Posted April 2, 2020. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the April 1, 2020 Board meeting with commentary indicated in bold blue brackets.
[Editor’s note: Your Editor signed into the Zoom meeting. The audio portion of the livestream was turned on. The Board obviously noticed your Editor’s joining the meeting, because the following exchange was heard.]
Female Board Member, believed to be Marion [loudly and forcefully]: Vicki Roberts is here.
Linda Arbeit [loudly and sarcastically]: Oh, yeah, can’t wait!
Harvey [shouting]: LINDA, GODDAMNIT, QUIET! [Nice attempted save by Harvey. The audio was then cut. Great way to start off the new Board, board members.]
[Editor’s note: No other resident was identified as having joined the livestream. Linda’s outburst was a surprise to us; at all times she has been professional and cordial to our faces. Harvey and Eileen ignore us in person. Board members are supposed to represent every owner of this HOA. Board members have a fiduciary duty, and many responsibilities and obligations, to each and every owner. These basic obligations do not require that a Board member like or exhibit fondness toward every single resident. But they should show a modicum of etiquette to each member of the HOA whom they represent. Marion has been the target of most of our criticism and yet she always greets us when she sees us, and we likewise greet her. Linda’s obvious disgust over the fact that your Editor had logged into the meeting is not leadership. Harvey and Eileen’s ignoring us as if we don’t exist whenever we cross their paths is actively hostile.
These Board members’ unbecoming conduct is also a slap in the face to the residents of this HOA who regularly rely on your Editor and your Roving Reporter for the synopsis and commentary, and who also regularly rely on both your Editor and your Roving Reporter to call out the rule-breakers. For the record, board members, it’s a lot more residents than you may think. We know this from personal knowledge, by many people flagging us down as we pass them in the streets or on our bicycles, and via off the record phone calls and emails which are becoming more frequent. The daily statistics for our news site are off the charts, and of course that includes some of the naysayers who are commenting about us and the news site on the HOA message board.
One resident that appreciates the news site purportedly referred to the news site as the “go to place to find out what’s going on” around here. Several of them have reported to us that they have our news site business card taped to their computers. Another one was thrilled that we “have balls” and that we should “keep it up!” A resident even advised us that they (the couple) were thinking of moving because of their utter disgust with how things were being run, but now that we have the news site, they are thrilled and have decided to stay. There are numerous others that have heaved a sigh of relief that there is a place that broadcasts the truth about Cascade Lakes and provides a real “checks and balances” to what the Board does or doesn’t do, or should or should not do. The difference is that these supportive residents are not bullies, don’t engage in that type of destructive behavior, and are not vocal publicly. We understand and respect that. But we also can confirm that there are a lot of them out there, and some of them are your close friends.
The residents in the negative bubble of naysayers are a few loud bullies; if you think they speak for the community, take another look at the results of the election: the newcomers to whom this news site gave the highest ratings beat out the incumbents handily in terms of total vote tally. The natives are restless, and they are really fed up with the shenanigans at the top. They have also reported to us directly that they are particularly disgusted with the constant bashing of your Editor and Roving Reporter by their decidedly unneighborly neighbors.
Linda and other board members, if you don’t like the commentary, then do something about the issues to fix them; if you don’t like the news, then put the monkey on the back of whom it belongs, the rule-breakers sharing “leadership” with you. Suggest ways to eradicate the malfeasance at the top and with the HOA’s leadership, i.e., the Board, of which you are a part, so that we can report good news. And remember, we report the news, not fantasy.
All board members: the best way to effectuate change is to fix the issues created by poor leadership. If you stymie the rule-breakers among your ranks, stop re-enforcing the conduct of the rule-breakers, and stop disciplining the de facto whistleblowers, this news site will have less to report in that regard. It’s simple math.
Remember, this news site was born because President Marion, with the backing of the Board, shut down truthful posts by your Editor and Roving Reporter. This continues to happen; most recently our critical posts on the COVID-19 virus were taken off the HOA message board. No other posts about the virus were removed. No reason for removing our truthful posts was given. They just disappeared. Our posts about the virus contained the most critically important information posted. When we posted those updates on the news site, the stats for that page skyrocketed.
And since we are on the topic of COVID-19, today’s Sun Sentinel reported that the peak day for Florida will be May 3, 2020. The Roving Reporter is noticing a lot of maintenance people and housecleaners and aides entering different homes on a regular basis. This is a recipe for disaster, as you have no idea if any of them is the Typhoid Mary of the community, and they are not wearing masks and gloves as they go from home to home and community to community.
We note that Harvey has come a long way from where he started and has, on more than one occasion, reminded the 2019 Board that the residents are “screaming for transparency,” and he has reminded Board members that they have to give proper notice and make sure that there is a quorum for Board decisions. We appreciate this immensely, and we see this as a hopeful change in the right direction. Other Board members should follow his lead.]
