Transparency, Accountability and Governance

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Quick reminder: Tomorrow’s Board meeting is at 9:30 am in the Golf Club.

Live Streaming

Back in 2014, the then Board President pushed to have Board meetings recorded and posted to the Association web site. We are now operating under a Board that bans any recording of Board meetings. Talk about moving backwards. In this day and age, there is no technical reason why we can’t have Board meetings streamed live to the Internet, and then archived on YouTube, password protected if needed. Indeed, I will personally donate my time, energy and money to do this for free for the Association if this new Board wanted to try it out.

Board Noticing

Our outgoing Board also falls down in the simple task of providing adequate advance notice of Board meetings. The Board can legally meet with 4 days notice. But the outgoing Board routinely relied on the Davis Stirling minimum mandated noticing requirement as “Posting in a common area” and interpreting the Association’s notice board as a “common area”. If we were an apartment condo, then a notice board outside the mailboxes would be a common area. But NO ONE goes by the Association Offices if they can avoid it, and the notice Board by the mailbox isn’t much better as many of us opt to have our mail delivered. So if we want to know about and show up to Board meetings, we literally have to pass by the Association Offices and check out the notice Board every couple of days. This is stupid and an insult to members. 

I propose that in addition to the legal minimum, the Association also sends an email to all Association members informing them of unscheduled Board meetings.

We had such a situation just this past month. An unscheduled Board meeting was called for Monday June 17. This meeting was pointedly NOT disclosed to us during the regular email blast sent by the Association on Friday June 14. Instead it was posted on the bulletin board on June 13, giving the Board the legally mandated 4 days “notice”, but ensuring that almost no members would know about it.

Misuse of Executive Sessions

Too much activity is being held in the secret Board executive sessions, closed off from members. Minutes from such sessions are generic and boilerplate and don’t provide any real information. Going forward, Boards should really ask themselves if the business being conducted in executive session is worthy of the secrecy, and then provide a proper summary of what was discussed in the minutes.

This came to a head recently with the Joint Committee. Members were generally surprised that the Board decided to enter into an agreement to cost share restaurant operating deficits with the golf club. The reason they were surprised is that these discussions were sometimes held in executive session. That’s right, the Board deemed a negotiation with an Association club to be a “contract” and thus worthy of being held in a secret executive session. That’s insane and is a complete misuse of executive sessions.

Secret and Undocumented Committees

It gets worse. The biggest project the Association has ever undertaken, both in terms of dollars spent and impact to our community, is the fiber project. For community impact reasons alone, its implementation should be overseen by a broad cross section of impacted members. That is currently not the case. There is a technology committee who is supposedly in charge of the project, but even that committee hasn’t been involved since construction started 10 months ago. Unknown to even some technology committee members, a secret committee composed of three Board members has been overseeing the implementation. I say secret because no one knew of this committee and it has no agendas, and no minutes. 

Fiber box in the middle of a horse trail.

This matters. Recently one of our members was walking her horse on our trails and her horse stepped through one of the fiber network flower pots that had been placed in the middle of the horse trail. Injury to the horse in this case was minimal, but if the horse had been cantering, the outcome most likely would have been a horse with a broken leg (needing to be put down), and a thrown rider. Had a member of the trails committee been involved with implementation issues, this could have been easily avoided by placing such buried infrastructure off the horse trail. 

The bottom line is that the Board continues to show disdain for real member input while making a show of wanting volunteers for a do-nothing committee (technology committee). One final note, the Technology Committee is the only Board committee that does not publish minutes, and the past year’s worth of agendas have been boilerplate jokes.  

On-Line Polls for Measuring Sentiment

I’ll finish this article with something maybe a little less controversial. I was heartened to see the Golf Board use an online poll to gather community input for a potential restaurant remodel. In the past, the RSF Post has run online polls in advance of community votes and we found that the online polls accurately predicted the official results. We can’t legally use online polls for Board elections (Davis Stirling prohibits it), but we can use them to gauge sentiment for proposed major projects or priorities. 

Conclusion

Our almost new Board (three members are new, four are existing) has its work cut out for it if it wants to improve transparency, accountability and good governance. The RSF Post will endeavor to attend each Board meeting (email announced or not) going forward to keep you up to date.

And speaking of keeping up to date, we now have a new feature on the Post. You can receive an email every time we post a new article alerting you to the article. You can also like our Facebook page to get notified of new articles, but as you know, whether Facebook will show you our posting is up to their opaque and rather random algorithm. 

To change your email preferences to receive emails more frequently from us, just click here, and enter in your contact info. If you are already subscribed, you will see a page informing you of this that includes a link that you can click to receive an email which will allow you to change your email preferences to “For every article we publish”. Sorry for the complexity, but mail systems are being bolted down these days to prevent spam. 


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