News From IronOaks at Sun Lakes

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Gary Market

From the request that I do something to make the trash truck noise less bothersome to the sadly mean-spirited attack emails received, it has been an often delightful and satisfying year, but also sometimes rocky. My colleagues and I try to keep our heads on straight and remember the many efforts that have been meaningful to the community and the quiet thank yous received. We thank you for the thank yous. I want to acknowledge and thank the familiar faces in front of us. You have demonstrated a high level of caring, and that is appreciated. It is not necessary that the board agrees with every position presented to it. We seek clarity and civility in deciding issues.

I want to thank Stan Mogck and Stewart Schulz for their participation. They stepped up and contributed. We respect their personal reasons for resigning.

A recap of the accomplishments of this board is in the new Splash. I won’t repeat all of that but urge you to review the article. Yes, we have associated with new legal counsel, corrected very serious problems with our accounting system, started a relationship in a single professional management structure, commenced a very successful program of collecting long-overdue financial obligations, dealt with and are still dealing with a serious tax audit, made many tedious and needed revisions to our governing documents, revamped the website and more. Some of the more includes the evaluation of legal claims against some of our former professional advisors. That will be ongoing. With respect to the potential claim against Associa, my hope is that we pursue that action aggressively and do not get scared off by the very few negatives that are present in every such action.

What I want to spend a bit of time on is offering my views on what will be the challenges for the community in the near term based upon my three years on the board and other involvements.

A major structural change occurred when we engaged outside professional management. The adjustment relates to the working relationship between our board, committees and management.

Simply stated, our management contract, to some extent, not just allows but compels that group to do certain functions traditionally done or directed by our well-respected and necessary committees … devoted folks who care about the community. One cannot attract a well-respected management company, however, and not let them do their jobs; plus we pay them a ton of money to do just that. We need to be careful to not unreasonably interfere with BlueStar’s ability to perform its contractual obligations. That does not mean that the board should take lightly its duty of oversight. What this does mean is that the board, committees and management need to better learn how to create a working relationship that is not competitive but complimentary.

I suggest that the board and the community not settle for or take the easy way out of difficult situations but do what is right and not just what is a popular, though perhaps not well thought-out, long-term decision. I suggest the board and community not just accept the quick fix and do what has been done before but dig … research … study … every major function and that, again, the board take its oversight responsibility very seriously. No rubber stamps should be tolerated. That has gotten us into trouble by not doing our homework. This includes everything from the board signing checks, the board approving and staff managing contracts, user fees, establishing assessment levels and reserves needs – not just for the short term, the use of facilities in changing demographics, the budget and more. Some of those examinations may result in unpopular decisions, such as increasing assessments to high enough levels when we know there is a need around the corner and not deferring action as the easy way out. Let us use our wisdom and experience to enlighten discussion and debate rather than confuse with one-sided offerings. Let not our emotions obfuscate sound judgment.

Two final items I feel compelled to mention are policies and timelines. The board and community need to decide if they are going to follow the board manual and policies and insist that all levels of community involvement do the same and, if not, change those policies but don’t just abuse them. The gifting policy was ignored for a long time before it was amended. The reserve funding requirement in the BPM is presently and for some time has been ignored. Rules must be enforced equally and without favoritism. There cannot be enforcement of some but not all or enforcement of one set for most but another set for others. That is how dictatorships and oligarchies operate.

The last observation I have (well, there are more but this has to end sometime today!) is to pick up the pace. We tend to have little, if any, sense of urgency and decisions and projects often take what seems to me to be forever. The TPT audit, putting up with Associa’s mess of an accounting system for so long and the length of time we tolerate to receive professional opinions and other work products are examples. Please establish and enforce timelines, due dates and insist upon accountability. I have not been able to accomplish this nearly well enough.

My year has been busy, educational, frustrating but most of all rewarding. I have had the opportunity to work with dedicated colleagues who care about the community and a management staff that is the unusual combination of competent, professional, caring and a pleasure to be around. I have been able to be involved in serious projects and have had a bird’s eye view of our transition to professional management and I and the rest of the Board have had the opportunity to identify and begin the process of solving problems that have existed here for many years and have hopefully played a meaningful role in helping to establish some solid operating procedures.

I wish all a healthy and meaningful year ahead. It will be full of significant challenges, so be strong and do what is right.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity.

Attention new homeowners

Attention IronOaks New Homeowners – You are eligible for a FREE round of golf for two, FREE week of fitness, FREE week of tennis and BOGO meal at Stone & Barrel or Grill on the Green. All you have to do is call the IronOaks Welcome Group, c/o Howard Lundgren, at 480-369-2015 or email him at [email protected] to receive your new homeowners canvas tote filled with useful information about our community. Please allow 7 to 14 days for tote delivery.