Officer Duties


ACL Conference, Year N+1

Take initiative in setting up ACL conference for the year after your presidency. This involves setting up the committee (as per the ACL Policy on Joint Conferences), issuing a bid (see Conference Handbook), and setting in motion the process of selecting a Conference and Program Chairs (see Handbook). The process should start at the latest as soon as you assume the presidency, so that the conference and program chairs can be announced at this year’s meeting. (The conference is a good place for a meeting of past, current, and next program chair). During the course of the year, the President must interact with the conference chair to ensure that the conference preparations are proceeding smoothly.

Monitor events and discussions

When issues throughout the year come to some kind of consensus, ask the Secretary to call a vote, and have the results recorded. Ensure that the results conform with the Constitution.

ACL Exec Meeting 1

Organize the ACL Executive meeting early in the year of your presidency. This should obviously have been set up earlier. Your tasks are to work with the Secretary to establish list of open issues, create an agenda for the meeting, invite participants, chair the meeting, and see that what has been decided is recorded and, later, acted out.

ACL Exec Meeting 2

Organize the ACL Executive meeting at the ACL conference the year of your presidency. Your duties are as for the previous meeting, but the meeting now includes additional people, notably the Local Arrangements Committee and Conference Chairs, who are invited to attend for a portion of the meeting and give their reports. At this time, also set a time for the next ACL Exec meeting in the following year.

ACL Banquet

Give the after-dinner speech.

ACL Business Meeting

Chair the ACL Business Meeting at the conference.


The Vice-President of ACL shall server as its President in Year + 1.

ACL Conference, Year N + 2

The vice-president is responsible for overseeing the site selection for the conference that will be held the year after he or she is president. For example, in 1999, a site should be chosen for the conference that will be held in 2001. This involves posting and circulating a Call for Bids, contacting individuals who might potentially submit a quality bid and encouraging them to do so, overseeing the bid submission process, and overseeing the bid selection which is voted on by the ACL Exec. Site selection is constrained by the rotation among Europe, US, and Asia. 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. 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.

Site-Selection Guidelines For ACL Conferences

(Note: The following guidelines were provided by Don Walker.)

  1. A person willing to assume responsibility for local arrangements who has had some prior involvement in ACL activities. Frequent meeting attendance coupled with strong interest would be enough, although having presented papers at conferences or published in CL would be preferable.
  2. A local support group of colleagues actively engaged in computational linguistic research.
  3. Auditoriums to hold plenary sessions containing 400-600 people during the conference itself, as well as large rooms for the main parallel technical sessions.
  4. Facilities for tutorial sessions: several rooms that accommodate from 50 to 100 people. Needed the day before the conference proper.
  5. Exhibit space close to the plenary session room with power, phone lines, adequate air conditioning, and security. Requirements will vary, but it might be reasonable to plan for 8-10 publishers and 10-15 system exhibitors, occupying about 2000 square feet (10 x 10 booth size). Having separate spaces for each exhibitor would facilitate scheduling, but clustering is possible if space is limited. Vendors like Symbolics, DEC, Xerox, and Sun might be prevailed upon to provide hardware which can be shaed by the exhibitors.
  6. Two rooms for student paper sessions holding about 100 people, although the plenary session room could be used for one of them.
  7. Possible need for rooms holding 50-100 beforeor after the conference for SIG-sponsored or other workshops.
  8. Registration space close to auditorium with telephone line access and that can be locked up so that registration materials do not have to be moved.
  9. Refreshment area close to auditorium, registration, exhibits, and tutorials.
  10. Convenient housing and eating places in reasonable proximity to the conference site with lower cost accommodations for students. In the past, 30-50% of the registrants have used dormitory space. It is preferable if the university can handle registration for dormitory housing.
  11. Catering and banquet facilities.
  12. Conference management office support would be helpful.
  13. Reasonably convenient transportation access to the area in which the conference is being held.
  14. Network communication links.
  15. Location with regard to previous and subsequent meetings to ensure some geographical distribution over time. ACL-91 is scheduled for Berkeley, California, and ACL-92 for Newark, Delaware, so ACL-93 should be midwest or western in location.
  16. Availability of facilities in June/July time frame; consideration of quarter or semester break schedule may be relevant.
  17. Proximity to related meetings that can serve to encourage attendance; usually only of incidental interest.


