01/06/21 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted January 10, 2021. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the January 6, 2021 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary and satire indicated inbold blue.
Editor’s Opening Monologue:
This edition is entitled,“Vacancy At The Bates Motel, Benched, and Pole Dancing”
PART I: “Vacancy At The Bates Motel”
On December 23, 2020, we sent the Board the following email concerning Harvey’s alleged ascension to the throne of Vice-President:
“Subject: Robert’s Rules of Order: Harvey did not win the office of Vice-President.
Dear Board Members:
Robert’s Rules of Order:
Voting: Rule 46:
"…When a quorum is present, a majority vote, that is a majority of the votes cast, ignoring blanks, is sufficient for the adoption of any motion that is in order, except those mentioned in 48, which require a two-thirds vote. A plurality never adopts a motion nor elects any one to office, unless by virtue of a special rule previously adopted…"
Note: per dictionary:
Plurality: the number of votes cast for a candidate who receives more than any other but does not receive an absolute majority.
Therefore, Harvey did not win the office of Vice-President. In order to have won, he would have needed a majority of the entire Board, which he did not earn. He earned a plurality, three votes out of seven, which is specifically not enough.
Vicki and Arthur”
At a prior Board meeting, Marion specifically stated that Robert’s Rules of Order are used and followed for the HOA’s Board meetings. Apparently, however, as a practical matter, adherence to Robert’s Rules of Order is based on Marion’s whim of the moment. In other words, Robert’s Rules of Order apparently applies only when the president who is charged with presiding over Board meetings feels like it.
For some reason, some of the other Board members are seemingly not concerned with this style of leadership, or they’re just trying to figure out why they can’t quite get a handle on things or how to navigate around Marion until the March elections.
During the selection process for Vice-President, Harvey voted for himself and Marion voted for him. Ever notice how Harvey and Marion always seem to be in step with each other?
Richard Greene cast the only other vote for Harvey to be Vice-President. Three votes out of seven Board members present is not a majority, it is a plurality, which is not sufficient to win election to an office under Robert’s Rules of Order, which purportedly is utilized for HOA Board meetings.
So in reality, there is a vacancy in the office of Vice-President. The Board is required to immediately take a new vote for the office of Vice-President and continue to vote until someone actually wins an actual majority, because the previous vote did not result in anyone having properly and successfully been voted into that office. If that cannot be accomplished, then the office remains vacant.
The fact that this was not on the Agenda is a stain on this entire Board because it means they are permitting a flaunting of the rules. Why even have rules if you are not going to follow them? And any excuse such as, well, we’re close to elections anyway, doesn’t cut it. Wrong is wrong, regardless of when or how close to a potential changing of the guard the wrong occurs.
Bottom line: regardless of the Board’s inaction, as a factual matter, Harvey Ginsberg is not the vice-president of this organization. He can claim the post until kingdom come, but we here at the News Site who deal in facts will not recognize a false claim parading as legitimacy. Neither should you. Send a clear message at the ballot box in March.
Postscript: Evita (the real one) never made it to Vice-President either, so technically we have historical consistency. As a consolation prize, she was awarded the official position of “Spiritual Leader of the Nation.” We think we’ll pass on that one for Harvey. We decline to suggest he be named “Spiritual Leader of Cascade Lakes.”
In the meantime, the HOA has no current, legitimate vice-president; there is indeed a vacancy at the Bates Motel. Any claims to the contrary are, in the words of Board member Harvey Ginsberg, when he debased without foundation this News Site, “bogus” and “fake news.” That we dare to call him out earns us derision and blame.
So, to the now dog-sitter-less, non-vice-president Harvey Ginsberg, we say simply: reality bites.
PART II: “Benched”
So there I was one fine day in late December, minding my own business, cleaning candle wax off my old Menorah…
…when all of a sudden we received a telephone call from two very lovely residents concerning our comments in our December 16, 2020 synopsis and commentary entitled Can’t Touch Thisabout Cascade Lakes’ magazine, News & Views. They explained to us the genesis of the magazine and filled us in on facts of which we were not aware. We thank them for the opportunity of correcting our error which we do so as follows.
We were informed that at the beginning of time (i.e., early in Cascade Lakes’ infancy), News & Views was not part of the HOA and had a separate tax ID number as well. It was run by a few residents separate and apart from the HOA and its Board. It had accumulated money from advertisers and in fact donated some of that money for the park benches and the TVs in the fitness center. Therefore, our report that this money was not donated because it was HOA money was in error. Apparently, at the time of the donation, those monies were not HOA moneys. We stand corrected.
We do believe, however, that similar to the issue of accepting monies from clubs for tennis and pickleball canopies, such “donations” trigger a taxable event on the part of the HOA. These “donations” were not part of any assessment or any quarterly dues and therefore are not exempt from taxation according to IRS rules per 26 U.S. Code Section 528(d)(3). In our opinion, the same IRS rules apply in this case concerning News & Views.
We were further informed that the Board at some point in time demanded to subsume News & Views under its rubric, and as part of that process, pressured the News & Views residents to hand over about $35,000 that was in their bank account at that time, and at that point News & Views became a Board Committee.
We were also given the identity of the resident who allegedly strong-armed the group into handing over said money.
We are not sure why the group capitulated, and we are unsure as to what tax consequences should have flowed from that alleged money grab from one entity with a specific tax ID number to another entity with its own specific tax ID number, but it allegedly happened many, many years ago.
Note to Board members Marion and Harvey, to former pickleball faux officers who rigged the pickleball club elections a year ago, and to others: see how easy it is to own your errors? That didn’t hurt a bit. That’s what reputable people do: they own their mistakes and use their best efforts to make it right. They don’t engage in character assassination of those who seek to correct them and/or of those who seek the truth, transparency, and fundamental fairness for all.
PART III: “Pole Dancing”
Your Roving Reporter has a report in the body of the synopsis entitled “Pole Dancing.”
The monologue is over as they have politely escorted me out; as usual, they haven’t given me any explanation, but you can fill in the planks…
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online starts at 9:30am.
Board Members Present:
Marion (“Perhaps Tivoli Lakes Has Political Potential For Me”) Weil (President)
Harvey (“Damn, I’m Just A Lowly Board Member”) Ginsberg (Not Vice-President)
Richard (“Just Leave Me Alone With My Abacus”) Greene (Treasurer)
Linda (“Let’s Call Them Hours Instead of Minutes”) Arbeit (Secretary)
Newly appointed Board member Bob (“I Can’t Find My Flag”) Dingee
Eileen (“The Food Trucks Are Great; I Think I’ll Have Seconds”) Olitsky
Sue (“I Tried Seconds, But Marion Usually Ignores Me”) Schmer.
Call to Order: Marion Weil.
Pledge of Allegiance led by Bob Dingee.
[Editor’s note: Board member Bob Dingee seemed genuinely surprised when Marion called on him to lead the pledge notwithstanding the fact that it says so on the Agenda, which presumably he received along with the rest of us two days ago back on Monday morning.
He was concerned that he might not recall all the words, but he did just fine. He was so caught off guard that he did not have a flag or even a depiction of a flag. That’s ok, though, because resident/Zoom operator Arnie Green saved the day, whipped out an actual flag from seemingly nowhere, earning him our new moniker, Houdini, and began to wave it patriotically. Go, Arnie/Houdini! All he was missing was our national bird, the Bald Eagle. All Board members and the Zoom operator stood.
(The above is a photo of the real Harry Houdini, born Erik Weisz, later known as Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss,with his pet eagle, Abraham Lincoln.)]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks and Announcements:
[Editor’s note: we didn’t hear anything newsworthy.]
EDITOR’S IMPORTANT NOTE:
This Board meeting lasted almost three and a half hours. Due to the length of the meeting, and your Editor’s incessant need to insert political satire, jokes, and comedy throughout this document, this will be a summation as opposed to a transcription in many parts, and also because we have rachmones on all of you (Yiddish: pity, compassion).
Let us know if you like the synopsis this way or if you prefer that we revert to the original way for future synopses, time permitting. So far, the feedback is almost unanimous (except for one as noted below) to the tune of “more editorial blue, less boring transcript” except, of course, when necessary for context.
