Report 1998

Minutes of the Canadian Association of Palynologists
Annual General Meeting, 1998

Meeting held
Wednesday, October 26 1998, 6:00 pm
Huron Room, Sheraton Centre,
Toronto, Ontario

Present: Martin Head (President-Elect, Chair), Francine McCarthy (Secretary/Treasurer), Alwynne Beaudoin (Newsletter Editor, Recording Secretary), J. H. McAndrews, Linda Shane, Rebecca Teed

Note: Although this meeting was held following standard parliamentary procedure, it was actually inquorate (six CAP members are need for a quorum). Hence it is recognized that these minutes do not have the force of authority. Therefore these minutes are presented here primarily as a record of the discussions that took place. Although the members of the CAP Executive that were present at the meeting took some decisions in order to maintain the running and good order of the society, some of these decisions are subject to ratification at the next AGM, assuming that it is quorate.

1. Opening
The President-Elect, Martin Head, called the meeting to order at 6:15 p.m. Those present introduced themselves. The meeting agenda and ancillary documents were distributed.

2. Opening Remarks
Martin Head welcomed CAP members and visitors to the meeting. He acknowledged the generosity of Jeff Fawcett (University of Toronto and GSA Meeting Organizing Committee) for making the meeting room available to CAP at no charge.

3. Minutes of the 1997 Annual General Meeting
In 1997, the AGM was held at the Swope Centre, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA, in conjunction with AASP’s 30th Annual Meeting. The minutes of this AGM were tabled, briefly reviewed, and accepted (moved Francine McCarthy, seconded Alwynne Beaudoin).

4. President’s Report
The President, Rob Fensome, was not present at the meeting. His report was tabled and read by Martin Head. This report is reproduced below:

The last year has been more eventful than usual for the Canadian Association of Palynologists – although not all in a positive vein. The tragic and untimely loss of our IFPS Councillor, Julian Szeicz, will cast a shadow over the annual meeting this year, and he will be sadly missed. However, I would like to welcome Gail Chmura to the CAP executive and thank her for agreeing to take over Julian’s job. I also welcome Martin Head back onto the executive as the new President-Elect: Martin agreed to volunteer in the absence last year of any other nominations for the post.

The second and last CAP Newsletter of 1998 will also be the last to be edited by Alwynne Beaudoin, who is retiring as CAP Editor. In many societies, of course, the newsletter is an important instrument of communication: in CAP’s case it is almost true to say that the newsletter has been the society. I would like to take this opportunity to issue a HUGE vote of thanks to Alwynne for not only carrying out the editor’s job, but for doing it so superbly. Alwynne has made the CAP Newsletter one of the best – perhaps the best – in the business, and she will be a hard act to follow.

Because of the need to report minutes of meetings and to announce upcoming events, a newsletter editor also needs to keep her finger on the pulse of the society and the community that it represents. In this sense, Alwynne, more than anyone, has maintained CAP as a viable organization over the last decade. Thus, I’m more than happy to announce that, while relinquishing her role as Newsletter Editor, she has agreed to continue for now as Website Director (a new formal position on the executive if the proposed by-law changes are passed). While the Newsletter will remain the basic tool of communication of CAP for the foreseeable future, the website will have an increasingly important role to play. (For those who are unaware of the fact, Alwynne is also the founder of the CAP website and has been looking after that alongside her Newsletter duties.)

As I write, we have yet to find a new Newsletter Editor to replace Alwynne. I would like to encourage members to seriously consider this very rewarding and influential role.

On another matter, the CAP By-laws were formulated over a decade ago and have never been modified. While change for the sake of change is pointless (in my experience a fact that seems generally lost on bureaucrats who create forms), a number of issues have come to the fore in recent years that have led to the desirability in the opinion of the current executive to change several By-laws. Most of these proposals are, I think, noncontroversial, such as the need for a Website Director and the desirability of clarifying the actions that need to take place if a member of the executive resigns during his or her tenure.

