Category Archives: Transparency

Issue of BOD disclosure to residents

Transparency and the RVS Community Manager

Our HOA community manager Vincent Montoya became an owner and resident of RVS in April 2016. We previously had a community manager — Jessica Pfeiffer — who was also a resident and this was publicly known. There are certainly advantages to having a manager who lives in the community but some potential drawbacks and potential conflicts of interest also exist.

The previous Board of Directors chose to keep secret the fact that Mr. Montoya and his family moved to RVS. That secret started to unravel when the Montoyas’ house was broken into and Mr. Montoya’s wife Tina posted about the incident on the NextDoor Windmill Ridge website. Several days later she posted a critical comment about the new Board (which had not yet appointed officers or had an official meeting), not doing anything about the spate of thefts in RVS. However Ms. Montoya posted her comments using an assumed name, Roland Alarid, who I believe is a relative.

At the Annual Meeting when the issue of security was discussed, President Paiz referred to “something that cannot be revealed,” presumably the fact that the Montoyas’ home was entered. Publicly available information on the Internet shows that the Montoyas live on Madre Mountain. As a resident, Ms. Montoya is entitled to criticize the Board, but she should use her own name and not pose as someone else. Both posts have since been removed and the name Roland Alarid has been changed to TL Alarid on the Windmill Ridge NextDoor site.

By trying to keep it a secret that the Montoyas live here, both the previous Board and Mr. Montoya created an unnecessary problem. To avoid any other difficulties in future, I suggest that Mr. Montoya publicly reveal to RVS residents — perhaps via an email blast — that he and his family live here.

I also suggest that the new Board speak with Mr. Montoya about transparency and possible conflicts of interest, particularly regarding the election process. The Board should clearly set forth his different roles as an employee community manager and a resident.

 

Another Board Resignation

Posted for Annie McGovern by Moderator:

Word on the street is that another Rancho Viejo South board member, this time Jim Bailey, has resigned from the board. No eblast has been sent by the RVS board or Community Manager, at least I have not received one, notifying residents of this event. This makes three this term.  When Eric Sanders resigned, the board appointed Carol Thompson, a direct slap in the face to residents who obviously voted otherwise during the election.  When Barbara Boyd resigned, no action was taken, even though Marcia Kaplan had the next highest votes in the election.  Why the double standard?  Am I correct that according to Roberts’ Rules of Order, though not mandated, the person with the highest number of votes in the previous election should be the next to fill a vacancy?  And does anyone know why Jim Bailey’s resignation is all so hush-hush? My understanding is that he resigned more than a week ago – and we’re sorry to see you go,  Jim.

RVS Board Appoints Carol Thompson to Vacancy

In a special meeting on February 23, Carol Thompson was appointed to fill the vacancy on the Board in a unanimous vote of the four members present. Board president Jim Bailey and member Laura Corbin did not attend. Vice President Bernie Paiz presided over the meeting. He said that the Board had waited over 72 hours from the resignation to fill the vacancy, as if there were some great urgency to the matter. In the past vacancies have remained open for months. Paiz stated that in the Board’s new efforts to foster transparency, an email had been sent to solicit residents who wished to submit their names for consideration for the post. Here is the email message that was sent.

Dear Rancho Viejo South Residents,



This message shall serve as notice of a

Special Meeting called by the Board of Directors.

Below please find the details of the meeting:

Date:            Tuesday, February, 23rd

        

Time:            3:00 PM

        

Location:      Rancho Viejo South Association Office
                                                          

55 Canada Del Rancho
  Suite E
         

Purpose of Meeting:     Board Vacancy/Appointment.


Per the Associations By-Laws no other business shall be discussed.

If you have any questions and or concerns please contact me at vmontoya@hoamco.com.

Thank you,

Vince Montoya
 Community Manager 
Rancho Viejo South

Do you see an invitation in this message? Me neither.

In my previous post I suggested residents submit their names if interested. One person did actually apply and two minutes before the meeting started people in the audience were asked if they wished to submit their name for consideration and two of us did. That’s what the Board considered a fair and open process.In reality nobody other than Carol Thompson was ever considered.

