Saturday, January 1, 2011

An Open Letter to my Association Manager

To: Jim Fraker
Community Manager
Village Woods Owners' Association, Inc.
c/o Professional Community Management

Dear Jim,

Thanks for taking the time out to speak with me last weak.  I have decided to write you with my concerns about Village Woods, The Village Woods Owners' Association, Inc. its board of directors, bylaws, rules and the management company. 

Where to start?
First, Jim, I do want you to send me a letter about the posters and flyers I've been putting up and that have been taken down repeatedly.  I think a written record of what we discussed will protect all parties.  You may mail or e-mail that letter to me at your earliest convenience.

I believe that it is no longer legal for member organizations to use proxies for voting on anything.  I will let you know what my lawyer friend says about that but I think that this will have to change significantly.  I also believe that the board must have five members in order to function properly.  This means that is hasn't been functioning properly since the number went from five to three and that it might not even be able to appoint members.

The number of management companies, managers and accounting firms employed by the association
Jim, you should look into this as I think the number is staggering.  If it does not point to mismanagement it at least raises the question of such.  My question: Why have there been five or more management companies managing Village Woods.  It looks to me like the board keeps changing management companies when one of two things happen: 1) the management company wants to do something that the board doesn't; or 2) the management company uncovers something.

The Board
I volunteer to be appointed to the board of directors.  That is, once it is determined that the current board may act in this manner.

Glass at The Pool
The Association rules are specific about glass being prohibited in the pool area but I couldn't help but notice that the tables in the pool area are made of glass.  This, I believe represents an area of great concern for me and should represent quite a liability for the association and its board.  After looking at the rules for levying fines, it would be absurd to think what the association should have to fine itself for breaking this rule for the eight years I've been here, let alone how long the actual glass tables have been there.  And once you add penalties and interest... well...

Penalties and Interest
I noted with much regret, while reading the minutes, that the board has refused to negotiate with people who are in arrears with their dues; specifically in the area of lowering or forgiving penalties and interest.  I have the dubious distinction of having represented myself and an organization I managed with its debt to the IRS and must say that they are willing to forgive most penalties and all interest levied on tax debt.  If the IRS can do It, I believe that the Association can do it -- especially after what you told me about the odds of collecting bad debt such as this.

The Clubhouse
I would like to know why, if we own the common property collectively, we should be charged to use the clubhouse.  Also, why do we need to pay a deposit and why do we have to go all the way to Carlsbad to pick up and return keys to the clubhouse.  I think these rules are designed to keep the clubhouse off limits to association members.  I also would like to know if the board has complied with these rules as they have their meetings there.  Is there indeed a $150 check on deposit and has the board indeed been paying $50 for each meeting its had there in my memory and, if not why not?  And of there are exceptions.

Here's a radical idea.  Take the lock and all restrictions off the clubhouse. 

Environmental Responsibility
I applaud the board's responsibility in placing recycling bins at all dumpster locations.  I also think that there could be so much more done with regards to LEED, Green and Environmentally friendly management techniques including grey water, solar energy and many, many more energy (and money) saving solutions.

The Village Woods Fun Party
Jim, if you are near my age, you remember the days when the Village Woods was not a condo conversion but an apartment complex.  And, if my memory serves me, complexes designed like Village Woods were of the "Swinging Single" variety.  The clubhouse was always a gathering place; everyone hung out at the pool; people were more neighborly.  There were a lot of things wrong with this era: exclusion, noise, dangerous behavior, etc.  But, dang it Jim, I want there to be monthly parties out by the pool and in the clubhouse.  I want to meet my neighbors over burned meat and with music playing -- like it's been done in California since... well since the Village Woods apartments were first built.

My thing with the Village Woods Fun Party (not affiliated with the Village Woods Owners' Association, Inc.) is that we are a community of owners and we need to act like one.  Holiday Light contests, awards for the best gardens, pool parties and a clubhouse that all members of the club that is The Village Woods Owners' Association may use.

The Rest of It
As you know, Jim, I think that people are scared of the Association and its board.  But after we spoke, I think the board has much more reason to fear the members than the other way around.  BUT, Jim, I advocate for the end of fear and the beginning of a relationship between the association, its board and management company that makes Village Woods not only the best place in the world to live but a model for how other associations can be run.

Not an association or a board or a management company or even 16-odd individuals but a movement. 

I look forward to your response!


Kevin Six

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