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Letters: 2013 budget

September 03, 2012

Money allocations are difficult whether in a family, a business or an organization. Dues increases are part of any organization that I am a member of. Stewardship of members’ money is an important aspect of the responsibility of leadership.

Times are lean in the dental business with insurance reimbursement tightly managed and patients choosing dental care based on what it will cost them for a particular service.

I understand that the ADA has developed a strategic plan to follow which includes its ability to assess value to members for the various services which are provided, along with a dues increase and a special assessment for "office improvement" ("Board Recommends Bold Plan for Growth, Strength," July 16 ADA News).

As a member, I would prefer to accept a dues increase, and give time for your software to evaluate ADA programs. Then you can adjust your commitments (in millions) with a goal of decreasing spending equal to our dues increase. After this goal is met; then revisit the special assessment. If leadership must have an office makeover during tough times, use the reserve funds knowing that, in the future, the economy will improve.

I am opposed to a special assessment for long-term investment. The cost of the ADA should be spread equally among present and future members. Why give current members a reason to leave our organization? If you agree with this, then contact your leadership to express how you feel.

If you choose no action, then you approve their proposal.

Alan J. Bream, D.D.S.
Charlottesville, Va.

Editor’s note: Dr. Edward Leone Jr., ADA treasurer, in response to Dr. Bream, notes that there is significant history on the Capital Improvement Fund and the reserves that bears further explanation. In the past, the reserve funds have been used for both operational and capital expenses. The Board’s focus is on planning for the long term that includes saving surplus funds during peak performance, which has not always been the case. The ADA had a Capital Improvement Fund for many years but closed it out just prior to the recession. Had the account been maintained, the ADA would already have the funds that the newly proposed special assessment will generate.

At this time, all money needed for building maintenance and repair must come out of the operating fund, and the ADA has had four years of deficits—leaving no money at all for upkeep of the buildings. The ADA Headquarters building is aging and tenant improvements are necessary in order to preserve the value of the Chicago Headquarters and the ADA Washington property.