Ms. Thompson was nominated by Jonalynn Grover who stated her reasoning for nominating her was that Ms.Thompson had received the next highest number of votes in the last election. Community Manager Montoya said her reference to the election would be stricken from the motion so as not to” set a precedent” of filling vacancies according to vote tallies.  That’s because if there is another Board opening and they follow this process the next person in line would be someone they really don’t want to be on the Board – me.

 

 

A Couple of Positive Actions by the Board

Perhaps the Board is listening to residents’ concerns. Next year it will be holding meetings every two months instead of quarterly. Additionally, meetings will alternate between days  and evenings, allowing people who work during the day to attend meetings.

These are two commendable actions. Now if only residents were given time to speak about issues on the agenda….

 

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

 

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!

Irrigation Engineering Study

Ranchland Utilities requested an engineering study (each association paid  ~$5K for the MolzenCorbin study) to examine repair and maintenance costs, and make recommendations regarding future upgrades to the system to ensure that the entire community has irrigation water as growth continues.  Please click on this link: Irrigation Future to go to the page on Irrigation and download a copy of the MolzenCorbin study.

Educate yourselves, residents!  The character of our community is at stake.  None of these costs were anticipated in the audit that was published at last year’s RVSCA annual meeting – nor are they in any reserve studies.

Ranchland utilities is proposing much needed “Homework Group” meetings and needs residents to participate.  They have asked each association for $2000 to pay for these facilitated meetings.  The RVSCA BOD decided at the April BOD meeting to ask R.U. to reduce the cost – indicating to some residents that they are not prioritizing this issue to the level it deserves.  Contact your BOD and ask them to publish the final study and support the Homework Group meetings – then get out there and attend the meetings!

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.

 

Attorney Quashes Rights of Association Members

Does anyone else find it curious that at the RVS Annual meeting on Tuesday, November 18, 2014, when an Association member in good standing made a motion (which received a second) to revise the Agenda (prepared by the Board and the Association Manager) to allow for a longer time period for Association members to ask questions of the candidates running for office, that the Association’s Attorney, Lynn Krupnik, (not a member of the Board, not the facilitator of the Association meeting) stood up and declared that the motion was “out of order”?

When challenged by an Association member that the motion was, in fact, in order since the meeting was being held by the Association and therefore, members have a right to make motions and have them discussed by the whole,  Ms. Krupnik responded again that the motion was “out of order.

When asked to explain in what way this motion was “out of order,” Ms. Krupnik’s only response was that it was “out of order.” No citing of parliamentary procedure rules, no explanation at all. Just that the motion was “out of order.”

Unfortunately, many of the Association members present chose to allow Ms. Krupnik, the Board President, and three of the other Directors to ignore the motion, and continued the meeting with the challenged Agenda.

The Agenda item providing time for Q&A from the audience to Justin Scott, HOAMCO CEO, did not occur, since his presentation went far beyond the time set aside. Ms. Krupnik’s presentation also went beyond the time set aside but a Q&A session followed. Please note, that the candidates’ introduction time of one minute each with no time allocated for Q&A was timed with a stop watch. The other presentations: Warren Thompson from Ranchland Utilities with time for Q&A; Cliff Baldwin from the Finance Committee –  the 2015 Budget with time for Q&A; and reports from the other committees with time for Q&A. But none of these presentations were timed. (with or without a stop watch)

Incidentally, the Agenda item listed for providing time for Q&A from Association resident/owners was cancelled because of insufficient time available, even though there were many voiced appeals calling for that part of the meeting to occur. The former Board President explained that the meeting had run over the time set aside for the meeting, and declared that the room had to be cleared by 9 p.m. Yet the meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:35. Hmm. I guess the President believed it would take all of 25 minutes to clear the room. It is interesting to note as well that the President, being so concerned with following the time frames set aside, neglected to use a stop watch to time the other Agenda items. Hmm, imagine that.

The end result: Another instance of where Carol Thompson, and certain Directors, in collusion with the Association’s attorney and our management company, quash members’ input, silence attempts to inform the Association of critical concerns held by many members, and abridge members’ rights to free speech and responsible representation from their elected officers.

Mr. Montoya Channels Mr. Rogers

Yes, let’s all sing along;  “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” I hope all of you are enjoying the missives from the HOA manager with the subliminal message that all is well in our community and the blissful situation can be attributed to the good deeds of the Board, especially the president. For those of you who have walked our cracked, disintegrating trails lately, please be aware that you are seeing an optical illusion. The asphalt is actually smooth. Just hum, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood,” and all will be well.

