two programs, Diner said the Bar has increased CLE fees by $10 per course and has raised the percentage it gets from lawyer referral service fees from 10 to 12 percent. That helps offset $400,000 the Bar has lost when an endorsed credit card program that was part of the Member Benefits Program ended. The Budget Committee also recommended dropping the Bar rules from the annual Journal directory issue to save money there.“Many times the rules are outdated by the time it’s printed and the rules are available online [on the Bar’s www.flabar.org Web site],” Diner said.The board rejected an amendment offered by Rush to up the spending for Dignity in Law to $400,000, and then approved the budget.The budget anticipates the Bar will have $10.6 million on hand at the start of the budget year, and will have a total income of $28.8 million for the 2003-04 fiscal year, with matching expenditures. That’s actually $600,000 less than projected revenues and expenditures for the 2002-03 budget year.The largest income item continues to be member dues, expected to generate almost $19 million, up about $500,000 for the current year. Sales of products and services, though, are projected at $4.9 million, down about $600,000. Income from advertising revenues, including from Journal and News operations, is expected to remain steady at about $1.8 million.On expenditures, the Bar’s regulation of the practice of law, which includes the discipline system, ethics and advertising, professionalism, and membership records, will continue to be the largest expenditure. The 2003-04 budget calls for $12.6 million, up from $11.9 million in 2002-03.The Unauthorized Practice of Law Department will get $1.4 million, up from $1.3 million, while the Bar’s communications programs, which includes public information as well as the Journal and News will see a decrease from $4.4 to $3.5 million.One notable figure was the expected return on investment. The 2002-03 budget projected $709,000 of income on investments, while through the end of January 31 the Bar had lost $421,854. The 2003-04 budget anticipates investment earnings of $250,000.Investment Committee Chair David Bianchi reported that while major market indexes are down 4 to 8 percent this year, the Bar’s portfolio has lost only 1.5 percent. He also said ups and downs are to be expected, and the Bar needs to stick with its investment policies, which are carefully worked out by professionals.“It’s a tough market; everybody is losing money,” he said. “It would be a big mistake to get out and sit on the sidelines.” Board passes a balanced Bar budget April 30, 2003 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

Are healthy holidays possible?

first_imgOkay, let’s face it; the holidays can be a very difficult season to maneuver when you are trying to maintain the progress you’ve made in 2020. Getting through the whirlwind of treats can seem like a constant barrage of temptation to stray from your healthy eating goals. The holidays don’t have to be a relentless obstacle course requiring you to be battle-ready every moment, but they do require some preplanning and strategizing to make it safely through to 2021. Here are my top five healthy holiday tips:1. Eat OftenIt may seem logical to try “saving” your calories throughout the day before a large holiday meal. Unfortunately, this idea can backfire, leaving you ravenous and ready to eat everything in sight! Instead, try eating as you normally would, enjoying a high protein meal or snack throughout the day to help curb your pre-meal appetite.2. Stay HydratedMany times we mistakenly think we are hungry when really we are thirsty. Your body needs half your body weight in ounces of water (and unsweetened beverages) throughout the day. ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr continue reading »last_img read more

Allsop: why we had to cancel the auction

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img