06/23/21 BOD MEETING: SYNOPSIS AND COMMENTARY BY VICKI ROBERTS WITH ASSISTANCE FROM ARTHUR ANDELSON
Posted June 25, 2021. Your Editor provides the following synopsis of the June 23, 2021 Board meeting, with assistance from your Roving Reporter, and with commentary and satire indicated in bold blue and pictures.
Editor’s Opening Monologue:
This edition is entitled “En Garde!”
There has been a lot of buzz around the community about wanting the guard house to continue being manned overnight by a live person versus having a “virtual guard,” the latter of which is very unpopular with the populace.
The idea to do away with the real guard was the brainchild of none other than Board member Harvey Evita Three Dog Night (Guinea) Pig Ginsberg (for references, see synopses of December 2, 2020 – Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina, January 6, 2021 – Vacancy At The Bates Motel, October 7, 2020 – Three Dog Night, and June 2, 2021 – Canine Contemplations and A (Guinea) Pig).
Harvey likes gadgets and technology, and because he likes gadgets and technology, he is going to shove them down your throat, whether you like it or not.
When the ADT contract came to fruition back in 2019, Harvey let everyone know that he was getting all the bells and whistles offered by ADT to secure his home from potential intruders. With that internal security, coupled with what he hoped was a fence along his backyard paid for with HOA money (fence/gate, Three Dog Night synopsis of October 7, 2020), his need for a live person at the guard shack was considerably diminished.
Harvey decided to research a “virtual guard” which exists in no other HOA community in the area, and which is why the potential vendor gave our HOA a 90-day free trial. They needed an “in” into the HOAs around town. Harvey then gleefully presented it to the Board and just like that, the HOA was about to have a virtual guard. It was truly a symbiotic relationship between the new vendor and the gadget-happy Harvey.
We also note that on occasion the automatic gate for the residents doesn’t open and the live guard sometimes has to use a remote control to open it for the residents, similar to a garage door opener. The virtual guard is too far away from the property to be able to do that, so if the resident gate doesn’t work, you’ll be going back and forth, back and forth, and back and forth until you either run out of gas or back up enough and go left into the guest side and seek the assistance of the virtual guard.
Alternatively, if you have the App and can figure out how to use it, then you can let yourself in. Good luck. As a last resort, you could charge the gate, but then you might be responsible for the ensuing damage.
And by the way, if our guard can fall asleep on the job, who is to say that the virtual guard monitor at the remote location isn’t asleep at the wheel? At least here, theoretically we could wake him up.
Harvey Evita Three Dog Night (Guinea) Pig Ginsberg was also the Board member who wanted to force you into using an App called Sign Up Genius to schedule your swim times during the pandemic instead of using the telephone call-in line (that motion went down in defeat) and who most recently wanted to do away with your community phone books and force you onto the internet to use the HOA’s website Address Book as the exclusive means to find your fellow neighbors (besides walking to their house).
Harvey wants you going 100% tech. In his mind, if there is a problem, you just call tech support and you’re good to go.
In sum, Harvey Evita Three Dog Night (Guinea) Pig Ginsberg has no use for many low-tech amenities and wants to drag you into the cyberspace of the future whether you like it or not.
Harvey clearly has no consideration for the stress he has put many people through over this. But don’t let him push you around or push you into something you don’t want. Your Editor recommended that you call every single member of the Board and calmly tell each and every one of them that you love your erstwhile sleeping security guard. And the next time you pass the guard shack, take a moment and spread the love.
On June 9, 2021, your Editor posted a message on this News Site under the HOA Issues page under the sub-page Virtual Guard and sent a copy of it to all Board members, the Zoom operators, and the Property Manager; salient parts of it are reprinted here:
“The community has the legal right to override the Board’s agreement to contract for the “virtual guard.” … Here is the pertinent section of Florida Statute 720.309(2)(a) that will allow you to override the Board decision on this “virtual guard” contract:
“(a) Any contract entered into by the board may be canceled by a majority of the voting interests present at the next regular or special meeting of the association, whichever occurs first...”
Therefore, at the very next Board meeting, …once that motion is made, a vote of the voting interests present at the meeting must be taken. …A voting interest is a household, so that means one vote per household present, not per person present…
…only a simple majority is required, at which point the Board would be obliged to cancel the contract, including the so-called “trial period.” …Vicki Roberts”
The Virtual Guard page on the News Site was widely read by the community; feedback was phenomenal. After your Editor assembled the cavalry, it became clear to the Board that the motion to cancel the virtual guard contract would likely pass when brought to the floor. To avoid certain defeat, the Board scheduled a Zoom “informational meeting” about the virtual guard which took place on the afternoon of June 11, 2021 in an attempt to salvage it. The meeting did not have a quorum of Board members, so it was not a Board meeting.
At the meeting, a representative from the AT&I company which wants to provide the virtual guard to this HOA was there, a presentation was made, and a lot of residents spoke, overwhelmingly against losing the live guard and replacing the live guard with the virtual guard.
Board member Harvey Ginsberg was the Zoom operator for the meeting and did an excellent job making sure that every resident that wanted to speak had an opportunity to do so, and there were a lot of residents who voiced their opinions and concerns in an organized and respectful manner.
Your Editor was duly called on by Mr. Ginsberg. Your Editor stated in pertinent part:
“Vicki: Thank you. You say this is a 90-day trial. You say you’re going to do a survey on day 60. But you ordered in the last Board meeting that the live guard would be terminated on Day 30. That’s backwards. You should have not included the live guard. You should have kept the live guard during the entire trial period, otherwise it’s not a true trial…
Harvey: we can always revisit that at the next meeting and decide if we want to keep the live guard for the entire 90-day trial.
Vicki: that’s a problem, Harvey. The problem with doing that, Harvey, is that under the Florida Statute, Section 720.309(2)(a), I have to -- "
At that point, Board member (and Zoom operator) Harvey Ginsberg rolled his eyes upward and stuck out his tongue.
“Vicki: yeah, you can roll your eyes and stick your tongue out at me, I can see you, but that’s ok, you have a fiduciary duty to me, I don’t have a fiduciary duty to you.
Harvey: ok. [Editor’s note: Harvey then falsely claimed he was just taking a drink (from his jumbo size sippy cup), which was a false deflection as the incident is clearly depicted on the tape, and then he giggled somewhat sheepishly and said he was sorry.]
Vicki: …Now I don’t know how you’re going to fix it, but I’m going to fix it, because I have to fix it, because the majority of the people here are not happy with losing the live guard, and I’m not going to let it happen. And I’ve already got people committed and all I need is a simple majority, ok? So, it’s going to happen on the next Board meeting…
Harvey: ok, so let me ask you this. If we make a motion to rescind the live guard after 30 days, and just keep the live guard for the full 90 days, would that satisfy the community?
Vicki: …You have to keep the live guard until this virtual thing is a done deal, ok? And the people don’t want it. When you take a survey, you’ll figure that out and so it will be a moot point at the end of the day anyway…
Another member: Here, here.”
A review of the tape from the June 2, 2021 board meeting determined that the actual motion for the AT&I contract with the virtual guard did not dismiss the live guard per se, but after the motion Board member Jeff decreed the live guard would be dismissed after Day 30, so the result would probably be the same: the community through a Board vote will lose the live guard if the virtual guard is implemented, make no mistake about it.
And then it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump before the community loses the live guard not only for the overnight shift but for all shifts, as they bid him a fond adieu and ship the live guard away forever. Bon voyage, that ship will have sailed.
This will cause house values to diminish. Having a 24/7 live guard is considered a valuable asset for a community to have. Why not keep the live guard and give him the tools to do a better job, such as cameras on the sidewalks and at the back gate with monitors inside the guard shack? Invest in and use upgraded technology to assist the live guard and have the live guards properly trained. Forget about the virtual guard. But with or without the virtual guard, the community wants a live guard 24/7 period. Enhance the live guard’s abilities by adding cameras and monitors. It is a simple fix for a minimal investment.