The Secretary has a term of 5 years and the following duties:

  • Administer and oversee the ACL election. It is important that the membership list be complete and up-to-date prior to the election. Thus it is essential to make sure that new memberships received at the ACL conference are included in the membership database immediately after the conference. The election is done electronically, using Perl scripts that have been constructed for that purpose and which are updated from year to year. They should be available from the previous secretary.
  • Write ACL newsletter. The easiest way to approach the newsletter is to compile items of interest throughout the year. Much of the newsletter is just updated yearly with new officers, etc. It is best to contact the local chapters to make sure that the newsletter’s list of their officers is correct, rather than relying on web sites that might not have been updated after an election.
  • Maintain the ACL web site in conjunction with the person providing ACL web technical support
  • Maintain and update the conference handbook.
  • Maintain and update ACL policies and procedures.
  • Maintain the ACL constitution.
  • Record minutes at the two Executive Board meetings each year.
  • Help with setting up agendas for the executive board meetings.
  • Interact with local organizers to arrange the ACL exec++ dinner.
  • Arrange with local organizers and meeting organizers the various meetings at the ACL conference.
  • Interface with ACL conference committees.
  • Interact with officers to remind them of tasks to be done. With new officers and new executive board members each year, it is often not obvious what each individual’s responsibilities are. Thus it is helpful for the secretary to remind the officers and executive committee members of tasks that they are responsible for. For example, the nominating committee needs to be reminded that it often takes much longer than expected to secure a slate of officers for the election and thus that they need to begin working on this in February.
  • Update/renew office manager’s contract and salary.
  • Handle ACL correspondence.
  • Ensure that the LTA award and fellows have been chosen in a timely fashion.
  • Remind nominating committee to get nominees for new officers (in January).
  • Collect bios and candidate statements from nominees for officers (in June).
  • Four months before a conference:
    • Contact various conference chairs about meetings at the conference.
    • Student meeting/lunch: local chair and student co-chairs.
    • CL editorial board meeting/lunch: local chair and CL editor.
    • Exec board meeting/lunch: local chair.
    • Exec board dinner: local chair.
    • After conference breakfast meeting: local chair.
  • Two months before a conference:
    • Arrange menu for exec++ dinner.
    • Compile list of invitees to executive board meeting and issue invites.
    • Compile list of invitees to exec++ dinner and issue invites.
  • Invite additional officer nominations from the membership at conferences.
  • One month after a conference:
    • Collect bios and candidate statements from additional nominees.
    • Establish web page for election.
    • Mail ballot to members and conduct electronic election.
  • Begin working on ACL newsletter (in November).
  • Canvass executive board about office manager’s salary for the next year and interact with office manager about salary for the next year and contract (in December).
  • Have Priscilla mail the ACL newsletter (in January).


The Treasurer is the Chief Financial Officer of the association, and is the only officer who is legally able to contractually bind the association. The ACL has grown enormously over the last few years, and now has a turnover of US$1.5 million a year or more, keeping a steady state of about US$1 million in assets (as required for our credit rating and to be able to pay large deposits far in advance of revenue). The Treasurer is responsible for all of ACL’s financial assets and financial dealings. It is a position of considerable trust and responsibility.

The Treasurer needs to have a good (albeit lay) understanding of bookkeeping, accounting, and the U.S. banking system, and general facility with Excel. The Treasurer should have considerable familiarity with ACL, including its structure, its policies and operational practices, its publications, and the structure and style of its conferences. The Treasurer thus should be someone who has regularly attended *ACL conferences and who has been involved in some aspect or aspects of ACL organization and administration.

Ideally, the Treasurer should be in a time zone the same as, or close to, that of the ACL Office, bookkeeper, and auditor (UTC-5).

The time required for the work adds up to at least two or three days per month and sometimes more; it is not a small job. Quick response is often necessary for small tasks, issues, and queries. Larger unfragmented blocks of time are needed for other tasks, sometimes with some moderate urgency. (For example, the turnaround time needed for IRS filings and other auditor matters is often just a day, and conference venue contracts usually have short, firm deadlines for signing.) Skype or phone meetings with the ACL Office are occasionally necessary or helpful, but most work is done by email.

The time required for attending mandatory Exec meetings at the ACL and NAACL conferences (see below) should also be considered if they wouldn’t have been attended anyway; but one does get to attend the conference. Depending on the location and one’s starting point, a site visit to a conference bidder (see below), possibly to multiple locations, may require several days for travel, recovery, and site inspections.

