Emerald Lakes Town Hall Meeting, July 28, 2018
by Kathy Leslie-Whelan
In lieu of the monthly open board meeting a town hall meeting was held to discuss the annual audit and the proposed proxy balloting resolution. Present were William Owens, the Association’s CPA and Attorney Alan Price Young from Young and Haros. The meeting was called to order at 2:00 pm. All board members were present with the exception of Treasurer Stefania Johnson.
Following the pledge of allegiance, Diane Caldwell started the meeting with thanking the membership for coming and stating that only the two topics listed above would be discussed and the membership should limit their questions and comments to these items.
Alan Price Young explained about the state statues for proxy voting for non-profit corporate law. Currently there is a debate in Harrisburg as to whether all bylaws must authorize this issue. He stated that in all fairness, this resolution should be passed. This resolution allows the membership to not have to be physically present to cast votes. The resolution calls for a directed proxy which works like a mail-in vote. Directed proxies allow the membership to vote as if they were present at the meeting. All votes received are counted towards the quorum count. Mr. Young stated that the benefits far outweigh the risks. The paperwork for this proxy would be included in the call to meeting that is sent out to the membership for the open annual meeting. The members who decide to vote this way will be instructed to mark their ballots and send through the mail to our accounting firm. The firm will validate the ballot, tally the votes and present a report to the board secretary at the annual open meeting.
Questions and comments on this issue:
- the members that vote this way will not get an opportunity to vote on any issues that require a vote at the meeting, such as a motion that is presented to the board by a member on the date of the meeting or a candidate ‘running from the floor’
- only two items in our bylaws were identified for adjustment while there are at least 5 locations in the bylaws that deal with voting
- trust relationship with the board is broken and it takes time to build that trust back up
- running from the floor will be more difficult since the membership will have cast their votes already
- a conflict with our bylaws is in item 3D. (Is this for voting for the directors only, or is it for any bylaw changes or dues increases?) unanswered. Board will have to discuss
- does the proxy ballot need to be notarized? (no)
- how many people signed petition (91)
- was strategic planning put into this resolution
- can a member who fills out a proxy withdraw their submittal (yes)
- deadline for submission of proxy ballot will be one week before the annual open board meeting.
Mr. Young stated that proxy voting is the fairest form of voting for the membership and that it is a way to build trust. He said that sometimes process gets in the way of progress. He further stated that state statures trump our bylaws and we may have to clean up the bylaws later.
Bill Owens took the floor to discuss the annual audit that is currently in draft format. He stated that the collection rate is doing well and that there were positive moves put in place over the course of the year.
- the association CPA did not personally prepare our tax return but he reviews all returns before they are submitted
- the CPA does not input data into our financial reports or into our bank account information
- $250K loan from reserves to operations has to go back into reserves
- on site manager was terminated
- the association is working on a month to month basis with Preferred Management
- Darryl Gamble is the interim General Manager
- all office staff at the administration building are ELA employees
Adjournment at 4:30 pm.
Reporters Note: I write these reports based on notes taken during the meeting. I get no special consideration or cooperation from the board. I try my best to report accurately, but occasionally mistakes will be made. I invite correction and have no desire to intentionally mischaracterize any comments or actions.
Posted on July 29, 2018, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
After reading the highlights of the town hall meeting it only reaffirms my belief the need to replace this board with competent people. There is no communication to the membership and I understand why. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. As I have stated earlier many times in previous posts it seems that the board is the employee of Preferred Management and not the employer.
Let’s see where we stand with Preferred Management and let me point out just a few things the board approved or had a closed eye too. Laura Jones comes in and the following changes take place. Quarterly payments are eliminated creating a hardship for members who count on these payments to keep within their budget and to keep their status of “being members in good standing” and staying up to date on their dues. Then in my opinion charged a “fine” of $150 if they are late and all monies would immediately become due. Sunrise is hired for delinquent collections and the thousands of dollars that Laura Jones assures us will be collected doesn’t happen.
Their failure to keep the association updated on important matters. After reading the town hall report I had no clue that $250K was taken from reserves for operations. A reason why should have been made available. I had no clue that Laura Jones was terminated and when was the board going to inform the membership. The only email blasts that I saw were concerning dates for open meetings and pool closures as well as lake issues. With all that has been going on then the President states at the town hall meeting that only the topics that would be discussed would be with the accountant concerning the audit and the lawyer concerning absentee voting.
Preferred Management is now being retained on a monthly basis and Mr. Gamble is acting general manager. I would have thought the board might have given us an explanation of why and the plan moving forward. These things I just wrote about are what I just found out. My worry is what I don’t know. Blame Preferred Management but ninety nine per cent of it rests with the board for allowing this all to happen. If ever there needed to be an open meeting this month was the time but the board hid behind the skirt of having a town hall meeting where only two topics on their agenda could be discussed. This board constantly goes dark. I have been here 17 years and have never seen such utter lack of confidence. Just take a look at the committees….wait….um…not many. Why? No trust. I could go on and on but hopefully you all get my point. Call me a naysayer or anything else but fact is fact.
Right now you have a board member who has their home up for sale but refuses to step down. Why a problem? Because she will be making decisions that affect us all with no horse in the game and when questioned on association matters on this page she constantly refers us to the office for clarification when in fact nine times out of ten the office doesn’t even know them. I have served on three boards and it was requested of me to stay off this page while serving. I refused. This page is truly the only place that at least you can get some kind of answers to member’s questions and a sitting board member should be willing and able to make it a point to be helpful when asked. Obviously there are sensitive areas that can’t be discussed here but the majority of questions asked don’t meet those sensitive areas. It is very hard to come up with answers when you don’t know the questions and this board has made that impossible. I will be the first to support a dues increase but not as long as we have the incompetence that has become the norm. A complete overhaul is needed where egos and self serving is checked at the door. My last point is to all of the members who follow this page and for years have asked for absentee balloting. You need to show up. I realize that the process of how it will work hasn’t been finalized but it needs to pass first. Don’t lose this opportunity for I fear it will be a long time before it comes up again at an annual meeting. All you have to do is to be here just this one time.
I believe some things are missing. One thing forty five percent have not paid their dues. Plus the safe box found empty and the emerald lake corporate seal is missing. Not sure what that cost to be replaced.