By the way, you won’t learn anything new after the 90-day trial period anyway, so this so-called trial period was ridiculous. What would have been accomplished? You would have learned that someone sitting in a warehouse in Jupiter was monitoring seventy different locations and waiting for a beep or some kind of notice from one of the monitors that something was amiss at a particular location. Oh, wait, you already knew that; it’s in the company’s literature and it was explained at the June 11, 2021 informational Zoom meeting.
After this disastrous informational meeting, and facing the certainty of the residents’ motion to cancel the AT&I contract at the next Board meeting, the Board sent out a survey asking the residents whether or not they wanted the virtual guard as your Editor suggested at that June 11th informational meeting (as if they didn’t already know how the vast majority of people felt about it). The deadline to reply to that survey was Sunday, June 20, 2021.
On Monday, June 21, 2021, the next day, the Agenda for the June 23, 2021 Board meeting was sent out and under Old Business, Item #1, it stated “AT&I: Update on virtual guard trial- Survey results- Harvey Ginsberg.” It said nothing about Harvey’s intended motion to rescind the virtual guard contract, and you will see that this was an intentional omission.
The fact that the community was on edge because no rescission motion was listed was apparently completely irrelevant to Jeff and Harvey. Their cavalier callousness is palpable. They put their egos and self-interests first before your interests, which is a breach of their fiduciary duty to you in our opinion. And they let you fret over it and didn’t give a damn.
The survey came back overwhelmingly against the virtual guard, and the Board knew this before publishing the Agenda, but there was no motion on the Agenda to rescind this contract with the virtual guard, as the majority of the community made it clear they wanted, notwithstanding the fact that in the meeting Board member Sue Schmer stated that she had previously sent in this very motion for inclusion on the Agenda.
Who illegally ordered Sue’s Agenda item not to be included on the Agenda? Was that the president? If so, which seems likely, this is an outrageous abuse of power. What was even more egregious is that when Harvey discussed the first item in Old Business, the survey, and reported the results, he then made a motion to rescind the virtual guard.
This sideswiped both his fellow board member(s) and the community, which was given no notice of this maneuver which was clearly planned in advance. Since clearly Harvey and Jeff planned this rescission motion without telling anyone, then they knew that it was not necessary to hire the HOA lawyer with your money to try and refute your Editor’s similar motion to rescind the contract (see that maneuver and analysis in the First Residents’ Input Session below). So, they spent your money for absolutely nothing.
Why did they do it? They did it for the sole purpose of trying to discredit (and thereafter silence) your Editor. They reasoned that if they could do that, they could stop this News Site’s popularity and put an end to it. Their efforts failed miserably as you will see below; your Editor’s legal authorities eviscerate the HOA’s lawyer’s specious and frivolous arguments. Jeff and Harvey took your money and used it in a failed personal attempt to discredit a member/owner (your Editor) to whom they owe a fiduciary duty. They breached that fiduciary duty to all of you, too.
Rudely snubbing equal Board member Sue’s request to add the exact same item to the Agenda (because she didn’t know that Harvey and Jeff secretly conspired to do it on their own under Old Business Item #1 which merely stated that it was a report on the survey) was deceitful and dishonest on the part of the president and the vice-president, Jeff D. Green and Harvey Ginsberg. Not putting an equal board member’s item on the Agenda was without legal authority. The president does not set the Agenda; he merely presides over the meeting after an Agenda is published. One has nothing to do with the other.
This harkens back to the days when board member Alan Silver erroneously claimed to your Editor and your Roving Reporter that former president Marion Weil had veto power over the Agenda. What is wrong with the rest of you board members other than Sue? Why don’t you speak up? Why do you allow and condone this abuse of power? Why don’t you know and follow the rules?
Why don’t you read the HOA’s own governing documents to see that the president has three roles, and three roles only: sign checks, preside over board meetings, and implement board orders. Other than that, he is just a simple board member equal to everyone else. The vice-president’s role is even less. See By-Laws, Section VIII, Subsection G, page 3-10.
The Board meeting was convened on Wednesday, June 23, 2021. The HOA lawyer was there. This was a total waste of your money because had they listed the motion to rescind the virtual guard on the Agenda as they should have, there would have been no need for the lawyer. There wasn’t a need for him anyway and his advice was, in the opinion of your Editor, backwards and flat out wrong in several critical areas, as will be addressed below under the First Residents’ Input Session where your Editor gave an analysis of the statute, proved him wrong, and then made the motion to rescind the virtual guard contract.
The rest of the story plays out below in the First Residents’ Input Session, the item in Old Business #1, and the Second Residents’ Input Session. It’s worth the read so you know who you’re dealing with. Remember when these people come up for re-election; have no fear, we will remind you.
As you will read below, the virtual guard portion of the AT&I contract was rescinded because of community pressure, and at the end of the Round Table Discussion, current president Jeff D. Green angrily described what would have been a “mutiny” if they didn’t rescind the virtual guard, using his word.
Well, for goodness’ sake, if you know you have a mutiny on your hands, why’d you double down on your position, incur legal fees which the members have to pay, treat a fellow equal board member with disdain, and cause untold stress to hundreds of your elder neighbors? You are unworthy to lead this HOA. Your campaign slogan, Jeff, as stated by you on March 15, 2021 during Meet the Candidates Night, was “I am the candidate of reason and common sense.” You have displayed neither. Au contraire, you’ve proven otherwise.
As we state later in this report after a thorough review as detailed below, and based on the totality of the circumstances, this News Site's previous endorsement of current president Jeff D. Green is officially rescinded for what in our opinion constitutes unsportsmanlike behavior, fiscal irresponsibility, abuse of power, and callousness toward his fellow members of the community.
As for the virtual guard, he’s gone and the community’s sleeping live guard lives on! Now let’s get him or her the tools to better do his or her job, and let’s monitor him or her so that if we learn that we have a sleeping beauty, we can find a prince to wake her up.
Your Editor thanks everyone in the community who rose to the occasion and were ready to vote in agreement with your Editor’s motion to cancel the virtual guard contract, including the residents who gave your Editor their signed proxies to vote against the virtual guard on their behalf because they either don’t have working computers, don’t know how to use Zoom, or were otherwise unavailable. There is strength in numbers, and the community does have a voice. The Board heard your roar, loud and clear.
And now on to the supposedly unlocked doors of the Zoom Board meeting of the HOA.
Board Meeting: Audio and Video Up and Running; Zoom meeting online starts at 9:30am.
[Editor’s note: There were 102 devices logged into the meeting at this juncture; it increased to a high of 120 during Harvey’s presentation of the survey results concerning the virtual guard.]
Board Members Present:
Jeff D. Green (Board member and office of President) [Lord of the (F)Lies?]
Harvey Ginsberg (Board member and office of Vice-President) [proud gadget owner]
Richard Greene (Board member and office of Treasurer)
Alan Silver (Board member and office of Secretary)
Linda Arbeit (Board member)
Bob Dingee (Board member)
Sue Schmer (Board member)
HOA Lawyer Present: Steven Rappaport
[Editor’s note: the lawyer was an amiable and respectful chap, but out of his league and, in your Editor’s opinion, wrong on the law as proven below.]
Call to Order: Jeff D. Green.
Pledge of Allegiance: led by Richard Greene.
Sue Schmer: Point of Order. Sue: Request to put this item on the agenda as it was requested by me prior to the agenda being disseminated, (June 20 @ 1:02PM) and was not included. All of you, including the property manager were cc’d on the email. I also called the office on Monday, June 21, to ensure that it would be on the agenda, and it was not.
“Discussion – to rescind the motion regarding approval of the virtual guard.”
