Despite having an agenda with 20 minutes allocated to resident questions and comments, for the second year in a row, no resident input at the end of the meeting was allowed. What did the Board consider more important?
The Board hired the facilitator of the irrigation meetings to conduct a silly group exercise. We were also treated to a 10-minute picture presentation of the Community Manager driving around the community. Yes, those two things were way more significant than answering resident questions or listening to their comments.
The firm of Swain and Grieco made a presentation of their recently completed audit. They stated there were no material findings. However, the audit contains the following language.
“An audit involves performing procedures to obtain audit evidence about the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. The procedures selected depend on the auditor’s judgment, including the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to fraud or error. In making those risk assessments, the auditor considers internal control relevant to the entity’s preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Association’s internal control.”
Also we now have a situation where the one individual fills both the Board president and the treasurer positions. That is not a good practice from the standpoint of checks and balances.
This is a very tricky subject, so first let me say that I think Jim Bailey will make a good Treasurer. Let me say further that I believe him to be a fairly ethical person despite some of the things he has said about me on public blogs. He also has the kind of folksy friendliness to get along with the other directors and probably will make a good president. He gave a committee report at the Annual Meeting that was witty, informative (especially in sharing delinquent account data), and could have been better if it had been a bit shorter.
Jim has my best wishes for success whether he needs them or not. After being on the board for two years, I know that serving this community is no easy task.
I also know that all across the country, when HOA’s get into trouble with financial misdeeds (not saying we are), it is often the President who is found guilty, especially if granted access to HOA cash or funds. Most boards of directors, HOA or otherwise, do not allow the fearless leader to also “handle the books” – at least, not without further checks and balances. It is very puzzling that out of seven board members, no one else volunteered or was nominated to be president, so that Jim could concentrate on being Treasurer. Since no one else obviously felt comfortable volunteering to be Treasurer, I hope the rest of the directors and HOAMCO are up to the task of providing helpful oversight, since they ALL have fiduciary responsibility for the Association (no matter what letters they have – or not – after their last names).
This has been mentioned elsewhere but I just want to make clear that a change has occurred this year for proxy voting. In previous elections, owners could give their proxy forms to their designated proxies to hand in at the meeting.
This year the proxy form states that all proxies must be delivered to the RVS Community Manager’s office before 5 p.m. today. So if you have not done so yet, get your proxy forms in. Better yet, attend the meeting tomorrow night and vote in person.
The Bylaws require that proxies be delivered to the Board Secretary, not to the Community Manager.
See below for a comparison of Income Statements from 2011 to Sep 2015 for our community. Per HOAMCO, we received an “unqualified” audit this year and last, but that does not mean either audit was perfect. In 2014, a former board member discovered errors in the audit and contacted the audit firm to schedule a meeting to discuss the errors. The meeting was cancelled by the Board. A new audit firm was hired after the former firm declined to audit our financials this year. In the same time period, resignations, re-appointments, and a changing of the guard occurred. In 2015, after a County investigation into unlicensed businesses, it was discovered that no Gross Receipts Taxes were paid on Advertising Revenue in the RoundUp newsletter since 2008, which could lead to fines and penalties. A resident asked about this issue at a Board meeting this year, but did not receive a satisfactory answer.
It is HOAMCO’s responsibility to track financials, produce reports, guide the Board, and ensure transparency – especially when we have had no Treasurer since July 2014. Make sure you ask about the financials at the Annual Meeting – and make sure you get your proxies to the Community Manager before 5PM Monday or your votes may not be counted at the Annual Meeting. Last year’s photo of the Community Manager altering proxy votes was pretty embarrassing for the Board – don’t expect more transparency this year. Last year, they cheated to win. Let’s hope we won’t have to endure another “rah-rah” speech from the Association Attorney and the HOAMCO CEO again this year. What did Einstein say about the definition of insanity? Keep voting for the same people, folks ….
Click HERE to download a copy
Over the past three years there has been a disturbing trend of the RVS Board both curbing resident access to Board information and limiting resident feedback.
Here are a few examples:
- The Board stopped accepting letters to the editor in the RoundUp newsletter several years ago. The developer and Board members have columns but you, the people who pay for the newsletter, can’t communicate.
- Until mid-2014, the Board met monthly. Then for six months it met every two months. Starting in 2015 the Board implemented a quarterly meeting schedule. It also changed the time of the meeting from evening to daytime. That effectively excludes anyone who works and does not have a flexible schedule from serving on the Board as well as attending meetings.
- Resident comments are limited.
- The minutes of Board meetings have been shortened so that important issues that are discussed no longer appear. Only issues that require a vote are included.
- Issues that should be discussed in the public meeting are moved to closed executive sessions.
The Board tries to prevent residents from communicating with each other. When some of us organized informational meetings our flyers were ripped down and e-mails were sent out to residents calling our meetings “illegitimate” and “unsanctioned.” Apparently Board members do not believe in free speech unless they are doing the speaking.
For example, when residents from all of Rancho Viejo organized a meeting at the fire station to discuss irrigation issues this summer, both La Entrada and RVN Boards sent out a meeting notice to all residents. Representatives of Ranchland Utilities agreed to attend.
What did the RVS Board do?
- Refused to publicize the meeting.
- Told residents that the organizers were dangerous lunatics. An RVS resident who attended the meeting shared this.
- Called the fire station and told the administration that the number of attendees would exceed the room limit and therefore the meeting should be canceled.
Don’t expect this trend towards secrecy to stop. Ask your Board why they limit access to information.
Are these the people you want on a Board that is supposed to represent your interests?
The bullying has begun. This is what happens when somebody says something that the Board doesn’t like. Following is a letter from the Board’s attorney to an attorney that previously represented me when the Board and HOAMCO were harassing me, and my response to Ms. Krupnik.
Here is my response to Ms. Krupnik:
The HOAMCO community manager responded to my initial post about two sets of financial records by sending an e-mail to all residents saying that there are two versions of the financial statements “because any delinquent resident accounts cannot be made available to the entire membership. There are times when some residents may have difficulty paying their dues and such information must remain sensitive and confidential out of respect to your neighbors and friends… Posting of these delinquent accounts would be a violation of these residents privacy and would lead to a certain lawsuit for the Association.”
That is utter nonsense. While records of delinquencies must be kept, only the total amount in arrears need be aggregated in a financial statement. Furthermore, the HOA files liens against residents who have large outstanding dues balances. Those liens are public records that anyone can view. The Board will have to come up with a different lame excuse as to why there are two versions of financial statements.
Despite my request, once again the Board has refused to provide year-to-date expenditures in the financial materials sent out with the Annual Meeting notice. Only the 2016 budget was included. Residents have a right to know if the Board is adhering to budgeted amounts.
The fact that the Board refuses to provide this information just makes me more suspicious about how our dues are being spent.