December 7 Board meeting wrap-up: Part 3 Board owner communications

Suggestion: timing of first owner comment period

Tim Stibbins suggested that the first owner comment period should be after the President’s report because Rex does not put his remarks in writing in the draft Board book. (I say this suggestion would enhance protection of owners’ rights. Rex frequently self-servingly biases his President’s report to obfuscate that he personally usurps and/or abdicates the authority of the Board, e.g., to create false legitimacy for executive session actions or to conceal them instead of noting such actions properly in minutes.)

Rex unhelpfully suggested that maybe owner comments should be after the GM’s report since hers wasn’t in the draft Board book either. Tim said fine, but that was less important, and then the matter was dropped. (Do you think any action will be taken on this request?)

Board Communications Task Force Report

Rex appointed two Board members (and no owners) to propose solutions to poor Board-owner communications. This is like appointing two members from Anthem Council to propose solutions to communication problems between SCA and Anthem Council. Not involving all stakeholders in the development of shared solutions is a core failing of this Board under Rex.  

Anthem Council  – November 16 meeting

No report.

When they kicked me off the Board, they also kicked me off as SCA’s representative to the Anthem Council even though there is no requirement that SCA’s rep be a Board member. (Jean Capillupo was leaving the at-large seat on Anthem Council in which she served even though she was n longer on the SCA Board).

For whatever reason, my replacement did not file a report to the Board about what happened at the November 16 Anthem Council meeting.

December 7 Board meeting wrap up: Part 1

It was my birthday and I had a golf clinic at 3:30, but I dragged myself there and listened to the audio of the part I missed. Spoiler alert – there is no recommendation on the restaurant and the Board does not blame itself for anything wrong: nothing wrong with the transition to self-management; FAS eviction was all Favil West’s fault, and the $85,000 spent so far on the recall was all the fault of the petitioners.

Owner Comments: $10K for medical equipment

Roger Cooper, SCA owner since 1999 commented on item 12g, the Community Service group’s recommendation for “Approval of an expenditure up to $10,000 to purchase durable medical equipment” (to replace what was previously provided by the Foundation Assisting Seniors (FAS).

Accurately assessing that this is a drop in the bucket of the cost of replacing what FAS was providing free, Roger said that this medical equipment request of $10,000 was just the beginning of a bottomless pit.

Emile Girard had a lot to say (loudly) about this item both at the first comment period and when the item came up on the agenda. Emile highly complimented the Board and the CSG for their good works while he stridently blamed Favil West for everything except the weather: Favil didn’t negotiate to stop FAS’ eviction, even sending out a postcard about service interruption was vindictive and revenge.

Emile apologized for his emotional rant, but Rex welcomed his attack on Favil in a way that was a far cry from Rex’ oft-stated policy to stop speakers from making personal comments about other owners. (Rex certainly stopped me cold when an innocuous comment of mine included a unit owner by name.) Emile is certainly entitled to his opinion, but the meeting chair is not entitled to allow personal attacks when he agrees with them and shut owners up if he doesn’t.

Rex even passed along an untrue rumor stating that FAS was moving out of the area, but I am informed by a FAS Board member that FAS has rented a space not too far from Von’s.

Construction Defect Litigation

Construction defect lawsuit on Liberty Center is in mediation. There was one session in November and there will be others until it goes to trial in 2019. (Rex’s comment that SCA has not changed any of our demands disturbed me a little bit as an odd choice of information tidbit to share with the members. It leaves the impression that he personally approaches mediation with a “my way or the highway” attitude which is the antithesis of the good faith needed to achieve a win-win solution.)

Surplus Funds

I don’t even want to get into the issue about surplus funds, but they changed the minimum acceptable equity level from $500,000 to $250,000 as recommended by the Finance Committee. It’s not my issue, but it might be of concern to owners on fixed incomes who would like the Board to refund the excess to owners or reducing the assessments going forward rather than collecting more than is needed for annual operating costs.

Recall Costs

CFO Jim Orlick reported that the costs for the recall through November approximate $85,000, and I would like to report that I consider that expenditure an egregious failure of the Board’s duty of care to the membership.

It is an beyond disingenuous for Rex, the GM and the attorney to pretend that these expenditures were made in the best interest of the membership. They ordered these unbudgeted payments in violation of NRS, SCA bylaws, the Board Policy Manual the SCA Election & Voting Manual and prevented the Election Committee from performing their chartered duties as volunteers. They should be held accountable for it.

Director Comment Period is awash in self-righteous indignation

Bob Burch spoke at length about his opinion of the recall which he said was because of the Foundation, the vendor issue with the Clubs, and poor communication on less visible issues. He said the recall was caused by a “perfect storm”. He offered a semi-apology to the Clubs for not informing them of the insurance and business license changes, which he then negated by saying that vendors should have business licenses and insurance is a real problem for HOAs. He did not seem to see the real issue as being the autocratic change of practices without prior notice or negotiation with those affected.

Bob’s main point about the FAS eviction was that it didn’t have to happen that way, but still, that it was all FAS’ fault because the Board had bent over backward to be fair. Other people see it quite differently. Please see Favil West’s response that I posted on my campaign website last March. Also, a resident’s answer to refute Bob’s claims published on the AnthemToday blog is worth reading to set the record straight.

