28-June-2020

Dear Neighbor,

I'm Marc Rochkind, a member of the Gunbarrel Green HOA Board of Directors, but this email represents my own opinions, and not those of the Board. It's not an official email from the Board or the HOA.

In fact, the HOA Board objects so strenuously to my direct communication to members that on two occasions some of the members used the official HOA email list to send a follow-up email specifically criticizing me and disagreeing with what I said. They might do that again, so look for something along those lines in your in-box. However, the HOA's attorney has confirmed my legal right to communicate directly. I view it this way: I represent you on the Board, and it's normal for a representative to communicate with his constituents.

Here we go:

Zoom Meeting: I'll be hosting a Zoom meeting on Monday, July 13, from 7-9 PM. I'll present a brief update, and then we can talk about various HOA-governance issues. I'm guessing that most of you have already used Zoom; if not, email me back and I'll provide detailed instructions. The Zoom link is:

[Join email list to get link.]

It's not an official HOA meeting, and, while we can talk, we can't conduct any HOA business or vote on anything. It's not an appropriate forum for bringing up individual HOA issues, such as Architecture or Covenant Committee matters, since I have no influence, or even communication, with those two Committees or with the Board, and issues like that might not be of general interest to the attendees.

Mailing List: Last Fall I sent out an analysis of the proposed governing documents via US Mail, at great expense. I'd much prefer communicating by email, but my list is very incomplete, since I don't have access to the Gunbarrel Green Neighborhood Directory that the HOA publishes, and none of the emails on my list came from there.

So, I want to build my email list. If you can, please ask your neighbors to join it by going to:

gunbarrel.net/hoa/

When they sign up, I'll send them an invitation to the Zoom meeting on July 13.

Concentration of Power: A single Board member controls the money (as Treasurer), the financial statements, the email list, postal mailings, the Newsletter, the Directory, the Covenant Committee, the Nominating Committee, elections, and communication with the attorney and the outside world. What's more, this person is the driving force behind the governing-documents revisions, which give the Board substantially more power than it already has (see next issue).

That's too much power in the hands of one person, especially as three other Board members seem to instantly agree with this dominant person on all matters that come before the Board. A very unhealthy situation.

Governing Documents: Last Fall many members sent in comments on the proposed governing documents, and there was a meeting in November that was well attended. The Board has ignored all of the comments, written and in-person. Several Board members characterized them as either (1) unduly influenced by me, or (2) the whinging of people who had been upset by rulings of the Architecture or Covenant Committees. Not for a minute did they get that nobody wanted the proposed changes!

Here's what the April 2020 Newsletter said about the Fall 2019 debacle:

The Board acknowledges that there was insufficient explanation/meaning/intent accompanying the (first) DRAFT of the governing documents sent to the residents last fall.

Referring to "The Board" is incorrect, since the Board never discussed this subject or decided on an official response.

The good news is that the Governing Documents Committee hasn't met (to my knowledge), and there hasn't been any progress, if that's what you want to call it. At the January 2020 Board Meeting, the Board decided to meet with that Committee to organize the next phase of work, but the Chair of the Committee doesn't want a virtual meeting (unlike most of the rest of the world), so that meeting never happened.

Please understand that much of what the Newsletter says about the governing documents project is wrong, such as this, also from the April Newsletter:

As a responsible HOA community abiding by the statewide regulations, we have the duty to undertake, again, the revision process of our out-of-date governing documents ..."

That's misleading at best. The Attorney suggested we revise the documents; there's no legal requirement to do so. The reality is that some members of the Board want the documents revised to give the Board more power over homeowners, a point I've been making for several years now.

There's nothing concerning the governing documents that needs your attention right now. I don't think there will be anything distributed for a vote any time soon. If there is, all we have to do is vote against it. And, if we can elect two new Board members in October (see below), we can kill this project for good.

Board Governance: The Board is badly broken. There hasn't been a President or Vice-President since around January, the Board hasn't met since a very brief meeting in February to elect a new Board member, and the Board hasn't even had any informal discussions. What generally happens is that the Treasurer sends out emails announcing plans and decisions, and other Board members respond with short emails saying things like "I approve" or "You rock!" I used to respond with thoughts of my own, having been told that there was a discussion underway, but I never got the impression that anything I said was understood. The responses to me from the Treasurer were always defensive and often verbally abusive. So, I stopped responding at all.

I have, however, sent emails to the Board as a whole. In particular, I made suggestions about how we could transact business (e.g., by virtual Board meetings) during the time of COVID-19, tried to correct erroneous financial statements, and pointed out various Board governance irregularities. You can read those three emails from me here.

Board Election: Two Directors are up for election this October. I hope we can replace them with two new Directors, both committed to a more restrained and more transparent Board, giving those committed to reform a majority. If that happens, at our first Board meeting I hope we can pass four motions:

  1. Elect a new President and Vice-President.
  2. Disband the Governing Documents Committee and terminate the documents-revision project.
  3. Commit to posting all Board actions on the website and making Architecture and Covenant Committee meetings open, as recommended by our attorney at Altitude Law. (No outsiders know whether their decisions are fair or legal, since they meet in private.)
  4. Re-distribute responsibilities, so that a single person doesn't control so many Board functions (see Concentration of Power, above).

 

I look forward to seeing you on July 13 at our Zoom meeting, where we can talk about all of the above and more. But you don't have to wait until then; just reply to this email if you'd like to respond directly to me.

Thanks for your time, and stay well!

Marc Rochkind
5074 Cottonwood Drive  
 
 


This is not an official HOA email, even though it discusses HOA matters, and while I'm on the HOA Board, I am not representing the Board. If you'd prefer not to be on my email list, just click here and I'll unsubscribe you. That won't affect official emails from the HOA, only my own list.