[Editor’s further note: Maybe now Harvey will talk to us.]
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running:
Board Members Present: All.
Marion: Welcome everybody. We had proper notice; the full board is here. We have a quorum.
Pledge of Allegiance led by Marion Weil.
Marion: We are going to have a reorganization of our Agenda. The first item, Organization of Board Members – officers.
[Editor’s note: the following nominations and votes were clearly pre-determined, the procedure of which we have no quarrel with, as there was a late organizational meeting prior to the open board meeting for such purpose. We also are pleased that the Board went with all of our other recommendations (with the exception of the office of president), so we got three out of four – not a bad ratio for our nascent news site.]
Deborah: I open the floor for nominees for President. Linda: I nominate Marion Weil. Second: male board member. Marion: any other? [silence] All in favor? Unanimous.
Deborah: Vice-President: Harvey: I nominate Mark Goodman. Linda: Second. Marion: any other? [silence] All in favor? Unanimous.
Deborah: Treasurer. Mark: I nominate Richard Greene. Linda: second. Marion: unanimous.
Deborah: Secretary. Eileen: I nominate Linda. Marion: second. Any other nominations? [silence] All in favor? Unanimous.
[Editor’s note: we congratulate the new officers and the entire new Board.]
Marion: the new Board [sic] is Marion Weil, President, Mark Goodman, Vice-President, Richard Greene, Treasurer, Linda Arbeit, Secretary. Thank you everybody.
[Editor’s note: Marion meant the new officers, not board, in this context. But here, Marion recognizes that they are, in fact, “new” officers, which she specifically stated, thus validating our reporting that from the night of the election until the April 1, 2020 board meeting there were, in fact, no officers, and Marion was not, in fact, the President from the evening of March 26th until April 1st. So, thank you, Marion, for confirming exactly what we reported, that there was an error on the Agenda that was sent out on March 30th which erroneously listed Marion as the president. And now that you are the new President, Marion, we hope that moving forward you can bring this community together by exercising transparency and by following the rules.]
Marion Weil’s Opening Remarks: we are streaming the board meeting; it is closed to physical presence during COVID-19. The Board has emergency powers under 720.316. The CDC and health officials have recommended closing facilities and eliminating [the gathering of] more than 10 people. There are nine people in this room separated by at least six feet each.
[Editor’s note: those nine people are: seven board members, Deborah, the property manager, and Jeff faithfully operating the livestream. We also note that they are even further apart than they were previously, which is excellent.]
Marion: Meetings will be conducted online until further notice. Input sessions are to be as brief as possible to minimize contacts.
[Editor’s note: this makes no sense; what contacts are being minimized? Resident input sessions are not affected because we are all in our own homes.]
Marion: Residents will have up to 3 minutes per resident, total 30 minutes, we hope it’s less. Jeff will handle…
[Editor’s note: Jeff again deserves major kudos for handling the livestream.]
Marion: we recognize Jerry Dinerman and Alan Silver for serving on the Board. Welcome to Richard Greene and Sue Schmer as new members. [Editor’s note: we concur.]
Marion: the meeting will be extra brief, less time spent. [Editor’s note: due to the virus.] Marion: Board meetings scheduled will be erratic; proper notice will be given. It will not be the usual schedules. Stay well, stay safe.
First Residents’ Input Session:
Marion: If you can, please make it brief. I don’t see anybody; I’m not seeing anyone.
[Editor’s note: Silence.]
Marion: Move on to the approval of the Minutes. The Minutes of March 18. Linda: Motion to approve the Minutes. Second: Eileen. All in favor? 6 to 0. Mark was not at the meeting. Motion approved. Minutes of March 26, Linda. Linda: Motion to approve the Minutes of the Annual Meeting. Second: Harvey and Mark. Marion: any discussion? Gonna call the question. All in favor? Unanimous.
Property Manager’s Report: Deborah Balka: Good morning. Palm Beach Broward will be mowing three times this month: April 8 and 9, April 20 and 21, and April 28 and 29. Given the extra heat, irrigation during the day as needed; Glenville Pod, due to irrigation will be in the evening. Ballroom draperies: the side panels are to be removed. You need to decide…I removed one. Window One has no drapery, Window 2 has valance only, Window 3 has ... [too fast to get exact] …please decide which way I should continue. I would like to move forward while the clubhouse is closed. Please add to new business. The vendor will come…Lake erosion project – by the end of today first step will be completed… [muffled] …they’re doing a great job.
Mark Goodman: landscaping…mow as often?
Deborah: normally they’re a cycle – rain – I can ask the landscaper. Mark: last time we got a credit. Marion: add New Business #3, Ballroom Drapes and Valances. Harvey: it already passed. Marion: move to Old Business #1. Marion: I move we choose Window #1. Second: Eileen: Without any valances and without any drapes. Harvey: Number 2…that looks stupid…best – nothing. Marion: they’re tinted. Motion for Window #1: remove the drapes and valances. Unanimous.
