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Failures of the 2024 "annual meeting" and "election"
The annual meeting/election held on January 26, 2023, exhibited several failures:
- Governing documents call for the meeting to be held in the first 6 months of the year. It wasn't.
- It appears there may have been no vote among attendees to approve the new annual budget (governing docs call for a vote).
- There was no nomination committee, as required by the governing docs. Instead, attendees interested in serving on the board were asked to self-nominate. This meant the 185 or so homeowners who didn't attend could not be nominated.
- A final vote tally was not announced.
- Self-nominees were offered time to address the meeting. When Tom Ballock attempted to hand out a one-page printed summary of issues that concern him, he was shouted down and halted by Adam Birge, denying him the opportunity to speak.
- It is unknown whether or not proxy votes were accepted.
- The proposed 2024 annual budget exhibits deficiencies:
- ..... Some amounts appear to have been simply imported from last year's budget with no consideration of inflation (e.g., utility bills, etc.)
- ..... Comparing the previous year's budget, it appears expenses are increasing. Will a dues increase be required? Will reserves dwindle?
HOA members deserve better than a helter-skelter Board.
On Sept. 26, 2023, I inquired of Sentry Management about voting for the budget at the "annual meeting" (I had not observed a vote by those who were in attendance). I received the following reply:
June 29, 2023 Proxy votes were counted towards quorum and approval of the budget. There was not a vote for the budget because there were enough yes votes on the proxy to approve the budget. The board is currently working with the association's attorney to make sure there isn't anything else that needs to be done regarding voting on the budget. I do want to point out that your dues are not increasing in 2024 and will remain at $200 for the year. Thank you, Kara Tidler Community Representative II
Today I received a mailed letter from Sentry Management, saying, in effect, that somebody screwed up by not conducting a vote for the budget by attendees at the "annual meeting". The letter included a "ballot" to vote for or against the budget. The letter says they consulted the Board's law firm (Eads, Murray, and Pugh).. The letter described the meeting as "chaotic" (is this a reference to Adam Birge shouting and yelling at a nominee?). I wonder how much this little episode in mismanagement cost us in postage and legal fees.
N.B.: So we've incurred mailing costs and attorney fees because apparently nobody involved in the conduct of the election bothered to read the By-Laws (which clearly enumerate the election process)?
New to the neighborhood but I was at the annual meeting and I do not recall seeing anyone “yelling and shouting” at you. I did see you trying to intimidate the president into letting you take more time than others got to speak, or maybe that was the ‘chaotic’ part you were referring to?
I had prepared a one-page summary of issues that I intended to hand out (but not discuss) and my name was called to speak. When I approached the front of the room, papers in hand, Adam Birge stood and yelled at me to stop and indicated I should not speak. I approached Adam and told him that that he spent about 2 minutes of my time yelling at me. Then I returned to my seat without speaking. Another attendee took the papers from my hand and passed them out.
However, as I've noted, I am pleased that my suggestion to establish an email account to contact the board may have influenced that happening. And if this "new direction" promised by the new Board occurs, I'm also pleased that my several pleas for more communication have apparently been heeded. And I've noted that the by-laws call for the annual meeting to be held during the first six months of the year (it appears that has been addressed). Now we will, hopefully, implement another existing rule in the by-laws: A nomination committee. "Self-nomination" is nowhere mentioned in the governing documents yet that's what's occurred in the past several elections. That's a gross disservice to the 170 or so homeowners who didn't attend and, thus, were not able to "self-nominate".
When I asked Sentry Management why a "self-nomination" policy was implemented, I was told it was because their meeting software (Microsoft "Teams") wasn't capable of handling voting. Their solution: Let anybody serve on the Board who self-nominates themselves.
As for the meeting, no restrictions (i.e., "don't pass out printed materials", "five minutes to speak", etc.) were announced beforehand.
I would not have taken more time than others to speak. As I said, the printed page listed numerous issues that would have been too lengthy to read. But I thought what was contained on the printed page was important for homeowners to be aware of -- possibly for discussion at future meetings, possibly to stimulate consideration of HOA issues.
My condolences for your apparently limited recollection abilities (trust me, at my age I can commiserate). I'll try to record a video of future meetings.
But thank you for posting. As I've also said, one of the issues this HOA faces is apathy.
following is the list of concerns contained on my one-page handout:
Concerns: (Tom Ballock)
- Budget (inflation, reduction of surplus, dues increase)
- Selective enforcement of covenants
- Revision/update of covenants
- files maintained on homeowners
- Edited secretary's minutes
- No communication with homeowners
-2 board members voted to send only one violation letter for trash cans & yard lights (unilaterally changing covenants with no community vote).
- has assumed treasurer duties
- has insurance but no bond
- No community info at website
- Pacific Western Bank (California bank)
- $150 pd to Sentry for every house sold (gov. docs?)
- Does not include comparison with actual spending previous year.
- Vague (vendor i.d. numbers, not necessarily names).
- Will budget keep up with inflation? (6%)
- 2020 surplus: $3,391.67
- 2021 surplus: $18,663.78
- 2023 surplus (thru July 31): $1,033.59
Revision of covenants:
- Outdated, vague.
- Drive by rental houses and look at their yards.
- What happens when rental companies comprise the majority of homeowners?