It is improper to remove an agenda item that any director has requested. Not having this explicitly stated led to actions that should and could have been avoided if the wording of the agenda item had been clarified. We were given the game plan from a resident as to what would occur, and we didn’t properly address it.
Additionally, the HOA incurred attorney fees that were not approved of by the entire bd. and in at least one case (mine) was unaware when attorneys were called. If I were on the call, I would have certainly questioned the premise of our attorney’s opinion that motions by members can only be made at a meeting of the members, because I believe that it is antithetical to the meaning of the statute in question.
Items to the agenda have been added at the beginning of the meeting – reference April 21, 2021 as a recent example, when irrigation repair and hard-tru for tennis courts were added as items 9 and 10.
So I respectfully request that the Agenda item that I wanted and that should be on is on because I do not believe that what is on the Agenda regarding the virtual guard gives clarity as to what our true intent of this meeting is.
Jeff: Are you finished? Sue: I’m finished. Jeff: Thank you. Now I’ll make the opening remarks.
[Editor’s note: well, that was rude. Sue, an equal board member, made a valid request and Jeff blew her off. Unfortunately, Sue did not follow up and insist on an answer to her question. And not one other Board member opened his or her mouth to call out Jeff’s dismissiveness. Hey, Board members, is that ok with you? I guess it’s ok as long as he does it to someone else, not you, and don’t worry, as long as you stay in line and know your place, you’re probably safe. You may be safe, but you’re all in chains. Personally, I’ll take having a free voice any day of the week over “safe.”]
[Editor’s note: Jeff stated that Harvey was the Zoom host and Anita was the co-host. He stated that the attorney Steven Rappaport from the law firm of Sachs Sax & Caplan was present. They are the HOA attorneys.]
First Residents’ Input Session:
Now, residents, if you want to speak, remember, it’s one at a time.
1. Vicki Roberts, Landon Circle. Jeff, I see you have the HOA lawyer here at this association meeting, correct? Jeff: Correct. Vicki: Oh, so it is an association meeting; good to know. Jeff: no it is not; it is a board meeting. [Editor’s note: then Jeff attempted to continue speaking during your Editor’s time.] Vicki: I have the floor. [Jeff was then talking over your Editor].
Vicki: excuse me, Point of Order, I have the floor. You spoke with him about my motion, clearly that’s why he’s here, and that was just divulged to us anyway. You used HOA money to pay a lawyer to go against the majority’s wishes. Now this is an association meeting. The association is represented by the Board. The Board acts on behalf of the association. The statute says this motion is to be made at the next association meeting.
I bet the lawyer told you that a member motion to cancel a contract can only be made at a member meeting; indeed, that’s what was just mentioned by your colleague, not a board meeting of the association. Now I’m going to explain to everyone how ludicrous that is, this suggestion that this motion can only be made at a member meeting and not a board meeting of the association.
At the very bottom of Florida statute section 720.303 which covers association powers and duties and meetings of the board, under subsection (12) and then subsection (e), the legislature used the language “at a meeting of the members” for a specific issue, so the legislature made a distinction between using the language “meeting of the association” in 720.309 which covers motions by members, and “meeting of the members” in 720.303 which covers association powers and duties and board meetings. Note that association duties and board meetings are part of the same specific section of the HOA statutory scheme.
The legislature knew the difference. If it had meant meeting of the members for 720.309, it would have said so as it did in the earlier section. Instead, it chose to use the words “meeting of the association” and not “meeting of the members” as it did in the prior section in the HOA statutory scheme. This makes sense because the members can do a lot of things at member meetings but are very limited in what they can do at Board meetings. This was a specific carve out for members specifically at association meetings which are run by the board.
To further prove to you the absurdity of this frivolous position, according to this argument, if the members meet for their once-a-year annual membership meeting on March 26, 2021 and the Board enters into a six-month contract on the very next day, March 27, 2021, this motion could not be brought until March 26, 2022 at the next members’ meeting, which is six months after the objectionable contract ended. That’s a farcical result.
If any of you were told this by the HOA lawyer, which apparently is true from what I just learned, it’s time to get a new HOA lawyer because it’s hard to believe that this one could be that ill-informed, especially when the Florida 720 statutory scheme itself makes the distinction in different parts as I quoted above.
I make a Motion per Florida Statute 720.309(2) and (2)(a). I move to cancel the AT&I virtual guard contract.
Arthur Andelson: I second!
Vicki: To start the debate-- [Jeff then starts to interrupt.] Vicki: I’m not done, my three minutes is not up. You’re out of order. Jeff: your three minutes are up in 10 seconds.
[Editor’s note: if my three minutes are up in 10 seconds, then that means that they’re not up yet, so be quiet, stop interrupting, and allow the speaker their full statutory time, which doesn’t include the time you use for interrupting.
This reminds your Editor of when the prior president, Marion Weil, Jeff’s good friend, illegally tried to pull the microphone away from your Editor at a prior board meeting in the clubhouse before the two-minute mark because she illegally decreed that there would only be two minutes per speaker, and the statute requiring a minimum of three minutes per resident speaker, 720.303(2)(b), be damned. And let’s not even get into the attempted assault that Marion committed upon your Editor in that despicable display of hubris, overreach, and violation of the law.
Are we returning to those days? Is Jeff now taking a page from his buddy Marion’s playbook? That’s not going to end well. At the last election, recall that of the seven candidates, Marion came in dead last, and it wasn’t even close. Jeff, apparently you have to be reminded that you have limited powers; abuse those powers at your peril.]
Vicki: I say it’s necessary to have a live guard 24/7 and a virtual guard is not a live guard on the premises. The debate has started.
[Editor’s note: under Robert’s Rule 23, once the debate has started, there can be no objection to the motion; that’s specifically why I said what I said.]
Jeff: the motion is out of order and your three minutes are up. Steven, would you like to address her. Vicki: Objection. He’s not allowed to do that under Rule 23 of Robert’s Rules of Order. He’s not allowed to do it. I have the rule right here. Would you like me to read you the pertinent part? Jeff: would you please mute her because her three minutes are up, Anita.
[Editor’s note: this would never be able to happen in a live meeting in the ballroom, so this is taking advantage of the Zoom feature. Your Editor has every right to raise an objection under Robert’s Rules and to have the objection heard. Clearly Jeff does not know the rules and doesn’t give a crap. That’s your current president. For the record, again, per Robert’s Rule 23, once the debate has started (which I specifically did as you can clearly see above), there can be no objection to the motion and the motion must be heard. All objections to the motion are waived.]
Steven Rappaport [HOA attorney paid for with your money]: I’ll defer to the Chair. Would the Chair like me to address this issue? Jeff: yes, you can. Steven: I appreciate that. Sue: ok, Steve, I object to that, I object to the ruling of the Chair. And I appeal the ruling of the Chair, because I was the one and it should come as no surprise to any board member as to what I was going to do because I told you so way, way in advance. I do believe that there is validity to what is said, after you finish, I’m going to question you which I can do under Civil Code. And, if you want, I’ll –
Jeff: you can, let him do his piece. Sue: I will let him speak and then I would like to ask him, make a statement, and ask him a series of questions.
Steve: well, I can’t guarantee that I’m going to answer your questions with all due respect, so I’m going to make my statement and give me legal advice here, and then we’ll see how that plays out. I don’t want to really spend a ton of your time and money – Sue: me neither. Steve: on an issue, and I’m glad to hear that. So let me say my piece because I do have a legal position on this.
I really appreciate Ms. Roberts’ comments. I think it’s a well-reasoned argument; I happen to disagree. We could make the exact same argument that the statute also calls for board meetings or meetings of the board separately from association meetings, so I personally think, and I have felt this way for the 19 years that I’ve been doing this -- [Editor’s note: your Editor’s been “doing this” for double that time – 38 years, including litigation on the trial and appellate levels concerning statutory construction and analysis.] Steve: --that this was a legislative drafting error, that the use of the term “meeting of the association” is just a bad use of a term, that it should have said “meeting of the membership.”