Deborah: I would like to find a donation for the draperies. A playhouse. Closed. Marion: a school…Hold onto them. Deborah: Gold drapes on the stage. $636. Marion: Deborah has $1,000 in her purview she may have per month. The President has $1,000.
[Editor’s note: We don’t understand why the president would have $1,000 per month to use at her discretion because any financial decisions must be made and approved by the Board. Deborah’s authorization is appropriate because as the Property Manager she is running the place and may need to pay bills on time for small emergencies and small items, and she should not have to wait for every board meeting. No board member should be making decisions on his or her own, which Marion’s comment clearly suggests. It also creates a situation where everyone will run to Marion with their requests up to $1,000 as opposed to making requests to the Board. This sets a very bad precedent, and we would like to know when, where, and how this policy was authorized.
For example, with this policy, you may have the tennis club approach Marion quietly to get something, such as the fans, which are less than $1,000. Perhaps the pickleball club will seek something for their purposes. Any of the clubs would be incentivized to speak with Marion privately about an expenditure to the exclusion of others, to the exclusion of other Board members, and without the knowledge of the community. One can extrapolate how dangerous this is. This also creates a situation where other people who may want to run for the Board are disadvantaged because of the various self-interests of individuals or groups who are taking advantage of this apparent quirk.
Another reason this is a bad policy is that under the current scenario, Deborah could go to Marion and say, I need another thousand bucks for something, and Marion could ok it without anyone knowing about it, and suddenly Deborah’s limit has become de facto $2,000.
Regardless of whether or not this is a new or old policy, it needs to immediately be stopped.]
Deborah: repair and maintenance. Susan: do they have a guaranty for any damage that they’re responsible? Deborah: they are not responsible for shrinkage; they are dry-cleaning them in place. Susan: other than shrinkage, if there is damage in any way, is it covered? Deborah: they are not responsible for unstable dyes, shrinkage, worn fabrics…sun damages…the customer is responsible to inform all customers in the home; there is no liability for slip and fall if failure to inform…
Marion: Move on to the last item. #2. Pump. [Editor’s note: Emergency Repair of Angel Wing Recharge Pump - $1,173.62] Deborah: the motor failed. It takes the water from the lake. We need it working at all times. We only have two vendors. Wooster and Hydrodynamics. Phil from Hydrodynamics has a bigger team. He works with Palm Beach Broward. They’re out here today. Glenville pump is making noise, Corbel pump, and Angel Wing pump are being looked at today. Wooster works on the fountains when necessary.
Linda: I make a motion. Marion: already done. This was an emergency; it’s a ratification of the vote. Harvey: second. Richard Greene: The money is already set aside and is coming out of the general reserves; it’s not something new. Marion: All in favor? Unanimous. Thank you.
Second Residents’ Input Session:
Jeff: Jerry asked to repeat the names of the officers.
Marion: future meetings will be online on our homes. Jerry, the officers are… [repeated the list]
Vicki Roberts: Can’t hear, especially on the side when Harvey talks into his computer screen. Harvey: it’s a moot point. Vicki: thank you. Marion: there being no other…
Round Table Discussion:
Mark: I was not hear last Board meeting; the board voted for the gates. I remind everybody that we are not now in a financial crisis, but we may be in a financial crisis. We really have to watch our spending. [Editor’s note: that’s why Richard Greene was elected.] Mark: the Board should be very careful of what we vote for; you have my support…but I would have held off until things get back to normal with the fences. Let’s be careful.
Richard Greene: I’m inclined to agree with Mark. I want to do an analysis of what’s in the budget and what we spend; I will have it shortly.
[Editor’s note: Richard is already impressing us.]
Sue Schmer: I would like to thank the residents of Cascade Lakes for electing me as a Director. You have placed your trust in me, and I will do everything possible not to betray that trust.
Whether you voted for me or not, members of the Board represent all residents, and their needs and concerns should be addressed in an equitable manner. I will always try to make decisions that I believe to be in the best interests of the entire community. Thank you again for your confidence and faith in my ability to represent all of you.
[Editor’s note: Sue’s speech was a breath of fresh air and inspiring.]
Harvey: Welcome to Richard and Sue to the Board and congratulations to the new officers.
Eileen: I need clarification on the gates. Marion: We did not vote for the gates, just the fences. At this point, we don’t have it in the budget for the gates.
Marion: Thank you everybody for your support. Linda: I move to adjourn. Marion: second. We are adjourned at 9:52am.
Male Board Member: may the force be [audio cut].
[Editor’s note: We’re totally fine with reduced board meetings, so long as decisions are not made by less than a quorum or in secret, as has been a proven pattern in the past. We hope that the new Board will function better than the 2019 Board, be more transparent, and follow the rules.]
[Editor’s concluding comments: And so concludes the board meeting of April 1, 2020.]