Our HOA community manager Vince Montoya continually acts in an unprofessional manner by interjecting himself into Board elections and misusing the HOA e-mail list.
On October 30, the four Board candidates who attended the Candidate Forum received the following e-mail from him.
October 30, 2014
Vince Montoya <VMontoya@hoamco.com>
To: Vince Montoya <VMontoya@hoamco.com>
Cc: Marcia Kaplan <firstname.lastname@example.org>, David Pfeifer <email@example.com>, Madelene deRollo <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Teri Buhl <email@example.com>
Board Candidate Question
Dear Board Candidates,
The Communications Committee on behalf of concerned residents have requested the candidates to responded to questions they felt relevant to the upcoming election. The questions are listed below and the candidates responses will be distributed to the community. Responses are requested back by 2 PM, Tuesday, November 4th.
Thank you for your interest in the community.
- Homeowners are often unclear on the governance and policy making roles and responsibilities of the HOA Board vs. those of the property management company. Share your perception of the roles of a volunteer HOA Board as part of governance vs. the management responsibilities of a professional community manager provided by the property management company.
- The maintenance and upkeep of our community common areas and infrastructure such as parks, walking trails and roads are paid for by homeowner assessments. Under the guidance of current HOA Board President Carol Thompson increases to these assessments are no longer automatic. What is your philosophy regarding homeowner assessment: do you favor regular annual increases; need based increases or cutting services to maintain current assessments. Please explain your philosophy. What is your philosophy regarding homeowner assessment: do you favor regular annual increases; need based increases or cutting services to maintain current assessments. Please explain your philosophy.
- RVS offers its residents common area maintenance and a variety of related amenities such as free doggie bags and a shade structure near the our icon windmill, and a newsletter, which advertising covers part of the costs of publishing. Amenities are paid for by the homeowner assessments the same as care for the commons. Do you feel that amenities add value to the community and if so why.
It appeared that the other four candidates were not sent these questions. When I questioned Mr. Montoya about this, he said those four were sent blind carbon copies. When I objected he said he would send the message out to all candidates with a CC. I also asked why the Communications Committee did not send out this message itself.
His response was, ” All correspondence from the Committees should go through the manager.” Unlike me, Mr. Montoya sees no irony in the fact that the Communications Committee is not allowed to communicate directly with residents. According to our HOA charter, committee members are allowed to communicate independently of the management company.
Question 2 is hardly objective. In nice bold letters, it says Carol Thompson has prevented dues increases. I have lived here for five years and I do not believe increases were ever automatic. Some of us have asked previous Board members about this claim and automatic increases have never been the case.
Ms. Thompson is running on this one trick pony platform – no dues increase. That is not always a good thing, and in this case, can be misleading.
How do we know the HOA does not need a dues increase?
A few facts:
- Despite promising to do so at the September Board meeting, Carol Thompson did not include the 2014 year-to-date expenditures in the annual meeting packet. There are several categories that are very much over budget. She does not want residents to know that.
- With persuasion from some residents, the Board commissioned its first audit in three years. It was supposed to be ready at the beginning of October. It is still not done. When Madelene DeRollo, a candidate for the Board, called the firm doing the audit, she was told it was delayed because the firm was waiting for information from Vince Montoya. It appears to me that the audit results are being held up so results are not available until after the voting and the annual meeting. The same is true for the reserve study that was also commissioned – delayed beyond the original delivery date. If that study shows that our reserves are underfunded, the assertion that our dues not being increased is a wonderful thing suddenly does not look so great. We have aging infrastructure here in RVS, combined with shoddy work by the developer’s chosen contractors. We need adequate reserves.
- Thompson’s claim that assessments have not increased during her tenure is incorrect. Town home assessments have increased substantially to cover roof repairs. This is normally an expenditure that is covered by reserves, but the reserves were not adequate.
When Univest took over Rancho Viejo from bankrupt Suncor, the original developer, there were outstanding issues over shoddy work by the developer’s chosen contractors. To settle these claims Univest and RVS arrived at a settlement, with Univest giving RVS $150,000. All of this money should have gone into the reserve account. Instead, $50,000 was allocated to operating expenses.
And that is how the Board can overspend the budget and not have to raise assessments. They are using that cushion. It has nothing to do with prudent financial management. That was a one-time payment. We can’t go on forever overspending budgets and pretending the HOA is being run in a fiscally sound manner.
And by the way, once those questions were sent to the entire list of candidates, Mr. Montoya came back and said.
” Dear Board Candidates,
I have attempted to reach all candidates with this request from the Communications Committee but due to varying reasons I was unable to do so in a timely fashion. Therefore, in order to remain fair to all candidates this request has be withdrawn.”
I don’t buy that. I think the questions were only for the four candidates who attended the Candidate Forum.
Mr. Montoya acts in an entirely unprofessional manner by endorsing candidates. The HOA manager should be neutral. Previous complaints to Justin Scott, HOAMCO president, have gone unanswered. Instead he says he does what the majority of the Board tells him to do. This occurs even when those Board members who are running for office tell the manager to send out e-mail blasts that support their own candidacies. That is totally unethical.
If you find this disturbing, contact Justin Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org and voice your displeasure.