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No ADA dues hike for '09

House, Board work together in keeping costs down

San Antonio—The ADA House of Delegates Oct. 21 approved the 2009 Association budget—without adopting a dues increase. Dues in 2009 will remain at their current level of $498.

On Oct. 20, the House directed the Board of Trustees to reduce operating expenses by about $2 million less than what the Board proposed this summer when it recommended a $14 dues increase to balance the budget.

After culling through several areas of the operating budget, the Board came back the next day and proposed cuts totaling about $2 million, a number which was adjusted slightly after House discussion (and in consideration of House actions with financial impact).

This adjustment resulted in projected revenues and expenses of approximately $115.9 million each and a projected deficit of about $11,000 (too small to require a dues increase).

While the Board cut in several areas, including consulting fees at the House's suggestion, new programs were also added to the budget by the House. Some of these include efforts to promote "greening" of the dental office, a student block grant program, oral health video podcasts for the public, conferences on dental laboratory technology and diversity and an American Indian/Alaska Native Oral Health Access Summit.

ADA President John S. Findley commented after the close of the House Oct. 21 that he was positive about the work the two groups did together.

"I was impressed by the confidence the House of Delegates showed in the Board of Trustees. It was overwhelming," he said. "I believe the Board demonstrated to the House that we listen to what they say and that we will try to move forward in a coordinated fashion. I think we have a new ability to communicate with each other, a demonstrated commitment to greater 'transparency,' and we will go on to do great things together for the Association."

Dr. Edward Leone, ADA treasurer, was confident that the Association was on a strong foothold for providing programs for members. "The budget adjustments were made in order to accomplish the goals set by the House of Delegates without diminishing in any way member benefits and quality performance of ADA operations," he said.

There will be some "unique challenges" in the coming year, ones that were different than the poor performance of the financial markets that the nation faced this year. "We will be vigilant and work together in partnership—the Board and House—to make sure the American Dental Association stays on sound economic footing," Dr. Leone pledged.