----<<>>----The village idiot has once again spoken. Okay, that is a bit harsh.
But in fact, I just received a copy of The Sentinel, a newsletter that is published and distributed by a member of my neighborhood, whenever he feels like exposing the leadership of our community improvement association for the fools that he perceives them to be. It would appear that if you don't agree with this gentleman, you are in fact wrong, and now it seems, involved in improprieties.
I am no different in voicing my opinion, mostly in pride, when I write about things happening in Silver Creek 78250 and our larger, Great Northwest Community Improvement Association. I just do it on a blog that costs me nothing; Joe types up a newsletter, makes 5,000 copies, then pays people to distribute his opinion to the homes in the area. You have to hand it to a person who puts his money where his mouth is, but occasionally, one must respond.
What disturbs me is that he appears to be so caught up in the bureaucratic minutia of every insignificant detail of every little action the community manager or the elected board of directors make, that he seems to have lost sight of the bigger picture. When 99.9 percent of residents wouldn't give a rats ass about how a particular administrative detail is handled, you will always have one guy standing up for principle to point out that a particular t was not crossed or i dotted, even though things worked out and everyone is happy - including the one guy complaining!
I'm sure most of you simply tossed the recent newsletter in the trash without reading, so I'll briefly recap. As I outlined in a post not long after our annual meeting took place, our association was not able to obtain a quorum, and thus could not adopt the agenda for the meeting. In affect, if you can't get a quorum, the people have voted with their feet. That means that the people who were running for elected office cannot be elected at the annual meeting and the by-laws that were being voted on do not pass/fail based upon the votes received.
Our association allows that the remaining directors meet later and appoint people to fill the positions that are vacant. I know what you are thinking. Wouldn't it make sense to just appoint the people who ran and received the most votes? Sure, if you were a director and that is how you decided to make your appointment. The fact is, I am not aware of any criteria that the directors have to use in appointing the new directors, as long as who they select meets the requirements to be a director. I have a better question? Why couldn't the directors also count the votes for or against the by-laws and enact them? The reason is we did not have a quorum and the election is a no-go.
The complaint in the recent Sentinel Newsletter is that there were improprieties performed by our chairman in the way he adjourned the meeting. Improprieties? As in fraud? Really?
Not long after it was determined there was no quorum, there was much discussion on the floor among those residents who bothered to attend the annual meeting. The Sentinel publisher wanted to set a date for an immediate meeting one week from the date. Why? The proxies expired at 11:59PM the day of the election? The association lawyer was called and this was verified.
During the meeting, numerous people (myself included) suggested we hit the streets and knock on doors until we found 37 qualified people willing to come down and vote in person. Because we were 37 people short of a quorum, it almost sounds doable. But by then, it was 8PM on a school and work night. And then, what if it takes a few hours to round up 37 people? Do you lock the doors and not allow any of the people in attendance to leave? It was clear that this would not work.
In the end, one gentleman presented a motion to adjourn and the motion was seconded by none other than Mr. Martinez, the publisher of The Sentinel. And now he seems to be upset about it. The vote to adjourn was overwhelmingly voted in favor by the attendees and that was the end of it.
Now, following the rules, the board has to appoint new directors to fill the two vacancies. Of course, the two candidates who ran are automatically being considered. But as is the right of this group of directors and previous boards of directors who have in the past had to appoint; instead of relying on the votes of the handful of residents who took the time to vote, they can review applications, and decide as a board who best would represent the association, not who one or two proxy holders believe to be the best for the association. Those are the rules, my friends. (Don't forget to cross the i's and mark the t's.)
I don't blame The Sentinel publisher for being upset that his two hand-selected candidates (and yes, I have e-mails from Mr. Martinez as well as personal statements made to me by both candidates to back that up) were not elected. It is his right to back who he wants and his right to be upset if they are not selected. But it is not in any way improper if the sitting board chooses candidates who they deem to be better qualified to serve the community, not the wishes of one man. Simply put, that train left the station when the residents - the voters - of the the Great Northwest chose not to have a quorum.
Finally, I feel somewhat compelled to address a matter more pressing than this simple issue of a failed election and the whining by one disgruntled former board member.
There is a very small but active group of people in our community who speak in deeds performed to serve all. As one of the people who is attempting to address the real problems we as homeowners face, like trying to alleviate the vandalism issues, participate in clean-up efforts, attend meetings and work with community leaders, I'm frankly sick of the constant accusations of mismanagement by our community manager and our directors over the most insignificant of issues. Really, we have an accounting firm that comes in an audits our association finances and they say things are great, but no, they aren't done the way Joe would do it, so the auditors must be wrong.
I receive e-mails from former residents as well as people who live in and in some cases manage other HOA's. The overwhelming reaction is that this one pain in the ass is, and has been an unnecessary distraction. In fact, I am aware that most if not all decisions our directors make have to be first gauged on how one single individual resident is going to react. If you are paying your yearly assessments, how does that make you feel, to have one resident have so much influence?
Just once, why don't we receive a Sentinel that congratulates the volunteers for cleaning up the place, working with students, coaching the youth leagues? How about a hat tip to the board for making tough decisions and not raising the assessments - and even lowering them?
Instead, we read about alleged improprieties and poor decisions. Please, Sir, get a life.
I welcome comments from fellow residents, readers and especially, my friend Joe. Am I completely off base here? Tell me what you think.