[Editor’s note: that argument is absurd and wouldn’t get you past a demurrer or motion to dismiss; you claim a scrivener’s error on the part of the Legislature, you cite nothing to support that supposition, and claim it’s your personal opinion without basis, without foundation, and without even looking at the legislative history of the statute and the 2011 amendment to the statute which added the subsections in question. But your Editor did.
The 2011 amendment to the statute which added the subsections in question came from HB 1195 (House Bill 1195). After it passed the House by a wide margin, it was sent to the then-Governor who approved it on June 21, 2011; it was then filed in the Office of the Secretary of State on June 21, 2011, and on June 23, 2011, it officially became Florida Chapter No. 2011-196, with an effective date of July 1, 2011. It was not a scrivener’s error or legislative drafting error; in the ten years since it was amended to specifically add subsections (2), (a), (b), and (c), no other changes were made to the statute.
Thus, the baseless claim that it was a legislative drafting error is refuted by the history of the enactment of the statute and the passage of time since its enactment. It is, respectfully, a spurious argument that wouldn’t get you to first base in a lawsuit. Rather, the statute speaks for itself, and it intentionally says “meeting of the association” which is this very meeting by the specific language of the statutes.
Moral of the story: just because you don’t like what the statute says doesn’t mean you get to claim that the Legislature made a mistake in verbiage. Under that theory, you could make that claim as to any statute whose language didn’t fit your position in a case. This is nonsense. So, the next time some lawyer claims that the Legislature made a drafting error in a statute, make him prove it, or dismiss his argument as being the frivolity that it is. Had president Jeff not muted your Editor’s microphone, your Editor would have been able to do so.]
Steve: But, I don’t want to spend a ton of time getting into that issue because the bottom line is that even if you’re position was 100% correct and that the members would have a right to vote at this meeting, which I don’t think is sensical at all because again, it is a board meeting, not a membership meeting, but even if you were to be granted all of your points, the problem is that 720.309, subsection (2) talks about telecommunications, cable, internet, and information services that are provided to an association by a bulk rate contract.
[Editor’s note: that is not what it says. It says communication services, informational services, OR bulk rate contacts. Steve used the word “AND” and conflated them all together. Here is the pertinent part of the section: you decide:
“(2) If the governing documents provide for the cost of communications services as defined in s. 202.11, information services or Internet services obtained pursuant to a bulk contract…”
Does it say “and” as he states, or does it say “or” meaning either of the three types of contracts – those defined in 202.11, information services OR internet services obtained pursuant to a bulk contract? Of course, it says “or” and the virtual guard is an information service which no one disputes. Nowhere does the statute state that it ONLY applies to bulk contracts which is what he is saying. You don’t need to be a lawyer to be able to read and understand the difference between the words “and” and “or.”
Steve: It is not talking about other contracts such as security, landscaping, management, accounting, legal, or any of those types of contracts.
[Editor’s note: correct, but we’re not talking about those categories of contracts; that has nothing to do with this contract which is an information service. This is a deflection.]
Steve: ok, the subsection (a) that you are referring to is under section 2, and all of section 2, if you read the opening paragraph of section 2 and subparagraphs a, b, and c, they all relate the bulk rate cable and information services contracts.
[Editor’s note: that is just not what the statute says, period. It says “or” meaning either of the three categories, not just the bulk rate category. It’s plain English.]
Steve: so the members absolutely would have a right – it’s debatable if they would have a right at a board meeting or a membership meeting – to cancel a – in order to make a motion to cancel a bulk rate cable or a bulk rate internet or communication services contract, that’s a certainly debatable topic, but in my opinion it is not debatable at all that this particular contract or any other non-bulk rate communications contract can be terminated by a vote of the membership, and in my opinion this motion is just not able to be heard.
[Editor’s note: first the lawyer says that the Legislature made a mistake because he decided they did and he didn’t like the language that is actually in the statute, and then he replaces the word “or” with the word “and” to make his position work. The law doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to change the language of a statute by declaring it must have been a legislative drafting error because it doesn’t suit your position and then change an “or” to an “and” to make your failing position work.]
Steve: and with regard to Robert’s Rules, Robert’s Rules also provides that for small boards, such as HOA and condo boards, or other smaller boards that aren’t the United States Congress or Parliament, Robert’s Rules can be relaxed and does not have to be followed to the rule, to the letter.
[Editor’s note: the previous board president declared that Robert’s Rules apply; now suddenly they don’t although we are given no citation for this authority. And later you will see Harvey invoke Robert’s Rules, so in reality, Robert’s Rules applies when Harvey wants it to apply but only if it suits his purposes for that moment. If it doesn’t, then he is free to disregard it.]
Steve: So, I appreciate all the references to Robert’s Rules and the motions that people want to make and so forth, but with all due respect, the Chair of the meeting is the Chair of the meeting, the Agenda is the Agenda, and I’ll defer back to the Chair as to recognizing the next speaker. But again, the legal position is that whether this is whether this is the appropriate venue for this particular motion, it is not an appropriate motion because it is not the type of contract that can be cancelled by a vote of the members.
[Editor’s note: wrong, wrong, wrong. Your Editor cited the authorities, and you can read it with your own eyes. There was no legislative drafting error, and the statutory language is clear and unambiguous. Talk about trying to back into a conclusion. That was a dizzying, torturous trek through legal No Man’s Land and an embarrassment to educated lawyers, judges, and experienced statute drafters in the Legislature. Perhaps the lawyer should stick to simple matters such as liens and foreclosures and leave the statutory analysis to those of us who lived and breathed it for four decades.]
Steve: and to the point of somebody who made a comment in the Chat, 100% every member has the right to question the board, every member has the right to attend board meetings, to speak at board meetings for I believe up to three minutes–
[Editor’s note: ok, so here he doesn’t even know the statutory three-minute rule. It’s not “up to” three minutes; it is a minimum of three minutes which is literally the opposite of what he is saying: Florida Statute 720.303 (2)(b):
“(b) Members have the right to attend all meetings of the board and to speak on any matter placed on the agenda by petition of the voting interests for at least 3 minutes.”
Steve: --on designated Agenda items; nobody’s taking anybody’s right to voice their opinions; you have every right to voice your opinions. You have every right to use the electoral process to elect your representatives. But again, the legal position is just simply that this is not a type of contract that falls under the purview of 720.309 for membership vote.
[Editor’s note: it’s exactly the kind of contract that falls under the purview of the statute.]
[Editor’s further note: Board member Sue raises her hand and says, “um.”] Jeff: Anyone else have their hand up? [Editor’s note: Sue’s hand is still clearly raised; several times during this Zoom board meeting including this time Jeff ignored her and then claimed he didn’t see her hand raised. Has Jeff placed a post-it note over Sue’s face on his computer screen?]
Jeff: Joyce Winston. Sue: no, I do, because I believe I have the right to ask some questions of the attorney; it says so in the civil code, that I can question any person; is that correct, Steve? Steve: What code; I mean I’m happy to take your questions. Sue: It’s 4930 (b) (1) and (b) (2). But in any case, I would like to read the statute to you, and if I was on the conversation, which I wasn’t, perhaps I should have been because meetings with the attorneys are meetings with the Board; it says so in 720.
Be that as it may, it said, for 2, “if the governing documents provide for the cost of communication services as defined in 202.11, information services, or, OR, internet services obtained pursuant to a bulk contract.” The word “or” means either of those three. At least, that is what I was told in my English class. So I’m going to ask you these questions. Not to waste time, because I wrote them down. [Harvey raises his hand.]
Harvey: Point of Order. I believe this is not germane to the conversation --
[Editor’s note: Point of Order is under Robert’s Rules of Order. So if you’re keeping track, now we’re following Robert’s Rules. I thought before we were dispensing with them. I think I understand what’s going on here: Robert’s Rules will be used when it suits Jeff and Harvey, but otherwise the rest of you can go pound sand.]