Bob read some incendiary passages from  blogs, and tried to elicit sympathy from the audience about how beleaguered Board members are being subjected to such horrible, unwarranted abuse by malcontents.  

Bob echoed Rex’ concerns about how tragic all this abuse of Board members was because it meant that there wouldn’t be qualified people applying for the Board. This is failing to see how the Board is pushing good people away.

What they are really saying is that the petitions to recall four Board members constituted abuse. Such abuse would make qualified people not want to run. Maybe, but more importantly, Bob and his cohorts are doing everything they can to get people who don’t agree with them not to run. 

Totally backward. Qualified people don’t want to serve because of the way the Board treats Directors that don’t “go along to get along”. Who wants to serve on a Board where a majority can just kick a political rival off based on unproven allegations? 

I have spoken to three women who would be excellent on the Board, and they all said they wouldn’t run because they didn’t want to be treated the way I was treated.  

“It’s just not worth it. At my age, I don’t want to deal with it.”

“They are a bunch of ‘good ole boys’ who won’t listen to anyone with good ideas.”

“They’re just on a power trip.”

“I haven’t got thick enough skin to take it.”

Bob, you really need to stop whining about all the abuse that you and the other Directors take after what you and your buddies on the Board did to me.

You, the other male Board members and the attorney ambushed me and accused, berated and attacked me for an hour and a half in July 27 executive session and refused to have an open hearing I requested.

It’s that type of bullying of a person who is supposed to be an equal Director is what drives qualified owners away from wanting to serve on the Board.

But then, I guess you guys already figured that out.

 

 

I need to correct the record distorted by Rex Weddle

Rex Weddle’s self-serving article “The Attempted Recall” in the December Spirit is a stunning, wrong-headed form of revisionist history. As President, Rex is the only one who can speak for the whole Board and in that role, he gets to speak for the Board in the monthly President’s Report in the Spirit.

In this case, Rex inappropriately, if not unlawfully, used the Spirit as a bully pulpit to try to intimidate his political opponents and to blame them for things that were actually his fault.

If Rex was speaking as an individual, can any individual have a full page of the Spirit to express her opinion about the recall?

Rex began by describing the recall  as “an organized effort” that took five months to gather enough signatures to call for an election.

That’s not what I saw happening. Without any organized group, the recall movement just seemed to spring into existence. It seemed to be an almost organic movement of people whose only commonality seemed to be signing some petitions. Whoever they were, they were exercising their LEGAL right to call for a removal election, and those legal rights to vote are sacrosanct.

I heard owners were signing because of anger about changes for the worse since switching to self-management, like new requirements for the Clubs, the (lack of a) restaurant, the shabby treatment of the Foundation Assisting Seniors, the GM’s pay or her surprising owners with the loss or change of some amenity, such as the group exercise $45 card.

I also understand that the over 800 signatures were collected in less than five weeks over the summer when many of the owners are not even in residence. Such a significant statement of customer dissatisfaction should not be trivialized.

And yet, Rex  purported to be perplexed as to why any owners would even try to recall four members of the Board (including Rex), saying

“NRS 116 makes the recall of executive board members extremely difficult”.

This is correct only insofar as it is a fact that the only LEGAL way to REMOVE a director from the Board is through the legally-defined, arduous process beginning with 10% of the owners calling for a recall election.

Rex seems oblivious to the irony that he violated this very section of NRS 116 when he voted to remove a Director from the Board whom ZERO owners signed a petition to recall.

“Since most of the allegations boiled down to simple a difference of opinion about past decisions made by the Board,…”

Actually, the petitions listed owner complaints and grievances (link is as reported on Anthem Opinions blog, but which were NEVER reported on the SCA website or at Board meeting or in the Spirit) that were not just “a simple difference of opinion”. They were stark differences between right and wrong.

The very first allegation in the petition –  “an unprecedented number of violations of NRS 116 and SCA’s governing documents” – was certainly verifiable had an investigation been conducted and subjected to public scrutiny.

“…there was little evidence to suggest the targeted directors were guilty of any sort of high crimes and misdemeanors that would justify the widespread outrage needed for recall.

Two things:

  • The petitioners were not required to give ANY reason, let alone evidence of guilt of “high crimes and misdemeanors”, to exercise their LEGAL right to call for a removal election and to collect signatures free from harassment. Removal can be with or without cause IF, and only IF, the arduous conditions required by NRS 116 and SCA bylaws are met (10% of owners sign petitions, 35% of ALL owners vote YES, and 50%+1 of those voting vote YES).
  • Neither Rex nor the other three Directors subject to recall nor the Board as a whole did any self-examination geared to  satisfying the customer service concerns of some 800 owners. This is a crime in my book. The Board’s job is to serve ALL the owners. SCA is a monopoly. Dissatisfied owners can’t live here and join another HOA they like better. Homeowners’ only recourse is to vote out Directors who they think are not serving their interests well.

In what world would it be good business to blow off customer service complaints from more than 10% of your customers without any investigation?

“The real reasons behind this expensive failed attempt to recall half the Board are still not clear.”

