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Friday, March 13, 2009

GNW Sentinel Report: All you need to know...

If you live in our area, I know you are squirming in your seats in anticipation of the March 2009 release of the GNW Sentinel, a newsletter which presents the opinions of its publisher, my friend Mr. Joe Martinez. If you simply can't wait for the 4-page rehash of the stuff he brings up at the monthly neighborhood association meetings, I'm here to summarize and comment as needed. You'll thank me later.

The first quarter of the news letter regards meeting minutes.

As you may recall my last report on the meeting of the GNWCIA, I wrote that one of Mr. Martinez' complaints was about requesting minutes from a previous meeting and receiving what was essentially a fully blacked out page. Let's recap what I wrote:

He did in fact present to the board and the assembled audience several pages of what appeared to be meeting minutes where literally all but the headings of each paragraph were blacked-out as if they were a freedom of information request on some special project at Area 51. By any reasonable person's assessment, if you are a resident and you want to see the minutes of a board meeting, this is not what you would expect to receive.

It would turn out however, (and in a conversation with me later, Mr. Martinez refuted this claim), the Chairman upon seeing the blackened pages immediately directed that Mr. Martinez receive the correct version.

Was the matter of the redacted minutes blown out of proportion by Mr. Martinez? Apparently, that is in dispute. I simply don't know, but at the board meeting, he was again offered the minutes and did not seem interested.

As expected, Mr. Martinez not only didn't care about the meeting minutes (he already knows what takes place from his well placed sources), but he needed an attention getting ploy to start off his newsletter. I don't mind that he brings up the redacted notes; I agree that as residents, we need to be able to review the minutes. But let's not be disingenuous about the fact that the board attempted to correct the error.

Just purely out of curiosity (and this should have no bearing on right versus wrong) I have to ask, just how many residents from the almost 5,000 homes that will receive the Sentinel, have ever actually requested meeting minutes, much less attend a monthly board meeting?

Up next in this Sentinel, there is much discussion about the proper procedures for the budget and financial statements. Once again, I must tell you in all frankness, this is a broken record issue with Mr. Martinez.

As someone who does attend the monthly meetings, I sat right there in the meeting and listened to the professional auditor give our board a thumbs up and clean bill of health. When questioned by Mr. Martinez about perceived failures in accounting procedures, the auditor went into excruciating, eyeballs-rolling-into-the-back-of-your-head detail, to explain why things were done the way they were, or in cases where there were options on how to handle things, he explained that the choice selected was "okay".

Bottom line, the GNWCIA received a glowing report from the auditor and Mr. Martinez even complimented the board at the time. Now, in this edition of the Sentinel, he would have you believe that all is going to hell in a hand basket. I submit that your parakeet will especially appreciate the financial section.

Of course, there is always room for agreement, and I am happy to say that from what I can see, Mr. Martinez has hand-picked two fine candidates for the next election of the Board of Directors. I echo his sentiments when he asks readers not to allow the embarrassment experienced last year when we could not get a quorum - thus no election. I also concur that as residents, we should solidly support the new candidates by obtaining that quorum and voting.

Where we once again have to part company is in the final paragraph where Mr. Martinez asks you to give him your proxy. Make no mistake, this is perfectly within the rules and if you don't plan to vote or can't/won't attend the meeting, then please, give your proxy to someone.

But Mr. Martinez has already demonstrated a willingness to gather a large block of proxies, then walk out of the meeting causing there not to be a quorum.

If you want to give your proxy to someone, give it to me. With the exception of one or two meetings where I was out of town for business, I have attended every meeting of the board - in fact, I have a better record than many of the sitting directors.

So there you have it. I hope I didn't spoil your enjoyment of the Sentinel. And of course, I encourage Mr. Martinez to leave comments correcting anything I have misinterpreted.

Didn't get your copy of the Sentinel? E-mail me and I'll send it to you.

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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.

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