The one exception was a former Board president now living elsewhere who gave me the following advice on his last day here, literally while he was driving out of the community for the very last time and during his farewell drive around the pods: he suggested that I eliminate the blue commentary in its entirety and just do the transcription. By the way, he’s still on our email list. Let’ all give a shout out to our former President!
“Hello, Mr. President!”
First Residents’ Input Session:
1. Joyce Winston: [Joyce asked what all the numbers meant next to items listed on the Agenda; they refer to the goals of the Board as listed on the top of the Agenda. The letter “O” refers to Operating Budget; “R” refers to the Reserve.]
2. Jeff D. Green: [Jeff is the Budget Chairperson. He was incensed that this is the first meeting of the year and already the Board is exceeding the budget for the entire year with the two proposals for the sign purchases. The budget was $9,000, and these items total $15,425.69. Jeff said he was going to look at the vote on these items, some of the people on the Board are up for reelection, and that this is totally ridiculous.]
[Editor’s note: Perhaps it was grossly underbudgeted? Just asking based on the analysis of the matter later in the meeting as reported below. And if so, do you stay within the budget just to stay within the budget and end up with cheap and ugly? More on this later.
And which line item on the proposed budget was this? Was this an underestimation on the part of the Committees involved or was it the Budget Committee that rejected budget requests from the Committees? And as we see later, one of the items should not have even been assigned to the Safety & Security Committee because it had nothing to do with their purview. Lots of questions here.]
Approval of Minutes: December 16, 2020 Board meeting: Linda Arbeit: Motion to approve the Minutes of December 16, 2020 budget meeting. Second: Harvey. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: two mows…January 13-14, 28-29. Weed spraying weather permitting starts January 18… Eco-cleaning is beginning January 18… bench color is cedar… Captain Lobstar the last 15 minutes ran out of… [some types of food listed on the menu] … apologies… Sad News: can we add on the website? Should the residents be able to post on their own? Should the office be responsible? … I ask this be added. Marion: we can do this in Round Table. Deborah: signs…lettering too small; will be corrected…staffing, Remington…will not be returning, has trained Diego… Remington moved on… Georgia.
Eileen: Point of Personal Privilege: add item to New Business, responsibility of Board members, liaisons, committee chairs… Marion: item #9.
[Editor’s note: the following items are not on the Agenda but most certainly should be; you’ve seen most of them before.New entries are preceded by a notice in red:
A. Road Resealing: this is a simple, inexpensive fix that would go a long way toward beautification of the neighborhood and sprucing up the look of the entire place. Frankly, it is long past the time for this matter to be addressed. Marion advised that this is a “repair and replacement” that does not require a community vote. She also stated in her December 16, 2020 opening remarks:“The Engineering Committee will be writing specifications for bids to repair and seal the roadways…” We will continue to monitor this.
B. Rescinding the illegal “Take Away Your Transponder If You Have An Estate Sale” vote. It is simply unacceptable that the Board would violate the Florida statute that specifically requires the allowance of ingress and egress by residents and owners. This is not a legal discipline that can be imposed. The maximum discipline after all other discipline has been imposed is a $1,000 fine and limiting access to common areas. Preventing ingress and egress by seizing transponders is not an allowable discipline, period. This needs to be addressed and rescinded.
C. Rescission of the improper banning of Alex from the community: Still not on the Agenda is a vote to rescind the banning of former handyman Alex from the community. Notwithstanding the fact that said ban is still the rule of the community, apparently, he is being allowed back in without restrictions (see the November 4, 2020 Synopsis and Commentary entitledFalse Pretenses and Go Ask Alex, The Sequel). This, in our opinion, is no way to run an organization, where some elite few are aware of the Board allowing Alex inside the gates and some are not; does that sound fair and transparent to you?
D. Improper use of HOA funds: Who authorized the $6,052.35 to go after your Editor and your Roving Reporter with no notice to most Board members and the community? And why exactly did Marion and one or two other Board members do that? We have never had a definitive answer to these questions, and the community deserves to know.
And who else was targeted without Board knowledge, without a Board vote, and without community knowledge? Let’s put this on the Agenda and find out. Marion states that all Board members approve attorney invoices. This is irrelevant, after the fact, and not the issue. There was never a proper Board vote to spend this money at any open Board meeting.
E. Improper expansion of Presidential powers: in our opinion, the motion to discontinue this illegal “policy” of permitting the president to have $1,000 per month in discretionary funds failed on December 2, 2020 because there are Directors on the Board who either don’t understand the rules and/or who don’t want to bust up the coalition which they have formed so as to solidify their power and ensure the implementation of their agendas. Sue and Eileen were the only Board members at the time who apparently understood that this is an unauthorized and improper grant to the president.
Keep in mind, Marion stated that this was voted on by multiple Boards to a period not earlier than 2012, but a review of the Board Minutes from January 1, 2012 produced no such vote. It is unclear to us how a policy can continue that was purportedly never voted upon in the first instance.
Therefore, to permit a policy to continue that is not based on any rule or regulation or order is, in our opinion, an abuse of discretion on the part of the Board and wholly improper. It also sets a dangerous precedent that policies may be implemented without Board vote at the whim of a few and to the detriment of the owners/members of this community. The remedy is to keep placing this matter on the Agenda and identify it as an improper allocation to a Board member until this unauthorized power is stopped.]
ONE NEW ENTRY ON THE LIST:
F. Disabling of the Zoom meeting Chat function: Shutting down residents’ ability to comment did not go over particularly well with the populace. This should be reconsidered, but it won’t be with this current Board; perhaps this can be revisited after the March elections.]
1. Mulch – Re-vote on PBB Proposal – Marion Weil
Marion: we need a revote. It was not recorded that it was unanimously approved.
[Editor’s note: Actually, at the last Board meeting, because of the credit, Marion stated that the cost was “zero” and that motion was, in fact, unanimously approved. So this alleged “do-over” apparently is because the cost is, as we said in our synopsis of December 16, 2020, most certainly not zero but rather the actual cost of $6,873.
So here we have another fast one pulled by Marion to cover for her mistake. Instead of owning her mistake, she falsely claimed that “it was not recorded that it was unanimously approved.” That’s not true. It was unanimously approved at a cost of “zero” which clearly was incorrect.
In any event, it was at this juncture that the mulch contract was unanimously approved in the amount of $6,873 at this Board meeting. It was $10,135 credit, less the cost of $6,873, with a then-remaining credit of $3,262.
That remaining credit was then used toward oleander replacement and again during the December 16, 2020 Board meeting Marion stated that the cost was $1,222 when in fact the cost was $4,484 which included the credit. There was no do-over for the oleander vote, which was not unanimous (Sue and Eileen opposed that motion due to concerns about the known toxicity of those shrubs).
Perhaps Marion was concerned that a re-vote on that one would not result in the motion passing. Her failure to redo the oleander vote, which suffered from the same exact infirmity as the mulch vote, is certainly inconsistent with her action on the mulch vote.]
Marion: Old Shed Project. Bob.
[Editor’s note: Marion skipped the rest of Old Business and went straight to New Business.]
Bob: [Editor’s note: Bob talked about a punch list, the wall is up, it looks nice, shelves are going up, and they have some landscaping ideas.]
Deborah: did we jump to New Business? Marion: we did. Deborah: no.
[Editor’s note: whereupon they went back to Old Business, but not for long, as Marion then tries to go to New Business again before finishing Old Business.]
2. State of Emergency – Staffing Hours – Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: Marion moved to return to pre-pandemic staffing hours after the State of Emergency is lifted; Linda Seconded; Eileen voiced concern that this entire matter was premature. Marion countered by claiming she liked to be “proactive.” Eileen queried, “Proactive in what? If you go back to normal, there’s nothing to be proactive about.” Now you’re beginning to see why this Board meeting dragged on for hours, folks.
Sue agreed it was a little early; Bob concurred. Richard then chimed in his agreement that this was premature. Harvey, seeing his buddy’s motion dying on a vine, suggested that the motion be tabled. Deborah agreed the motion was premature. Marion then amended her motion and stated that Harvey recommended that they put this off. Sue Seconded. Harvey then stated, “table the motion and ask Deb to come up with a staffing plan…by the first meeting in February at the latest.” The motion was unanimously tabled until February.]