The cost of travel to the Exec meeting at conferences, as for all members of the Exec, is at the individual’s expense (normally covered by their research grant). The cost of travel for site visits is covered by ACL and/or the bidders.

The term of the Treasurer is five years, and two terms are allowed. When a new Treasurer takes office, the previous Treasurer remains on the Exec for one year as Past Treasurer to ease the transition.

The Treasurer has the following duties.

Accounting and bookkeeping

The primary source of information for ACL’s bookkeepers is the ACL Office, which regularly sends them bank statements and details of all transactions. The Treasurer must also liaise with ACL’s bookkeepers regularly, providing them with additional information and interpretation of the data (which may require detailed knowledge of particular ACL activities and events) and generally overseeing the process, especially in the year-end finalization.

After the books are completed, ACL’s accountants and auditors receive the data, and conduct an audit. This primarily involves the ACL Office, but the Treasurer must also complete and sign some declarations relating to the financial conduct of the association over the previous year.

Financial reports

After the books are completed, using the files and statements provided by the bookkeeper, the Treasurer makes a complete written report of the prior year’s results and the financial state of the organization to the Exec. This report is also made available to the membership on the ACL Wiki. At the Business meeting at the annual ACL conference, the Treasurer makes a short presentation to the membership, summarizing the report.

Internal Revenue Service and State of New Jersey

The ACL is a registered non-profit organization in the State of New Jersey, and hence pays no tax on its income. To maintain its non-profit and tax-free status, it must submit a return (Form 990) to the United State Internal Revenue Service each year, plus a copy with a short additional form to New Jersey. Form 990 is quite long (more than 40 pages), as its goal (from the point of view of the IRS) is to cover all the ways that an organization might actually be a covert profit-making entity or otherwise a source of enrichment for its principals. It’s important that Form 990 be submitted on time and accurately; it would be a disaster if ACL lost its non-profit status.

Form 990 is completed by the accountants, with oversight and review by the Treasurer, who must sign to declare its accuracy upon submission to the IRS. (The entire Exec is also obliged by law to review the return for accuracy, but it’s the Treasurer who signs and takes responsibility.) The submission is made electronically by the accountants. The submission of the New Jersey version, however, must be made on paper by the Treasurer, and requires obtaining the physical signature of another senior exec member.

The IRS form is due on 15 May, but an extension to 15 August is always allowed, and in practice we almost never have the books of the previous year ready in time for 15 May. Some years in the past, we have had to request an additional extension to 15 November, which is the final drop-dead date. (The New Jersey form is due a few weeks later.)

Office oversight

The Treasurer has day-to-day oversight of the ACL Office and Priscilla Rasmussen (although formally she reports to the Exec). In particular, the Treasurer reviews and pays Priscilla’s monthly invoice (she is a contractor, not an employee) because, while Priscilla handles all other ACL transactions, under checks-and-balances principles, she cannot pay herself. The payment must be made very promptly on receipt of the invoice.

Conference planning and budgets

The Treasurer is a member of all ACL conference coordinating committees, and maintains the templates for local expenses that are used by conference bidders.

The Treasurer is deeply involved in assessing the bids by potential conference hosts, especially the local expenses proposed for each bid, and in the financial planning of the conference and its final budget. Most of the contracts that the Treasurer signs are with conference suppliers – hotels, convention centers, PCOs, etc. These contracts tend to be complex and require careful assessment, based on full knowledge of what’s needed, in negotiation and signing.

The Treasurer usually participates in site visits (with Priscilla and perhaps another member of the coordinating committee) to assess the viability of conference bids and the proposed facilities and their cost. This may require travel anywhere in the world, typically a trip of several days, and usually in June or July but possibly at other times.

The final conference budget, including fees, is developed by the ACL Office for final approval by the Treasurer.

Many questions concerning the organization of a conference involve money, so the Treasurer must pay attention to almost everything concerning the conference. (And must be aware of relevant ACL policies and practices.) After the conference, the Treasurer may audit final invoices, making sure all expected bills are in accordance with expectations and are paid (this may involve obtaining explanations from locals and PCOs).

SIG and chapter subaccounts

ACL SIGs and chapters have no formal legal standing; all funds held by ACL are the property of the top-level organization. Nonetheless, informal subaccounts are kept for funds that are deemed to therefore “belong” to chapters and SIGs. Typically, these arise from surpluses from SIG-sponsored events, from conferences, and from sponsorships, and the SIGs and chapters are allowed to spend them as they wish. The Treasurer keeps track of this, maintaining the balance of each SIG account and liaising with the chapter treasurers and the treasurer or other officers of the SIGs.

