Highlights from the July 20, 2022 Board Meeting:
“TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK, AND THE COMMUNITY CIVIL WAR CONTINUES”
This will be just the report: no cartoons, no frills, just the highlights.
Only about two dozen people showed up in the ballroom; an unknown number were on Zoom.
A. The HOA Lawyer: The HOA lawyer was present for most of the meeting, which was a total waste of your money. He was neither prepared nor did he offer anything of substance. Feedback we received from residents stated just that and we agree.
Further, neither Director Sue nor Director Arthur were told of his presence in advance; they found out when you did. They thought he was there for the in camera session afterwards concerning a foreclosure action which was noted on the community-wide agenda, but that session was cancelled per president Jeff’s announcement at the meeting.
The lawyer admitted he was not familiar with the HOA’s governing documents (why not? This firm has represented this HOA for over a dozen years). However, he then wrongly stated that the mailboxes belong to the HOA because they’re located on the swale.
In fact, the HOA’s governing documents clearly state that they belong to the homeowner, which is also consistent with the Federal regulations which also state in plain English they belong to the specific customer. (If you’re admittedly not familiar, why opine at all?)
He also suggested that in the future, closed board meetings should have “sealed” Minutes. This was just made up as it is contrary to the clear language of the statute that requires that ALL Minutes be available to any member upon demand. If they’re not available because they’re sealed, then the statute is being violated (once again).
The bottom line is that most residents were furious at this total waste of HOA money, and we received feedback that the residents thought the man was ill-prepared and incorrect, didn’t offer anything reliable, and his presence was unnecessary. Again, we agree.
B. Jeff vociferously complained that I received the proposed FSR contract (New Business #5) to review along with Sue and Arthur in advance of the Board meeting:
Most of the Board and some residents in the audience went apoplectic about this. Several of the Board members riled them up. Now let’s review the actual facts:
Sue gave me the contract to review prior to the Board meeting. Jeff (and other board members) made a big deal out of this and riled up the small crowd which showed its dutifully outrage at my having been given the contract in advance.
Let us recall that last year Jeff himself sent me the $618,000 road resurfacing contract in advance of the Board meeting to review it and mark it up along with the separate contract for the project manager/overseer of that project to review and mark up as well.
I raise this matter here to show the utter hypocrisy of raising a ruckus about the exact same thing that Jeff himself did only a year ago. Or was it not hypocrisy, but rather something else, something deliberate?
Why did several Board members go apoplectic that Sue sent me the FSR contract to review before this board meeting? What’s the real reason?
Actually, it appears premeditated, so what it really smacks of is propaganda to rile up the bullies, because it cannot be that Jeff forgot that he gave me the road contract in advance of the Board meeting last year.
And Harvey knew it last year because he converted that proposed road contract from a pdf to a doc format per Jeff’s instructions to him, again, before the Board meeting on that contract, and Harvey personally emailed to me the doc format of that contract.
Bob knew it last year because he was in charge of the road project while he was here, and he knew I was reviewing the legal aspects of it and he was charged with reviewing the engineering aspects of it, all before that Board meeting where they voted on it.
And I even stated to Jeff at the time that some of the clauses I deferred to Bob about because they were technical engineering specs of which I had no expertise. I made it very clear that I was only reviewing it for the legal language, and Jeff agreed that he didn’t expect me to review the engineering aspects of it, that Bob would handle that.
Then Board-member Linda Arbeit knew about it because she told me she tried to review it but some of it was too “legalese” for her to understand.
The property manager received it per her specific request to me via email to send her my marked-up versions of the two road contracts, which I did.
All of this occurred prior to the Board meeting where the Board voted on those road contracts.
So this faux outrage was actually intentionally used to create discord, disharmony, outrage, and divisiveness in the community and to sow further seeds of hate toward me, Sue, and Arthur. It was yet another set-up.
C. Closed Board Meeting of June 20, 2022: Jeff stated that Sue attended this meeting. Sue adamantly denies this claim. This was, in fact, a closed meeting where Jeff, Harvey, Richard, Pat, and Bob (via Zoom or phone) raised FSR’s employees’ salaries despite the fact that the contract with FSR does not provide for mid-year or 6-month raises.
There are no Minutes to reflect this meeting. This meeting was illegal per 720.303. They can deny it all they want; that doesn’t change the fact that it was illegal.
