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, 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.
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.
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.
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.