More controversial perhaps is the proposal to merge the categories of members and correspondents of the society, so that every individual paying dues becomes a full and equal member. Up to now, only citizens or residents of Canada could be members of CAP. This condition has elicited comments: for example, in his 1998 textbook (p. 26), Al Traverse implied that non-Canadians were not welcome in CAP. Actually, as I understand the history, far from being a non-welcoming gesture, the segregation was actually intended as a sign that CAP did not wish to be seen as a threat to the territory of other well established palynological organizations. Whatever original motive the by-laws surrounding individual membership represented, the current executive believes that they are indeed somewhat parochial and inappropriate for the threshold of a new millennium.

I regret not being able to attend the 1998 AGM of CAP, but send my best wishes for its success.

Rob Fensome
1998-1999 President of the
Canadian Association of Palynologists

Martin Head moved a vote of thanks (seconded by Francine McCarthy) to Alwynne Beaudoin for service to CAP in the capacity of Newsletter Editor over the past ten years.

5. Secretary-Treasurer’s Report
Francine McCarthy reported on the membership and financial situation as follows (report presented at the meeting and amended December 12 1998):

I) Membership Report
As of October 27 1998, CAP had a total of 66 members in good standing, of which 46 were full members, 19 associate members, and 1 institutional. This number is probably slightly low, since it is expected that several long-standing members who have lapsed will eventually send in their dues, as has occurred in the past. CAP’s membership has hovered around 70 since declining from ca. 90 during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Associate members have made up over 35% of the CAP membership since 1990 (see Membership Chart below). The increase in the relative number of associate members over the 15 out of 69 reported at the last AGM may be due to increased exposure via the Web. The decline in the number of Canadian members of CAP is troubling.

ii) Financial Report
The balance in the CAP account was $1674.35, which is an increase of $369.00 over the balance at the last AGM. Over the last fiscal year, however, our expenses exceeded our revenue by $214.69. Our healthy overall balance is due to prepaid memberships (see Financial Statement). As can be seen in the accompanying financial statement, our major expenditures are production costs for the two issues of the Newsletter. It might be wise (financially-speaking) to consider moving toward the production and mailing of a single issue. Another substantial expenditure is the annual fee which we pay the IFPS, at $1.50 US/ full member, a fee not helped by our weak dollar. The only other routine fee is to the Registry of Joint Stock Companies, which more than doubled in 1997 to $25.00

iii) Appointment of Auditor
Jan Jansonius agreed to act as auditor for this fiscal year. Many thanks for his able assistance in this matter. The audited statement is included with this report (p. 7). Francine McCarthy
CAP Secretary/Treasurer
This report generated some discussion. Francine pointed out that CAP’s outgoing expenses exceeding incoming revenue by about $200. The decline in Canadian members is quite noticeable. How can CAP attract and keep new members? Martin commented that the funds in hand give CAP a buffer to consider changes. Alwynne pointed out that postal charges for mailing the Newsletter are not included in the expenses, because Ian Campbell has very kindly been taking care of sending out the last few issues through his office. With the change in editor, this will probably change. Mailing charges are likely to be substantial. The exact cost will depend on the mix of Canadian to overseas members, but mailing charges are substantially higher for Newsletters mailed to the US and overseas. Martin noted that Institutional Members need reminder notices and invoices for dues payment and Francine undertook to send these out. It was also noted that overseas correspondents do not receive Palynos through CAP neither do we pay IFPS dues for them. Martin asked if Francine could undertake to compile a membership chart for the Newsletter, since this gave a good visual impression of the membership trends.

4. Newsletter Editor/Website Manager’s Report
Alwynne Beaudoin presented a verbal report in which she noted that the Newsletter continues in a generally healthy state, although it is becoming more difficult to get contributions. She encouraged those present at the meeting to consider submitting material for future issues. She thanked CAP members for their support over the years. She reported that a new Newsletter editor has not yet been appointed.

The Website also continues to be a popular resource, registering around 200-300 hits/ month. Material is added as it becomes available. Items such as the Directory listing and Conference listing are updated on a regular basis. The site is linked from many sites worldwide. For this reason, it is important to maintain it in a stable location. Hence, Alwynne indicated willingness to continue maintaining the Website. She requested suggestions for additional material that could be included.

