Category Archives: Election – Annual Meeting

REMINDER—ANNUAL MEETING, TUESDAY NOV. 15th 6 p.m.

Please attend the annual meeting next Tuesday. If you cannot be there, please vote by filling out the blue proxy form in your annual meeting packet. If you do not assign an individual to be your proxy, your form will be used only for establishing a quorum and your vote will not count. Remember to sign the form and give it to the person you have assigned as your proxy or send it to the HOA office.

You must be in good standing (not in arrears on your assessment) to be able to vote.

 

Why I’m A Candidate for the HOA Board

First, I would like to thank the residents who turned out for the Candidate Forum last Saturday. Some very thoughtful questions were asked. I also want to reach out to residents who did not attend.

I am running because we currently have a Board that is totally dysfunctional. Between December 2015 and September 2016, three of the seven Board members resigned. The Board has spent at least $6,000 of our money on legal fees related to internal disputes among Board members. The HOA attorney is representing some Board members against others. That is not what our legal budget was meant for.

Residents of RVS deserve better. You deserve rational, sane individuals who commit to representing your best interests. My objective is to have an honest, competent Board that is receptive to resident input.

Several residents have told me that they don’t get involved in politics and therefore are not interested in the activities of the HOA or voting for Board members. This isn’t about politics; it’s about money. Your money.

Your HOA Board gets to spend the money from your assessments and if you are not interested in how they spend it, there is opportunity for abuse — like the $6,000 mentioned above. Our assessments are increasing in 2017, mainly because of the County implementing a curbside recycling program. We should be looking for ways to cut costs to offset the increase, not wasting money.

For the third year in a row I have asked the Board to furnish residents with year-to-date expenditures for 2016 in the Annual Meeting packet, not just the budget for 2017. For the third year in a row they have not complied although they said would do so. Despite giving lip service to transparency, members of the current Board do not want residents to receive certain information, including how your money is spent. I want to know why. Don’t you?

Apathy is the greatest threat to an honest and accountable Board of Directors.  If residents show no interest in how the Board operates and how it spends your money, the Board can make decisions not in your best interest and waste your money as well.

We’ve had too much discord in our community over the past three years; we need Board members who can create a more harmonious environment to better serve the people who live here. I can help accomplish that.

It would be helpful if all candidates for the Board would post their views on the issues facing RVS on this blog. And I urge all residents to vote, either in person at the Annual Meeting on November 15, or by appointing a proxy.

 

 

Clarification about Election Letter From RVS Resident

Vince Montoya, the HOA Community Manager, sent out an e-mail blast today about a letter that was sent by a resident of RVS to other residents regarding the upcoming election. The letter was actually very straightforward and the author, Glen Smerage, identified himself as a resident and never said that he represented the HOA. Mr. Smerage provided his address, telephone number, and e-mail address and anyone that wants to can contact him directly.

Some people had questions as to how their addresses were obtained. One possible way is from a mailing list broker. Names and addresses are public information and brokers obtain them and segment them by zip code and many other criteria. Anyone who wishes can purchase a mailing list from a broker.

Surely, like me, many of you receive several postcards a month from real estate agents describing house sales and listings in Rancho Viejo. How did they get your name and address? From a mailing list broker or from County records.

Regarding Mr. Smerage’s offer to act as a proxy for those who do not want to attend the Annual Meeting, this practice has been going on in RVS on an informal basis for years. If you don’t attend the meeting in person but still want to vote, you have to designate a proxy.

In his e-mail Mr. Montoya positions himself as the source of “direct accurate information.” I have statements from residents who reported that prior to the 2014 election Mr. Montoya called them and said that their proxies were not filled out correctly and that he would be more than happy to come to their homes, help them fill out the forms correctly and act as their proxy. That solicitation is no different from what Mr. Smerage did. And Mr. Smerage actually lives here. Mr. Montoya does not.

There is nothing underhanded or nefarious going on.

I should note that I am a candidate for the Board and Mr. Smerage endorsed me. I did not ask for his endorsement, and did not see the letter before it was sent.

Meet the 2016 RVS Board Candidates October 29, 2016 from 10AM – 12PM

Click HERE to download flyer

forum-flyer-sfcc

RVS Open Director Positions

In regards to RVS Community Manager’s email “Notice of Interest – Board of Directors” sent October 4, 2016, I believe there is an error in the identification of vacancy term lengths.

How Many Board Director Positions Are Open? What Are The Terms Of Service?

It is no surprise that given the spate of resignations from our RVS Board this year, 2016, as well as last year, 2015, there is some confusion as to who must run for the open Director positions at the next Annual meeting, and how long will the term of office be.

The terms for Board members are two years and they are elected in alternate years. Three Directors run for office one year, followed by four Directors who run the subsequent year so that some continuity is maintained on the Board. (See By-Laws, 3.3, paragraphs ii. iii, and  iv.)

What Happens When There Is A Vacancy?

According to RVS By-laws:

In the event of the death, disability, or resignation of an Owner Director, the Board may declare a vacancy and appoint a successor to fill the vacancy until the next annual meeting, at which time the Voting Delegates entitled to fill such directorship shall elect a successor for the remainder of the term. (See by-Laws 3.5, 4th paragraph.)

Thus, any Director who was appointed to a vacancy as a result of a resignation will fill the vacancy until the next annual meeting which in this case will be November 15, 2016. At the Annual meeting a successor (who may be the appointee, if s/he chooses to run) will be elected to complete the remainder of the term (which in the case of filling a 2-year incomplete term, means holding office for one year).

Past practice has been that open 2-year Director positions are filled by the top vote getting candidates, and the 1-year incomplete successor term(s) is filled by the next highest vote getting candidate(s).

