On May 4th at the Board’s dry run budget meeting, it was publicly announced that Christy Whalen, our longtime Association Manager had resigned.
Speaking on behalf of the Board, Board President Dan Comstock released this statement:
“We want to thank Christy for her dedication and commitment to Rancho Santa Fe. Under her leadership, the Association has enjoyed stability, momentum and success. Her achievements have included the RSF Connect high-speed internet project, lowering speed limits on roads in the Ranch, FireWatch fire risk mitigation and improved communications, among others.
Our 2022 member survey revealed extremely high levels of satisfaction with the community and the Association, much of which can be attributed to Christy and the talented team of professionals that she built. We wish her well in her future endeavors.”
The job of Manager is a difficult one, especially in a community such as ours where Members sometimes target staff through bullying, harassment, or false statements to try to further their own arguments. Despite a very difficult environment, Whalen protected her staff and discharged her duties as Association Manager with professionalism and grace.
I got a small taste of this during the past several weeks as various community wide emails were sent around attacking me for various things, or attacking the finance committee/Board for the assessment dues increase. I too have lost sleep over some of the emails, and it is no fun, especially since, for me, this is a volunteer job I am doing to help the community!
Whalen’s resignation, of course, was why I deleted two articles from the RSF Post. They contained direct aspersions against Association staff. Going forward, the Association will be enforcing its Harassment Policy as explained in this article so that we don’t let a few cranks drive good staff away in the future.
Former Board Presidents Mike Gallagher, Bill Weber, Ken Markstein and Fred Wasserman expressed similar sentiments in their letter to the editor in the Rancho Santa Fe Review (scroll down to read). At the May 11 Board meeting, former Board President and current Board member Rick Sapp gave a very eloquent speech also expressing similar sentiments.
New Association Manager: Dominique Albrecht
On May 11, the Board announced that it had hired Dominique Albrecht as our new Association Manager. Albrecht had worked for Whalen as Assistant Manager for the past fifteen months. Before joining the Association, she served as the Assistant City Manager of the City of Coronado. She has a broad range of experience in both the public and private sector, including roles with the County of San Diego in the Department of Housing and Community Development Services, the University of California San Diego in the Office of Operational Strategic Initiatives, and as staff at a U.S. Senate Commission.
Albrecht holds a bachelor’s degree in Law and a master’s degree in Public Administration with a certification in Public Management and a certification in Metropolitan Planning and Development. She received a Labor Relations Academy Master Certification from the California Public Employers Labor Relations Association (CALPELRA) and a Professional Certificate in Advanced Public Engagement from the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University. She is a graduate of the Municipal Financial Management Program and a member of the LEAD San Diego 2021 cohort.
Albrecht is a Certified Community Association Manager; she is a member of the California Association of Community Managers (CACM) and the national Community Associations Institute (CAI). Albrecht served on the Executive Board of the Municipal Management Association of Southern California (MMASC) and is an Advisory Board Member of the Hyperemesis Gravidarum Education and Research (HER) Foundation.
So … Albrecht is obviously more than qualified to run our sometimes squirrely HOA. I first worked with Albrecht last fall as she kicked off a program to update our website and app. I quickly realized that she was whip smart, very energetic, and had great judgement. We are very lucky to have her and I hope we can retain her for quite some time.
The author, Phil Trubey, is a current RSFA Board Director.