This has nothing to do with the competency of the office staff; that is irrelevant to the issues of concern here: doing it outside the contract terms and doing it at a closed meeting.
D. Jeff’s bashing of fellow Board member Arthur and fellow owner, me: Jeff made a point in his opening remarks to falsely claim that he/they were being “continually harassed by a resident and a Board member.”
This in and of itself is slanderous and in my opinion totally unprofessional and out of line. This is no way to open a Board meeting and shows lack of leadership skills.
E. Ownership in the HOA: Allegedly self-described #1 bully and recall petition-peddler Chick Coletta is not an owner here and never was. He is, at most, a resident.
Florida statute 720.303 subsection (2)(b) states:
“Members have the right to attend all meetings of the board. The right to attend such meetings includes the right to speak at such meetings with reference to all designated items.”
There is no statutory right for “residents” or “renters” or “guests” to attend or speak.
In addition, our own governing documents state that the meetings “shall be open to all Unit or Lot owners…” (page 3-6, section VI, subsection A). Again, there is no right for non-members to attend and/or speak.
So should this non-owner even be allowed into board meetings? I ask this because this individual was continually disruptive at the meeting, verbalizing disdain for Directors Sue and Arthur virtually whenever they spoke.
Perhaps it’s time to eliminate unauthorized people from the meetings, especially those who are continually disruptive and who also have no right to be there in the first place.
F. First Residents’ Input Session (highlights only):
(This section should more appropriately read “First Members’ Input Session.” For ease of reference, however, I will refer to the speakers as residents, and most owners are also in fact residents.)
1. A resident went on a rant about getting too many emails. He also stated, “solve your problems or get off the Board” although that statement was not directed toward any particular board member.
After the meeting, via email, he denied that he was referring to me and my emails that I send out to report on board meetings or other matters. So maybe he was referring to the constant barrage of emails about upcoming events in the ballroom. We just don’t know at this point.
Jeff suggested that he simply ask to be removed from the email blasts. Actually, a few days before the meeting this resident contacted me via email and asked me to research for him various places where certain things are stated in the HOA documents.
I spent a fair amount of time doing that and sent the information to him which he had requested, and he thanked me. I also asked him if he wanted to be removed from my email blasts and he wrote back, “no.”
Here is a copy and paste of just that portion of our email exchange from July 14, 2022:
On Jul 14, 2022, at 6:35 PM, Vicki Roberts <email@example.com> wrote:
Would you prefer that I remove you from my address book?
On Jul 14, 2022, at 7:21 PM, [identity removed] wrote:
Thank you for your prompt responses. No, I still want to know about important issues. I would prefer more brief communications. Thanks for everything
So his comments at the board meeting claiming that certain emails were a “diatribe” is 180 degrees opposite of his email exchanges from a few days before, assuming he really was referring to my reports, which personally I believe he was.
Postscript: I made the unilateral decision to remove him from my address book, so he is not getting this report unless one of you forwards it to him.
2. Another resident asked if there were an unadvertised board meeting to increase the “management fees.” Jeff said, “no.” This was misleading; while the management fees were not raised, in fact, FSR’s employees’ salaries were raised.
Not clarifying this did a disservice to the resident and the community and was, in my opinion, dishonest by omission. I believe it was deliberately not clarified to try and discredit my reports. I am reporting it to clap back at this dishonesty by omission.
The resident then asked if there were an increase in the monies paid beyond the original contract. Arthur correctly stated, “the answer is yes.”
G. Property Manager’s Report: Deborah thanked “the board and the community” for the mid-year salary raises. It would have been nice, actually, proper, if the members had notice of this in advance so that they could comment as is their right.
But at least she confirmed by her thanks that this did happen; there was in fact a closed board meeting for that purpose which the members found out about after the fact and only because Arthur put it on the agenda.
H. Old Business #3: HOA Website Terms of Service:
This part of the report is called “two steps forward, one step back.”
Pat Nast and Marion Weil, Board liaison to and Chairperson of the Rules and Regs Committee respectively, neither of whom has much of any formal training on either rules or regulations, could not help themselves, and decided to rewrite the website terms of service.
They decided to give back the webmasters the right to hit you with a violation notice for a comment you make on the message board that they don’t like, or if they don’t like you personally, then they may violate you for that reason alone.
