<a href="http://silvercreek78250.blogspot.com/">Dave</a>
Your Host

Thursday, July 19, 2007

GNW HOA Meeting Report: My Notes...

This will be pretty short and sweet as tonight's meeting of the board of directors of the Great Northwest Community Improvement Association made it through the open to the public session in apparent record time.

I am pleased to report that there was very little turmoil, the board and the residents seemed to behave themselves, and there were very few accusations or derogatory comments from the peanut gallery.

Prior to the start of the meeting, Mr. Jeff Peterson from State Rep Jose Menendez' office let residents know that if they have any issues for Rep Menendez, they should feel free to contact the area office at 210-673-3579. If you feel like calling, maybe you can suggest that he sponsor a bill that would give first time graffiti offenders the needle. I'd definitely vote for him if he did that.

One nice family signed up to speak before the board during the "open mic night" portion. Turns out that these people had reserved the Silver Creek Pool for a party, which they have done many times in the past with great success and enjoyment. Turns out this time around, they get there and they can't use the Kiddie pool, the diving boards are gone and the slide is off limits. That sucks.

The husband gave a very clear and concise review of the situation and it was clear to me that had I been a board member, I would have immediately moved to refund the full price of the pool rental, said we're sorry and moved on. And the people on the board would probably have gone along with it.

Then the lady got up to pile on. Yes, ma'am, we get it. Kids were disappointed, nobody could dive or slide or piss in the kiddie pool - we get the problem.

What seemed like an hour later but was closer to about 5 or 6 minutes, the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Lee Besing gave explanations, made apologies, explained the history of what was happening at the time etc and really seemed like he wanted these people to be happy.

Then, the lady wanted her 9 year old kid to testify. WTF? At that point, I felt like these people had really exceeded the boundaries of good taste. It was a board meeting; not Oprah for Christ's sake.

In the end, Lee suggested that the board work with staff to give these people a partial refund and give them a discount on the pool for the kid's 1oth birthday.

Moving on.

The agenda had two pages worth of stuff to discuss but honestly, it all went very quickly. I should mention that one of the board members was not able to attend the meeting and a few residents I talked to afterward suggested that the reason for the quick meeting was that the absent director wasn't available to slow things down with her timely objections.

I missed her.

I find her entertaining.

Acting Community Manager, Jose Morlett indicated that several positions were filled, they had completed the preparation of the ballots from the last election and were ready to have them reviewed, and that they were filing some insurance claims on equipment that was damaged during a recent storm.

Ms. Teresa Carpenter from accounting indicated that the auditors had completed their audit and things were not so bad. Mr. Besing pointed out that we were $81K in the black which is good. But a gentleman sitting behind me pointed out that not long ago, we reported having over $300K. Geeze. I hope the auditors saw where the rest of that went.

One item that did concern me was that the board voted to table the minutes from previous board meetings. On the agenda, they listed minutes from meetings as late as Dec 7 2006, all the way until July 7th 2007.

I have an issue with this. If it was just some goofy guy in the audience like me taking random notes and then sitting down on the computer and spouting off a bunch of gibberish from memory, I could see wanting to have 6 or 7 months to make sure everyone agrees with what was said. But seriously, they have a person sitting at the table taking official notes, and often during the proceedings, the Chair is very precises about who voted which way etc etc.

This is just my opinion and just a suggestion that people are free to use, but why not take about $18.00 from the remaining $81K and purchase a little Radio Shack tape recorder, then if the person taking notes has any questions about what she wrote, or if the board questions any notes she took, go back and listen to the tape. If it's good enough for Dick Nixon, by God, it's good enough for the GNWCIA.

In reality, even if 99 percent of the residents of the Great Northwest don't care enough to attend the meetings, we ought to at least make a record of the proceedings at the board meetings, if only to use as sound bites if any of our esteemed board members run for public office later in life - it would be like a service to the community - proof that they stood and Pledged allegiance to the flag or voted against tabling the minutes from the previous meetings like Mr. Guy Pucci did.

Several other things zoomed by but one thing that caught my attention was discussion about setting a time line for review of the ByLaws.

You may recall that at the annual meeting, one of the things they were supposed to vote on was some new or changed bylaws. Depending on who you talk to, the bylaws never actually got voted on because by the time the board went in and out of open and closed session, many people simply gave up and left the premises. As a result, there was not a quorum to hold the vote and the meeting was closed.

More than one person has told me that this was a tactic that was purposely done. I have heard all sorts of conspiracy theories from many, many people, pointing fingers at many, many other people.

I don't care.

But what is interesting is what one former member of the by laws committee, Ms. Andrea Hall, pointed out when asked by the board. Ms. Hall suggested that it might be possible that the bylaws which would have been voted on are now void because the meeting they were to be voted on ended without the vote.

In other words, to bring them up now with no formal debate or amendment allowed would be against the rules of good order and discipline, or at least Roberts Rules of Parliamentary procedure. Ms. Hall and I both agreed that we could not remember for sure, but if someone is smart enough to verify that the motion is voided once it is not acted upon during the meeting, perhaps you could let me know and we can save on lawyers fees.

So, this is something to think about and perhaps to motivate you to attend the next meeting of the board of directors. I know it is easy to sit back and poke fun at the things I observe without the responsibility of having to sit on the board. Please always keep in mind, as I do, that these folks are regular residents like you and I and even if you don't agree with everything they do as elected members, at least they are doing something. Please, join me at the next meeting and we can sit and observe and perhaps snicker occasionally.

To any of the board members who may see this - thank you for what you do.

Now get those meeting minutes posted!!!


Lee said...

We didn't approve the minutes from the past since we didn't have "known good versions" of such as of yet. Our records indicated that there were 2 meetings in December 2006 that somehow got overlooked / tabled by the "previous" board. These were written by former employers who no longer work for the GNW, and their original notes appear to be MIA.

The minutes from the one meeting in April (the 19th) was to be handled at the May 17th meeting, but the notes / minutes were (again) taken by a former employee who apparently didn't leave her notes behind.

Hmm, do we have a pattern here? Fortunately, some of the directors took personal notes during these meetings and we are using those personal notes to recreate the motions or actions taken by the board at those meetings. The resulting minutes might be a bit skimpier than normal, but at least we'll maintain continuous records.

Some of the meetings that happened after the former CM departed had the minutes taken by myself or another director. Lately, we've had the new Executive Assistant taking minutes so we have continuity finally.

A couple of directors have also proposed we start recording our meetings (again) to aid in the accuracy of creating the minutes in the future. When I first came onto the board back in 2002, we used to record meetings on a routine basis. Back then, it could take us a month or two to get the minutes from the staff and we needed to be able to confirm points in the draft minutes if our memory disagreed with the paper version proposed.

At some later point, we quit that practice because we were getting accurate and timely minutes. But it has become apparent to some directors that we need to resume this practice of recording, and then recycle the tapes / recording (if digital recorder used) for the next meeting.

In the future, you can likely expect hear a motion made to resume recording of board meetings.

I also hope to keep those future meetings shorter, like the last one was.

Anonymous said...

The speed at which you accomplish your task comes from preperation not procrastination.. As always enjoyed your views.

Guy D.

About Your Host

My photo
San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

Previous Reporting

Famous Followers of the SC78250 Blog