Harvey: the motion has been ruled inappropriate; therefore, we should move on. Sue: I can appeal the motion of the Chair, which I am requesting to do. I appeal the motion of the Chair to be able to ask my questions, and what I do need according to Robert’s Rules if we choose to use this one, which I believe we should, it needs a Second.
[Editor’s note: it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.]
Sue: and I would encourage any one of my colleagues to second it just for debate purposes as they have done in the past. [Crickets.] Alan: Sue, what is your motion? Sue: It’s not a motion; I have questions that I would like to ask of the attorney. So I am not wasting time, I wrote them down. The Chair requests that we move on.
[Editor’s note: actually Harvey did, not the Chair. Jeff was silent. Harvey’s just the Zoom operator and another equal Board member in the meeting.]
Sue: The Chair is not giving me the opportunity to – Jeff: would you rather that we make a motion to disband the meeting? And not have a board meeting today, Sue? Sue: no. Jeff: enough of this already.
[Editor’s note: say what? This was uncalled for sarcasm and rudeness to a fellow equal Board member, and most unprofessional. But wait, there’s more nastiness to follow.]
Sue: no, but what I am questioning – Jeff: enough of this already. Sue: what I’m doing is appealing your decision, and I want to tell you, Jeff, because I’ve said it to you in writing a thousand times, and to everybody else, this has nothing to do with the person who is making the motion before, the resident that made the motion. I would say and do the very same thing had it been anybody else, including John Smith.
Jeff: We have an opinion from the attorney that the motion is not a valid motion. Sue: I am questioning – Jeff: And you want to hire your own attorney—Sue: no, I do not. I want to question the attorney. Jeff: when you want to hire your attorney and pay for it, and talk to our attorney, and see who’s right and who’s wrong, you have the right to do that if you would like. But I’d like to move this meeting along and finish the residents’ section.
[Editor’s note: this nastiness from the president is out of order. It is inexcusable for him to speak in that manner to a co-equal board member. Clearly, he appears to have anger management issues, which is not a good trait for someone running a meeting. Again, not one other Board member spoke up to call out his nasty tone and snide comments. And this type of behavior constitutes bullying.
Further, Jeff and Harvey took HOA money and hired the HOA attorney without any other Board member’s knowledge, had that attorney render a legal opinion (which was in your Editor’s opinion completely wrong), and then did not allow his fellow equal Board member to question that attorney on that opinion, and instead suggested she hire her own attorney presumably at her expense. Not one other Board member said a word; they sat there silently like they were auditioning for a remake of The Stepford Wives.]
Sue: that’s what I am challenging. Harvey: Point of Order.
[Editor’s note: I guess Robert’s Rules are on again; oh, yes, remember, for Jeff and Harvey they apply if they are useful; if they are problematic for these two, then they don’t apply. See how that works? And don’t worry, they’ve got the HOA lawyer with your money to back them up, because according to him, the rules can be relaxed whenever. In reality, that’s called a free-for-all which allows for tag-team bullying while the rest of the Board remains silent.]
Sue: I am appealing the motion of the Chair. Harvey: Point of Order. First of all, the president and vice-president have the right to ask for legal opinions.
[Editor’s note: say what? Are you just making this crap up as you go along? Nowhere in the governing documents where those offices are defined does it mention anything of the sort.]
Harvey: so, we asked the attorney for their opinion. It was not a privileged conversation, it was not an in camera session, therefore the rest of the Board did not need to be involved.
[Editor’s note: this is outrageous. These two are making it up as they go along and have hijacked the Board. The rest of the Board, except Sue, seems content to let them do so. So, it appears that the two people who are running things in Cascade Lakes are Jeff and Harvey aka Shari Lewis and her puppet, Lamb Chop.]
Harvey: we got an opinion which we shared with the Board after we got the opinion. Sue: show that to me in writing, Harvey, that it’s only the Board president and the vice-president. I am very well aware of what the powers of the president and vice-president are; we wrote them. The Rules & Regs wrote them.
Harvey: Sue, with all due respect, we need to move on, we have several residents that want to speak, and it is their residents’ input session that we’re encroaching on.
[Editor’s note: is this now a tag-team of Jeff and Harvey running the meeting in tandem? I thought the president presides over the meeting. Why is Harvey taking control of the meeting?]
Sue: ok, so there is no one who will second the appeal of the Chair to ask my questions of the lawyer. [Silence.] Jeff: right. So let’s move on.
[Editor’s note: ladies and gentlemen, you have in Sue an incredible presence on the Board that represents you. This is why she received the most votes when she ran for the Board. Her commitment to this community and to doing things right is a breath of fresh air among the stink at the top.]
2. Joyce Winston: [Editor’s note: Joyce stated that she believed anyone who wanted to speak on this guard house matter ought to be allowed to do so and that the Board should take into consideration all the member’s opinions who answered the survey on the matter.]
Harvey: if you notice the first order of business, Old Business, there’s an update on the guard trial, I believe that if everybody would just hold their questions, that their questions will be answered satisfactorily when we get to that point. We’re wasting a lot of time on something that will probably come to a favorable conclusion if you would just be patient.
[Editor’s note: and that’s the “tell”: he just told you that the virtual guard is going bye-bye. He just told you that there will be a motion to rescind it.
So he and his buddy at the top knew the entire time that they would be moving to rescind it, but didn’t put it on the Agenda, didn’t put Sue’s request for a discussion about it on the Agenda, didn’t tell anyone, and allowed the community of elder residents to continue to stress out to the detriment of their collective health while this issue percolated, and also incurred completely unnecessary legal fees that you all paid for, all for their folly, frivolity, and ignoble motives (not honorable in character or purpose).
This is beyond shameful, and as your Editor says in the second residents’ input session, in your Editor’s opinion, it borders on elder abuse.]
3. Lillian Astrachan: I defer to speak later. The survey results were not announced. Jeff: correct.
4. Arnie Green: Jeff, is the Board going to follow the survey results? Jeff: yes. Arnie: you believe the guard is sleeping. When I was in the service, we had punch clocks.
Approval of Minutes: June 2, 2021 Board meeting: Alan Silver:
Alan: Motion to approve the Minutes of the June 2, 2021 Board meeting. Jeff: seconded by Linda. All in favor? Unanimous.
Treasurer’s Report: Richard Greene. [Editor’s note: the report was included in the notice of the agenda, is self-explanatory, and will not be repeated herein.]
Alan: motion to approve Treasurer’s Report. Sue: second. Jeff: all in favor? Unanimous – Bob is missing. [Bob got bumped offline, and eventually returned.]
Property Manager’s Report:
Deborah: final mow Friday the 25th and Monday the 28th. July, four mows, waiting on the schedule… June 26 and 27, no office staff present, scheduling conflict. Maintenance due July 1.
1. Landscaping: [Editor’s note: Linda presented the report; co-Chair Shelly Andreas was kind enough to email it to your Editor for inclusion herein:]
Landscape Committee Report June 3, 2021
The Landscape Committee met on June 3 in the ballroom.
The committee agreed that our next project should be the middle fountain located at the front of our community.
Cascade Lakes Boulevard will be addressed once the ficus removal and replacement has been completed.
The committee members were assigned to review the middle fountain area, come up with suggestions for updating the area which will be reviewed and discussed at our July meeting.
We are now in the rainy season and the mow crew will try to avoid wet areas so as not to create ruts and tire tracks on the sidewalks and driveways. Edging may not be done if the ground is wet to avoid making a muddy mess.
Shelly Andreas, co chair
2. Recreation: [Editor’s note: Harvey presented a report; there is a party on the pool deck on July 3rd for your Editor’s birthday, I mean for the Independence Day weekend. There is a Labor Day event on September 5th, and there are more events in the future.]