And if they like you, they’ll let you post with impunity. We saw this recently with the pile-on against a widowed owner who spoke out against the salary raises and voiced her opinion about the property manager.
Since the first violation of a message board post is in fact a steppingstone to suspension, Pat and Marion are stepping on the statute and giving the webmasters authority they don’t have, so they’re back to their old tricks with the support of their fellow Board members not including Sue and Arthur, who apparently stand alone in respecting the statute and your rights.
Sue: “I am quite concerned that the website user agreement is even on the agenda. This was not what the Rules and Regs Committee was charged to do. There was no need for any contextual changes, just the use of pronouns.
When reviewing the user agreement, many things were changed which not only conflicted with the motion that was passed but added another document without any input or knowledge from all board members. Therefore, I am asking the following questions:
1. Who authorized the committee to go beyond the scope of what they were directed to do? In fact, I specifically stated, and I believe that it is in the Minutes, that only grammatical errors could be addressed. I stated this so that no substantive changes could be made.
2. Who knew about this added document which seems to give more authority to webmasters than originally stated? As the Chair of Rules & Regs is also a webmaster, were any other webmasters aware of the new document? Did any Board Member know? I certainly did not.
3. Why weren’t all directors informed that the committee was working on another document?
4. It seems that this new document was an attempt to circumvent the original motion that was passed. Am I incorrect in that assumption? I am asking as there was no need to add another document, especially since that was not the assigned task. In fact, the original motion that was passed was a combination of what Arthur and Jeff previously agreed to.
5. Are there legal issues involved when you are using the word user and member? Are they being used interchangeably? What if the user is not a member? Can penalties be imposed in that instance?
6. Where is the corrected copy of the grammatical changes made to the TOS that was originally passed by the Board? I want to review each change made to verify that the content needed to be revised and sentences needed to be moved around for clarity.
In general, I am no longer disappointed in some of my colleagues’ blatant disregard of rules, regulations and statutes. It seems to have become the norm. I just regret the waste of time taken to respond when we can devote our attention to more productive endeavors.
I am disappointed that not all Board members were informed of our lawyer's presence. Differences of opinions among Board members should not necessitate the presence of a lawyer. If we are adults, we need to act like adults.”
Arthur: “Rules & Regs were assigned to mark grammatical changes only. Rules & Regs were not assigned to make substantial changes especially when the changes violate the law. I agree with Sue.
This needs to be in our governing documents; it gives us authority. Page 3, violations, part B violates 720.305(2)(b) – it says suspensions will be levied by the board in three different places. It doesn’t refer to the webmasters.”
Users beware and proceed at your own risk. If you’re friends with the webmasters, you’re probably safe no matter what you write. If you’ve pissed them off, whether you know it or not, you’re probably better off getting your thoughts and comments out elsewhere (note to self: keep posting on private website, aka the free speech zone).
The Vote: Since the Gang of Five is officially back, four gleefully voted to accept the bastardization of the original Terms of Service that were passed the last time around (Arthur’s original motion). If you’re keeping score, here are the stats:
All those in favor of the new version of the Terms of Service: Pat, Jeff, Richard, Bob. All those against them: Arthur, Sue. Harvey, a webmaster, abstained (recused himself). So this new motion passed.
So, welcome to your new Terms of Service, at least for this month. Now how do you, as residents, navigate this ever-changing set of rules? I have a simple solution that will cover all of you:
Your best bet is to stay clear of the message board if you’re not in their inner circle or at least one of the rings swirling around that inner circle. So let’s say you’re not an elitist or in their tight group of friends.
Think of Saturn and you’re an outer ring, in which case you should probably be ok. If, however, you perceive yourself a little further out, such as Uranus or Neptune, it’s probably best not to post anything.
Welcome to the Cascade Lakes Galaxy.
Some people perceive me as Pluto, the recently demoted outer band dwarf planet. So in my case, it’s probably best for me to get my messages out independent of the HOA message board, hence this report which you’re reading on my website, not the HOA’s.
I. New Business #1: Illegal Secret Board Vote By Four Directors Regarding a Resolution:
In other business, Arthur moved to rescind an illegal Board vote done behind the backs of at least two Board members and the entire community. The details of this matter were reported in my CL-Update dated July 5, 2022 which most of you already read.