Marion: now we’ll move on to New Business. Deborah: No. Iguana.
[Editor’s note: what’s going on with Marion? She remulches, doesn’t oleander, and skips the reptiles.]
3. Iguana Contract - $6800-10,000 – Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: the contract needs to be renewed and there is a proposal to add $3,200 to have the vendor go on the canal berms which are owned by Lake Worth Drainage District and kill the iguanas there, too, as well as two additional species. Eileen questioned that if they are not infringing on the community, why remove them there? Sue was speaking, and Harvey was raising his hand during the time Sue had the floor. Here is an excerpt:]
Sue: Harvey, I see your hand raised. Can you at least give me…[the courtesy of allowing her to finish]
[Editor’s note: Harvey’s actions are actually more distracting than the Chat Function; can we have a vote to deactivate his video?]
Sue: … if they want more money, why is it not in the contract…why aren’t all of the questions asked and answered before you bring it up to the Board…waste of time… Harvey: we need something in writing from Lake Worth Drainage District. Sue: I thought I just said that, but ok. Harvey: table this. Deborah: 95 caught. Eileen: if they’re not coming up, why bother them? I don’t understand trapping…not causing any damage to our community… Deborah: this proposal ends the end of the month… the original contract…
Marion: I propose…get in touch with LWDD [Lake Worth Drainage District] …need their written approval. Eileen: Second. [Editor’s note: why are you Seconding something you are seemingly against?]
Sue: …concern, annual fee will never increase…information about the species…without sufficient information…we gotta stop this, guys…Marion: table this…to get written permission. All in favor? 6-1. Sue: no, because it doesn’t include the other stipulations… one stipulation for the [Lake Worth Drainage District] is not sufficient for me…Eileen: motion to table it. Sue: it’s only for iguanas, that’s why I’m objecting. Marion: let’s move on… Linda: we did not vote. [Eileen believed this as well.] Marion: we voted to table 6-1, to table the contract until we can get written information…
[Editor’s note: after the Board meeting, a resident wrote to your Editor and was very concerned with this entire discussion about having the HOA vendor enter the berm areas owned by Lake Worth Drainage District and catch and kill iguanas found on the berm. The resident believes that this “eradication” is cruel. The resident wrote:
“Am I the only person in this community who is opposed to killing iguanas? They are harmless, do not attack humans, and eat fruit and vegetable crops which are prohibited here. They are defenseless animals. Why kill them?? The term “overrun” is a gross exaggeration.”
The resident inquired of the iguana company employee and stated that he/she was advised that the kill method is as follows:
“I asked how they kill them. He told me they shoot them with bee bee [sic] guns until they are dead and then they grind them up for chum for the fishermen!!”
The resident inquired if anyone else found this entire process cruel and unnecessary. Your Editor and your Roving Reporter sure do. It also seems unconscionable that this community through its Board would contemplate getting permission from Lake Worth Drainage District to go on the canal berms and kill them on that land where they graze. This is disgraceful. They are not bothering anyone; they are afraid of humans, and they are just living their lives. They are most certainly not overrunning this community. What they do on non-community property is none of this HOA’s business. Leave them alone.
We recommend that everyone who is opposed to this suggestion that the HOA vendor go on a hunting expedition along the canal with your money call Lake Worth Drainage District and register your strong objection to this proposal. Their number is: 561-498-5363, extension 0, then ask for Michelle or leave a strong message with the operator requesting that permission to Cascade Lakes’ vendor be denied to capture and kill iguanas on the canal berms. Their website is www.lwdd.net and you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org as well. If you care about these gentle creatures, do something about it.
In addition, every single one of you should contact every single Board member and voice your objection to this cruelty. We thought the purpose of the iguana contract was to keep them out of Cascade Lakes’ lakes so they won’t tear up the community’s lake berms. Email the entire Board and put a stop to this barbarism.]
[Editor’s note: the following items are not on the Agenda but most certainly should be.New entries are preceded by a notice in red.]
FOUR NEW ENTRIES ON THE LIST:
A. Two incident reports: Discipline issues as to each: the Board should immediately place on the Agenda both alleged Election Day incidents and then conduct a proper review and decision by Board vote on each matter. This includes (1) the alleged throwing of a campaign sign at a resident which allegedly hit and injured said resident and (2) the removal of other campaign signs with the alleged assault “in your face” screaming by two residents against other residents (during the Covid pandemic of all times).
The HOA President, Marion Weil, purportedly violatedFlorida Statute 720.305and the HOA governing documents specifically covering the issue of discipline, to wit, Rules & Regulations, Section E, Violation Guidelines, pages 4-16 and 4-17 when she allegedly illegally took the matter(s) into her own hands and allegedly improperly and irresponsibly meted out discipline without the knowledge of most Board members, without a required Board vote, without alleged victim input, and without the knowledge of the community at large. She should recuse herself from any further action on these matters.
B. All incident reports are to immediately go to all Board members: the Board should immediately place on the Agenda a directive to the property manager that any time an incident report is filed, it is to be immediately distributed to all Board members, not just the property manager’s Board liaison(s). Every single Board member must be apprised of the report; all Board members are equal. This will allow any Board member to place on the Agenda a discipline issue with regard to any alleged incident.
In connection with any and all incident reports, residents should make sure that each and every Board member receives the report, and residents should report all issues to each and every Board member. Reporting something solely to the president does a disservice to yourselves and at the same time disrespects every other Board member who is equal to the president. The office of the president is merely an office; it is separate and apart from a directorship. You owe it yourselves and to the community at large to report these incidents to each and every representative/director of this HOA.]
C. Weekly email blasts; News & Views dedicated page for president; president assuming too many liaison positions that target communication and final decisions:
The weekly email blasts should not be coming from the president, who is but one equal Board member. These weekly blasts should be coming from the Property Manager. Likewise, there should not be any dedicated presidential page in News & Views because this is not authorized by the HOA By-Laws as part of the president’s specifically delineated functions.
By allowing the president to continually put out these weekly e-blasts, it gives this equal Board member more exposure and the appearance of a higher status and privilege, which is undeserved and not part of the president’s specifically designated responsibilities. It also gives this individual an unfair advantage during election time because she has a forum that the rest of the Board members either don’t have or don’t use.
This individual should also not have a designated page in News & Views. This again gives the erroneous impression that this equal Board member is a higher status than other equal Board members, which is simply not the case. This faux hierarchy among Board members needs to stop because it does a disservice to the community by diluting the authority of the six other elected representatives.
For example, Board member Eileen Olitsky has spent an inordinate amount of time on the food truck project, but no email blasts come from her about the recurring food trucks. They come from the Property Manager’s office. Eileen is up for re-election this March at the same time that Marion is up for re-election. Eileen should not be disadvantaged because her hard work does not have the benefit of a weekly email blast with her name on it whereas the other equal Board member, Marion, is “in your face” constantly about community news and updates.
In fact, in the latest News & Views which just came out (December 2020), Marion on her full page “President’s Message” mentions other Board members but when she devoted an entire paragraph to the food trucks, she failed to mention fellow Board member Eileen Olitsky who was virtually singularly responsible for it.
In her President’s Message, Marion mentioned and thanked other Board members for various and sundry reasons, including Harvey Ginsberg, former Board member Mark Goodman, Board member Bob Dingee, as well other residents. But strikingly, Eileen’s name is omitted. We don’t think this was an oversight; we think it was deliberate.
Remember: whoever controls the communication often wins. Marion is the webmistress to the Message Board and the HOA website, she is the liaison to the Property Manager, she is the liaison to News & Views, she is the liaison to the almighty ARB, she is the liaison to the Caring Committee, and she is the liaison to the Grievance Committee. This is way too much power for one Board member because these specific Committees control communication and conduct and in the case of the ARB, final decision-making authority.
The last thing Marion wants is to recognize Eileen who is in direct competition with her in the upcoming election cycle, and we believe that is why she deliberately did not recognize Eileen in her monthly “President’s Message” in the December 2020 News & Views.
In fact, all Board members should be involved with both the ARB as well as the Grievance Committee because those Committees issue final decisions. In addition, all Board members should be involved with the website and the Message Board because discipline is meted out unilaterally by Marion based on content she doesn’t like.
