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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.

 

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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.

March Board of Directors Meeting Degenerates into a Shouting Match Among Board Members

Simmering tensions exploded at Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting and unless you were there, I doubt you will ever find out about the sheer nastiness of the evening. The minutes will never reflect what actually happened.

The tone was set at the beginning when, in his president’s report, Jim Bailey stated that he thought conflict was a positive thing and then highlighted the changes he had made to make the Board more open and enhance communications between the Board and homeowners. He compared his approach to that of former Board president Carol Thompson and criticized her style of Board leadership. Carol — who was recently appointed to the Board —objected, saying that his remarks in a public setting were inappropriate. The two of them had a sharp exchange and Carol’s supporters in the audience started shouting at Jim, all identifying themselves as “friends of Carol.”

Remarkably, after that the Board went back to regular business until at the end of the meeting, under new business Board member Barbara Boyd introduced a motion to remove Jim Bailey as president. The motion was immediately seconded and Mr. Bailey ruled it out of order according to the Bylaws, stated that it would not be acted upon and tried to adjourn the meeting. Total chaos erupted. Jim, who was sitting next to Bernie Paiz, touched Bernie’s arm and Bernie shouted at Jim not to touch him. Bernie then said he was taking over the meeting and called for a vote on the motion. Jim shouted that a vote was out of order and would not take place. Residents were also shouting; some spoke in favor of Jim, others against him. Bernie repeatedly shouted at Jim to shut up. Jim threatened a lawsuit and Bernie told him to “bring it on; I’ll see you in court.”

The meeting was adjourned without a vote. If there is a lawsuit, legal fees will be paid by residents, at least for one side of the dispute.

Board members seem more interested in plotting against each other than representing the interests of homeowners. We deserve better. I hope more residents will show an interest in running for the Board when the next election comes around.

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.

REMINDER – OCTOBER 10 IS THE DEADLINE TO SIGN UP FOR THE IRRIGATION HOMEWORK GROUP

Send an e-mail to cmarcusmoore@gmail.com if you wish to participate in the full Homework Group. The meeting on Saturday, October 17th  9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Jemez Room at SFCC is open to everyone, even if you can’t attend the other meetings.

Development Meeting Notice

There will be a meeting hosted by Univest about development issues in Rancho Viejo on Tuesday, September 22. The meeting will take place in the Jemez Room, SFCC from 6 to 8 p.m.