3. Engineering: [Editor’s note: Bob Dingee reported on the road resurfacing; he stated that the lawyers created an A1A contract, it was sent out and signed by both parties; they are waiting for permitting; they also signed the contract for the oversight of the project.]
4. Entertainment: [Editor’s note: Diane Fiorillo-Green, Chairperson, reported on the upcoming events for which flyers will be e-blasted; she also presented the results of a survey as to what the residents wanted or were willing to do with regard to meetings for entertainment purposes in the clubhouse and the like.]
[Editor’s note: These items are still being ignored. Details are found on our page entitled “Agenda Items.”]
A. Rescinding illegal “Take Away Your Transponder If You Have An Estate Sale” vote. –THIS RULE HAS BEING EXPANDED TO INCLUDE SECOND VIOLATIONS; THERE IS AN APPARENT OBSESSION WITH TRANSPONDERS.
B. Rescission of the improper banning of Alex from the community
C. Improper use of HOA funds
D. Improper expansion of Presidential powers
E. Disabling of the Zoom meeting Chat function
F. Clubs and Their Asinine Rules -- HANDLED; CLUB RULES NEUTERED; AWAITING NOTICE TO COMMUNITY, NEW RULES TO BE EMAILED TO ALL RESIDENTS, REMOVAL OF BOGUS PICKLEBALL CLUB RULES FROM HOA WEBSITE
G. Two incident reports
H. All incident reports are to immediately go to all Board members
I. Weekly email blasts; News & Views dedicated page for president; president assuming too many liaison positions that target communication and final decisions
J. Eliminate Liaisons To Vendors; Property Manager and HOA Attorney To Report To All Board Members
K. Expenditures That Are Not Revealed To The Community Need to Be Openly Disclosed; Where Does Your Money Go?
L. Message Board Suspensions
M. Webmasters Making Board Decisions
NEW ENTRIES ON THE LIST:
[none at this time.]
1. AT&I: Update on virtual guard trial- Survey results- Harvey Ginsberg.
Harvey: we received overwhelming negative feedback. 61% against the virtual guard; 39% for. We should rescind the motion to accept the trial. Second: [several Board members seconded; it was given to Linda.] Jeff: all in favor? 6. I abstain.
[Editor’s note: many residents, including us, believe that the percentages were higher against the virtual guard. The problem is that they should have counted only one vote per household, not one vote per person, and there is no indication that they eliminated individuals who voted who were from the same household.
Second, it is interesting that Jeff abstained. He likely abstained so as not to alienate either camp, at least we think that was his reasoning. Harvey went with the prevailing winds and made the motion and voted to rescind it to satisfy the masses even though the original motion to have the virtual guard was his.
Make no mistake, he wanted it badly. But he also values his position on the Board, and the two times he ran he squeaked by with the fewest votes needed to win; the first time he won by only one vote and the second time he eked in by a mere 17 votes. He’s vulnerable at election time and he knows it.
They then voted on the Gate Key Plus Proposal, which they approved for $1,733.40 plus a recurring cost of $500 per month for the service. Jeff stated they lost the discounted amount when they rejected the virtual guard and had to renegotiate the contract. This is further evidence that Jeff and Harvey knew well in advance that Harvey would be making a motion to rescind the virtual guard.
A review of the proposal shows that without the discount, the upfront hardware cost is $5,173.45 plus the recurring $500 per month fee. The HOA currently pays $380 per month for ISN. It will now pay $500 per month plus the aforementioned upfront hardware cost.
Harvey made the motion; Jeff seconded it. It includes a driver’s license reader at the gate and an App for smart phones if you want to use it to let yourself in if you are not in your car and there is no transponder on the car you’re in. It has some other bells and whistles. It costs more than the current system. It is not required if you don’t want to use it.]
Jeff: all in favor? 4-3. [In favor: Jeff, Harvey, Linda, Sue; opposed: Alan, Richard, Bob.] It passes.
2. Update of road contract- Bob Dingee
[Editor’s note: Bob gave the report earlier.]
Sue: you really did an excellent job; I would appreciate that next time – the form has substantially changed – we at least be given sufficient lead time to compare, and as a courtesy to the Legal Advisory Group, give them a look-see. Bob: it is substantially the same; the only thing that changed was the format. Sue: thank you for taking the time to answer my question.
[Editor’s note: Jeff, the president and liaison to the Legal Advisory Group, is never going to do that; your Editor, as the resident legal contract specialist and member of said Group, reviewed and red-lined the original proposed contract and then unsurprisingly never heard from Jeff again. Once again, what’s in the best interest of the community bows to ego and misplaced anger.]
3. Committee/Board Interaction Action Plan-Alan Silver: Action plan to implement guidelines.
[Editor’ note: they moved to implement their board/committee interaction plan guidelines and it passed unanimously. Truthfully, it sounded like a lot of gobbledygook to us. Just do you jobs, be efficient, competent, and above all, honest. That shouldn’t be a tall order.]
1. Updated ARB guidelines- Linda Arbeit
[Editor’s note: Linda moved to update the ARB guidelines for decorative objects, landscaping, and mailboxes. Harvey seconded. Linda called on Shelly Andreas, Chair of ARB, who lamented that violations are not enforced, so why add more rules; she also stated that the ARB has guidelines, and the ARB is governed by the HOA governing documents, which is 100% correct.
Sue made a motion to amend the motion which only received one other vote, Alan. Linda then made her motion again to accept the ARB guidelines for 2021. Harvey stated he already seconded it. The motion passed 6-1 with Sue opposing.
2. PBB -Royal Palm trim/straps - $1,595 (O) Linda Arbeit
Linda: …quarterly contract, for the safety of the community; motion to approve. Deborah: 29 palms. Jeff: Second. All in favor? Unanimous.
3. Club Meetings and functions in Clubhouse –Jeff Green: Movies begin August 8
Jeff: Open July 7. club meeting and functions, adhere to our guidelines…motion to allow not to exceed 80 in the ballroom at the time currently. Movies, limit of 80 until the next meeting. No guests allowed. Linda: Second. Alan: when will we start to allow guests? Jeff: President’s Club, meeting on Monday…34 communities, 14 are still not allowing the clubhouse to be open, 10 allow guests, 10 aren’t. We’re right in the middle. Let’s see how it goes. All in favor?
Sue: will the 80 be separated for 6 foot distancing? Harvey: no, it’s not required. Alan: the fitness center classes because of the 6 foot requirement, are you saying no longer there? Harvey: defer to what the Y is doing. Jeff: all in favor? Unanimous.
4. Entertainment –Multiple Contracts - Richard Greene
[Editor’s note: multiple entertainment contracts were signed; it was unanimous.]
5. Water Fountains -$3745 (R) Harvey Ginsberg
[Editor’s note: two water fountains were replaced, one by tennis courts 5 and 6 for $2,250 and one by the pickleball courts for $1,475, and they added $775 for part of the requirements of doing this, so the total was actually $4,500. The motion was made by Harvey, and seconded by Sue.]
Sue: we should treat the tennis and pickleball folks equally. Jeff: [in what appeared to be a nasty, dismissive tone]: it has nothing to do with the tennis and pickleball people…it has to do with the use of the water fountain. Sue: thank you, thank you for the clarification. Jeff: all in favor? Unanimous.
6. Island Air – Halo units for A/C units – (O) Bob Dingee
Bob: …LED ultraviolet light installed in air handlers; 10 to 11 left, between the fitness center and the clubhouse, $900 apiece. My recommendation is to put the ones in the fitness center…motion to purchase at this time 3 of these for the fitness center/tennis center, Lee’s office supplies it…$2,700 total. Second: Richard. Jeff: All in favor? Unanimous.