A resident can be suspended from the Message Board for a period of time or permanently by Marion’s edict. While theoretically you may appeal that to the Grievance Committee, you are suspended during the process which is actually illegal, and in the case of your Editor, I demanded a review by the Grievance Committee and my demand was ignored.
This is wrong and, in our opinion, completely illegal underFlorida Statute 720.305, but this is the present protocol. As we reported in our December 16, 2020 synopsis and commentary entitled Can’t Touch This, Marion even usurped the Board’s responsibility when she took disciplinary matters into her own hands to the detriment of the victims’ rights, which was thoroughly improper.
It is also noteworthy that the Agendas for all Board meetings are not sent out by the president. They are sent out by the Property Manager’s office just like most email blasts which give various notices to the residents on a regular basis. In fact, the Property Manager sends out a weekly email blast every Friday.
There is no reason that there should be an additional email blast from Marion during the week. If there is something important, the Property Manager’s office should send out another email blast as deemed necessary. That’s why we have the Property Manager, among other reasons. The Property Manager runs the community, not one Board member.
There is no reason that the president should be sending out these weekly e-blasts and have a dedicated News & Views page and be the liaison to the Committees that control communication and final decisions. The responsibilities of the president are strictly limited and specifically spelled out: preside over BOD meetings, sign documents and promissory notes, see that Board orders and resolutions are carried out [HOA By-Laws, Section VIII, Subsection G, Number 1, page 3-10]. Any other additional things that the president is doing are actually unauthorized. This concentration of power needs to end.
An item should be added to the Agenda to address all of these matters in their entirety.
D. Re-Vote for the office of Vice-President: Harvey did not win the vote for vice-president. As we stated above:
Robert’s Rules of Order:
Voting: Rule 46:
"… A plurality never adopts a motion nor elects any one to office, unless by virtue of a special rule previously adopted…"
Note: per dictionary:
Plurality: the number of votes cast for a candidate who receives more than any other but does not receive an absolute majority.
Therefore, Harvey did not win the office of Vice-President. In order to have won, he would have needed a majority of the entire Board present at that time, which he did not earn. He earned a plurality, three votes out of seven, which is specifically not enough.
The Board must immediately take a new vote for the office of Vice-President and continue to vote until someone actually wins an actual majority. If that cannot be accomplished, then the office remains vacant because the previous vote did not result in anyone having properly and successfully been voted into that office. Harvey’s brief, unearned tenure as purported but not real vice-president should be declared null and void, nunc pro tunc (applied retroactively to correct an earlier decision).
As stated in the Editor’s Opening Monologue, the fact that this was not on the Agenda is a stain on this entire Board because it means they are permitting a flaunting of the rules. Why even have rules if you are not going to follow them?
Bottom line: regardless of the Board’s inaction, as a factual matter, Harvey Ginsberg is not the vice-president of this organization. He can claim the post until kingdom come, but as stated above, we here at the News Site who deal in facts will not recognize a false claim parading as legitimacy. Neither should you. Send a clear message at the ballot box in March.]
1. Old shed area project – Bob Dingee [this was already covered out of order above]
2. Signs – Safety and Security $7,870.15 – Harvey Ginsberg[this was discussed with Item #3]
3. Signs – Community – Facility $7,555.54 – Eileen Olitsky
[Editor’s note: Harvey tried to micromanage both items which prompted Eileen to state, as to the second item, “I’ll handle that.” Eileen read a statement from Phyllis Martin-Hirsch, Chairperson of the Facilities Committee, as follows:]
“The Facilities committee has, since day one, planned to present a proposal to the board for upgrading the 35+ stop signs, plus half a dozen, speed limit, yield and caution signs. In the spirit of cooperation, and as mandated by the board and the Long-Range Planning Committee, the Facilities Committee reached out to the Safety & Security Committee in anticipation of presenting a joint proposal which would reflect an upgrade throughout community signage. Safety & Security chose to submit a separate proposal which does not consider any upgrades.
That being said, we elected to present a separate proposal which is included as an addendum to the community signage package.
It is important to note that our committee had concern regarding the direction that Safety & Security was taking. They were replacing all the stop signs on the same type of green, u-shaped posts that were originally provided by the builder. We believed that it was time to upgrade these posts and our proposal reflects such an upgrade. In addition, they are proposing to add the same red and yellow vertical reflectors that are now visible on all the Cascade Lakes Blvd. signage to every sign in every pod throughout the community.
We strongly believe that these reflectors are useless and provide absolutely no additional readability to the signage and, in addition, are an eyesore that diminishes the overall look of the community.
The Facilities Committee is recommending replacing every, stop, yield, caution and speed limit sign in the community on a 3” round, smooth finish, black clay coat painted post. In addition, the stop signs would have an added black backing that gives a finished look to the rear side of the stop signs, and creates a beautiful 2” black border to the front side of every stop sign. Please see the two photos included in this package.
While we realize this proposal is more expensive than that being submitted by Safety & Security, it is a relatively inexpensive way to present a very positive first appearance for the community and would complement the beautiful upgraded community signs which we are also proposing. Although not our main purposes it will also be the first step toward increasing home values and making Cascade Lakes more competitive in the 55+ marketplace.
We therefore ask you to seriously consider this alternative proposal for safety and security signage, along with our proposal for upgraded and very necessary replacement of our outdated community signage. The Facilities Committee has been working on this project for several years and has exerted serious man (and woman) power on it. After much hard work, we are confident that the plan as outlined herein and presented to you is most aesthetically appropriate and most beneficial for our community.”
Richard Green then stated he agreed with Jeff D. Green who spoke at the First Residents’ Input Session against this blow-out of the budget in the first Board meeting of the year. He said he could find $2,000 in “Miscellaneous” but noted that they were still way over budget. He did not think this was the right thing to do. He said it will require an assessment. Harvey then stated, “motion” which prompted Eileen to state, “excuse me, I didn’t get to say the amount.” There was then a discussion about $27,424.10 and another discussion about $11,622 for different types of poles.
Essentially, the U-channel signs and posts cost $8,449.49 which they ultimately went with; Facilities came up with ornamental posts including the signs for $27,424.10, which was $18,974.61 more. Later on, the figure of $11,622 was raised for silver galvanized steel poles which Facilities didn’t care for. However, it appeared to us that Harvey’s proposal did not include all signs and poles whereas the more expensive one did.
Harvey’s proposal includes replacement of stop signs, traffic signs, speed limits signs and an additional 23 green posts that the signs are mounted on. He then went on to state that the proposal includes four ornamental posts, which prompted Eileen to state, “I’ll handle that” because that was her presentation, not his. That had to do with the ornamental signs, not the traffic signs.
Harvey, stop interrupting and micromanaging other Board’ members’ presentations. And Marion, one of your limited functions as president is to preside over the Board meeting; why are you allowing this favoritism to continue?
Harvey also stepped on Eileen’s toes when she was going to show the residents pictures of the ornamental signs and she was working on doing that, holding them up to the screen so everyone could see, yet he insisted on overtaking everyone’s screen to put up clear pictures of these items and the U-channel poles whether you wanted your screen usurped or not and during her presentation.
That was so incredibly rude and distracting. He should not have done that without Eileen’s permission. Yes, Harvey, those pictures that you showed via the split screen were very, very helpful, but not at Eileen’s expense and not without asking her first and then waiting for her to finish her presentation and then give you the go-ahead. This is infuriating.
There was a lot of back and forth on this. Bob voiced concern about this proposed expenditure. Finally, Marion called the question, all in favor of the recommendation of Safety and Security Committee, signs and posts for $8,449: Harvey, Bob, Richard, and Marion. Opposed: Eileen, Sue, and Linda. The Motion passed 4-3.
[Editor’s note: Your Roving Reporter has some additional comments. Here is Arthur’s report with assistance from your Editor:]
Why was the proposal about street signs and their poles presented by Harvey Ginsberg as liaison to the Safety and Security Committee? In my opinion, Board member Harvey Ginsberg disrespected fellow Board members and the Committees they represent, Eileen Olitsky, Board liaison of Facilities, and Sue Schmer, Board liaison to Long Range Planning, by hijacking this task.