Let me break it down for you, Rex. There are lots of owners that are dissatisfied with the way they have been treated by you, the Board and by the GM. Many want to change the direction the Association is headed on your watch.

While you acknowledge that there was “widespread outrage”, you don’t see that it is YOUR job to fix the problems, not just say they don’t exist. It is not, under any circumstances, correct for you to blame your customers for not liking your product nor to blame them for the expense of the CPA and attorney you wanted.

It is NOT responsible leadership to claim that the complaints of 800 people are not justified and don’t need to be seriously investigated. Owners are your customers. No matter what your name is, you are not their king.

“Those who worked for it denied being its organizers. To this day the leadership of the group behind the attempted recall has never stepped forward and publicly made itself known.”

Attempting to identify the leaders of the recall movement is an unacceptable form of harassment and threat of retaliation against owners who exercised their only LEGAL means to remove some Directors.

There is already substantial evidence that, if identified, anyone involved in the recall will be subjected to inappropriate abuse by those in power.

I can make this assertion on great personal authority as I have been threatened, harassed or had my character maligned  for, among other things, my defending the LEGAL rights of the petitioners to collect signatures unmolested in the common areas  and for my attempting to prevent election interference

Subjecting ANY owner to abuse for simply exercising their legal rights deserves ZERO tolerance.

For example, it is unconscionable that David Berman, head of OSCAR, has been given the names of the people who signed the petitions and that he has threatened that he would recommend against their serving on the Board for that reason. (Note that no official information about the petitions or the recall was ever formally given to the Board or the owners, and even though  I was a Board member and the liaison to the Election Committee, I learned about the petitions being submitted from David Berman’s blog.)

No wonder dissatisfied owners don’t want to be identified because they are crucified for speaking up. It’s exactly the same reason many sexual harassment victims nationwide were silent for years.

“Because a majority of the Board was targeted for removal, recall proponents argued the Association’s Management and unaffected directors could not be trusted to run a recall process. So the SCA Election Committee was bypassed …”

This is TOTALLY WRONG to extend the complaints against Rex, management and the attorney to the Election Committee. To my knowledge, there was never any request by proponent of a fair removal election process to bypass the Election Committee.

In fact, I personally advised against the GM being involved for her poor judgment, as an example, by including Rex, a subject of the recall, in a meeting with Election Committee officials to develop plans for the recall election.

As the Board Liaison to the Election Committee, all my actions were designed to protect the integrity of the recall election process and to ensure the Election Committee could perform their normal chartered functions without interference.

As the excerpt below from an August 6 email I wrote to the chair of the Election Committee shows that, in my view, the absolutely least desirable action was to bypass the Election Committee.

The horrible waste of over $73,000+ unnecessary expenditure for the attorney and the CPA to muck up the process can be 100% attributable to Rex Weddle. As Board President, Rex is accountable for getting the Board to allow disempowering of the Election Committee (in violation of the bylaws, adopted Board policies and the budget) which in the end made the recall process more expensive, more divisive and less fair.

As a subject of the recall, Rex should also be held accountable for exerting undue influence over the process and taking actions to the detriment of the owners who were exercising their LEGAL rights to call for a vote to remove him.

“Purposeful misstatements, allegations of fraud and assertions of corruption were made, not only against the targeted directors, but the whole Board. Our own SCA Management team and Association counsel were also subject to these attacks. These allegations, without much in the way of factual support,…”

Rex’s treating such serious allegations so dismissively is irresponsible. His claiming the allegations are baseless without allowing any investigation or attempt at remediation is a complete failure of his, and the Board’s, duty of care to the owners.

Part 2 is coming soon.

I will continue rebutting Rex’s article in another blog. The amount of evidence I have to contradict  Rex’s misrepresentations is overwhelming .

 

SCA’s Wasteful Loss of Foundation Assisting Seniors

The recent open letter attorney Clarkson wrote attempted to justify the SCA’s Board’s actions against the Foundation Assisting Seniors (FAS). It was very disheartening. It shows SCA is lacking a system that guarantees Board decisions actually will serve the best interests of the community. It also shows how the Board does not hold the GM accountable for ensuring mutually-beneficial and cost-effective resolutions to community disputes.

The GM did not do a competent job to collaborate with FAS on a solution beneficial to SCA owners.

The Board delegated the dispute to the GM for resolution, but she was incapable of developing a collaborative solution or to avoid escalating the conflict. Why doesn’t the Board hold her accountable for that failure? Why doesn’t the Board hold itself accountable for achieving a negotiated settlement that would maximize benefits of both organizations to the SCA membership?

Instead, the Board followed the unhealthy pattern of power politics where they forgot who they are representing and who they and the GM are supposed to be serving. Their “Board/GM must win/be right and Favil West must lose” strategy made the Foundation Assisting Seniors and all of SCA’s members and residents just collateral damage to their “fight fire with Napalm” approach.

We all lose when the Board and the GM don’t do their job

In the end, we all lose when the Board does not hold the GM accountable for preventing or minimizing disputes.

When neither the Board nor the GM hold themselves accountable for bringing the community together or for maximizing “neighbor-helping-neighbor” strategies, we all lose.

