By Laura Doman
Members of the Georgia Chess Association gathered together on Sunday, April 26 at the Hotel Wyndham Atlanta Galleria to vote on several executive board positions and on a bylaw amendment to allow for future electronic voting.
The focus of the 2015 annual meeting was the election for the offices of GCA President, Secretary, and 2nd Member at Large. It was a hotly contested race, with well-qualified candidates, a record number of requested absentee ballots, a large attendance at the meeting, and much prior campaigning by phone and social media. The spotlight was on the battle for the presidency, with Fun Fong highlighting his vision and the accomplishments of the past two years and Frank Johnson promoting his qualifications as a long-time chess player, coach, tournament director, and active volunteer in the chess community. After a two minute speech by each candidate, ballots and absentee ballots were tabulated and Fun was declared the winner by a 50-42 margin.
In the race for GCA Secretary, Herky del Mundo spoke of his interest in creating a physical GCA chess center and of his experience as the owner and executive director of a Virginia chess club, and as a tournament director, coach, player, and author/editor of a chess book. Greg Maness described his 40+ years in the Atlanta chess community as a player and tournament director, and his desire to promote and expand Georgia Chess within the community, and particularly to revitalize high school team competition. The vote was 57-34 in Herky’s favor.
Ashley Thomas, an active chess parent and player, ran unopposed for the office of 2nd Member at Large. Steve Schneider was on the ballot as a declared candidate, but notified the GCA of his decision to remove himself from the race a few days before the election.
An amendment to the GCA bylaws to provide for online balloting for future elections was also presented to the membership. While a 2/3 majority of those physically present was in favor of the amendment, it was pointed out that those who had voted by absentee ballot had not had the opportunity to vote on the amendment. Considering the large number of absentee voters, it was agreed to postpone the vote for a few months until all GCA members could be properly notified and given the opportunity to vote.
The annual meeting also reviewed the financial status of the GCA. While the final accounting is not due until the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2015, the numbers showed that the GCA is essentially breaking even in meeting its expenses. The Scholastic tournaments showed consistent strong participation and a profit of $6500, which balanced the losses that the Open tournaments continually sustained. The newly formed fundraising committee, with its focus on identifying and developing tournament sponsors, is expected to help support the considerable costs of hosting an Open tournament and hopefully significantly augment the prize funds, which in turn could attract many more players.