In a nutshell, Directors Jeff, Richard, Pat, and Harvey secretly voted for a resolution to give Director Richard access to FirstService Residential’s proprietary software on the basis that he “is a Certified Public Accountant.”
In fact, he is not an active CPA since January 2012 when he went inactive in New York State, and he has never been a licensed CPA in Florida.
This was a blatant violation of Florida statute 720.303 (the open meeting law). The document also states it is a resolution of the Board of Directors, which it is not, since at least two of them had no idea that it even existed until I happened to stumble upon it on FirstService Residential’s website.
Arthur moved to rescind this illegal vote. His motion, which is in the Board packet accessible to all members, set forth three reasons:
1. This occurred during an illegal closed Board meeting with an illegal secret Board vote without the knowledge of the entire Board and without the required residents’ input at a duly noticed Board meeting;
2. It states it is a resolution of the Board of Directors when it is not, since at least two Directors had no knowledge of it; and
3. It contains a false and/or misleading representation that Director Richard Greene “is a Certified Public Accountant” which is not true, and on that false basis, he was granted access to proprietary information.
Arthur: “I have all the confidence in the treasurer; he’s doing a great job. I question the document and how it is written. This has nothing to do with credibility. This was a May 3rd Board resolution by four Board members in a closed meeting.”
Jeff: “There was never a Board meeting.”
Arthur: “Why didn’t you tell me ahead of time?”
Jeff: “Four of us signed that; Richard requested it from FSR, and Deborah sent it. This resolution, we were asked to sign.”
Arthur: “Richard is not a CPA; the document was signed and is called ‘Board Resolution.’”
Jeff: “That’s semantics.”
Arthur: “it says ‘Board Resolution’ and was done without an open board meeting with all the Board members. And it says he’s a CPA when he’s inactive.”
Richard: “New York says I can say ‘retired CPA.’”
Arthur: “The Florida statute does not say that.”
Sue: “My following statements are being made as justification for the motion to rescind. Please note that I would be making these remarks if any other director were making the motion, as I do not personalize Board business. They are also not directed toward the competency of anyone mentioned in the resolution.
1. There cannot be any resolution passed except at an open meeting. At least 2 board members were unaware that there even was a resolution that was signed by the 4 officers, regardless of who initiated the resolution.
2. As per Florida Section 473.322(1)(b) “A person may not knowingly assume the title of...CPA or any other title ...unless the person holds an active license under this chapter...” and subsection(f) states you cannot use a public accounting license that is inactive.
3. From the Journal of accountancy.com by Beth A Berk, Feb. 11,2012 – CPS, CGMA -“Warning - if your CPA license is inactive, expired or was issued in a state other than where you live or work, you may not be able to use the term “CPA” alongside your name.”
4. Some of the wording in the resolution seems a bit contradictory, especially where the timely accuracy of the information that will be obtained is questioned.
It says “Resolution of the Board…” This could have been avoided if we were notified in advance. Therefore, as the resolution clearly violates state statute and professional standards, I support the motion to rescind.”
It was suggested that Arthur amend his motion: motion to ratify and to clarify that Richard has access to the FSR software and he is an inactive CPA (from another state). Jeff seconded it and that passed 6-0-1 with Sue abstaining.
J. New Business #2: Private Board Meeting to Raise Non-Employee Salaries of Vendor FSR:
This has nothing to do with Deborah, the property manager, or the specific individuals who occupy the positions in the office, or their competency. This has to do with procedure and the contract with this vendor, FSR.
The FSR contract refers to the positions only, not the specific individuals who currently occupy those positions. It is time to stop conflating the specific people with what is being discussed, which has nothing to do with them or their competency.
This has to do with the fact that this was done surreptitiously and outside of the current contract with this vendor. That’s it.
Arthur noted that there was no mention in the current FSR contract for mid-year raises. This is true; it’s not in there. Richard said it’s included in the budget. Jeff said that the HOA sets the salaries. Arthur kept noting that the salary increases are not in the contract.
Sue noted that these are not HOA employees; they are FSR employees and that this is spending HOA money outside the contract and when we don’t know what the amount is. She stated that she cannot be a part of illegal acts, that it’s exceedingly distasteful, and that her questions were not answered before the meeting.
She also noted the lack of any Minutes for this closed board meeting that she did not attend. She said this should be at an open board meeting. She made additional statements.