When the Board picks a side to throw their weight and our money into waging a war against owners perceived to be on the other “side”.

We all lose when the Board does not hold the GM accountable for the owner relations and “people” parts of the General Manager job as much as for the property management aspects of the GM job.

WHY are we paying her so much if she doesn’t exhibit sufficient leadership or collaboration skills to bring the community together synergistically or to negotiate mutually-beneficial arrangements that allow diverse groups to thrive here?
Evicting FAS was the unnecessary destruction of a community treasure

Escalation of this conflict should never have happened. Consider for a moment how Favil West described as the FAS’ beginnings:

In 2003 the Foundation submitted a grant proposal to Pulte for a community service building.  Pulte accepted the proposal.  The Foundation President negotiated the design of the building, a building worth more than $550,000, to house the Foundation and the services it started; SCA TV, Community Service, and Emergency Preparedness (all originally part of the Foundation). The end result was that the building would be provided to SCA in addition to Independence Center, with Pulte’s condition that space would be dedicated to FAS so long as it serves SCA seniors.  This was evidenced by the original plans showing and referencing the Foundation space allocation. This term was accepted by SCA and was documented by a board resolution at the SCA April 2007 board meeting.

 

These statements were presented as documented facts so they should have been easy to verify. Why was there no simple, fair internal cost-effective process to ascertain their veracity?

Instead of collaboratively evaluating the facts where both sides were given an equal opportunity to present their side of the story, those in power wastefully decided to disregard these assertions, to ignore the good that was being done by FAS, and to dismantle a 15-year-old community service and destroy community relationships for no good purpose.

Attorney added cost, but no value in achieving a good solution

SCA Board spent a huge amount of money on attorneys to evict FAS, and yet they still managed to break a few laws while taking this completely disproportionate action that benefitted the community not one whit.

For example, NRS 116.31088 requires a member vote before initiating a civil action, but the Board ignored that and filed case A-17-760014-C to evict FAS. Please note that attorney Clarkson’s was paid both to file the civil action against the FAS AFTER Clarkson was paid to give the Board the self-serving advice that SCA did not have to follow NRS 116.31088 in this case.

Another example is the violation of NRS 116.31085 (executive session) where FAS was repeatedly discussed in secret long before SCA board decided to take legal action.  Perhaps, had the Board allowed the community to listen to their deliberations, it might have been harder for the Board to settle on the most expensive and least beneficial final solution.

GM Dumped $73,000+ Removal Election Costs on SCA Owners

The GM is to blame for the big bill – not the SCA owners who must pay it

This huge expense is still climbing, but it was totally unnecessary, not legally authorized by the Board, and did not serve the best interests of SCA.

Both the GM and the attorney should be fired for spending our money to interfere with the integrity of the removal election.

This unauthorized expenditure is sufficiently egregious to warrant the termination of both the GM and attorney, but that won’t happen because the beneficiaries of the election interference by SCA’s agents included a majority of the Board which was apparently important enough to them to stand by and let SCA owners foot the huge and unnecessary bill.

While I was on the Board I aggressively attempted to protect the independence of the Election Committee,  but alone and constrained by ethical boundaries, I was no match for the abuse of power by the Board President and SCA’s agents who were not so constrained.

A well-documented contributing factor to my unlawful removal from the Board was that I informed the Ombudsman on July 24 of my concerns about the need to protect the independence of the Election Committee (and also to protect owners lawfully collecting petition signatures) from the significant GM/CAM/attorney/Board interference I observed.

Berman’s constant improper placement of blame

David Berman continues to perpetuate the myth that these unnecessary and unauthorized costs were caused by the petitioners who (legally) called for the removal election.

This targeting of unit owners is obviously wrong. Owners don’t have enough power to be culpable.

Think about it.

  • If 1,200 unit owners had wanted  the Election Committee to conduct the removal election, but the GM did not want it, would they have been able to make their wishes happen over her objections?
  • If any of the petitioners had come to the Board meeting and begged to have SCA fork out over $73,000 to pay an unknown CPA and the attorney to do the Election Committee’s job, would SCA have spent one dime?

Both the GM and the Board President had to want SCA money to be spent on agents of their choosing  to run the removal election (incompetently or, more likely, unethically), or OUR money  would still be safely in the bank.

The Spin Doctor at work

Yet, despite all evidence to the contrary, David Berman persists in promulgating this almost laughable propaganda that unit owners could make the GM do something that doesn’t serve her interests. Smug in this delusion, today he blogged with a melodramatic and an almost audible sigh that this big $73,000 number would still be bigger when the attorney and CPA bills all come in:

Sad. SCA deserves so much better.
But, wait, hope may be on the horizon:

CIC Commission recently held a GM accountable despite HOA attorney advice that action was OK under NRS.

If Rex and Sandy having Clarkson on speed dial is no longer as good an excuse as “the dog ate my homework”, then maybe…

AnthemOpinions blogspot reported about a case that was heard at the recent CIC Commission meeting which seemed to demonstrate the Commission’s repudiation of the “the attorney said I could” defense.

 

The Zeitgeist
Perhaps, we are reaching a tipping point.

