Sometimes our best-laid plans, no matter how well thought out, simply do not come to fruition. In September I wrote telling you of our plans to equip the building to handle all our audio/visual and telecommunication needs. I certainly had no idea we would be approaching graduation and still not have a fully equipped auditorium. I’ve been amazed at the difficulty in finding an experienced vendor who is able to understand the needs of an organization like ours. We interviewed and tested equipment from companies more accustomed to dealing with larger organizations with much larger budgets. We did see some great equipment but it came with ongoing charges that could not be accommodated in our budget at this point in time. While the task force has been working to develop plans for online classes that would generate the income to cover the costs we simply aren’t ready. Recently we have been in contact with a distributor who can supply and install the equipment we need in the auditorium and if the stars align we should have everything in place for the new academic year in September. In the meantime we still have the ability to broadcast events to remote locations. Last month we had over fifty people participate remotely in the Scientific Meeting.
There are some positives to report. The building is booked every evening for multiple events and most weekends we have programs scheduled both days. We have been pleased with the quality of the equipment in the classrooms. A leaking roof caused just enough damage to the server room to cause issues with our Internet connection. After some time to discover the source of the problem the issue was quickly and cheaply repaired. The reports I’m receiving are that the classroom connections are crystal clear across the region and across the Atlantic. Instructors have been using the equipment for slide shows and to record classes.
Should you need to use the equipment for programs or meetings please contact Aaron Chow, the staff person respon-sible for handling our telecommunication and technology needs.
Staffing is an issue that came up in our recent regional meetings. Concerns were expressed that members aren’t sure about individual staff responsibilities and questions were raised about the portion of our budget that is spent on personnel. One of the issues I faced when I assumed the COO position was the need to restructure the staff to better meet the needs of the Center. We are two and a half years into the plan that has our five full time and one part time staff supporting specific programs and serving as primary staff contact with members as they do their work.
Tasks that cross division boundaries like continuing education, finances and technology normally fall to one staff member.
Greg Goglin supports the programming of the Psychoanalytic Education Division including the Child Analytic Training Program and the Psychotherapy Training programs in Palo Alto and San Francisco. Elvis Truong handles all financial transactions including tuitions and fees, dues and payables. You will also find him at the door for most programs and meetings to welcome members and guests to the Center. Aaron Chow is responsible for all our technology needs including telecommunication, the website, email correspondence, electronic evaluations for programs and continuing education, and he manages our electronic database. Alyson Barrett manages our library including day-to-day operations, future planning for our collection and the electronic resources recently added to our programming. Eric Rosen serves as Alyson’s assistant and currently is involved in a special project to digitize our extensive collection of audio and video recordings that span decades. As the files are created they will become available for use by our membership. As my assistant, Marcia Parham has a wide range of duties. She is responsible for CE/CME, Extension programming, schedule and calendar including the one we share with other organizations, and program marketing that involves the production of the brochures and other materials we use to advertise SFCP programs. There is very little time that staff is not busy with the work of the Center. We are planning a staff retreat this summer, when things settle down, (our inside joke because things never seem to do that) to evaluate our work and make adjustments to the plan. We will email the membership with the date so as to have as little impact on your work as possible.
For the fiscal year 2011-2012 total salaries and benefits accounted for 52% of our total expenses. Most non-profits allocate staff salaries to the programs they serve and a large percentage of the salaries we pay are directly related to programs. With the reductions in staff we experienced over the past few years the percentage of administrative salaries is approximately 25% of our total expenses.
I’ll close with a few housekeeping issues. One concerns safety. As you would in any urban neighborhood please be mindful of your surroundings. Be sure not to leave your belongings on the seats of your car where they can be seen. Stow expensive items such as computers out of sight or in your trunk before you come to the neighborhood. We have received no reports of personal crimes but car crimes have been reported. The building committee is interested to hear any thoughts you have about the neighborhood; please feel free to call or email me. We are currently looking into enhanced lighting and have reopened discussion with the parking lot a few doors away in response to members’ concerns.
Be sure that you pay special attention when using the automated door opening system. The system gives each of us easy access to the Center but also can be a moment of vulnerability so keep watch until the door has closed so that only our members and guests gain access.
Please leave the space as you found it for the next group. Gather up any cups, plates and bottles left under the chairs or on the tables. Our cleaning service is not willing to wash dishes so we ask that you rinse and put away any platters you use for refreshments. Please either take or refrigerate any leftovers. On-site staff is willing to help but please be sure to assign a committee member or volunteer to be responsible for these housekeeping chores.