Monthly Archives: September 2015

September 22 Board of Directors Meeting — Disrespect for Homeowners Continues

When the Board meetings were moved to the large meeting room in the Firehouse several months ago, the tables were arranged in a horseshoe-shape. At the meeting held last Tuesday, the tables were positioned in a rectangle so that the backs of at least two members were facing the residents in attendance.  This is a perfect metaphor for how this Board treats residents. They have turned their backs on us.

At the beginning of the meeting ten minutes is allotted for resident comments on agenda items. That means that you have to be clairvoyant about what the Board discussion will address. Residents are not allowed to ask questions during the discussion of an item, even for purposes of clarification. At the end of the meeting five minutes is allocated for resident comments for non-agenda items. Each person is allocated two minutes which means no more than three people can speak. At the end of two minutes you are basically told to sit down and shut up. Our community manager stated that most HOAs are run this way. Residents are allowed only to listen, not speak. I beg to differ. I have belonged to other HOAs that allocated adequate time and welcomed input without rudeness.

Our Board members think that residents are a nuisance who have no right to have any input in decisions that affect our community and our pocketbooks. Several residents had written a letter to the Board a week prior to the meeting asking that it sponsor a candidate forum prior to the upcoming election so residents could get opinions from candidates on the expensive and complex issues that face us next year.  We got no response. At the Board meeting I asked if they would sponsor such a forum and they just stared at each other. Nobody responded. I asked another question. Last year I asked Carol Thompson to include the YTD HOA expenditures in the annual meeting packet and she said she would. That was a lie. The spreadsheet was not included. I asked that the expenditures be included this year. She refused to answer me. Really? Residents are not entitled to know how much of their money is spent and how?

WE DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS RUDE, OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR.

Other Board Actions

The Budget

The budget, again put together without any resident input, was approved for 2016. There will be a $10 a month increase in assessments for the Master Association. This will help replenish our reserve fund. Townhome residents received a small decrease in assessments. The community manager who received a hefty 20 percent increase last year got a nine percent increase this year bringing his salary up to $78,500. I have a feeling he is the highest paid community manager in New Mexico.

Financials

Despite being required to have a Treasurer, the Board has not had one for over a year. It was revealed at the meeting that two members of the Finance Committee resigned. The third member is involved in a dispute with the Board and will likely not be in his position much longer. So there will be nobody overseeing this important component of the HOA.

HOAMCO Contract

The HOAMCO contract was approved automatically without going out to bid for the seventh year in a row. A contract of this dollar value should periodically go out for competitive bid.

Annual Election

The Board intends to pursue the same unethical voting procedures it employed last year. Mr. Montoya finally admitted that the women who did the vote counting last year were his family’s “acquaintances.”

The Board intends to allow him to:

  • electioneer via email for current Board members,
  • vote as a proxy,
  • to receive and open the proxy ballots,
  • hire and supervise his “acquaintances” to count the ballots.

Does any of this seem like a conflict of interest? Mr. Montoya is an employee of a company that is hired by the Board. He is not a resident yet he controls the entire election process. This is unacceptable.

This is a dysfunctional Board that is not representing the best interests of residents. We need a new Board.

Please folks, if you care about your community and your HOA expenses, consider running. There are five positions open this year. Most of the current Board members were handpicked by the President based on their willingness to never challenge her, no matter what she does. We need honest, fair Board members who will listen to residents and not treat us in the contemptuous way this Board does.

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Upcoming Election — Nominating Committee

Our Bylaws require that there be a Nominating Committee to oversee elections. This has usually been ignored. Finally, this year it appears that such a committee will be formed. However, rather than issuing a public request for volunteers, the Board — which makes the appointments — is doing this in private and hand-picking members.

The Board has made several pronouncements about being transparent, yet it continues to operate in secret. The appointments are being made at tomorrow’s Board meeting. If you can, please attend this meeting at 1 p.m. at the fire station. If you object to how this is being handled, please sign up to speak about item 3 on the agenda.

The Upcoming Election

Most RVS residents have received a “Notice of Interest”  from the community manager via e-mail for Board positions in the upcoming election. There are five positions up for election; individuals appointed in the last month occupy two of these. Overall, four of the seven Board positions are held by persons who were appointed, although two have successfully run for re-election.