In the whole country, the public conversation has shifted seismically around sexual harassment. Suddenly, society-at-large is not just standing silently by while men in power abuse vulnerable people with impunity.

Maybe the tide is turning here at SCA too.

Now, owners no longer seem so resigned and no longer seem willing to tolerate inexcusable behavior or poor leadership. A critical mass is forming, and this is a necessary step to creating a healthier balance of power in our community.

As formerly discouraged and disenfranchised owners are more willing to speak up and stand up to bullies, SCA’s bullies will predictably face a Come to Jesus reckoning. A tectonic power shift will occur that, in retrospect, we will be surprised at how long it took us to take our power back.

 

 

October 26 SCA Board meeting wrap-up

Here are a few highlights from the October 26 SCA Board meeting that will give you a perspective that the Board tries to suppress.

GM Compensation is a really big concern
Rex made the almost off-hand comment during the President’s report that the BOD discussed “GM performance” in executive session, but gave no further details. My next post will be about GM compensation since my trying to get the board to handle GM compensation correctly is one of the main reasons they kicked me off the Board.  The issue of GM compensation is really important because seeing how the Board mis-handled it will show you that the real threat to SCA owners is the GM and the attorney duping the Board into handing over our wallets – not that my service on the Board was going to change the outcome of quiet title litigation.

Foundation Assisting Seniors
Rex noted the Foundation Assisting Seniors was being ordered evicted as the court agreed that no SCA Board in the past would have had the authority to transfer that space to FAS in perpetuity. (I thought it had been transferred to FAS by Del Webb before the entire property was taken over by the Association, but I could be wrong.) Rex said that Sandy would make a recommendation about the use of the space.

Restaurant Consultant RFP is Out
Sandy will be hiring a consultant according to some unknown RFP for some unknown amount of unbudgeted money to give us the answer to the question “Just what’s it gonna take to have a successful restaurant”. You already know how I feel about her spending unbudgeted funds to pay a consultant to answer the wrong question after she’s left a major amenity out of service the entire time she’s been on the job.

Opinions about the recall proponents destroying our property values
Rex broke his silence about the recall in the paternalistic tone I find so grating, reprimanding the small cadre of negative proponents of the recall who have defined SCA’s character over the years with their history of unwarranted vitriolic attacks. These “people” will force a death knell to volunteerism, and these malcontents are responsible for SCA’s negative reputation and the destruction of our property values. The attorney says their rhetoric is actionable defamation even if the most horrible attacks have been “scrubbed” from their online posts.

In my view, Rex should be more introspective. Rex seems blind to his own personal contribution to the community schism and to sustaining the unhealthy divide. But then, there were more comments on the subject at different points on the agenda.

Apparently some helpful soul decided that it would be good for the community cohesiveness to incite Art with 54 pages of diatribe from some unnamed blog. Art was predictably upset by it, stunned by the negativity and unfairness of it. Art has developed a total respect for the other board members who he sees as competent and blameless. (He didn’t mention me because I have become invisible. It’s as if they feel so utterly justified in taking the law into their own hands to erase me and 2000 owners’ votes, it’s as if I never happened.) Art blamed instead that unknown blogger’s disinformation, errors and false charges to be the prime contributor to a major loss of our reputation and property values.

I am irritated with the “helpful” individual who baited Art. If it was who I think it was, he’s been helpful like that in the past, and I believe he too should be more self-aware in terms of the impact he has on perpetuating a toxic culture and on enabling the Board’s unlawful actions against me.

It’s hard to say whether our property values have actually taken a hit by virtue of SCA’s negative reputation (which all seem to agree exists now as well as in the past), and if they have gone down, who is to blame. In the Financial Report, revenue of $103,000 over budget from asset enhancement fees was described as being caused by an unexpectedly high number of home sales. Although no information about home price was given, the fact that the number of sales is up which would lead one to the opposite conclusion about the impact of our reputation on prospective purchasers.

Three more spoke in this echo chamber, not surprisingly all representing the same point of view.
I didn’t catch the name of the man who demanded that the owners be given the names of the originators of the petition and that the names of those who signed the petition should be posted on the association’s website. Sandy helpfully said that anyone could have the names of those who signed the petitions by filling out the proper form.

Yes, this is the same Sandy who authorized expenditure of thousands of your assessment dollars for the attorney to conceal SCA records from me, a sitting board member. She threatened SCA and me personally with litigation saying “employer liability”would be created if I could see SCA records related to her compensation and the transition to self-management.

Is it fair for the GM to gleefully release information that could be used to harass and intimidate petitioners who oppose her management style at the same time she spends large chunks of unbudgeted SCA funds to prevent my review of her compensation with the ludicrous claim that I was violating her privacy rights?

It is my prediction that SCA will have no peace as long as the Board forces the community into two camps. The definitions of the camps may have been different in the past, but now, they seem to be camps of Sandy’s friends vs. Sandy’s foes.  I imagine you can see why I have a little bit of trouble being silent watching the two faces of our leading lady as she inconsistently enforces the rules, bestowing blessings on the one camp and curses on the other.