The only input the Safety and Security Committee should have addressed on this topic, if requested, was (1) the need to have more or less signs, and (2) any changes to the placement of the signs, and then make their recommendations. In Harvey’s presentation, there was no mention of changing the number of signs or their proposed locations. So this was not a Safety and Security issue.
Harvey then took it upon himself to present his short-sighted and disrespectful plan and got his majority vote from the only other two Board members who voted for him to be Vice-President (Marion and Richard), which was not a majority, plus the new Board member, Bob Dingee, which turned out to be the swing vote. Two of the three Board members that voted against his proposal (Eileen and Sue) were the ones who were directly involved with the item that they and their respective Committees have been planning and working on for a long time.
This is no way to run any type of organization. This was extremely disrespectful to fellow Board members and their Committee volunteers, and more importantly, this type of leadership, with no boundaries, harms the community and needs to stop immediately.
Now as to the stop signs and poles themselves. Is Cascade Lakes becoming a chicken coop? Because it sure seems like that’s the direction it’s heading toward. These green U-channel poles are quite similar to the green U-channel poles with extra notches used to secure chicken wire around chicken coops.
Is this the elegance and class that we are all striving for to beautify and upgrade the community? No, this is fowl. From now on, every time you drive by and see these poles, remember, do not, we repeat, do not think of this little lady:
This is a permanent commitment for the next 20 plus years, and it’s not being upgraded, it’s actually keeping the same cheap basic builder-level quality in appearance. This is one of those things where if you are not going to spend the appropriate amount of money necessary to do the right thing, you should not be spending any money at all.
If you divide the difference in the amounts ($27,424.10 - $8,449.49 = $18,974.61) by 20 years, the amount per year is $948.73 and then if you divide that by 600 homes, that comes to a whopping $1.58 per year per home, or 13 cents a month. That’s an increase to your quarterly dues in the amount of 39 cents to beautify the community in this manner.
Richard: …We don’t have people coming in and saying ‘oh what a beautiful stop sign this is…signs is the last thing people look at…
No, but now they will ask, “where are the chickens?” and “where is the egg stand?”
Contrary to Richard’s statement during the meeting that no one pays attention to the signs, in fact, they are very noticeable, and people do see them; in fact, the Facilities and Long Range Planning Committees understand this and the realtors probably do, too. And that is why they took on the task which was usurped by Harvey as liaison to the Safety & Security Committee which in reality had nothing to do with safety or security.
Someone on the Board needs to put this back on the Agenda and/or call an emergency session (before Marion signs the contract she voted for) and redo this vote. So concludes Arthur’s report.
The Board then went on to the community signs. Eileen read three paragraphs from an email from August 2019 from Mike Gentry, Chairman of Long Range Planning. Both Eileen and Mike were kind enough to share it with your Editor so that we can share it with you:
“In addition to a fiduciary responsibility, the board of directors also has a moral and ethical responsibility that includes laying out a very clear message to the community that outlines all potential expenses for repairs, replacements and upgrades. To bring up one expense at a time is both unfair and unrealistic. To that end, I think it is fair to say that any board of directors has a responsibility to maintain the integrity and aesthetics of the community's assets to help maintain and increase home values. This, without question, should take priority over adding new amenities.
This being said, a comprehensive plan needs to be put together that clearly outlines the cost of road repairs, or resurfacing, new pool furniture for under the porte cachere, new, upgraded signage throughout the community, new upgraded mailboxes and posts, along with any other upcoming projects that fall under the aforementioned categories.
Once these costs are itemized and presented to the community, it is time to discuss how much money is set aside for each of these repairs and/or improvements. Further, it is then necessary to tell homeowners of any required assessments necessary to accomplish the repair or replacement and upgrade of these items. All previous boards have always felt that the thought of using the word "assessment" meant taking money out of residents' pockets (and that comes straight from the mouth of a previous board president) and therefore treated it as a 4-letter word. They were afraid that if there were assessments, those on the board who voted for them would not be reelected. Nonsense.”
Eileen advised that the signs are made of composite aluminum. Richard said $2,000 can come out of Miscellaneous, the rest would have to come out of the Operating Budget, and it will mean an assessment or an increase in next year’s maintenance fees. Eileen advised that this is not a capital improvement, it’s a repair and replacement. Richard stated that the budget is not inflexible and that it is a guide. He reiterated that “the operating budget is a very flexible budget.” He also cautioned that the budget is “very, very, very tight.”
Eileen moved to accept the proposal from Signarama for $7,555.54. Sue Seconded. It passed unanimously.
[Editor’s note: Marion then briefly left the meeting, so the Board skipped to Item #6, and then came back to Item #s 4 and 5 when Marion returned. We shall do the same.]
6. Cascade Lakes Membership in Clubs – Sue Schmer
[Editor’s note: we have been calling for the outlawing of the illegal practice of certain clubs (i.e., pickleball) instituting their own asinine rules and regulations which harm the community and your financial interests. All clubs should be banned from having their own rules, policies, and by-laws.
The pickleball club’s new rules allow non-resident interlopers full membership in the pickleball club with full voting rights and full access to the pickleball courts so that they can displace residents, so that they can wear and tear on community assets, and so that they can present liability claims to the HOA when they are injured on campus.
The rules also permit officers of that club to deny requests for financial records, and force club members to agree to legally immunize those officers for all their acts (i.e. waive any and all of your legal rights against them), regardless of whether or not those acts constitute malfeasance or said officers engage in criminal behavior to your detriment. See our dedicated Pickleball page for further details on these despicable and elitist rules.
No clubs should have anything more than an approved mission statement.]
Sue: I have two motions, on behalf of the Rules & Regs Committee. Motion #1, only residents may be members of clubs. Harvey: Second. [Marion returned.]Marion: discussion? Harvey: question: already part of the Rules & Regs? Marion: No. All in favor? Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: Hallelujah. We have progress. This blows out one of the main objections we have been voicing for months, ever since the Pickleball Club instituted their asinine rules.]
Sue: #2, if a club member invites guests to attend an activity or function of the club, that guest is not entitled to use any other elements of the Association. Marion: second.
[Editor’s note: a lengthy discussion ensued about the language and scope of this motion. It was ultimately amended by Sue as follows:]
Sue: if a club sponsors an event, all invitees who are not residents are limited to that event only and may not use any other facilities.” Second: Harvey. Eileen: I Seconded it. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
Sue: Motion that these two new rules be added to our By-Laws, letter P, under Section 7, under Cascade Lakes Rules, Regs, and Procedures. Marion: Second. All in favor? Unanimous.
Sue: thank you Joyce [Winston], Mike [Gentry], and my fellow colleagues for getting the intent with the proper wording.
4. Ficus Whitefly –$8,816.21 – Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: the above is a picture of ficus whitefly, not Harvey and Marion.]
Marion: it’s a drench, not a spray. For the remaining ficus on common property. $8,816.21. Second: Linda. [brief discussion] …Marion: all in favor? Unanimous.
5. Mailbox vote – Marion Weil
[Editor’s note: here we go again. Apparently, as with the faux office of vice-president which Harvey is erroneously assuming without having been properly voted therein, adherence to the rules is apparently discretionary, not mandatory, and only when it suits those who are charged with enforcing them.
The mailboxes and poles are owned by the individual owners; the HOA governing documents specifically state that the individual owner has authority over his/her mailbox subject to ARB approval: see our dedicated Mailboxes page for a complete analysis of this subject matter.
The ownership of the mailboxes is not in dispute; everyone agrees that the individual homeowner owns his/her mailbox, and it specifically says so in the HOA’s governing documents: Rules and Regulations, page 4-8, under B. General Rules, Number 8: “Mailboxes and numbers are the property of the individual homeowners…”
On Monday, January 4, 2021, we sent the following email to the entire Board:
“Dear Board members,
Florida Statute 720.3035(5)states:
“Neither the association nor any architectural, construction improvement, or other such similar committee of the association shall enforce any policy or restriction that is inconsistent with the rights and privileges of a parcel owner set forth in the declaration of covenants or other published guidelines and standards authorized by the declaration of covenants, whether uniformly applied or not…”
This necessarily means that the association has no right to impede one's ownership rights to one's mailbox. Having a community vote to determine whether or not one will be forced to have another mailbox not to one's liking is illegal…”
The email then restated much of what is on the News Site on the page.