7. RCI – Paint rear fencing $1785 (O) -Harvey Ginsberg
Harvey: …fence along the back gate when they take down the ficus…fences faded and in disrepair…had them welded. Proposal to paint on both sides. We need to get a proposal from South Florida Fence or somebody to fix the fences. I don’t think we should paint until the fences are repaired. I would like to table this motion… [further discussion ensued] … motion to accept the proposal upon completion of the repair. Linda: Second. Jeff: All in favor? Unanimous.
8. Insurance Renewal – due July 1 –$28,508.75 (O) Richard Greene
Richard: …coverage starts on July 1. Need immediate approval. I propose we approve the policies in your package…Second: Bob. Jeff: All in favor? Unanimous.
9. Backflow – Repairs $2830 – (O) – Jeff Green
Jeff: from the fire and sprinkler inspection, June 9 report, a couple of leaking valves and backflow assembly, $2,658, motion to approve repairs and sprinkler system. Second: Bob. Jeff: all in favor? Unanimous.
Second Residents’ Input Session:
1. Vicki Roberts: [Your Editor] Jeff and Harvey, you spent thousands of dollars of HOA money on a lawyer for absolutely nothing. You stressed out this elderly community for nothing, and to me, that’s bordering on elder abuse, and it’s deceitful.
[Editor’s note: A resident then said, “thank you.”]
Vicki: You’re welcome. Also, you withheld information from the Agenda on your intentions, and third, you illegally vetoed another equal board member’s item for the Agenda. Finally, the attorney clearly does not understand the word “or” in the statutory language. Shame on you, Jeff and Harvey, for what you did to this elderly community.
[Editor’s note: As stated in the Editor’s Opening Monologue, this News Site's previous endorsement of current president Jeff D. Green is officially rescinded for what in our opinion constitutes unsportsmanlike behavior, fiscal irresponsibility, abuse of power, and callousness toward his fellow members of the community.]
2. Arnie Green: ok, my question to the Board is, after the lawyer answered the question, why wasn’t he dismissed from the rest of the meeting; why did he have to hand around and we have to pay him for this whole meeting? Jeff: we’re not paying him for the rest of the meeting, Arnie, only for the half hour he was here. [The attorney was seen nodding his head in agreement.]
[Editor’s note: However, within 6 minutes of that exchange, the lawyer who had been in the entire meeting, suddenly left the Zoom meeting. Jeff said he’s not getting paid except for the half hour at 1:29:16 on the tape and the lawyer was out at 1:35:16. But if you think for one minute that this lawyer is only billing this HOA for ½ hour’s time in the Zoom meeting, then I have some swamp land to sell you on Mars.
This attorney spent time on the telephone with Jeff and Harvey (without the knowledge or consent or participation of any other Board member), spent time doing some legal research (which may have included reading the pertinent statute for the first time), presumably rendered a legal opinion in writing also known as an opinion letter, and then attended the meeting for well over one half hour.
Your Editor has this law firm’s retainer agreement dating from 2009. At that time, the hourly rate was $275. You can expect a bill close to or exceeding $2,000 for what is in our opinion outrageous and complete fiscal irresponsibility.
We will be requesting a copy of the lawyer’s bill for the month of June 2021 and will report what, if anything, we learn.]
3. Leonard Tannen: the guard gate…we do not have cameras focusing on the walkway on the front or back gate. Motion detectors, alarms, take a look at what it would cost. A one time cost to enhance the security using the technology… you could alarm your monitors in the guard shack for both the front and back gates. That is my suggestion for the Board to consider.
4. Elliot Graff: Two things. I was on the Board for four years, and I’ve never seen a Board like this or the prior one treat with disgust – I was disgusted how you treated Sue. I don’t think it’s very nice to show how you’re treating other Board members. If another Board member wants to state something, I think they should be allowed. That’s number one.
Number two is: if you had the results of the survey prior to today’s meeting, why did you find it necessary to have to have the attorney present? [silence]. Elliot: can someone answer me? Jeff: thank you, Elliot, no, we’re not going to answer you; there’s no answer to give you.
[Editor’s note: here we have Jeff being rude and dismissive to a member who is asking a legitimate question about how his money was spent by Jeff and Harvey.]
Elliot: why isn’t there an answer? Jeff: I’ll tell you what the answer is. The results of the survey, number one, did not have to be voted that way, but the Board if they didn’t want to. Don’t forget, we were not spending money over a limit that we had to get the community’s approval for.
[Editor’s note: This is a deflection. You have a fiscal responsibility on all moneys you spend, with or without community approval.]
Jeff: If four members sat here today and decided to vote yes, it still would have been yes, and we would have had a mutiny on our hands.
[Editor’s note: what does that have to do with his question about having the lawyer there? Nothing.]
Jeff: So that’s why we voted no, practically. Ok? But if four of us would have voted yes, that’s why we needed the attorney here, ok, Elliot? Thank you.
[Editor’s note: This is a bunch of crap. You vote on things that people don’t like often and you don’t bring the attorney in. This is not credible or believable.]
5. Lenard Friedman: we need to have a president meeting of the clubs. Entertainment Committee got dates, but other clubs have not had a meeting to lock in dates. Jeff: I will discuss with Susan [Hersh] and Deb [Balka]. Deborah: Entertainment Committee always has priority. Lenard: it would have been nice to know that, that’s all.
6. Someone Unmuted: This Board is not going to get re-elected.
7. Phil Berman: for the residents’ App, how close to the gate do you have to be? Harvey: don’t know; will have to find out. Alan: the new system will have two features…one will sense a car…my guess, you have to have a car present. Phil: what about if a friend calls – says I’m standing – can you open it? Jeff: no. Alan: we have to find out.
8. Judie Delman: one question, if I choose to use a bar code, and not anything on the phone, will anything change for me? Jeff: nothing is changed for you. It’s for the residents’ gate if you’re in someone else’s car. Judie: two, we never got the number result for the survey; what was the final number? Harvey: 61% to 39%, 350; 139 for, 221 against.
[Editor’s note: in other words, 139 wanted the virtual guard and 221 were against it, but we don’t know if those numbers reflect households or individuals, and it appears to us that no one went through the responses to make that determination.
What if two people from the same household voted? That was easy enough to do because the voting was based on putting your email into the Jot form. Did anyone weed out those who voted from the same household? It was supposed to be one vote per household. And last we looked, 139 plus 221 equals 360, not 350.
Also, your Editor had included a number of proxy votes against the virtual guard and emailed them to all Board members. Were those votes included? A number of residents believe that the actual number of people who did not want the virtual guard far exceeded the percentage stated.]
9. Lillian Astrachan: I appreciate…I’m a snowbird and a new resident watching from my summer residence; I ask you to continue the Zoom for those who are on vacation and wish to view the Board meetings or they’re incapacitated in their house… and you’ve had increased attendance since the Zoom. Harvey: this is a much better system; we’re gonna continue with it… Lillian: I’m asking that you keep it as an adjunct, it’s a benefit to the residents who can’t get to the physical meeting.
10. Abe Banke: the virtual guard issue – I’m Captain of the Citizen’s Patrol of the Sheriff’s Department…will be reactivated about August 1. Join our unit, volunteer, to keep our community safe… Please contact me if you’re interested.
11. Beryl Goldberg: walking the community, different pods, some of our dog walkers are not taking the time to clean up after their dogs…very annoying…
12. Michael: regarding the guardhouse, the cameras put in there originally are infrared and also alarm upon movement. We have the equipment; it should be used. It’s very easy to have ADT activate it. Also, the guardhouse, turn the lights out at night; you can’t see out. There’s enough ambient light for him to see; put a desk light he wants to read…
13. Murray Gellen: listen, folks, I sat here through the whole meeting. Why did you have an attorney here, some complication or issue?
[Editor’s note: Simple answer, Murray, in our opinion: to try and embarrass and discredit your Editor who brought a valid motion to cancel the virtual guard.