In my opinion, Rancho Viejo South residents would be best-served if the Board were comprised of people who decide on their own that they would like to represent  their community. When Board vacancies exist, the Board president handpicks replacements. A better approach would be to issue a public notice asking for volunteers to serve out terms.

Apathy and indifference are problems in most HOAs. I encourage individuals who care about Rancho Viejo South to consider running for office and fill out the Notice of Interest that was included with the e-mail from the community manager. The Board meets quarterly so the time commitment is not that great. There are a number of issues facing us that involve substantial financial commitments. We need honest, fair individuals who care about the best interests of residents.

Development Meeting Notice

There will be a meeting hosted by Univest about development issues in Rancho Viejo on Tuesday, September 22. The meeting will take place in the Jemez Room, SFCC from 6 to 8 p.m.

Effluent Water Homework Group

When the effluent water issue is decided, according to the proposal one person will oversee administration (not operation) of the venture in the name of all the HOAs. That person needs to be someone who has proven effective as a team player, has extensive administrative experience combined with a reputation for integrity and transparency, and who has openly supported all options being seriously considered, not just that $1.9 million bond which could sink residents.

The question is, will residents of all three HOAs vote for that person, or will the decision be made by a small group of insiders who appoint a crony? We know the South has historically not supported transparency, evidenced in this issue by the blast sent by the RVS HOA manager disparaging the planned recent (and as it turned out highly informative and objective!) information meeting at the fire station as “premature” and “non-sanctioned” while the North and La Entrada sent blasts to all residents informing them of the meeting and encouraging participation!

So who will be the overseer (czar)? What would be the interests/benefit to that person? Who would want to do it, and why? What should be the qualifications? Remember, this would be a master HOA supposedly representing all three HOAs for the effluent water issue. Bear in mind that part of the reason, stated by Warren Thompson at the meeting as a reason that Ranchland Utility is selling, is the absolute impossibility of the three HOAs to work together toward resolution. From what I’ve heard, the South has been particularly cantankerous and uncooperative, moving the homework to the last minute before elections, etc. We need someone residents can trust to do the job right, honestly, and transparently!

What Are the Current Terms of Office for the RVS Board?

An interesting questions arises given the recent spate of resignations from and appointments to the RVS Board of Directors.

At the Annual General meeting of the RVS HOA in November, 2014, there were four Director positions filled: three 2-year terms filled by Bernie Paiz, Jonnalynn Grover, and John Zipprich; and one 1-year term to replace Paul Burguieres’ position filled by Carol Thompson, who received the fourth highest number of votes of the eight candidates running.

In January, 2015, we learned of Laura Corbin’s resignation as a Director, and in April we were informed of Bonnie Houston’s resignation.

At the April 28, 2015 RVS Board meeting, Laura Corbin was appointed to fill her previously resigned position, and there was no appointment made at that time to fill Bonnie Houston’s position, or for that matter, at the July 28, 2015 Board meeting.

Then, we were informed of John Zipprich’s resignation sometime in August, 2015.

As of August 20, 2015, we were informed of the appointments of Rev. Dr. Barbara Boyd and Eric Sanders to fill the vacancies of Bonnie Houston and John Zipprich.

So, we will have a full Board of seven Directors present at the upcoming September 22, 2015 meeting. Huzzah!

So, what does that mean for the election of Director candidates for this year’s Annual meeting?

  • It means that there will be five Director candidate positions open for a seven member Board:
  • Four 2-year terms to replace the expired terms for Houston, Corbin, Kerr and Thompson, and one 1-year term to complete Zipprich’s term.

Typically, Directors appointed to fill vacancies, who also choose to run for the next term, will appear as an incumbent on subsequent ballots. Given the brief time (only one Board meeting before the Annual meeting ), it is difficult to determine appointed Directors’ views.

Critical issues that will determine our future property values and our pocketbooks face the Association over the next two years in regards to the irrigation of the common areas and maintenance of our infrastructure.

  • I urge Homeowners to become informed about these issues, and to seriously consider running for a Director position.

If you do not have the time to commit to serve as a Director, please become informed about the issues.

  • Attend all future Board and information meetings.
  • Ask prospective Director candidates about their position around these issues.

Remaining silent or complacent will allow others to make the decisions that affect you!