ASSA Annual General Meeting – 2015

Annual General Meeting held on 5 Aug 2015 (20:00 to 22:00) at SAAO, Cape Town.

Present: Prof. Matie Hoffman (ASSA President), Dr Pierre de Villiers (Vice President, Chair – Hermanus Centre), Eddy Nijeboer (Chair – Cape Centre; Meeting Host), Adv AJ Nel (Hon Treasurer), Maciej Soltynski (Council Member, Convenor of Scholarships), Lerika Cross (Hon Secretary), Auke Slotegraaf (Sky Guide Editor, Section Director Deep Sky), Christian Hettlage (Web Master), James Smith (Web Manager), Cliff Turk (ASSET Secretary), Wendy Vermeulen, Keith Gottschalk, Richard Sessions, Heather Sessions, Chris Echard, Richard Ford, Willem Brazelle.

Apologies received: Dr I. Glass (Vice President), Chris Stewart (Council Member), Case Rijsdijk (Chair – Garden Route Centre, MNASSA Editor, ASSA Communications Officer), Peter Dormehl (Chair – Durban Centre), Peter Cramb (ASSET Trustee), Tim Cooper (ASSET Trustee)

Welcome: E Nijeboer, the ASSA Cape Centre Chair, who fulfilled the role of host and Master of Ceremonies for the AGM, welcomed everyone and opened the meeting. Apologies received are recorded in these minutes.

Minutes: The minutes of the previous AGM meeting held on 6 August 2014 were accepted without amendments (Proposed A Slotegraaf, Seconded M Soltynski).

Report on Council: 2014/15. The ASSA President, M Hoffman presented his Report on Council.

Reports received from the ASSA Directors: The reports that were received from ASSA Directors were tabled and presented and accepted by the meeting and will be place on the website: Shallow Sky Section Report (D Blane), Deep Sky Section Report (A Slotegraaf), Imaging Section Report (A Versfeld), Cosmology Section Report (J de Bruyn), Historical Section Report (C de Coning), Instrumentation Section Report (C Stewart), Observing Report (K Coronaios), and Photometry and Spectroscopy Report (J Jooste). No reports were received from J Smit for the Dark Sky and Outreach Sections.

ASSA Directors Awards: Dave Blane as Shallow Sky Director recommended Chris Vermeulen for a Director’s Award for his Solar observations and wrote in his annual report: “His monthly reports comprehensive and detailed analysis of Solar sunspot activity, including excellent images and graphs of sunspot groups and numbers. He has also analysed the variation of Mean Daily Frequency over a period of time and goes on to predict future activity. Chris has also produced a comprehensive “Amateur’s Guide to Sunspot Observation” which he has made freely available. He is also mentoring other observers who have expressed interest in observing sunspots.” Chris Vermeulen’s documents will be placed on the ASSA website. Auke Slotegraaf as Deep Sky Observing Director recommended Hannes & Pieter Pieterse for Observing Certificates and wrote in his report: “It’s a great pleasure to announce that Hannes & Pieter Pieterse have been issued an Observing Certificate for planning and successfully completing an ASSA Top-100 Marathon, on the night of 2014 June 27/28”. Certificates will be issued to Chris Vermeulen and Hannes & Pieter Pieterse.

Scholarships Report: The ASSA Convenor of Scholarships Report was tabled and presented by the Scholarship Convenor, M Soltynski. Maciej has decided to step down after 14 years as Convenor of the ASSA Scholarships Committee. He gave the meeting an overview of how ASSA Scholarships progressed to the point where 29 students have been funded up to now through part of their University courses. M Hoffman thanked Maciej for his magnificent contribution to the area of student scholarships and his perseverance in finding funds.

Financial Reports 2014/15: AJ Nel presented the 2014-15 Financial Report. In response to a question from the floor he clarified accounting fees versus the auditing fees: Auditing fees were paid to the Auditor because of the extra effort required from the Auditor for the years 2011 to 2014, recently completed by R Glass, the Auditor. The fee paid was considered to be a once-off payment rather than recurring expense. The accounting fees are for services approved by ASSA council to enable a smooth auditing process going forward. M Hoffman thanked AJ Nel for his effort and noted the effort that was required to get the auditor questions answered for the period 2011 to 2015. It was agreed that the financial report will be placed on the website.