The only ones with egg on their faces and who rightly suffered the wrath of the community were that dog and pony show known as Jeff and Harvey who in our opinion used your money to pay for the attorney and in doing so, engaged in egregious fiscal irresponsibility which in many people’s opinion was a breach of their fiduciary duty to the residents and a complete abuse of power. And the advice rendered wasn’t even accurate in your Editor’s opinion; it was actually the opposite, i.e., wholly inaccurate.]
Murray: Regarding the community’s security, I’m not angry, I’m simply curious, why was there no further clarification. I’m in a vacuum of information; maybe I’m too damn old to understand, but I listened politely to the entire meeting. I don’t see any resolution about this proposed security system; why we had an attorney here: what are we trying to justify? I’d like a decent answer…
[Editor’s note: he received no answer, decent or otherwise.]
14. Eileen Olitsky: [former Board member] I’ve listened to this Board meeting, and I do agree with some people, and I think this was an issue last year, too. I think Elliot hit it on the nose, and I think Vicki Roberts did, too. Sadly, had the word “discussion” on the vote been put into the Agenda at the beginning, it would have saved a lot of residents’ anxiety and angst, and respect, by the way. The way this was handled, it was handled poorly, and I’m sorry for that.
I’m also sorry that Sue basically was talked down [to], by Jeff, talked over her while she had her three minutes [she might be referring to your Editor in that context], I think that we all have to respect each other, and I understand that the Board is there and has been elected by the community, and has to listen to the community.
This was very, very simple from the beginning. All you had to put in was “discussion to rescind” and none of this would have happened and we would not have had to pay an attorney for any of this. [Editor’s note: Eileen is 100% correct on all points.]
Secondly, Rules and Regulations are there for our residents to follow. I have lived in four different HOAs throughout my homeowner years, and there have been rules about ornaments, there are rules about trash; various rules are here to keep the community unified, and looking, and conforming to what the residents want.
We have, simply, I understand, what do you do if people have, you know, 30 ornaments on their property. You give them warning, and you remove them. And they have time to pick them up, but they cannot put them out. So, I don’t like to hear that we have restrictions, but nobody abides by them, because that just encourages more people not to conform to HOA rules. Thank you very much.
Round Table Discussion:
Sue: we didn’t anticipate the pushback…survey…should be further discussion… I will not comment any further because I think there’s been enough comments from residents to get an idea of how they exactly feel the way we handled this.
[Editor’s note: with all due respect, Sue, you did nothing wrong in your handling of the issue; two of your colleagues, on the other hand, in this writer’s opinion, had ulterior motives and were all too gleeful to hire the lawyer behind your back with residents’ money to try and stick it to your Editor. It was a miserable failure and a disgrace. The rest of the Board allowed themselves to be hijacked by these two elitists.
The rest of the Board ought to seriously consider removing those two from their officer positions of president and vice-president, which is authorized by the governing documents, By-Laws, Section VIII, subsection D, page 3-10. That does not remove them from the Board; only residents can recall a director. But the Board has the authority to remove them from the offices of president and vice-president. They deserve nothing less. Note to residents: don’t hold your breath.]
Alan: I agree with Sue… [Editor’s note: you agree now? Did you just wake up or do you feel it’s safe now to speak up?] Alan: we should have learned a valuable lesson in this in that when we talk about systems that are controversial, we should involve the community earlier than we did. We’re here to serve the community and I personally will promise that I will try to involve the community earlier in decisions of controversial issues.
Linda: …thinking about what to do about enforcing the rules…there’s no consequence…the Board should work out how it should be enforced.
[Editor’s note: enforcement procedures are clearly spelled out in the governing documents, Rules & Regs, Section E. Violation Guidelines, on pages 4-16 and 4-17, which closely mirrors Florida Statute 720.305 and even invokes that statute directly. All you have to do is read it. It’s as simple as putting a couple of dots on a piece of paper, taking a pencil, and connecting the dots.]
Harvey: pickleball is asking for a fan under the canopy; should we get a proposal now? We could ask Deborah to get a quote. Jeff: no problem getting a quote. Deborah: absolutely.
Bob: nothing for now.
Jeff: [in a very derisive and dismissive tone] One of the reasons I abstained from voting on this, because I was upset the other way. This was a proposal that we got; it was costing us absolutely nothing, and forgetting about the cost, at the last meeting, we finally offered to keep the guard for the 90 days and see how it worked [Editor’s note: you are a liar; we have the tape where you specifically stated that the guard would be dismissed after day 30, which was the impetus for the uproar and the flashpoint for everything that followed.] and if the community didn’t want it after that, the vote could have been the same, we wouldn’t have taken it.
But if the vote was 51 or 52% for it, we might have decided to take it. I don’t understand what the problem was with everyone in this community [Editor’s note: if you don’t understand, then step down, you’re unfit, because it was clear to everyone else.] especially since there are a lot of misconceptions in the answers that people gave of why they didn’t want it [Editor’s note: really? Why don’t you publish those answers and let the community decide if that statement is true or not].
One of the answers was that if someone has a heart attack, the defibrillator in there, the guard can’t come. Well, the guard couldn’t come anyway, because he’s not allowed to leave the office, and there is no defibrillator in the guardhouse, it hasn’t been in there for two years. [Editor’s note: ok, that’s one misconception.]
So, people have got to get their facts straight when they come in and they start arguing points and making points [Editor’s note: your Editor had all of her facts straight.] And there were other points in there of people who didn’t want it that weren’t true, either. [Editor’s note: such as?] and that’s why it was a free trial with the guard staying there [Editor’s note: LIAR – you personally stated you would dismiss him after day 30 of the 90-day trial] to monitor it and see that it worked and I don’t understand why everyone was so down on it at that point.
[Editor’s note: if you’re that out of touch, please do one honorable thing and step down because you’re embarrassing yourself.]
[Editor’s further note: Jeff, your statement that you were going to keep the live guard for 90 days is a bald-faced lie and we have the tapes to prove it. At the June 2, 2021 board meeting, you specifically said the guard would be dismissed after Day 30 and then that fact was repeated by Harvey in the June 11, 2021 informational meeting from which your Editor quoted exactly in the Opening Monologue. The tapes are crystal clear.
That is what caused the community outrage - your statement that the community was losing the live guard after 30 days, while the virtual guard trial was still in progress. This is why you were referred to at the top of this report of the meeting as “Lord of the (F)Lies.” Now you are trying to rewrite history. You have officially lost your credibility with the community.
The stunt you and Harvey pulled against your Editor backfired spectacularly and was a colossal failure. In our opinion, your ulterior motives are clear, you breached your fiduciary duty to the members, and you acted in a most fiscally irresponsible way and therefore you are unfit for the position you presently hold. And your cohort, Harvey, in our opinion, is equally unfit.
Once last point on this: it is also our opinion that Jeff is embarrassed because at the president’s club meeting of the presidents of 34 communities in the area, he probably bragged to them that his HOA was on the cutting edge of this new technology and perhaps he already made a recommendation to all of them to hop on board, and now he is going to have to explain to them that the community turned it down. You can be sure that he will couch it in terms most favorable to himself and blame the community as he did above for not understanding what it was about. He surely won’t take responsibility for this fiasco.]
[Editor’s note: Jeff asked for a motion to adjourn. Bob moved to adjourn; Richard seconded. Then there was silence.]
Sue: All in favor? Jeff: all in favor? Unanimous. Next board meeting is July 14, 2021 at 9:30am. [Editor’s note: meeting was adjourned at 11:26am.]
[Editor’s note: A shout-out to Zoom operators Harvey Ginsberg and Anita Goodman for doing a great job administering the Zoom meeting. (Mike Blackman was on vacation and Arnie was out of town, although Arnie was present in the meeting.) We thank them for their service and volunteerism in operating the Zoom.]
And so concludes the Board meeting of June 23, 2021; next meeting: July 14, 2021 at 9:30am.
Thought for the Day:
Sometimes when you think no one is listening to you, it’s because no one is listening to you.