The ASCA Board of Directors acknowledges the disappointment that many members have felt regarding the decision not to print the July issue of the Aussie Times and to make it available only in digital form. We regret that this decision has caused such stress.
The decision was not made lightly, and it was made before the AT deadline of May 15th. At the time, the Board had faced the Business Office closure, payroll decisions, a decrease in all our sources of income, and a very uncertain outlook. The fact that it was the Stockdog issue was only a matter of timing. It was the next issue on the docket.
Mr. Warren Evans, ASCA’s Treasurer, presented the financial reports for the period ending April 30, 2020, showing an ending balance of $131,940.31. However, in that financial assessment, he also reported the following:
Investments were down about 20%; members services, dues, and registry were down about 20%; program revenue (including sanctioning and recording fees) was down about 50%.
Due to the uncertainty that ASCA faced and is still facing regarding income, shows, and our members’ financial situation, the Board made the very difficult decision to adopt some money-saving actions, including not printing the AT in July. The costs of printing, preparing it for mailing, and postage for each issue can run on average about $20,000 after income from ads is factored in. Most years, the subscriptions pay for that cost. But, when the decision was made, the reduction of 20% in dues and member services made the possibility that this profit/loss item could be in the red by the end of the year very real. Our measures, besides not printing the AT, included changes in payroll and the cancellation of travel to Texas for the Spring Meeting. At that time, it looked as if ASCA could go through its reserves by the end of the year.
Thankfully, the situation has stabilized somewhat and ASCA still has money in savings. ASCA is not broke! However, there are several states that are still under orders and prohibiting gatherings. We have continued to see shows and trial cancellations. Therefore, the trend in reduced income has continued and we do not know when it will return to normal levels. In addition, the membership must be aware that ASCA still has to pay its bills, take care of its employees, and continue a level of service. It is entirely possible that ASCA will have to go further into savings to maintain operations if the situation does not improve. The Board needs to be extremely cautious as this situation continues to develop.
We have reviewed reports in the minutes from past years and we have found that those reports did not include itemization. This Board has followed the same protocols as established in the last few years. Nevertheless, Treasurer Evans is continuing to prepare a financial report for the membership to be published in each issue of the AT and will provide more details after each Board meeting. It is the Board’s intention to be transparent about ASCA finances, especially in these challenging times. The Board hopes that this message can at least clarify the rationale for the decisions made in the last couple of months.