By Frank Leeming, February 28, 2020
Four things to think about when you fill out your POA board ballot
Ballots for this year’s board of directors election will be mailed tomorrow to property owners in good standing. There are four primary things we need to consider as we cast our votes:
- Who do we think will take Hot Springs Village in the proper direction?
- Which candidates will stick to their campaign pledges?
- Of all the issues facing the next board, which are the most important, and are your candidates ready to deal with them?
- Finally, with Buddy Dixon’s resignation last week, four of the five candidates on the ballot will be elected. Who do you think should not be?
- For me, the first item is easy. After sitting down with all five candidates, I believe Dick Garrison, Tucker Omohundro, and Lloyd Sherman have the best qualifications to be on the POA board. I think they will seriously seek the solutions they’ve outlined in the campaign.
This is a serious issue because property owners have been deceived by four of the last five candidates we elected. Cindi Erickson, Tormey Campagna, Nancy Luehring, and Dixon all said the right thing to get elected, then fell under the spell of the CEO and turned their backs on the voters.
Dismay and distrust followed.
If you include the Declarations defeat, this will be the fourth consecutive election in which property owners have voted against policies approved by prior boards and promoted by the CEO.
Property owners have a right to be wary of what candidates promise.
The 10 issues four of the five candidates said top their lists of things they want to do if elected are (Nikki Choyce did not respond to the survey):
- Revoke or revise policies and bylaws adopted in the last three years to shift Village governance to a “corporate” rather than a community environment.
- Trim high-paid staff.
- Replace the CEO and change the job title back to general manager.
- Revise or abolish the Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP).
- Adopt transparency as a priority goal for both the board and the POA.
- Create a standing board Marketing Committee to help develop a more successful strategy for the Village.
- Abolish the Governance Committee.
- Direct the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) to work with builders and Realtors to cut back rules imposed as part of the CMP.
- Guide the new Finance Committee in developing a long-term plan to guarantee the Village’s future financial health.
- Develop a five-year plan for maintaining our infrastructure, particularly our roads, which have been neglected for three years.
The list of things which need doing includes many other tasks, but these are what the candidates feel need attention first.
The last thing to consider before filling out our ballot is who do we not vote for?
Choyce is chair of the CMP advisory committee, supports the CMP and is in step with the CEO. She’s lived in the Village for less than a year. She didn’t respond to our survey to rank key issues, so I’m not sure what she wants to do if elected.
Kirk Denger is a nice guy, but he has some strange ideas. I think he is more in tune with Garrison, Omohundro, and Sherman than Choyce is, but it’s hard to tell.
I don’t think either will be an effective board member. Choyce doesn’t have enough Village experience and sees things through the prism of the CMP, which is a major liability. Denger is a fine fellow, but I’m not sure he sees the big picture.
Nevertheless, Kirk will get my fourth vote because I believe he’s likely to work more often with Garrison, Omohundro, Sherman and Diana Podawiltz. And building a new majority is the most important issue on the ballot.
Some will criticize me for saying this is the most important board election the Village has ever had, but I believe it is. And that’s appropriate as we celebrate our 50th year.
Hot Springs Village is the greatest community of its kind in the nation. It doesn’t need to be transformed into something else. It needs to be maintained and promoted so it can achieve its potential. It’s time for smart action, time to get the Village back on track and time to end the division.
By Frank Leeming, Former HSVPOA Board Member, February 28, 2020
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