Thursday, January 17, 2008

Executive Session Meeting Recap

Here is a recap of what I am allowed to share with you from our executive session meeting last night and my thoughts on some issues that are beginning to concern me more.

We had some updates on legislation. I really can't share but I had more than a few incredulous head shaking minutes when I hear about some of these cases

The Dressage Arena has been scrapped of the old sand and the new sand being picked up today. It was agreed to leave the base alone because it wasn't a problem after all. So the problem will be fixed and the big concern about the arena base that caused the delay is chalked up to a big Emily Latella "never mind." Please. I ask everyone who wants to report some "huge concern" about the arenas to first consult other experts, equestrians or think things through calmly before asking the governor to declare a state of emergency. ; )

Jan's contract was renewed as is. She was asked to leave the room and we discussed it and whether the fee should be raised. I noted that her fee paid to us on a percentage basis was in line with what other contractors are paying us for their access to facilities. (Leaving aside the question if what the rest pay us is adequate for now at least.) I held up my promise in the campaign that the residents be given the chance to weigh in and that it not be discussed only in secret and that we'd make sure there was no unfair advantage given to her. Checkmarks on all of that. We're getting a fair shake from Jan and the public had opportunity to comment with her not present and no one did.

Cell Tower Proposal - Not much from last night's meeting. We're still waiting on the potential interest revenue stream figures from the endowment as well as determining if the interest would be taxable. It was also noted the basic contract example they gave us was total crap including a provision for them to be able to terminate it but not us and stating we would have no right to build anything near the tower and they could oppose any activity near it that they deemed interfering with its operation. (Goodbye horses if the company for some reason determined them to be a hazard to their operations.) Obviously we'd never sign something that stupid. Well... hopefully we wouldn't...we've done some other things I never thought we'd do so....

Listed as employee compensation requests we had request from Louis to raise the salary on one his swim coaches who we pay to clean the pool. We pay him more than we'd pay a cleaning service just on his part time salary alone much less his benefits and what we pay on his FICA etc. Asked what he does in addition it was noted that he took care of the light pole that fell in the pool and the electrical problem with the motor. [Ummm. and what does Louis do exactly? He answered with examples of the stuff that the pool cleaner is doing.] It was noted by Louis that if we switched to a pool cleaning service, cheaper to the residents the swim coach wouldn't make enough money because Louis can't afford to pay him enough. So we are subsidizing Louis' staff so that he can keep his costs down. I asked him how much money he paid to J. Serra pool. He replied about $61,000 a year. When asked what he pays us for the Gators to use our pool he didn't know. Think about this. He is a businessman. He can tell you what one major cost is (the other pool) but not this one. Worse, he is the pool center manager responsible for the financial operations, budget and the like and he can't tell us what income we get?!!

I can tell you how much. According to the financial report we just got (which Louis supposedly prepared.) The budget indicates that pool rental from his team for the year is $144,000. We then turn around and give him $134,640 of that back to him for the privilege of us us paying all his costs, subsidizing his staff and a salary to Louis to not even be here to do the job for which we pay him. Then he has us pay one of his swim coaches he can't pay enough to out of that $136,000 to pick up his slack while he is off at another pool. And yet I was told this is the best we can do and all the other alternatives simply won't work. As my father used to say "What's wrong with this picture?" Louis also reported that a previous General Manager promised him we'd build him a 50 meter pool but he wasn't holding that against us. Thanks Louis. We appreciate that.

Some of you equestrians out there noted that when I had a project that I thought was important you'd help back me up. This item has been requested to be on some near term meeting in February as a public workshop. I will let you know when and let's see if we can't get the word out to as many neighbors as possible to come down and let the HOA know this is stupid and can't go on like this. We deserve better financial management of our assets. Louis is going to present to us in greater depth what the deal is with the swim team and the management. I look forward to hearing what he has to say.

P.S. The board voted 3-2 to approve the pay increase for the pool cleaner $1000 a year. But many on the Board don't think there is a conflict of interest in a contractor/employee situation. It's not wrong to have the businessman using his position as an employee to get us to pay the costs of his employees rather than picking that up himself, right?

I really like the other Board members and we're getting along great. I am honestly loving everything I am doing. But that doesn't mean we will always agree. I have respect for the senior boardmembers and their belief that they have tried over the years to come up with an alternative. And I am the first to admit I may dig into this and find that as stupid an arrangement as this is it still may be the best one, but we really need to give it another try.


Anonymous said...

Hi James:

I was at J. Serra High School recently and was shocked to see a large banner attached to the fence on the pool deck which reads "Home of the NGSV Gators". And now they are asking Nellie Gail for more money?

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand about the swim coach discussion is why isn't it the general manager's responsibility to evaluate these proposals? His name did not appear in your detailed write-up, James. Did Glenn recommend increasing the employee's salary by $1,000/month to the board? Is it the GM's position that our money was wisely and fairly spent in this matter? Does the GM feel that we need more than one employee to manage a swimming pool?

Anonymous said...

What exactly does Luis do? Why does he pay J. Serra $61,000 to use their pool, but we pay him to use ours?

Does that make any sense?

What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

Thanks James for looking at the swim operation with an unbiased approach. The Nadadores would be happy to pay NGROA instead of us paying the current swim director. Swim teams have to pay for water time, but in the convoluted world of NGROA the association pays him.

Anonymous said...

How much payment are the Nadaores willing to give?

Aren't we supposed to send these contracts out for bid?