ASSA Endowment Trust: C Turk, the Secretary of the ASSA Endowment Trust, read extracts from the report from ASSET. He noted investment interest of R6 043, a tax provision of R2417 and operating cost of R217 leaving a net disposable income for the year of R3409. From the income a grant was made in January 2015 to ASSA Johannesburg to cover shelving and storage of the photographic plates collection from the Union Republic Observatory of R5739.90. This resulted in a loss for the year of R2331. He noted that the Trust will always be prepared to consider requests for funding within reasonable limits imposed by ASSET’s income. He also noted that the Trustees have met recently in Cape Town.

Election of Auditor: There were no objections to the proposal to request Ronnie Glass to continue as ASSA Auditor. It was noted that it is ASSA’s own choice to be audited – it is not a mandatory requirement.

Office Bearers 2015/16: The meeting was advised that there was no need for voting for positions on Council or for Appointees as no more nominations were received than were required to fill available positions. The Council and Appointees’ positions for the 2015/16 year were presented and accepted as listed below. The new incumbents were welcomed: James Smith (Web Manager) and Claire Flanagan (Convenor of Scholarships). M Hoffman also welcomed Pierre de Villiers as the new ASSA President for next two years and said ASSA is looking forward to his tenure.

Council 2015/16:
President: Dr Pierre de Villiers (incoming President)
Vice President: Prof Matie Hoffman (outgoing President)
Vice President : Case Rijsdijk (nominated by P de Villiers, seconded by A Slotegraaf)
Treasurer: AJ Nel (nominated by A Slotegraaf, seconded by I Glass)
Secretary: Lerika Cross (nominated by A Slotegraaf, seconded by C Stewart)
Council Member: Chris Stewart (nominated by A Slotegraaf, seconded by P de Villiers) and Ian Glass (nominated by A Slotegraaf, seconded by P de Villiers)
Cape Chair: Eddy Nijeboer
Durban Chair: Peter Dormehl
Garden Route Chair: Case Rijsdijk
Johannesburg Chair: Jerome Jooste
Pretoria Chair: Johan Smit
Hermanus Chair: Pierre de Villiers
Bloemfontein Chair: Marthinus van der Merwe

Council Appointees 2015/16:
Editor – MNASSA: Case Rijsdijk
MNASSA Assistant Editor and Layout Editor: Ian Glass
MNASSA Reviews Editor: Lia Labuschagne
MNASSA Assistant layout: Willie Koorts
Editor – Sky Guide: Auke Slotegraaf
Sky Guide Assistant Editor: Ian Glass
Webmaster: Christian Hettlage
Web Manager: James Smith
Convener of Scholarships: Claire Flanagan (Nominated by L Cross, seconded by C Rijsdijk)
ASSA Observing Director: Kos Coronaios
ASSA Communications Officer: Case Rijsdijk
ASSA Outreach Officer: Johan Smit
ASSA Archivist: Chris de Coning

Section Directors 2015/16:
A – Shallow Sky: Asteroid, Meteors, Comets, Lunar, Occultations, Planetary, Satellites, Solar: Dave Blane
B: Deep Sky: Deep Sky, Double Stars, Variable Stars: Auke Slotegraaf
C: Photometry, Spectroscopy: Jerome Jooste
D: Cosmology and Astrophysics: Frikkie de Bruyn
E: Southern African Astronomy History: Chris de Coning
F: Dark Sky: Johan Smit
G: Imaging Section: Allen Versfeld
H: Instrumentation including ATM: Chris Stewart

Editorial Board:
MNASSA – Editor: Case Rijsdijk
MNASSA – Assistant Editor and Layout Editor: Ian Glass
MNASSA Assistant Layout Editor: Willie Koorts
Sky Guide – Editor: Auke Slotegraaf
Book Review Editor: Lia Labuschagne
Professional Astronomer: Emeritus Prof. Brian Warner
Professional Astronomer: Emeritus Prof. Michael Feast

Any other business : As no other business was raised, E Nijeboer closed the formal part of the meeting.

Presidential Address: Prof Matie Hoffman presented his presidential address on Einstein.

Next Council meeting: 22 September 2015 19:130 via Skype

Closure: E Nijeboer extended a gracious thank you to M Hoffman for his Presidential Address. And thanked everyone for their attendance. Gratitude and thanks were again extended to ASSA Cape Centre for their kind hospitality. The meeting closed at 22:05