The latest communication is about the audit, which Mr. Montoya says merits another gold star for the Board. When I requested a copy of it, he did not respond. And  I know that at least two Board members have not seen the audit. So I wonder how the HOA manager, who is not an accountant, knows so much about it when it has not been reviewed by the Board.

It is the Board that has a fiduciary responsibility to residents, not the HOA manager. It is the Board that should be communicating with us. While we receive lots of budgets, residents have still not been provided the actual year-to-date expenditures for 2014. And while others may be satisfied with Mr. Montoya’s assurance, I want to see a copy of the audit from an objective, qualified third-party firm. My assessment paid for it and I deserve to see the results.  Don’t tell me everything is wonderful. Show me the proof.

 

 

 

Community Manager or Campaign Manager?

Re: Board Candidates
P.A. Daly (satori24@gmail.com)
11-6-2014 9:57 AM
To: RV Moderators

 

Thank you for your thoughtful and detailed response to the propaganda campaign launched by Carol Thompson via her well paid “mouthpiece” Vince Montoya. It was highly transparent to anyone reading the the latest “we are all happy under the dictatorship” email that our HOA is being controlled and manipulated by means contrary to the bi-laws and democratic process.

Frankly, it shows their (Carol Thompson’s) desperate attempt to try to keep residents in the dark about the state of the HOA board (president’s) over-spending and lack of planning for future improvements. Of course, the biggest challenge to our HOA is the general apathy/complacency of the majority of the Rancho Viejo South residents. Unfortunately, it may take a large assessment and/or sharp increase in HOA dues to engage the residents in the process … probably, after Carol Thompson’s reign.  As mentioned, a gradual increase over the years should have been instituted but has been used as a campaign platform by Carol Thompson to lull residents into a false sense of financial security.

For my part, I plan to email Vince and voice my displeasure at his campaign post promoting the re-election of Carol Thompson and misstatement of the facts (or lack of) concerning the HOA dealings.

Thank you again for keeping the message open to all and please keep up the “good fight” for transparency and fairness for our community association which sadly, has been hijacked for too long.

Sincerely,

Patricia Daly

WHY Would Our Board President Refuse To Negotiate With Ranchland Utilities?

An important question/revelation occurred.  While driving through our Community yesterday, it dawned on me. WHY did Carol, our Board President, refuse to negotiate with Ranchland Utilities for the reclaimed/irrigation water?  Let alone also disband the Cooperative Task Force working toward a solution with Ranchland, without notice?  We all know what the outcome would be.   SO DOES CAROL.   And there you go.   Her quest for importance, power, she WANTS to be in charge of this.   Did she intentionally sabotage our relationship/service/contract with Ranchland Utilities, to try to FORCE the Community to take over, build, run and manage the reclaimed water and irrigation, of which she will be in charge?  (See Ranchland.)

We as a community have no way to do this.   We cannot take on a private enterprise, or such an endeavor-the cost of having to build our own facility and system, operate and manage. And surely to add, not an unfair set up where all the Estate lots receive free reclaimed (gray) water that the other residents pay for.   This is an unacceptable scenario forced upon by Carol and it’s on her hands that we no longer will have irrigation for our Community. We are not in the business and will not be held liable for such an uncontrollable cost and maintenance that we shouldn’t be in as a residential Community. The end result will be, anything able to survive naturally without irrigation.  Our landscaping costs will decrease paying only for maintenance of remaining self sufficient landscaping.  If it dies, it gets removed, and/or covered with rocks.   And that will be the only choice we have without Ranchland.

RV Moderators: 1) Regarding estate lots and gray water; while there is one estate lot in the Capitol Peak area that receives irrigation water, this is not typical policy for all estate lots.  2) The president disbanded the 2013 Infrastructure task force that was holding discussions with R.U. and is currently meeting with them in closed sessions unavailable to residents.  Despite contract expiration R.U. has continued to supply gray water on a month-to-month basis, and recently requested that additional residents be included in discussions pertaining to irrigation infrastructure (and a presentation for the Nov. 18 annual meeting).