Notwithstanding the rules and the statute, the Board is going to spend your money on the futile exercise of a community vote to control an asset owned exclusively by you and which the Florida statute clearly and unequivocally states is verboten. This is a bogus vote.
Furthermore, any discussion about a temporary seizure of your assets in order to effectuate this goal is also blatantly illegal. The only authority with eminent domain rights is the government. Eminent domain does not apply to private corporations such as this HOA.
Under the theory promulgated by the Board, apparently there could be a community vote to take ownership of your front door, your patio, and other appurtenances which your warranty deed clearly states you own. The fact that this part of what you own is perched on community property is irrelevant as there is no dispute that you own it and that it came with the deed to your home as part of your home purchase.
Furthermore, just because the Board has been painting or repairing the poles in the past, there is no de facto change in ownership because they decided to paint your pole. It doesn’t magically convert or transform into ownership rights just because it’s been done in the past. This does not constitute adverse possession (claim of legal right to your property without benefit of a written instrument, such as a deed) under Florida Statute 95.18 because the HOA does not and has not paid your property taxes as required by the statute in order to assume legal ownership without benefit of actual, legal, written title.
However, if the pole were damaged by the landscaping company, which is usually the case, then the HOA would be responsible to repair it.
As a general rule, a de facto practice never supersedes a rule or law or regulation to the contrary.
However, since this process is being executed notwithstanding the rules and statute and in defiance thereof, a hard NO is heartedly recommended when that ballot reaches your mailbox, which again, you own. Send a clear message: this type of unauthorized control over your assets, which is forbidden by statute, will not be tolerated.]
Marion: I think it’s time to do this already. Linda: Second.
Sue: I’m concerned about how this is going to go to the community vote… before we approve any vendor… we have to get the approval from the community to take over the ownership of the mailboxes and poles. Marion: and we need to market it.
Sue: so what is it we’re voting on… I know the issue of ownership of mailboxes is a hot topic, because this is key. If you take it over, it should be contingent upon taking it over permanently…to get 75% of the members to agree on anything is almost mission impossible…it involves changing the documents to accommodate the vote... Harvey: …maybe the two of us can get together with Lou Caplan… [the lawyer]… to talk about ownership.
[Editor’s note: notice the wolves in sheep’s clothing.]
Eileen: …Harvey, I don’t think it’s as simple as contacting Lou…we’re coming into a new Board…four are running again…
[Editor’s note: what makes any of you think that you can have the community vote to seize someone’s property? How about a vote to move the property lines up to the patios or birdcages? Further discussion ensued.]
Sue: I don’t think the problem is a legal one if you take ownership. The question is who owns one – it was referenced somewhere, special warranty deed – resident owns the poles and the mailboxes…you can’t have the mailbox without the pole as well. If you take ownership, it’s unethical taking it temporarily and giving it back. If the proposal is permanent, might obviate the need for the attorney.
Eileen: you do have to have a community vote before we spend money on legal, have the community vote, agree to give over ownership to the Association permanently…Sue: I completely agree. [further discussion ensued.]
[Editor’s note: Joyce Winston, Rules & Regs Chairperson, then quoted from a portion of the HOA’s governing documents. Mike Gentry, Chairperson of Long Range Planning, then attempted to speak and was cut off by Marion. He asked, “if Joyce is allowed to speak, then why can’t I?” He erroneously stated that he was Chair of Facilities, to which Marion stated, “No, you’re not.”
However, he is Chair of Long Term Planning, he just made a mistake in the name of his Chairpersonship, and all Chairpersons ought to be treated equally, so this was an outrageous abuse of power on the part of Marion. Shame, shame, shame. It’s time for Marion to be defeated at the polls, folks. Enough is enough. By the way, we noticed that Marion appears to act this way only toward people by whom she is threatened for various and sundry reasons. Mike, we take that as a good sign and welcome to the club!
Sue: Joyce, there are several pages on mailboxes, page 1-17, 1-18, Rules & Regs 4.8…owners are responsible for cleaning mailboxes…
[Editor’s note: if you don’t own your mailbox, why would you be obliged to clean it? This makes no sense. That’s called indentured servitude. So, basically, the Association wants to take your property, and then once they own it, they want you to clean community property. Maybe we should go to the pool on a pod-rotation basis to clean the pool and the patio furniture over there. Maybe we should take turns mowing all the community grass; that would save a fortune on landscaping costs. Do you see how preposterous this proposal is?
And if you don’t clean what is community property under this proposal, you might get a violation notice. And if you refuse to clean it, you can be fined up to $1,000. Bottom line: if we have to clean it, we sure as hell want to own it.]
Sue: you could probably do it by unanimous consent if you don’t want to change anything.
[Editor’s note: excuse me, but unanimous consent is supposed to be for emergencies only.]
Harvey: Reread. Eileen: excuse me, Harvey, my hand was up.
[Editor’s note: where is the President? One of her few functions is to preside over Board meetings, and her functions do not include repeatedly snubbing certain Board members. And for Harvey’s part, he continually interrupts and disrupts other Board members who are speaking, most notably Eileen and secondly, Sue. Hopefully this will all be remedied come March at election time. This lack of respect is classless.]
Eileen: clarification, Sue is going to be on the Board next year, it’s important to have continuity, Richard as well. Marion: send that out to us. Eileen: with an issue like this, I don’t think we should do unanimous consent; we should be transparent at a community meeting. Marion: I’m going to withdraw my motion. Second? Linda. Marion: Sue, make your motion.
Sue: with the installation of new mailboxes and posts, the Association will take permanent ownership of these items and the Association is responsible for …[repair]…with the exception of minor dents and scratches,[more indentured servitude] and owners will be responsible for cleaning…
Eileen: this is assuming that the mailboxes will be passed. Joyce Winston: [not a Board member, why is she permitted to speak and multiple times?] Mailboxes and numbers are the property of the owners…Harvey: your proposal is to replace that section? Joyce: yes, it’s only a rule. Sue: no, there are references in our covenants…
Marion: if approved by the residents, add in the front. Eileen: I will Second that. Marion: All in favor? Unanimous. Eileen: what do we do about the amount for the mailbox? Harvey: Marion, remake your motion again. Marion: move to put out a community vote based on residents’ approval on taking over the mailboxes when we have all the data and money involved…
Richard: we don’t know right now how much it’s gonna cost the residents…what the assessment will be…there’s something hanging out that we spoke about - don’t want to bring it up now – there’s a lesser amount that we have to include; we know the maximum amount, but might not be the assessment…
[Editor’s note: what the hell is he talking about and why the secrecy? This is the kind of stuff that residents loathe. You have something that you know that you deliberately won’t share with the OWNERS of this corporation. That’s outrageously disrespectful to the community.]
Marion: no more than $351 per home.
Linda: if the HOA is gonna take over ownership, why should the residents pay for the mailboxes to begin with? Marion: the community is made up of 600 homes. Harvey: the community is the Association. Richard: what I’m discussing is what the assessment will be. Harvey: there’s a motion on the floor.
Richard: $351 will be an assessment to them. I don’t want anyone to think we have the money already. Sue: I can add, “which will be in the form of a special assessment.” Marion: all in favor of Sue’s motion, Eileen Seconded? Unanimous.
7. Covid-19 Vaccine – Linda Arbeit
Linda: [trying to swallow some food]As soon as I put something in my mouth, it’s my turn to talk. About one and a half weeks ago, Deborah, myself, and Judy Vlad met to get the vaccine administered into the community. A resident has a connection to Walgreens. There was a misunderstanding. There was no agreement between Walgreens and Cascade Lakes that they would come and do the vaccinations. Walgreens doesn’t know when they’re getting the vaccine, how much they’re getting…
The State is telling what to do with it... I spoke to people at CVS…when they get it, they’re only giving to nursing homes, long term facilities, and other facilities…not permitted to give to customers. The next day, everything was up in the air. Eventually there will be appointments; not now.
