Bill Strong’s Response to RSFA Manager’s Comments

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The RSFA Manager’s quoted comments in the RSF Review March 22nd article confirms the following:

1) Any Director wanting to work on top RSFA Board goals and have the Board follow HOA laws, can be repeatedly attacked behind closed doors with the full power of the RSF Association, be denied the chance to respond to allegations in public session, and can be stripped of all other assignments for no reason by four Directors in illegal closed door executive sessions. A volunteer forced to hire an attorney at their personal expense? A new low. This kind of Board leadership is unproductive, destructive, harms members, and discourages volunteers. It is also illegal.

2) Discussing unallowed matters in illegal executive sessions allows the RSFA to make illogical statements seven weeks later, instead of members seeing a public process as required by State law. My three written responses were completely and improperly ignored.

3) The Manager’s statement acknowledged three executive sessions took place last month. QED. Those three sessions were a violation of Davis Stirling 4935. Each time this and other objections were made beforehand, but ignored. The actions taken are therefore invalid, null, and void.

4) The Manager’s claim “there is no pending action or disciplinary hearing against Strong” or a “list of concerns” is false and misleading. Three improper disciplinary meetings were held in violation of HOA law. This is proof of an abuse of power and abuse of process. I was convicted and removed without being allowed a lawful response or hearing one word from me. Is this Russia or Rancho Santa Fe?

One can also see the “hair-splitting” nature of this year on the Board. It is everywhere. Board Motions say one thing to enable another, or cite incorrect facts. Promises made in one Meeting are forgotten before the next meeting and vanish even in the Minutes. Staff is over-worked, but then given large unnecessary extra tasks. The Manager’s statement is at odds with the reality since Feb 1st. A “reality-free zone” exists.

5) The Manager’s statement (following orders?) said “a number of the concerns involved subject matter that the board deemed improper for public consumption”. That claim was never made before March 22, the offense was never identified, and does not exist. This claim is false and it shows the unfairness of proceedings held behind closed doors, with retroactive statements. This is proof of another abuse of process.

6) This last-minute justification does not eliminate the requirement to follow the law. Is this Russia or Rancho Santa Fe? Who decided what is “improper for public discussion”? Allowed topics for executive session is determined by State law, and not by the President. All Directors have an obligation to object to deviations from the law. There is no “one voice rule” for improper actions.

I attended the illegal March 1 closed door executive session to observe what took place, and register my position and objections again. I am not dependent on the latest “spin”, and by law, all members should be able to see their elected leaders govern. That is why only five topics are permitted in executive session (see here, again, for the list). Other questionable efforts took place behind closed doors you were entitled to see.

7) The claimed offenses of matters “improper for public consumption” were either emails or Op Ed’s. Which was it? Emails to other Directors are private. Where is the violation in my Op Eds?

8) Is it fair to attack me with minor and unproven accusations, deny me a public hearing, while my accusers allow violations of HOA law, and an easily proven failure to perform their fiduciary responsibilities?

The reason a narrow Board majority wants to punish me: Since September I have objected to Board officers and Manager failing to disclose material information to the Board which covered-up unlawful activity that subjected the RSFA to enormous financial and other risks. Almost zero info was given the Board for fourteen months. This lack of disclosure made required Board oversight impossible. This is a major governance issue.

Keeping this matter secret avoids the question if all Board members performed their fiduciary responsibility, and acted with the required undivided loyalty on behalf of all members. The President is deeply conflicted, denied my agenda and document requests, and prevented discussion. My requests to RSFA counsel about State law were ignored. This matter is not one of the five permitted executive session topics per Davis Stirling HOA law. Tarnishing me is a smokescreen to hide their lack of responsible inquiry on this and other matters. “Shoot the Messenger.”

These four Directors can’t take away my birthday or my aorta. I know and I have performed my responsibilities as a Director. But the notion of “working together” has been destroyed in nine months. Five Board Goals are “dead in the water”. Big issues are not addressed. But get ready for a declaration of victory in May.

I have worked hard for all Members for three years, offering reasonable solutions to obvious problems, or to make the Art Jury process fair and understandable to members. Even telling members the specific requirements for Art Jury approval is blocked without reason.

If this kind of treatment can happen to me; it can happen to any well-intended volunteer. It discourages the volunteers needed to make this great place even better.

My sincere thanks to members who voted for me in 2001 and 2019 when running on my very clear agendas of worthy goals and improvements. The atmosphere created by some is now so negative and beneath the intelligence and dignity of our beloved and irreplaceable Rancho Santa Fe.

There has been an obvious effort to silence and intimidate me (and others) from representing all Members and performing my fiduciary responsibilities.

Bill Strong

(RSFA member since 1985, and trying to improve the Art Jury process since 1998. Six years on the RSFA Board 2001-04 and 2019-22; three years as VP)