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Something Smells Fishy ~ Lesson Learned March 2, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Nature.
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After writing A Letter to the Board, and receiving assurance that the Master Association would not act precipitously, we heard surprising news at our Annual Meeting on Monday night, prompting me to send another letter to the president of the Master Association:

Last night, at our Annual Meeting, the board announced that the Master Association has agreed to fund the removal of the Australian Pines on the west side of Spoonbill.

When did the Master Association reach that decision?

At the January 18th meeting, the Master Association asked the concerned homeowners from our street to gather more information about the cost of removal, etc.  A few days later, you attended our association’s January 24th meeting to hear R. Hoffman (Beautiful Ponds) speak.
The monthly meeting of the Master Association, scheduled for February 22nd, was cancelled.
In the absence of a public meeting to discuss the issue, how did the Master Association get from “gathering information” to a decision so quickly?  I would think, given the controversy and expense involved, that the Master Association would have addressed the issue in a more Open Forum.
Of course, I’m new at all this Homeowner Association stuff.
Maybe Open Meetings are only for non-controversial issues ~ like pool and flag maintenance, and lights for the shuffleboard court. 

In short order, I received a response from the president of our homeowner’s association:

There was an open special meeting of the PBC Master Board on February 4th at 1pm, posted 48 hours in advance as I believe their docs state as required.

At that meeting Phil presented the petition from our association, starting with the motion to remove the trees as agreed to unanimously by our Board at a special meeting held on January 31st at 5pm (also posted 48 hours in advance as our docs require).

That’s right, folks.

Not one, but two special meetings were held to discuss the issue . . . and I missed them both.

A short time later, I received additional information from the President of the Master Board:

All our meetings are OPEN and posted as required. All agenda are posted officially in the large Bulletin Box located to the right side of Club House entrance.  I even add a sign in the median at CH drive for all to see. Don’t know how much more open we can be.

Hmm . . .  maybe by not scheduling special meetings except for urgent matters which require immediate attention?

This morning, I replied:

Thank you both for filling me in on how the wind blows. 
When we joined this community, we made an effort to get involved.  We started attending the regularly scheduled board meetings held once a month on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 7 pm.
I see now that was a mistake.
Obviously, the “real deals” take place behind “open doors” at secret (oops, sorry . . . special) meetings held on Fridays at 1 pm or Mondays at 5 pm when the attention of most PBC homeowners is elsewhere.
Lesson learned.
From this point forward, I’ll skip the regular meetings and check the high tech “small print” on the bulletin boards so that I don’t miss any more hastily called, inconveniently scheduled, and poorly advertised special meetings on controversial issues of import to me.  

Our board members may have followed the “rules” . . . but, as our neighbors, they fell short of the bar.

ADDENDUM:  A few days later, the President of the Master Association called me to discuss the situation ~ a phone call that alleviated my concerns about the Master Board’s handling of the situation.

The Master Association had already scheduled a Special Meeting on February 4th to address another matter.  Our homeowner’s association asked to be added to the Agenda.  None of our neighbors bothered to let us know.   Good to know . . .

Quote:  Barn’s burnt down ~ now I can see the moon.  Masahide (1657-1723)

No rules.  Just write!

How about you?  How do you feel about back alley politics and special meetings?  Do you expect more of your representatives than they deliver?

Related posts:  A Letter to the Board * Birds of a Feather Flock Together * Ten Things We LOVE About Florida * Otters Outta Sight! * Why I Otter Kill You! * Florida Is For The Birds