Next speaker to chastise the petitioners was Jean Capilupo who stated that she had made a commitment to come to each board meeting to say something positive to help the unfairly maligned directors buck up under the strain. Clearly, she identifies completely with the directors in a “there but for” sense and so her sentiments are myopic, but understandable.

Where I get off the train is having to listen every month to the criticism of the people who don’t come to the Board meetings. I am amazed at the current and former directors’ self-righteous disdain for a large chunk of the community and their utter lack of comprehension about why those people would find the constant self-congratulation vs denigration, us vs. them, patter to be quite alienating.

The grand finale was brought home by none other than David Berman who claimed he only decided to speak after being inspired by Jean’s profound remarks. He expressed confidence that the recall will fail (no surprise, recalls usually fail at the petition stage even without overt interference), and foretold ominously, “When this is over, the originators will find they have awoken a sleeping tiger!”  Catchy turn of phrase, but I’m not sure what it meant.

 

Owner concerns should never be ignored

The biggest reason Rex, Aletta, and Tom should be voted off the Board is that they chastise owners who have concerns about GM performance and adamantly refuse to hold the GM accountable for one of the most critical aspects of her job – owner satisfaction. And, they have spent thousands of our assessment dollars misusing the attorney in an attempt to silence criticism of the GM’s management style that many perceive as autocratic, divisive and unfair.


Refusal to listen

When over 800 people complained about how the GM is performing (by signing petitions) and stated that they have no confidence in her ability to lead our organization, the correct response by both the GM and the Board would have been to look at what the customers are complaining about and find a fix. However, the Board’s solution was to silence her detractors by yelling “Enough is enough!” and then give an irrelevant litany of her deferred maintenance accomplishments. I propose that during this recall election, Rex, Aletta, and Tom need to be held accountable for refusing to listen to, or correct, ANY of the extraordinarily high number of owners’ complaints about the GM.

Refusal to accept owner oversight

Before I was elected to the Board, I campaigned on the principle that there should be owner oversight in relation to personnel issues. I ran for the Board because of my expertise in HR and employee contract negotiations and proposed performance standards that would be linked to the GM compensation as well as, customer service ratings as part of the GM’s performance evaluation.

The Board’s reaction to my proposal was not only “NO,” It was “HELL, NO.” The Board refused to design a system that allowed ANY owner input into the GM’s evaluation and compensation. Additionally, President Rex’ strategy for keeping the decision-making overly consolidated and away from owner involvement is to refuse to have owner oversight committees even on an ad hoc basis.

I personally brought several recommendations to the Board to increase owner-involvement in oversight of insurance, investments, legal services and personnel, none of which got approved. The Board is steadily moving away from effective means for using owner expertise in governance and controlling costs.   Rex simply uses his authority as President to appoint work groups of two Board members so he can exclude owners and  Directors he does not agree with or he wants to punish. This politicizing control is, in my view, a Machiavellian abuse of power, and it prevents the creation of a system that would produce (significantly) better results for the membership.

Refusal to treat owners as customers

That, my fellow neighbors and homeowners, is the way your current HOA Board of Directors is refusing to utilize much-needed owner expertise while simultaneously dismissing your right to complain about the performance of staff that you pay to manage this community responsibly. Pay more. Get less.

 

How to avoid unnecessary election costs

Some people have told me they are voting no on the removal election because they are under the impression that it will cost between $50,000 and $100,000 to hold another election for replacement Board members.

Cost to replace

This cost estimate is both wrong, and a poor reason for keeping the current ineffective Directors that are costing the community even more money.

First, let’s address the cost. The GM removed the “volunteer” SCA Election Committee (chartered to handle all SCA elections) from the removal election process. Instead, a CPA was hired without any official Board action to take over the EC’s duties at an unbudgeted cost of $10,000. As I have stated before, the CPA’s contract was not approved at any open Board meeting, and therefore the unnecessary cost of his services skews the actual cost of the removal election.

As far as the election for replacement board members; the established “volunteer” Election Committee is experienced and fully capable of handling the same fair election process as we have had in the past, with very little overhead. Our 2017 annual election cost $11,900, and the budget for the 2018 election is $17,500.

Reporting a falsely-inflated cost is a scare tactic and is being used to make owners mad at the petitioners for exercising their legal rights to call for an election to remove Directors that are not serving us well. I read in Dan Folgeron’s message re-posted on AnthemToday.com that the Solera removal election cost $8,000.

Cost to keep

More importantly, the cost of an election is no reason to keep Directors in office who are not protecting the membership. The cost of an election pales in comparison to the cost of abdicating control of the Association policies, owner oversight and budget to the GM and attorney. These Directors have given a blank check to the attorney and are allowing the GM to disregard the budget when she unilaterally decides to make expenditures.

Cost of cheating

Rex, Aletta, and Tom should be removed from office because they didn’t let owners vote and didn’t follow our bylaws 3.6 when they appointed someone to fill my seat one month after they unlawfully removed me:

“Upon removal of a director, a successor shall be elected by the Owners entitled to elect the director so removed to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of such director.” – SCA bylaws 3.6 (page 11)

Rex, Aletta, and Tom should be removed from office because they doubled down and compounded problems created by my removal. They shouldn’t have filled my board seat without waiting for my appeal to be adjudicated, and they shouldn’t have filled my seat without letting any owners compete for the position. No one knew they were recruiting so no owner could compete equally for a chance to be appointed to the board. Instead, they just picked a guy (Jim Coleman), decided to appoint him in secret and appointed him to my seat at the very next properly noticed Board meeting. It’s not Jim Coleman’s fault the Board acted unlawfully, both to remove me and to replace me without an owner vote. Why can’t the Board make decisions that fast and decisive when it comes to doing something good for the membership, like opening the restaurant?