I asked Publix. They will have appointments; right now you cannot sign up for it… they don’t have it right now… or how much they’re going to be getting… we don’t have any formal commitment from Walgreens… My advice, if you can get it, do it; don’t depend on Cascade Lakes. Right now we do not have any commitment, formal or otherwise, from any of the pharmacies. Sue: Walgreens have Covid vaccine…spoke with MedExpress on Boynton Beach Blvd…
8. Proposal from Island Air Conditioning for the Office: $3,420 – Marion. Marion: the air conditioning in the office died. We have to replace both items… Motion we approve. Second: Linda. Marion: all in favor? Unanimous. Deb, now you will be cool again. Linda: Deb’s always cool…
9. Add On per Eileen: Eileen: Point of Personal Privilege: Responsibility of Board members, liaisons, committee chairs.
Eileen: I have been very disappointed in the process we’re following…I put together a flow sheet... the residents are electing seven Board members who then vote for the officers including president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer…Responsibilities…if anybody would like a copy, the definitions are correct, according to the By-Laws on 3-10…The responsibility of each, some of them surprised me as well. There are a lot of restrictions for certain officers; others, more responsibilities than I was aware of. Linda, I give you credit. You do so much more than Minutes.
We then go to the Committee Liaisons, selected by us…then we go down to the Committee Chairs selected from the pool of members who have volunteered… My disappointment comes into the flow of this ... Some officers and Board members are not following the guidelines… For example, Linda giving the community information on Covid, Community Affairs, she’s the liaison. Where we get into trouble is when there are too many cooks in the kitchen…
I am unhappy that everything is not done at Board meetings. Some decisions are made behind the scenes without even some Board members knowing about it.
[Editor’s note: this is what we have been calling out for a long while now. This is the “Weiling and Dealing” that we have been vociferously objecting to.]
Eileen: how we can get back on track and be respectful… and not overstep our bounds… especially officers… it’s not a motion, just a discussion… we’ve been off track… confusing… discussion how we can firm this up…
[Editor’s note: it is difficult if not impossible to correct this course when the individuals who are causing the problems have no interest in power sharing with you, Eileen, an equal Board member. Do you really believe that Marion will voluntarily limit herself to the specific things the president is charged with doing (preside over Board meetings, sign checks, follow through to insure resolutions are carried out)?
That would effectively mean no more “Weiling and Dealing,” no more unilateral decisions, no more $1,000 per month discretionary fund, no more dedicated page in News & Views, no more weekly email blasts, no more message board control, no more running to the lawyer on her singular whim to complain about a resident or other matter, and the list goes on. Her entire rai·son d'ê·trewould be eviscerated. In the words of Dr. Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris) from that 1960’s TV classic, Lost in Space:
In summation, this expectation from Marion is unrealistic because it would require her to agree to be an equal Board member in her own mind, and that concept is intolerable to her and it is antithetical to the driving force at her core. You are expecting the ego to just genuflect to the concept of fairness and equality. The ego cannot do that and survive at the same time. It’s like garlic to a vampire.
And you Board members unanimously voted to have Marion retain her position as President last March because you wanted to show unity when we and others were blasting her for all of the improper things she was doing. All you did was empower her to do more of the same type of shenanigans. So you bear responsibility for the monster you helped create and perpetrate.
Not one of you has called her out publicly. Eileen was being very polite and diplomatic in her presentation, but sometimes politeness and diplomacy are conveniently relied upon by alleged malfeasors to continue to engage in their alleged malfeasance because there’s no bite to politeness and diplomacy. By unanimously re-electing her to her position as President, each one of you put your imprimatur on her conduct, so you own it, too, because you knew about the problems before your voted. You have the right to remove her at any time. Further discussion ensued.]
Eileen: Am I the only one feeling this? [no.] Sue: your structure is very good, and organizationally it’s sound. What’s in writing doesn’t necessarily translate into practice… more transparent… the delineation of officers is very, very clear… is business by email the best way to do it… ask questions… in advance… it’s the communication that is really key… how we can effectively communicate…
Linda: sometimes there’s an overlapping of interests or responsibilities… sometimes a member of the Board does not give another members of the Board of taking over another item on the Agenda, and that’s a problem… People don’t get elected to the Board for their own egos, aggrandizement, or to look pretty… we’re not on the Board for popularity… it’s to make the community better.
[Editor’s note: we beg to differ with Linda’s assertion that “people don’t get elected to the Board for their own egos, aggrandizement” with respect to a couple of Board members, specifically that lackluster duo, Marion and Harvey. We think ego and aggrandizement has everything to do with it as far as those two are concerned.]
Harvey: pickleball, somebody, one of the officers, emails me personally. My response is please email it to the entire Board, and that doesn’t happen.
[Editor’s note: hey, computer Sign-Up Genius, have you seen the “forward” tab lately? What’s the matter with your fingers?]
Harvey: I call Marion…asked… how do you want me to handle it?
[Editor’s note: why on earth are you doing that? Her job is limited to presiding over meetings and signing documents and seeing that resolutions are carried out. That’s it. You’re perpetrating the exact thing Eileen is concerned about and you don’t even realize it. Why call her? Why call anyone? How about bringing it up at a Board meeting if you’re so concerned? How about forwarding the emails you receive singularly to all of your colleagues on the Board? You’re part of the problem and you don’t even know it or see it.]
Harvey: I encourage the residents, if you have an issue, bring it up to the entire Board, not just one… Eileen: it’s important not to step on each other’s toes… often times, Board members take it upon themselves to do things that may not be their expertise. Reach out to residents, as far as negotiating contracts…
[Editor’s note: huh? No one has ever reached out to me (a 37-year seasoned litigator and contract negotiator) to negotiate any contract since I arrived here in May 2019, and in fact, when I reached out to do so on my own, I was strongly encouraged to stay out of it.]
Eileen: I thank all of those residents… what I am concerned with is certain Board members are not letting other Board members know what they’re doing…cooperation and communication are the things… in email, it is not majority, it’s unanimous, and if it can wait for a Board meeting…
[Editor’s note: the Florida statute strictly prohibits voting via email:720.303(2)(a):
“Members of the board of administration may use e-mail as a means of communication but may not cast a vote on an association matter via e-mail.”
Perhaps Eileen is referring to true emergencies only but again, what constitutes an emergency with some people seems to be fluid, such as the July 2020 banning of Alex, the maintenance man, from the community, by private vote, which was completely illegal to begin with and for which the Board has never reversed and corrected that vote to reflect the reality of his subsequent permission inside the gates.]
Eileen: let all of us Board members know what’s happening… Sue: …look at liaison roles, getting new people on committees so that other people can share their expertise… Harvey: who do you think should respond? Harvey or Sue: should we respond individually?Sue: I made a promise that I would respond to anybody who personally emailed me, but I’m still conflicted. Harvey: it’s a gray area…before you respond, talk to the liaison…
Sue: the question is, who is responsible if it’s sent to the entire Board? Harvey: The president, Marion, responds for the Board.
[Editor’s note: nope, that’s not one of the president’s specifically delineated functions. You’re just making that up, Harv. Any Board member has a right to acknowledge a resident’s email which is sent to all members of the Board because remember, all Board members are equal.]
Eileen: if it’s going to be regarding a policy, there is nothing wrong with saying “I’ll get back to you, let me talk to the Board…” If the officer has an issue with a committee, courtesy, the officer to correspond to the liaison first… Harvey: if it’s an operational thing, we don’t need to respond as a Board; if policy, the president should respond to the complaint but Marion has the obligation to run it by us…like she’s doing with her comments before the meeting and emails.
Eileen: …it has been a custom, but it is not in the By-Laws…the president to be the liaison to the Property Manager; it could be another Board member.
[Editor’s note: there should not be a Board liaison to the Property Manager. The Property Manager should always report to all Board members because she gets her function and duties from the entire Board, not just one or two members of the Board. She is an employee of a vendor. This is unlike a Committee where there should be a liaison. The Property Manager has responsibilities that have been granted by the full Board. The idea of a Board liaison to the Property Managershould be rejected immediately. This is an item that should actually be on the next Agenda.
The same is true for dealing with the HOA attorney. All Board members should be involved in any discussions with the lawyer. The lawyer should not just be dealing with the president or one other Board member. The HOA should not be incurring legal fees because Marion at whim decides to run to the lawyer to complain about a resident or any topic for that matter. This is an item that should also be on the next Agenda.]