This is not the first time the question has arisen as to how many positions are open and for how long. 

A Brief History

2014 Election

At the Annual General meeting of the RVS HOA in November, 2014, there were four open Director positions filled:

  • Three 2-year terms filled by Bernie Paiz, Jonnalynn Grover, and John Zipprich;
  • One 1-year term to replace Paul Burguieres’ position (who resigned and was not replaced by a board appointee). Carol Thompson had completed her 2-year term as a Director and was running for a Board position. Since she received the fourth highest number of votes of the eight candidates running, her term was for the open 1-year successor position for Burguieres .

Continuing 2014 Board Members were (1-year term remaining for each):

  • Bonnie Houston,
  • Laura Corbin,
  • Jim Kerr

2015 Election

In January, 2015, we learned of Laura Corbin’s resignation (1-year term remaining of a two year term), and in April we were informed of Bonnie Houston’s resignation (1-year remaining of a two year term).

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.

Then, we were informed of John Zipprich’s resignation (2-year term) sometime in August, 2015.

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

So, there was a full Board of seven Directors present at the September 22, 2015 Board meeting.

What did that mean for the election of Director candidates for the November 17, 2015 Annual meeting?

It meant that there were five Director candidate positions open for a seven member Board:

  • Four 2-year terms to replace the expired terms for Houston, Kerr, Thompson (who was the successor for Paul Burguieres’ position), and Corbin (successor for herself),
  • One 1-year successor term to complete Zipprich’s term.

The Election Results of the Annual meeting of the RSV HOA in November, 2015 for the five open positions (in vote tally order)

  • Eric Sanders: 71, term = 2 years
  • Barbara Boyd: 66, term = 2 years
  • Laura Corbin: 58, term = 2 years
  • Jim Bailey: 57, term = 2 years
  • Jim Kerr: 50, term = 1 year — to complete Paul Burguieres’ position which had previously been filled by appointee Carol Thompson.
  • Carol Thompson: 48, not re-elected
  • Marcia Kaplan: 38, not elected

Continuing 2015 Board Members (1-year terms remaining for each):

  • Bernard Paiz
  • Jonnalyn Grover

Upcoming 2016 Election

In Spring 2016 Eric Sanders (2-year term) resigned; Carol Thompson appointed successor for the remainder of 2016.

In June/July Barbara Boyd (2-year term) resigned; no action taken to fill vacancy.

in September Jim Bailey (2-year term) resigned; no action taken to fill vacancy.

2016 current Board members:

  • Bernard Paiz (end of 2-year term),
  • Jonnalyn Grover (end of 2-year term),
  • Laura Corbin (one year remaining),
  • Jim Kerr (successor-completes 2-year term for Burguieres)
  • Carol Thompson (successor for Sanders),
  • Two unfilled Director positions; each have a 1-year successor term open through November, 2017.

How Many Board Director Positions Are Open? 

By my count there are six openings:

  • Three 2-year terms (to replace Paiz, Grover, Kerr/Burguieres’ successor);
  • Three 1-year successor terms (to replace Thompson/Sanders, Boyd-unfilled, and Bailey-unfilled).

Thus, only Laura Corbin need not run for a Director position.

I hope this summation helps to clarify Director openings and terms of office.

Related Content:  Election Results 2014  and   Election Results 2015

Annual Meeting Recap

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.

2016 President is Also Treasurer

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).

Change in Annual Meeting Proxy Voting

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.

RVSCA Annual Financial Comparison

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

FC 2015 Pg 1

FC 2015 Pg 2

 

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.

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!

Who Will Be President?

Elections – Resignations – Appointments – What Do the Bylaws Say?

Elections were last November and we’ve already had 2 resignations from the BOD: Bonnie Houston (appointed by the BOD as President at the Annual Meeting) and Laura Corbin.  That left the RVSCA BOD at 5 directors.  Association bylaws require 3-7 directors, and the following roles must be filled: president, secretary, and treasurer (may be someone not on the board, e.g., an outside accountant).  The Association has not had a treasurer since July 2014, although the phrase “finance board liaison” appeared next to John Zipprich’s name in the last RoundUp newsletter (he declined this responsibility at the April BOD mtg).  BOD meetings only occur quarterly now, so we have less transparency than ever.

The bylaws also require a standing Nominating Committee to help recruit directors and fill vacancies (amongst other duties), which has not been in place since 2013.  The BOD is allowed to appoint directors and the bylaws require that we follow Roberts Rules of Order which generally recommend reviewing election results and choosing the next person in line who received the most votes (see Election Results).  This makes sense in associations that have trouble finding people to serve.  More importantly, President Thompson set a precedent by using this method to allow Valerie Magliani to fill the vacancy left by Susan Warren’s resignation on a previous BOD.  Since the 2012 – 2014 BOD violated numerous bylaws and followed past precedent only when it was convenient for them, the current BOD re-appointed Ms. Thompson as president, allowed Laura Corbin to return to the BOD after her resignation in January, and most certainly will not allow any of the other candidates who ran for the board to be appointed to the seventh position (they are viewed as the “opposition”).

Associations have problems all over the country because apathetic residents don’t attend meetings or serve on boards.  Rescheduling board meetings for 1PM on Tuesday was a deliberate attempt to prevent active residents with 9-5 jobs from attending board meetings.  The rest of you out there need to carry the baton!

Edmund Burke once said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  If you don’t attend board meetings and hold directors accountable, you end up with budget overruns and repeat offenders.  Attend the BOD meetings!  Ask your directors why we still don’t have a proper audit or reserve study, why minutes still are not being published in a timely manner, why the irrigation engineering study hasn’t been released by the BOD, and why bylaws violations still occur.  It’s your association – and your money.