Cost avoidance and karma
I have a suggestion that I think would treat everybody fairly. I don’t want to displace Jim if I am reinstated because, in my opinion, Jim will be much better than Rex as a board member, at least he will listen to and respect owners. However, a fair way to avoid the expense of another election would be to put Jim in Rex’ seat when I am reinstated by the Commission and Rex is either voted off during the recall election or removed by the Commission.

Cost of dirty tricks

Note that I was elected to serve until May 2019 for the same two-year term as Rex. Rex got his role as President by using dirty tricks, and he is doing a terrible job for the people. As such, I believe that Rex is the most important one to remove from the Board, and if he were the only director voted off, no election would be needed. Aletta’s and Tom’s terms end in May, 2018, and if they were voted off in the removal election, their seats could remain vacant until the normal election.

By the way, when Jim Coleman was appointed, I told the Board that they made a mistake by appointing him only until 2018 since my term expires in 2019, and the bylaws 3.6 say that the replacement of a director that is removed shall “… fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term of such director”. Rex insisted that appointing Jim only until May 2018 was intentional, but there is no legal authority for the Board to decide that the new director’s term will be a year less than the term of the director being replaced.

Cost of cherry-picking rules and karma

Rex should be removed for cherry-picking which governing documents he choses to comply with. He led the Board in the violation of SCA Bylaws 3.6 by usurping owners exclusive right to vote to determine whether a Director is removed from the Board. He is responsible of Bylaws 3.6 being being violated a second time by not giving owners the right to vote on the replacement of a Director who was removed. Rex insisted on violating SCA bylaws a third time by shortening Jim Coleman’s term again since the new Director is required by our governing documents to fill the remainder of the removed Director’s term. Appointing Jim only until 2018 unfairly gives Rex the benefit of not having to run against Jim (by Rex making their terms not end at the same time. Rex’ act is to the detriment of Jim Coleman who is an innocent owner/volunteer who should have been appointed, if at all, to the end of my term. This act exemplifies Rex’s pattern of cherry-picking which rules he chooses to follow. Rex acts  benefit himself by consolidating political power and do not treat all owners, particularly political opponents, equitably. We deserve leadership that is better than that, not self-serving and that acts solely in the best interest of the membership by the consistent enforcement of the rules of the game.

 

SCA Board & GM cause substantial decrease in happiness factor

This open letter is republished with permission from Favil West, President of the Foundation Assisting Seniors, who formerly served as a SCA Board member for six years as well as for three years on the Commission for Common Interest Communities. Favil describes his view of how much the SCA Board, GM and over-used attorney are causing our community to suffer under their system of mis-management.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Fake news abounds in our community. I’ve seen it produced by this SCA Board, a committee chair, a vice chair, a club president, a blogger and on down the line. Good grief even one of our board members has sent out a plea for you to vote no so she can stay on the board. A move without precedent

Let’s look at the Berman blog. He unabashedly states that the 3 board members, currently to be recalled, have committed “no crimes or malfeasance.” That just is not true. I personally know of 8 infractions of Statute. For starters, the 3 board members to be removed are accused of having violated the following statutes:

  1. NRS 116.31035
  2. NRS 116.31036
  3. NRS 116.31088
  4. NRS 116.31085
  5. NRS 116.3108
  6. NRS 116.31184
  7. NRS 116.31183
  8. NRS 116.31175

At least one of these violations is a misdemeanor and even though it is in the NRS 116 ACT, it falls under other jurisdictions.

Ron Johnson produces an editorial page, usually well documented, the most recent of which has factually debunked most if not all of the claims made by the OSCAR group. Dick Arendt lends his passion to the fray stimulating research and thought while Rana gives us a more even- handed treatment of the facts. Nona Tobin just started a blog. We won’t know its character for a while but I personally look forward to seeing it as I know it will contain significant detail. To top it off, through personal conversations with the Ombudsman, I know that NRED is concerned with what is taking place here at Sun City Anthem.

Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of financial figures knows full well that numbers can be manipulated to show anything you want them to show. I believe all of us have heard the old saw, figures lie and liars figure. I fear that is true in the instant case.  Why doesn’t the board lay out the true cost of management in dollars and cents for all the unit owners to see? How much has this self- management debacle truly cost? What was our annual cost of management before self- management and what is it now? They should show consulting fees, the trips, parties, meals, salaries, separation payments, if any, the current salaries of the top 5 highest paid staff, their bonuses, their allowances, and their benefits, as well as the total salary costs including that of Lori, who has since left SCA. Then add in the legal fees which according to the budget are approximately $90,000 over budget, and all the outside contracted work such as IT, and all accounting services. Once all of that is together, we, the unit owners, can actually compare costs. Until this information is released to the unit owners, well, the old saw is still sawing away.