Marion: liaisons are chosen by the Board at the beginning of the year. It’s been practiced. Eileen: it’s been practiced, [but] not one of the responsibilities of the officer. Marion: right.
[Editor’s note: Eileen spent a considerable time on this and created a flow chart for clarity which delineates what the functions are of the various officers and then shows the hierarchy flowing down from the Board, including liaisons and Committee Chairs. Note the limitations on the president’s powers.
It is time to start following the rules and stop endowing upon the president powers which she neither has nor should have. Eileen was kind enough to email your Editor her flow chart, which she refers to as Cascade Lakes Governing Model, which we reprint here exactly as presented:]
CASCADE LAKES GOVERNING MODEL
7 BOARD MEMBERS
VOTE FOR OFFICERS
The President shall preside at all meetings of the Board of Director: shall see that orders and resolutions of the Board are carried out; shall sign all legal documents; and promissory notes. If the President is unavailable, checks may be signed or approved by the Vice President or Secretary of the board as deemed appropriate by the Treasurer.
The Vice President shall act in the place and stead of the President. In the event of the President’s absence, inability or refusal to act, the Vice President shall exercise and discharge such other duties as may be required of him/her by the Board.
The Secretary shall record the votes and keep the minutes of all meetings and proceedings of the Board and of the Members; be responsible for the corporate seal of the Association and affix it on all papers requiring said seal.; serve notice of the meetings of the Board and of the Members; keep appropriate current records showing the Members of the Association, together with their addresses; and shall perform such other duties as required by the Board. The Secretary shall oversee the preparation and authenticity of the Annual Corporation Report required by the Division of Corporations of the Secretary of State of Florida and ensure its timely filing and appropriate fees.
The treasurer shall receive and deposit in appropriate bank accounts of monies of the Association and shall disburse such funds as directed by resolution of the Board of Directors; shall co-sign all checks and promissory notes of the Association; keep proper books of account; and shall prepare the annual budget, including a statement of income and expenditures to be presented to the membership at its regular annual meeting.
COMMITTEE LIAISONS (BOARD MEMBERS)
COMMITTEE CHAIRS (VOLUNTEER)
LEADS MEETING OF
COMMITTEE MEMBERS (VOLUNTEERS)
Second Residents’ Input Session:
1. Joyce Winston: [Editor’s note: Joyce mentioned that usually liaisons are not supposed to contribute to committee meetings unless they are asked something, to which Eileen responded, “correct, there to observe.” That seems silly to us; if the Board liaison is there, who is also a resident, let the liaison contribute. Where is it written that they have to be quiet? We understand that they don’t want to take control or undermine the Chairperson, but everyone’s input should be welcomed, and the liaison is the conduit to the Board, so the liaison’s input should surely be welcomed.]
2. Judie Delman: if the Board takes over the ownership of the mailboxes on a permanent basis, and they cost approximately $350, and a post office truck or car does damage to the mailbox, is it then the property of the community to fix it? Marion: yes. Harvey: the cost of the mailbox is less than $350 including the post. Judie: to clean it? [some on the Board are suggesting that this would be the residents’ responsibility under this farkakte (Yiddish: lousy, messed up, ridiculous) idea]. Judie: And if they use a detergent that ruins it? Marion: I’m sure guidelines will be sent out.
Judie: today the subject of getting shots. Some people don’t believe in it, some do, some young, some old… all the people in King’s Pointe got the vaccine…once the governor gives the go-ahead, certain people will or will not, will go to the pool… people don’t understand: if you hadn’t worn a mask up to now, you won’t wear after… you may be immune, but you can still transmit it to someone else who may not understand…
3. Jeff Hyman:[Editor’s note: Jeff is an epidemiologist.] Mask rules…Palm Beach County extends orders, masks outdoors where social distancing is not possible… the Board’s current rule to wear masks even while maintaining social distance is not supported by experts… Covid will be with us for a long time… the new UK strain is very infectious… a South African strain is very infectious… use Palm Beach County professionally designed rules…
4. Roberta Alter: you passed a ruling, people coming to club events cannot use the facilities. Amenities is a better choice – facilities includes the bathroom.
5. Leonard Tannen: I have a generic question/observation regarding the issue of beautification of our community. One meeting the roadway needed to be recoated. Another, mailboxes. Today, street signs. Is there any overview where we list beautification, improve salability, and prioritize. We’re in reactive mode, whoever is the loudest… approaching things piecemeal… is there a master list, priority…then bring… Marion: there is a Long Term Planning Committee and they are putting together a plan. Leonard: then why not wait instead of wasting everybody’s time? Doesn’t make sense.
6. Howard Feuer: clarification on the iguana situation. We should call the iguana service? Marion: correct. Howard: I called the office, was told only applicable to community grounds and possibly the lake areas. I had an iguana on my back window, the second one, the service supposedly came out and dealt with the situation. It would be helpful to say what the parameters are for getting in touch. Marion: ok, we’ll review.
Sue: I have a doctor’s appointment at two… will listen to the tape.
Round Table Discussion:
Marion: the questions Deborah asked, who’s gonna administer the sad news? Deborah: because of the lateness, I will work with you and Harvey and present at the next meeting.
[Editor’s note: We believe the present method is perfect, so why fix something that ain’t broke? And again, we think it highly inappropriate for the Property Manager to be working with two Board members when she should be working with the entire Board.]
Eileen: right now, it’s not an issue at the pool. There are a lot of people sitting on the deck with masks on… people want to swim and can only do that at the pool. Sit, you can do at the park, patios… watch that carefully… people on the deck in their clothes. It isn’t fair; they have no other choice to swim.
[Editor’s note: this was raised by the Feuers at a previous Board meeting and we agreed with them completely. This is totally unfair to the pool people who have no other place to swim.]
Harvey: front fountain, thank you for getting it fixed. Deborah: three-inch pipe, first break $7,400; [this time it was] $2,200. Harvey: would have to be approved in retrospect. Deborah: that was an emergency. Harvey: do we need to approve? Marion: no. Deborah: it’s been completed.
[Editor’s note: Harvey is correct. This needs to be raised and approved and then entered into the Minutes. If it were an emergency, which is appears to have been, then the unanimous consent process should have been implemented and then ratified at the next Board meeting. What happened? It just got paid and then disappeared with no record of it? That appears to be the case.
This reminds us of the $6,052.35 paid to the lawyers to go after your Editor and your Roving Reporter for which again there was no vote and it just disappeared into the woodwork because according to Richard, all vouchers are approved by him and at least one other Board member after the fact.
How many other items are dealt with in this manner? And why was Marion so quick to say no Board approval is required? Even with Marion’s fake $1,000 discretionary fund, which somehow got converted into an alleged emergency fund, this $2,200 emergency still exceeded her monthly amount. Even if we add in the Property Manager’s monthly amount of $1,000, it still exceeds their combined discretionary funds.
So it appears to us that Marion, as Board liaison to the Property Manager, approved this on her own without consultation with other Board members and without any intention of bringing it to the attention of the Board for a proper vote and it was actually outside of and beyond her $1,000 per month faux fund. What else has she done this with? This is exactly the type of behavior that Eileen was concerned about in her presentation above.
So let’s get a list of every item that was approved in this manner that just disappeared and for which there are no Board Minutes referencing said expenditures. This should also be added as an Agenda item. Where does your money go?]
Bob: ok right now. [Editor’s note: right now? There really isn’t much time to change your mind as the Board meeting is ending imminently.]
Marion: So am I. Motion to adjourn? Harvey. Second? Eileen. All in favor? [no verbal response but presumably it was unanimous from the six remaining Board members]. 12:53pm.
[Editor’s note: A big shout-out to Zoom operator Arnie “Houdini” Green for doing a great job administering the Zoom meeting. We thank him for his continued service and volunteerism. Harvey Ginsberg was identified as his assistant. To the extent he was of service, we thank him as well, except when he stepped on Eileen’s presentation without her permission.]
And so concludes the board meeting of January 6, 2021; next Board meeting: January 20, 2021 at 7:00pm. Cheerio until next time.]