Sue: “My following statements are being made as justification for the motion to rescind. Please note that I would be making these remarks if any other director were making the motion, as I do not personalize Board business. They are also not directed toward the competency of anyone mentioned in regard to salary raises.
1. FSR employees are not personnel or employees of the HOA as per FSR contract 3.1 (p. 1), 6.1 (p.5), 7 (P. 6) and Schedule 1 (p. 11). While such raises were given in the past, I was informed when I first became a director that it was proper and past practice to give raises to office staff. This was and is not true, and I did not question the veracity of my colleagues at the time.
2. When Arthur made us aware of the fact that these raises were not within the purview of the HOA, but rather that of FSR, I believe he was CORRECT, as stated in the contract references I just cited. We cannot continue a practice that, in my judgment, clearly violates contractual obligations. Additionally, since it doesn’t involve personnel, any closed meeting should not have taken place.
3. In fact, there are no Minutes of that meeting either, albeit the majority of the directors are of the opinion that a closed meeting was appropriate.
Although my colleagues questioned whether or not I attended the closed meeting as I was in NYC at the time, I stated in emails that I am not the issue, as there were at least 4 board members who agreed to attend the meeting and that was sufficient for a quorum.
I added that the issue is whether the closed Board meeting was legal in the first place. I cannot and will not be a part of what I believe to be illegal acts of other Board members.
Based upon the facts that Arthur gathered, I believe that the vote Raising FSR Employees’ Salaries (or whether you try to justify them as bonuses) must be rescinded.”
Arthur ultimately tabled the motion to get more information about the matter which Richard said he would explain to him. Why wasn’t this explained to Sue and Arthur before the meeting? How does that justify a closed meeting? Sue and Arthur are repeatedly ghosted by most of their fellow board members (except for Harvey).
K. New Business #3: Missing Minutes from two closed board meetings: Where are they? The statute requires Minutes for all board meetings, and it doesn’t exempt closed or illegal meetings. Arthur made the inquiry.
Jeff complained that this is “minutia.” Arthur replied, “it’s not minutia; I don’t need that comment. We need the Minutes. All meetings need to have Minutes.”
At that point, resident/non-owner Chick Coletta’s outbursts were getting louder (he was disruptive for much of the meeting). Arthur said to the presiding officer, “Jeff, I’m being bantered by a resident; not a member, but a resident.”
(Jeff was not doing a good job controlling the meeting or the audience and Arthur correctly noted that this disrupter is not an owner.)
Then the lawyer invented something contrary to the statute: create Minutes for closed meetings going forward but make them sealed. This motion was made by Harvey, seconded by Bob, and passed 7-0. I have to register disagreement with this as the statute does not provide for sealed Minutes. In retrospect, Arthur regrets agreeing to this motion.
L. New Business #4: Voting Certificates: new ones need to be properly filled out and returned to the office if you want to be included in any community votes, and that includes elections. The new voting certificate with instructions was approved 7-0.
While the e-mail blast to the community stated that old voting certificates on file would not be valid, I believe that is not only unfair but actually incorrect. In my opinion, you cannot invalidate an otherwise valid voting certificate.
If there is a valid voting certificate on file, there is no legal reason to invalidate it; it should be automatically grandfathered in with the new ones being received; that way, you have covered any voting certificate that is presently defective for whatever reason.
If the current voting certificate on file is otherwise valid, proclaiming that it will not be counted is, in my opinion, wrong, and could result in a legal issue down the road which might decertify any future member-wide vote. So my advice here is to be careful and to correct the e-blast that was sent out.
Also recommended is that when ballots come in, the office should make a copy of each one to use for counting purposes and then staple the original to the envelope in which it came and put that in a lockbox so that if there is a legal issue, that evidence can be retained. If you discard the envelopes, you are destroying critical evidence if there is a challenge to the vote.
There needs to be a mechanism whereby the ballot and the envelope in which it arrived are kept together so that any challenge to the process or the results can be properly audited and then matched with the voting certificate.
M. New Business #5: FSR Contract:
A new contract was proposed. It has a lot of problematic clauses, including a most disturbing one that allows an HOA “officer” to approve and enter into vendor contracts for the HOA. This violates the open meeting law, and it also violates our covenants which spell out the BOARD’s obligations as a Board.