While unit owner’s angst cannot be measured in terms of dollars and cents, there has been a substantial decrease in the happiness factor because of board, GM, and legal actions. In my nearly 18 years living here in Sun City Anthem, six years of which I served on the SCA Board, I have never seen anything that compares with what is now happening on our hill.

This removal election has already turned into a debacle. Words such as voter suppression, stupidity, mismanagement, failure of the board and its gm to do its fiduciary duty, and probably a few I cannot repeat are being bantered around while board members are pleading for you to vote no so they can continue this sordid behavior. Even those who do not support the recall agree that the ballot mailing and instructions show a high degree of incompetence.

In my opinion, these ballots should be thrown out and new ones issued. These new ballots should be color coded to eliminate confusion, a simple explanation included, and, finally, the outside envelope should say ballot enclosed. That’s not too hard is it. It’s what we done in the previous 17 elections. That is really not too hard if you know what you are doing.

Notwithstanding the impact this will have on the reputation of our Sun City, win, lose, or draw this removal election and the reasons for it remain  an everlasting stigma on the 3 to be recalled, the rest of the board and its GM. Frankly, in my opinion, Weddle, Burch, Nissen, and Waterhouse should all resign as they will have no respect in the future.

Folks, at the hands of this board board we are no longer the class active living community we once were. Our reputation has been sullied by incompetence, prevarication, and dereliction . How sad.

Favil

 

Voter Suppression Tactics

The following essay was written by Jim Mayfield, former member and Vice-President of the Sun City Anthem Board, and is republished here with his permission. Jim retired after six years service last May at the same time I was elected to replace Carl Weinstein.

On Saturday, we received our ballot for the recall election in the mail. At first, I almost discarded it in the recycle bin without even opening it.  I though it was another piece of solicitation junk mail.  (Subsequently, I was told that I was not the only one who thought this way.)  However, I opened the letter and found out that it was the ballot for the recall election and the instructions for how to mail in the ballot.

The purpose of this email is not to reiterate the obvious flaws (already noted by others) in the ballot process that should and could have been avoided by the CPAs retained to perform the voting process if they had studied and incorporated the time-tested SCA election processes.  Instead, the purpose of this email is to raise the ominous issues regarding 1> the motivation for the use of voter suppression tactics, and 2> the ethics behind obvious voter suppression tactics.

Preface
During my six years of service on an SCA committee and board of directors, I observed a steady decline in the willingness of SCA homeowners to volunteer their time to serve as club officers, SCA committee members and to seek election to the SCA board of directors.  This trend is indeed regrettable because of the large number of intelligent, talented residents who live within SCA and whose talents could be used to insure efficient operations at SCA and continuous improvement of the quality of life within SCA.  I also observed that fewer than half of the SCA homeowners vote in the annual board of directors election.  Even more significant, less than .75% of the SCA homeowners attend public board and committee meetings.

On one level, I empathize with why SCA homeowners do not chose to participate in the governance of their homeowners association.  Most people retired to enjoy pursuing life-long retirement objectives.  Annual assessments appear low compared to the benefits received.  However, as consequence of the lack of involvement by a broad group of homeowners in the governance of SCA, a small group of self-serving homeowners and management control and manipulate the operations of SCA. Their personal agendas frequently do not represent the best interest or service expectations of the homeowners.

Motivation for Use of Voter Suppression Tactics
The threshold to remove a director is just over 2,500 votes of the 7,144 SCA homeowners.  Anyone who doesn’t vote or whose ballot is disqualified is an automatic “no” vote. Obtaining the “yes” vote from 2,500+ homeowners is an almost impenetrable barrier to the removal of a director.  This reality begs the question of why management, members of the current board, and individuals wanting to maintain the status quo feel compelled to

  • use voter suppression tactics,
  • disseminate false and misleading information,
  • spend over $4,500 to get out their fake fact message, and
  • conduct possible violations of state law and SCA governing documents

to defeat the removal election.

The obvious answer is that they want to send the message that any attempts to dislodge them will be unsuccessful;` so, don’t waste your time.  They also fear that even an unsuccessful attempt at removal in which a majority of the votes cast are for removal will send the communication that a majority of the active members of the community are not supportive of the performance of current management or board of directors.  When faced with dissent, they rely on brutal, frequently illegal, tactics to suppress homeowner involvement and the dissent of any elected director who doesn’t “go along to get along”.

Ethics Behind Obvious Voter Suppression Tactics
The question we, the homeowners, need to answer in this recall election is the message we want to send regarding the ethics and culture of the SCA community. My experience since moving to SCA is that it is a community of fine, diverse people who share an incredible moral compass.  I do not believe that the actions of the current board or management reflect the moral values of the residents of SCA.

Personally, I never believed the recall election stood a chance of being successful. However, I believe that every “yes” vote sends a message to the corrupt, self-serving insiders who currently control the governance of SCA that their morals and actions do not represent the community.

I urge you to spend the 50 cents to send in you ballot and to vote “yes” in the recall election.

Thanks for reading a best wishes to all of you.

Jim Mayfield