Closed Board Meetings Proposed by HSVPOA
B.M.B.S. (Board Monthly Brain Storming) Meetings, besides being a horrible acronym, are a horrible idea. What is a B.M.B.S. meeting, you might be asking?
It’s a really bad idea that was birthed the first day of the Board Retreat on May 1, 2019. This idea saw the light of day and was introduced to the public on the second day of Board Retreat (May 2, 2019).
Monthly Work Sessions Suggested
On Day two, it started as a suggestion from one (new) board member to revisit the idea of having monthly work sessions. For anyone new to the village in the past couple of years, these were open planning and discussion meetings held every month two weeks before every board meeting; members were welcome and could address the board in a less structured format. These meetings were done away with during the Twiggs era as it was said that staff was spending much too much time preparing for two meetings every month. The Board at that time also seemed to feel they found it too much effort and perhaps didn’t like having to face homeowners twice a month.
Mistake to do away with monthly work sessions
Anyway, there’s always been a strong contingent of folks that felt it was a mistake to do away with those meetings, especially in the interests of transparency. Instead, the Board began meeting once a month in private to establish the meeting agenda, and again in private on a separate monthly date with the CEO for “updates”.
In an article in the Hot Springs Village Voice, written by Lewis Delevan and dated March 22, 2016, Board Director Jeff Atkins discusses the topic of private meetings by the Board,
Quoting Atkins from the Voice article
“Next, Atkins said the other directors were trying to hide private meetings. ‘What a nice spin,’ Atkins said, saying the meetings violate the board’s policy to conduct POA business in open meetings, except for items that must be discussed in executive session.”
“ ‘What they did not tell you is this has been going on for months,’ Akins said, saying he had learned about the sessions recently. Further, Atkins said it wasn’t right to hold board meetings without even notifying all the directors.”
“’Several board members starting a private meeting on their own, and didn’t inform the rest of the board members,’ he said. ‘I think it was very inappropriate to be meeting without the rest of the board in attendance. I would say I’m disappointed in the rest of the board, but I guess I should have expected it.'”
Monthly work sessions morphed into B.M.B.S.
Fast forward to May 1, 2019. The board had a lovely first day of Retreat meeting privately and talking on anything they wanted. Day two would be with members in attendance.
Perhaps with the memory of the day before fresh in their minds, the board members moved around the table on day two with their four or five top priorities to be put up on the poster board and “voted on” by colored sticky dots.
Suddenly there was a plan gaining momentum that Board Monthly Brain Storming meetings (B.M.B.S.) would really be cool fun. And then a Board member (new) said these would be closed meetings – well, I almost fell out of my chair. WHERE’S THE TRANSPARENCY IN THAT???
I’m sure they thought this would maybe fly under the radar because they were justifying that it would incorporate the two monthly closed meetings they are already having and they could add Brain Storming as a third topic….all to be done outside the view of property owners. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to know what they are “brainstorming” about.
They still have the privilege of Executive Sessions to discuss “sensitive matters” privately, isn’t that enough?
Incorporate some of B.M.B.S. topics into “Let’s Talk” sessions
In fairness to the new board member who championed the idea that these meetings would be closed, this board member did suggest that maybe some of their ideas could be “incorporated” into the newly invented “Let’s Talk” sessions. Sorry, but those meetings don’t rise to the level of the attending board members du jour sharing much more than canned platitudes.
Trust cannot be built with secret meetings
Mind you, their number one top take away from their day two meeting was the need to build owner trust. Do you see why I’m frustrated? WHAT ARE THEY THINKING???? It is my understanding that they plan to bless giving themselves permission to hold these meetings at the upcoming board meeting (May 15, 2019).
Written by a Villager, May 12, 2019
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