Sue asked me to review it although she did the lion’s share of the work by comparing the current and proposed contracts, line by line. She did a yeoman’s job, and I don’t believe any other Board members besides Sue and Arthur reviewed the new proposed contract.
Instead, Jeff admonished Sue that it was no big deal that they got it Friday afternoon and that anyone who couldn’t review a 12-page contract in four days was essentially incompetent. Aside from the insult, did he start at the top and go line by line through this single-spaced, small-printed contract? I think we all know the answer to that question.
Sue: “I would like to inform you of the sequence of events regarding this contract being placed on the agenda.
1. I first noticed this agenda item on Friday, July 15, when it was sent out to the community.
2. I inquired as to why this was put on the agenda without prior knowledge or sufficient time to provide due diligence on a contract that is one of our largest expenses.
3.The answer I got from a director was that we were all aware of the contract’s expiration date and that FSR gave us the contract on Friday and that is why it was being placed on the agenda.
4. My response was that we did not have enough lead time for a thorough review, asked why there was a rush as this contract was not time sensitive, and believed that there were many changes from what is now in force.
The last contract that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020 was signed on November 11, 2019. I also questioned why all directors were not informed that there was a new proposed contract before it went on the agenda. I urged that this item be taken off the agenda. This did not happen.
Therefore, listed below are my objections to the approval of this contract at this time.
1. After a rather exhaustive comparison of our current and new contracts, there are significant changes. In fact, whole sections have been either rewritten and/or revised to change how this contract will be implemented and enforced.
2. There were significant changes to insurance coverage which I admit I do not understand, and should be reviewed by those who do.
3. A number of our financial expenses are not clearly spelled out and it is unclear to me as to what the actual total cost to the community will be.
4. I have noted every change that I could find when comparing the two documents, but as there were so many, I am sure I missed a few.
However, the one that stands out as the most egregious to me is this. On page 2 of the current contract item 3.4 it states, “All contracts will be subject to approval by the Board of Directors of the Association and will be executed by an authorized officed of the Association.”
The new contract states as follows: “All contracts will be approved and executed by an officer of the Association.”
This section alone is a violation of Florida statute 720.303 because it violates the open meeting law and contradicts the Board’s responsibilities in our Covenants p. 1-14 Section G – Duties of the Board of Directors which states:
“The Association, through the action of its Board of Directors, shall have the power, but not the obligation, to enter into an agreement or agreements from time to time with one or more persons, firms of corporations for management service or for other services beneficial to the Association...”
These alone should be enough justifications for removing this item from the agenda. Both the residents, owners, and other Board members cannot allow unilateral rule and flagrant violations of statute and our Covenants.”
The rest of the Board was sent six pages outlining the problems in this contract. Did the other five review them?
This contract benefits FSR to the detriment of the community. So, what’s the hurry?
What is the community debt for this contract inasmuch as there is no labor rate included in it?
Richard said that he would show Arthur the information he was requesting. Why didn’t he do this BEFORE the board meeting when both Sue and Arthur asked questions and received no response?
When Sue corrected the lawyer who erroneously said that the new contract allows for the Board to approve contracts when in fact it literally states that an officer alone can approve them, Jeff verbally attacked Sue and stated, “so now you’re a Florida attorney again?” to which Arthur replied, “please keep your nasty comments to yourself.”
Finally, Jeff moved to approve it, to send the questions that Arthur, Sue, and I had previously submitted with our concerns to the attorney, and if there were something egregious, then they’ll bring it back to the Board. Richard seconded that.
The vote was 5 (Jeff, Harvey, Richard, Bob, Pat) in favor, Sue opposed, and Arthur abstained. Afterwards, Arthur regretted his abstention and wished he had voted no as well, although as a practical matter, it would not have changed the result.
N. New Home and Roof Tile Color Options: you now have more choices.
O. Revised ARB Guidelines: there are some revisions; they are on the HOA website.
P. OneDrive/Agendas: the OneDrive gives the Board access to place things on the agenda for the upcoming meeting, along with supporting documentation.
The motion gives the president and the secretary the right to edit or control certain things, which is in fact outside their purview. Sue’s speech (written 100% by Sue, as all her speeches are) addresses this very well:
Sue: “Based upon what is currently written regarding the use of one drive, I feel as if I am living in current day dictatorial Russia.