  1. SIG-sponsored conference workshop surpluses are computed by the Treasurer from the final results of the conference, according to an algorithm based on the proportional size of the workshop compared to the entire event (measured in person-days of registration) plus any unused sponsorship monies they collected. Workshops that are not sponsored by SIGs (including those that are merely “endorsed” by a SIG without active involvement) do not earn a distributable surplus.
  2. Conference surpluses, after distributions to SIGs, are shared with hosting chapters, if any, or with AFNLP if a joint conference with IJCNLP. Chapter treasurers are responsible for their physical subaccounts.
  3. If a SIG holds a stand-alone event organized through ACL, the SIG takes the complete surplus or loss.
  4. The ACL general account may receive funds on behalf of a SIG (e.g., sponsorships) or spend funds on behalf of a SIG (e.g., reimburse an invited speaker). The Treasurer needs to keep track of this so that it can be factored into the SIGs’ subaccounts; often the information may be hiding within the general operating account or elsewhere, so pro-active searching is necessary.
  5. The Treasurer also coordinates with the Treasurers of the NAACL and EACL chapters (see below).

SIG event planning and budgets

Some standalone SIG events, notably INLG, are organized through ACL, so the Treasurer must approve the budget and oversee and approve the final reconciliation. (These events often tend to involve unconventional bookkeeping, which is time-consuming to resolve.)


The Treasurer has no day-to-day involvement with the publication of the CL journal or TACL. However, an issue on the horizon is moving TACL to a commercial publisher, which will involve serious financial and contractual considerations.

Membership of ACL and NAACL Execs

The ACL Treasurer is a member of the ACL Executive Committee and an ex officio member of the NAACL Chapter Board (but not the EACL Chapter Board). The Treasurer therefore must participate in all meetings of these boards, which includes mandatory in-person meetings on the tutorial days of ACL and NAACL meetings (i.e., travel to both conferences is required), and a teleconference for the ACL Exec typically in February or early March. The Treasurer must also participate in all online discussions and votes of both boards, especially (but not only) those involving financial aspects.

Oversight of ACL assets in Europe

Much of ACL’s holdings is in euros in accounts and investments in Malta, where they are overseen by the EACL Treasurer, Mike Rosner. Mike also maintains the assets of the EACL subaccount, but most of the Maltese holdings are central ACL assets. The ACL Treasurer provides oversight here, and liaises between Malta and the bookkeepers, accountants, and auditors. Mechanisms for local oversight of these assets, or their progressive movement to another location as they mature, will become a complex and possibly time-consuming issue when Mike’s term is complete.

Conference Officer

The conference officer is an at-large executive member position focusing on development, coordination, and management of conference initiatives.

The position was inaugurated in 2012. The term runs for three calendar years and is renewed at every third year from 2012. The term runs on the same cycle as the other two at-large positions.

The primary role of the conference officer is integration of the different ACL-wide activities related to conference organization and management, for example, coordinating the timeline across different conferences, improving current practices and policies of paper reviewing and selection, working with the SoftConf support team to improve conference management systems, and promoting activities that support the diversity and equity of the ACL community.

More specifically, the duties of the conference officer include:

  • Working with conference organizing committees to develop and promote initiatives that aim to improve the scientific, technical, and educational impact of the ACL conference activities.
  • Working with conference organizing committees to develop and promote initiatives that aim to improve the diversity and equity of the ACL community members at all levels of participation.
  • Maintaining consistency across conferences by coordinating conference organizations and sharing experiences across different conferences.
  • Maintaining updated and accessible conference guidelines.
  • Reporting to the ACL Executive Committee on conference developments.
  • Attending biannual ACL exec meetings. The summer meeting takes place at the ACL conference, typically one day before the main conference begins. The winter meeting is based on teleconferencing.

SIG Officer

The SIG Officer is one of the three “at-large” member positions on the ACL executive. The SIG officer is in charge of liaising with the ACL SIGs, helping to set up new SIGs and ensuring SIG compliance. It has a term of 3 years.

The main duties of the SIG officer are as follows:

  • Facilitate the setting up of new SIGs
  • Ensure that all SIGs follow the SIG_Compliance Guidelines
  • Ensure that all SIG information on the ACL wiki is correct and up-to-date
  • Report on the latest SIG developments at the ACL exec meetings