Jock McAndrews commented that he found the Book Reviews valuable. He offered to contribute a report on a fieldtrip to Canada by European scientists this summer. Rebecca Teed indicated that she might have reports on AMQUA and the GSA available. It was generally agreed that the website was a useful resource.

5. IFPS Councillor’s Report
Gail Chmura, CAP Councillor to IFPS was not present. Gail took over this position following the death of Julian Szeicz earlier this year. Martin Head distributed and read her report which is reproduced below.

Upon becoming IFPS Councilor my first task was to distribute (by post) the most recent issue of Palynos, volume 21, No. 1 (June 1998). This was done in early September, at no cost to CAP.

On September 1, the president of IFPS, Owen Davis, notified me that changes to the IFPS Constitution would soon be proposed, to be voted upon at the next IPC Convention. My intention is to notify CAP members of the proposed changes. I hope to use the CAP Newsletter if distribution schedules are appropriate, or an alternative mechanism would be to publish these on the CAP website.

Gail Chmura
CAP Councillor to IFPS

6. Changes to CAP By-laws
Martin explained the background to this issue to those at the meeting. The last issue of the CAP Newsletter (Vol. 21, No. 1, May 1998) contained a “Notice of Special Resolution to Modify the By-laws of the Canadian Association of Palynologists” and a ballot form that members were asked to return to Francine McCarthy in time for the AGM. He called on Francine to open and count the votes. Francine had received eleven mail-in ballots, which she opened in the presence of the meeting. Three mail-in ballots were not eligible (from CAP corresponding members). This left eight eligible votes. Even with the votes of the membership present at the meeting (three more), this did not provide enough votes to make a decision. The By-laws require that 25% of the membership must vote. After considerable discussion, it was decided to place the Resolution and the Ballot on CAP’s website, and send out a general announcement to the membership (by e-mail) asking them to vote. It was decided to hold the voting open until January 31 1999. The votes registered at this AGM are to be carried over until the next AGM. Additional votes generated from the webpage announcement will also be presented at the next AGM. It is hoped by this means to gain enough votes to render the decision valid.

7. Newsletter Editor
Martin reported that the Executive has not so far been successful in finding someone to take over as Editor. He cast this open to the meeting but no volunteers came forward from the floor. Francine suggested reducing the number of issues to one per year, to reduce the amount of work for the Editor. Martin pointed out that this would require an amendment to the By-laws which might be difficult to secure. He suggested scaling back on the size of each issue. He thought it remained a timely and useful means of distributing information and felt that maintaining two issues a year was important. Alwynne felt that it would be difficult to keep paying members with only one issue per year (would people think the dues were worth it?). If it went to totally electronic distribution, as has been suggested, this would cut out members, especially from overseas, who do not have internet access. Moreover, she felt that people would be unlikely to pay dues for an electronic version, since there is a perception that such material is free.

Several people commented on the duplication in material between the CAP and AASP Newsletters. Alwynne noted that this is unavoidable since she does not always know that material has been submitted to both. She agreed that keeping a distinct identity for the CAP Newsletter was important.

It was agreed that the CAP Executive would search for a new Editor, given that there is some slack time after the production of the December issue. It is hoped to have a new editor in place to take over production of the May issue.

8. Any Other Business
a. Appointment of Auditor
Francine undertook to contact Jan Jansonius to ask if he would be prepared to continue as Auditor for another year. (She had to leave the meeting at this point).

b. Location of 1999 AGM
After some discussion, it was decided to try and hold the next CAP Annual General Meeting during the AASP meeting in the fall. The Executive will contact the AASP meeting organizers to ask permission to do this. The place, date and time of the meeting will be announced in the May 1999 issue of the CAP Newsletter (Vol. 22, No. 1).

9. Closing
As there was no other business to discuss, President-Elect Martin Head declared the meeting adjourned at 7:13 pm.

This summary originally appeared in CAP Newsletter 21(2):3-8, 1998. It has been slightly edited for clarity.