1. The only stipulation that should be included is that no one changes the agenda item of another director.
2. If any director has a problem with an item, he/she should speak directly to that director. This has been our agreed upon procedure, albeit not consistently followed.
3. No director or Board officer has the right to impose caveats on other directors. No one or two people should be the sole arbiter or arbiters of what is professional or disrespectful. In fact, to even state this in writing is condescending to fellow Board members.
4. Compiling an agenda was never a problem when a former director who was secretary created the OneDrive system, as there was never any issue of censorship with him.
5. If we are to work as a team, then we must treat each other equally. There should not be any “first among equals.” It hasn’t worked out well historically, and it will not work out well here as well.
Therefore, I cannot support this motion.”
Arthur: “I agree with everything that Sue said. As to number three [of the new rules], a single line may not work because the goal is to provide as much information to the residents for the input session…if not, we don’t get good feedback. Taking it down over the weekend doesn’t allow free-flowing communication. Thank you.”
Jeff stated that if the residents don’t have enough information, they can talk about it at the second residents’ input session (after the fact and after the Board has voted).
Arthur: “The Second Residents’ Input Session? That’s not respectful or proper for the residents.”
It also doesn’t allow them time to research before the meeting.
Harvey: “It’s a business meeting of the Board. The agenda is for the Board. The residents are here as a courtesy…”
Arthur: “It’s not a courtesy.”
Indeed, it’s not. It’s a required open board meeting with required member input, Harvey. You mean to tell me you’re on the Board for years and still don’t know that?
Jeff: “Arthur made his points.”
Some Board members complained that a Director uploaded a “right-protected” document (which may have been done inadvertently, as we are not sure which document they are talking about).
The complaint was that the secretary and property manager had a hard time converting it for inclusion into the Board packet and it took a long while to do so. Harvey opined that it was done deliberately due to lack of trust (there’s actually no evidence to support that bald assumption).
Did any of you pick up the phone and ask for a different format for this unknown document? It’s obvious that the answer is no. Why not? That would taken you about 10 seconds and resolved your issue.
Five voted to approve this new procedure including the addition that any right-protected documents will not be included in the Board packet; Sue and Arthur opposed it. So now Jeff and Pat determine if another Board member’s language is objectionable, but no one oversees their language to determine if their language is objectionable.
Q. Second Residents’ Input Session:
1. A resident researched online the reputation of FSR and found that they do not have a good reputation. I verified this comment with my own search online. The resident was concerned about the staff salary increases.
The resident was also not happy with the property manager. For this opinion, she was lambasted by name on the HOA’s message board and fried like an overcooked halibut. The webmasters, in their infinite wisdom, didn’t see any problem with this, probably because one of the residents in this pile-on is a webmaster. Also, it’s “mob rules” here.
2. Marion Weil decided to try and educate all of us by falsely claiming that I was a “lawyer but not an attorney at law.”
If you look up the technical distinction between a lawyer and an attorney or attorney at law, you will find that a lawyer is someone who has graduated from law school whereas an attorney is licensed to practice law in a jurisdiction. I am actively licensed in California; hence I am also an attorney/attorney at law and Marion made a false statement.
3. Another resident (not me) confirmed that FSR does have bad reviews online, but she noted that it depends on who is in charge of the community. No one attacked this resident on the message board, perhaps because they couldn’t spell her last name.
4. Another resident wished that the Board would be more respectful of each other and discuss things before the Board meeting.
That’s impossible when two Board members (Sue and Arthur) are repeatedly ghosted and most of their emails are ignored by the other Board members (except for Harvey who does respond), and all of the other Board members do not include them in their behind-the-scenes discussions.
So while it is a very nice sentiment to want them to respect each other and discuss things before the meeting, if most of the Board pretends that it is a Board of five members, not seven, and views the other equal Board members as annoying outsiders, you can see how being respectful to these two equal board members and discussing matters with them beforehand doesn’t figure into the equation.
R. Round Table Discussion: Harvey wants a stop to the “petty bickering.” Again, this is a nice sentiment, but if four or five Board members are going to ghost two other equal board members and keep them out of the loop, you will hear objections to that from the two you’ve excluded and that should come as no surprise to anyone.
