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Thursday, August 2, 2007

GNW CIA Meeting Report: My Notes...

My wife and I attended the Great Northwest Community Improvement Association executive meeting tonight. The difference between this meeting and the other meetings is, no comments are allowed from the residents attending. Clearly, this was not a problem as my wife and I were the only residents in the audience, and I'm much better at the non-verbals then most people and don't require the need to make loud comments!

Okay, a bunch of boring stuff... unless you live here and want to see how a small group of people are spending your money! Seriously, I confess that I have made comments about a few people being obsessive about the association and its runnings, but now, I have to say that I'm appalled at the lack of interest. At least the people I may have prematurely labeled as obsessive were interested.

But, if you can't make it to see in person, don't worry, I'll tell you about it.

First, lots of interesting discussion with the treasurer report. I specifically want to make mention of the fact that one Director, Mr. Guy Pucci, seems to get what is what with the finances and asks really valid questions. I don't get that he is asking questions just to appear concerned, I see his probing as well thought out and germane to the the details of the financial report being discussed.

An example of this was when the discussion turned to the fact that the association uses two different computer programs to run the finances. QuickBook and Topps I believe (I have no idea if these names are correct). The problem is, there are some issues that have resulted in one system not being fully used and there has been an effort to get things on track. Mr Pucci asked how much it was costing us a month to maintain one of the programs that is apparently not being used fully. $89.95 a month comes out close to $1,000 a year, and I think Mr. Pucci was right to question the need. Ms. Sigrid Long joined in with a very valid point regarding the fact that perhaps we should see if this monthly fee covers additional training for the people using the program.

When this group of people can focus on real issues of running the organization, I think homeowners would be very proud of their efforts, but as residents, we should show our support by at least coming to one meeting every few months.

A major discussion involved getting some 30 bylaws voted on by the membership. I sat there and took notes of most of the relevant back and forth, but I'll give you my brief summation in a paragraph or less.

The association spent a lot of time and money to compile and discuss some 30 by laws. You cannot appreciate how much money it costs to mail out ballots to 5,000 homes, hire a parliamentarian to keep the fisticuffs to a minimum, and to put on special meetings. I think the number was around $25,000.00. And then, guess what, it didn't get voted on. Okay, so now, one side says we owe it to the membership to explain the proposed bylaws and discuss, then get them voted on. Another camp says, bullshit! They have been presented and discussed ad nauseam. Lets have a single meeting, recap what the bylaws to be voted on are, then vote and be done with it. The board of directors are going to consider their options then come up with a plan.

Can I suggest we avoid a lot of bickering and take advantage of YouTube? Let's have two directors give 30 second video clips on each proposed bylaw. One of the directors would take a "for" position and another director would take an "against" position. The link to these YouTube snippets would be posted on the GNW Homepage and included in the Passages. One month later at a regular meeting, if at least 10 percent of the membership show up to vote, we have a quorum and we vote. If after a month of publicizing it (for free, by word of mouth, mass e-mails and marquee adverts) we don't get 10 percent, too bad, people don't care and we can move on.

NOTE: There is one specific bylaw that must be voted on regardless, due to legal issues.

Okay, some positive things. The board is considering converting a little used hall at the Emerald Valley Pool into an office focused primarily on sports and rec. This is where you could go to sign up for soccer, renew your sticker for your pool pass etc. Also, this would make it more convenient for people in the neighborhoods closer to that pool to see staff.

Some one wrote into the Passages and asked about the possibility of putting in some exercise equipment in the lodges (or in this new office). Can I just say I'm opposed to this. Yes, I'd be all for a nice gym, but really, if the idea is to put in a treadmill and an exercise bike, to me that falls in the category of "buy your own". Now if someone said we could afford to build a nice gym facility with 4 or 5 Lifecycles, 2 or 3 professional quality treadmills, and maybe a piece of Nautilus equipment, fill the room with mirrors and a bank of TV's that can be heard by headphones (so people can enjoy different channels), I'd be for it. My point is, either do it and make it worth using, or don't do it at all just to placate one or two residents who won't use it after 6 months anyway. How do you feel about it? E-mail me. Oh, and if we do this, for God's sake, please wipe down the machines after you use them. Yeeesh.

Another positive note. The board thinking ahead and remembering that it has been raining for the past 2 months had the forethought to plan for the GNW Lodge to be opened as a back-up in case of rain on the National Night Out event, this coming Tuesday, 7 August.

Another thing positive: On 25 September, Jose Morlett will be holding a class on Deed Restrictions. A guest at the meeting will be someone from the city to confirm everything Jose says is illegal, really is illegal*! I'm going to attend just so I can see what's what.

Okay, that about does it. I'll be excited to attend the next meeting where residents can sign up to speak. I'd imagine that there will be discussion of the way to handle voting on bylaws, and this should make it ripe for lots of yelling and screaming from concerned and obsessed residents! Maybe I'll see you there.

*Thanks to Ms Sigrid for pointing out that I made no sense whatsoever when I originally posted this. I did mean to use the term "illegal", but I missed a word or two to make it coherent.


Lee said...

2nd software package is called TOPS
http://topssoft.com/ Supposedly a "all-in-one" end-all package for HOA's, etc.

From their website, it says...

TOPS Software provides accounting-based software for condominium and homeowner's association management. We are committed to distinctive quality, innovative technology, and unparalleled service.

Designed and engineered by leading industry professionals, our flagship product, TOPS 2000™, is the most widely used software solution created for the association management industry.

Whether it is integration between software and web sites or relationships with banking, printing, document, resale providers and gate access companies, TOPS Software is your TOTAL SOLUTION PROVIDER.

Anonymous said...

The board tries to do what it feels is the right thing to do but there is always the hurt feelings of those who feel they lost when the vote does not favor their position on a motion. The feelings will tend to build and erupt so stick around and watch to see who will blow if they don't get what they want when they want it.

on another note that may not be made public yet but the suggestion about the minutes has been resolved along the lines of your suggestions. And yes feelings were hurt.

Guy D. Puci

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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.

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