This year, for the first time, an SJAA president will leave office as a result of term limits. Rich Neuschaefer is deserving of our thanks, for leading the SJAA to a number of accomplishments during his tenure. Here are some of the club’s accomplishments under his leadership:
1. SJAA completed a multi-year negotiation with the City of San Jose for continued use of Houge Park for club events. The SJAA’s contract with the City extends into 2015.
2. A cohesive and cooperative environment on the club’s Board of Directors. Having been a club member for many years, I can say with certainty that I have not seen such a smoothly functioning board. Of course, I am not familiar with all past boards, but this is certainly true to my experience.
3. The SJAA loaner telescope program has taken its first major step at replacing old “kludgy” equipment with modern commercially made gear appropriate for beginners. Old equipment is being phased out via the SJAA’s annual auction and swap.
4. The club’s newsletter, the Ephemeris has transitioned to being delivered mostly electronically. This was important as printing and mailing the newsletter represented the single most costly budget item for the club, and was constantly putting SJAA at risk of operating in deficit.
5. A new dues structure was implemented, to provide members a sensible and cost appropriate choice of print or electronic versions of the newsletter, insuring the club will stay out of deficit spending.
6. Term limits were instituted on the position of club president, to assure that nobody “burns out” due to either length of service in the position, or taking on too much individual responsibility.
7. The club’s by-laws were revised to clarify membership details, and provide methods to assure a “peaceable kingdom” with the SJAA.
8. The Gregory Award (outstanding contributions to amateur astronomy) has again become an annual event, with a formalized nominating committee, and two recipients during 2009 and 2010.
9. A new program was instituted to donate astronomical equipment to deserving/needy individuals or groups, worldwide.
10. SJAA continued its participation with CalStar, the annual star party at Lake San Antonio, California.
11. Established a PR chair, to promote SJAA and advertise its activities.
I’m certain the list is longer, but these are the items that quickly come to mind.
Those of you who see Rich at Houge Park star parties, SJAA General Meetings, or at Lick Observatory, take a moment to personally thank him for the wonderful job he has done.
Thank you, Rich!