And frankly, this is really not bickering, petty or otherwise. This is two equal Board members rightfully expecting not to be ghosted, rightfully expecting that the rest of the Board will follow the rules, be respectful, be transparent to the community, and not bully or allow bullying of others who are voicing their opinions about the obvious lack of transparency.
And Harvey’s no angel here; he has on more than one occasion verbally attacked another Board member (Arthur) and his wife (me) at public board meetings.
Pat verbally attacked me and slandered me at a prior Board meeting to create a false narrative, and she slandered her fellow Board members, Sue and Arthur, at prior board meetings. She falsely accused Arthur of behavior that she herself engaged in and which he did not engage in.
And Jeff at this very board meeting also verbally attacked Arthur and me during his opening remarks and then he verbally attacked Sue during the board meeting for which Arthur told him to keep his nasty comments to himself.
All of this is on the record. Those who are doing the disagreeable things are the ones causing the problems: they’re not following the rules, they’re not being transparent, and they’re verbally attacking other Board members (and me) whom they perceive are getting in their way, but it’s really for the “crime” of exposing them and their bad deeds.
Sue made some important comments:
Sue: “I was unaware the lawyer was going to be here… [and regarding the proposed FSR contract] I asked for advice; before we had a legal advisory group, so this is nothing new.”
That’s true; see comments above under section B.
S. Immediately after the meeting, a widowed owner who spoke at the residents’ input session was allegedly victimized by three screaming men who surrounded her and verbally assaulted her. For the full report, see our July 21, 2022 CL-Update (which most of you have already read).
1. Contrary to the rumor running rampant, I do not write Sue’s or Arthur’s speeches. I do ask Sue to email me her speeches for inclusion at my discretion in these reports.
Arthur did not have any prepared speeches this time. (He did give the Directors a copy of his motions; he advised me that they were in the OneDrive. They are available to all members on the FSR website.)
2. Contrary to the rumor that I was an actress, I was not; I was a legal commentator. The IMDb (Internet Movie Database) erroneously lists me as an actress, among other things, because of the number of television credits I have.
However, those TV appearances are as me (myself). Trying to correct the IMDb is like trying to correct your stubborn great uncle who lives in a shack in the backwoods of Minnesota.
3. Another false claim circulated by a few and robotically parroted by others is that Arthur is my puppet. Arthur is his own man, and this false and insulting claim is attributable to those whose own lives are apparently filled with discontent. Why else would one blather about such nonsense, especially about a fine, honest, independent, decent man?
4. As a general observation, there are a fair amount of intolerant people here – people who are thoroughly intolerant of anyone who dares to criticize, point out errors, or who has an opinion contrary to their own or that of the ruling class. The best antidote is to ignore them.
From Day One, we have repeatedly said that if anyone believes that we have reported something as fact that is in error, to let us know so that we can investigate and publish a correction. We have made a couple of mistakes, we have owned them, and we have prominently corrected them for all to see and read.
We don’t go around the community engaging in character assassination or making false statements about others. The same cannot be said for a number of individuals here who do that regularly about Arthur and me, and to a certain extent, Sue.
We have become aware of residents being harassed by an email barrage by certain individuals who set up a new website, who have hidden their identities, and who have solicited residents to submit stories to them to refute our factual reports (code speak for ‘put your lies and fabrications where they can be more easily spread’).
You have to wonder about the motives of people who hide behind a website and then email you surreptitiously without your consent and without telling you who they are, although we can pretty much figure that out by the writing style and other tell-tale signs.
5. Since mid-April I have not posted any feedback on this website that we have received, and there has been plenty of great feedback which we appreciate more than you know!
While I am no longer posting residents’ feedback due to lack of time, the feedback continues to come in regularly and it is overwhelmingly positive toward our reports. So, thank you for your continued support and encouragement.
The overall message we repeatedly receive is “keep doing what you’re doing” and “thank you!” To that we reply, “you’re very welcome!” and please keep on letting us know.
6. Once again, Happy 97th Birthday to my Dad, original owner Stanley B. Roberts, who turned 97 on July 9th.
7. Our sincerest condolences on the untimely passing of Paul Friedlander, who always made a point of asking how my parents were doing. From watching the funeral on Zoom, it was apparent that his kindness was widespread. May he rest in peace and may there be peace and comfort to all those who knew and loved him.
Your faithful scribe,Vicki Roberts