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HSVPOA Common Property, Forest and Wildlife Committee concerns

This article addresses the HSVPOA Common Property, Forest, and Wildlife Committee which originally was called The Natural Resources Committee. The committee was then renamed the Common Property Committee. For all intents and purposes, these three committees are basically the same, just with different names. Have I confused you yet?

The Common Property, Forest, and Wildlife Committee (CPF & WC) was originally formed in 1996 as the Natural Resources Committee (NRC).

Before we go into the committee’s accomplishments over the years, there is a little back story.

The Common Property Committee was disbanded in 2017

In 2017, due to the attempted implementation of the ‘infamous’ Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP), the ex-CEO moved responsibilities from the Common Property Committee (CPC) to HSVPOA staff. The ex-CEO stated in a Village Voice article that “committees were being re-aligned, where needed, to support the comprehensive master plan strategies.”

Due to this change, which effectively rendered the committee obsolete, CPC Chairman, Dan Webb, and Vice-chair, Bruce Caverly resigned, effective October 17 and 18, 2017. Their obvious frustration was expressed in the Hot Springs Village Voice.

The Village Voice reported Caverly as saying the committee found it difficult to understand why the POA was taking over tasks that the committee had always performed for free.

According to the HSV Voice article, “’They’re trying to take control of everything and it’s going to cost us, residents, to do so. We have qualified people here to do things and they’re not using us. They don’t want to take advantage of that,“ Webb said. “They’re creating their own government and I guess the staff is going along with it,” he added.

“’I have a problem with that kind of control,” Caverly explained to the Voice. Bruce asked, why should we pay the POA staff to do work that the committee performs for free?

Chair Webb was quoted as saying, ” “They’re (HSV Property Owners Association) excluding us from everything. I don’t know what direction they are going in, but I don’t want to be a part of it.”

Caverly said he felt that is just the opposite of what effective use of resources could be. Caverly said he told the POA the committee has lost its value to the POA and so he regretfully decided to resign.

The CPC was disbanded.

CPF & WC was established in 2020

Common sense prevailed with the election of the new Board of Directors in 2020 and the Comprehensive Master Plan was abolished. Following this, the CPF & WC was established with Bruce Caverly being appointed as chairman. The committee began working in earnest with newly promoted, Todd Noles, Common Property, Forestry, and Wildlife Manger and Jason Temple, Chief Operating Officer. In addition, the committee worked with other POA staff in order to organize the HSVPOA Urban Deer Hunt.

Wires were crossed

Allegedly some staff felt their duties were being interfered with by some committees. (Note: This article is NOT suggesting that the CPF & WC or any member of any HSVPOA committee interfered. But there obviously was some perception by the staff of some committee interference.)

Due to some obvious misunderstandings of committee duties and responsibilities, a memo was sent out to all committee chairs regarding committee purpose and responsibilities.

For the sake of brevity, I am not going to go into the full transcript of the memo. What seems to be causing confusion with the committees is this part of the correspondence:

“Some important guidelines for committee activity going forward:

  • “‘Advising and recommending’ does not include meeting with individual employees regarding their individual tasks/responsibilities
  • “Advice and recommendations need to be properly substantiated and documented and should go directly to the Board, which will share the information with the General Manager
  • “Committee members are not to involve themselves in operational activities/projects unless specifically requested to do so by the Board or GM.”

“Going forward, in the interest of following a prescribed chain-of-command and to minimize distraction from staff performance of their normal duties, the following policy will be implemented in all committees:

  1. “Requests for information will first be made by the committee members to the Chair of that committee or the Vice-Chair in the Chair’s absence.
  2. The Chair or Vice-Chair will send the request for information directly to the GM, with a copy to the Board of Directors.
  3. There will be no exceptions permitted to this process.”

The committee chairs were invited to the September 9, 2020 Board Discussion Session for clarification on the memo.

The committee chairs were allowed to speak at the discussion session and their confusion as to the meaning and purpose of the memo was evident. Committees have always worked closely with HSVPOA staff. Ray Lehman, Chair of the Marketing Committee stated that the memo was like “deja vu.”

Newly hired General Manager Charles King stated, “The problem I’ve seen a little bit is the committees are kind of getting entangled a little bit in operations which is causing a little confusion with the staff which is going to cause some strife between me and the staff, which is going to cause strife between me and the board. It is kind of a web rolled out of control.”

At this discussion session, newly elected Chairman of the CPF & WC, Bruce Caverly, gave an excellent presentation on the history of the committee and some of their tasks and accomplishments. As Bruce’s presentation detailed how his committee has worked with staff over the years, I have chosen to highlight his presentation.

A transcript of this presentation was provided to all Board Members.

Bruce joined the Natural Resources Committee in the Spring of 2002. (As already stated, the Natural Resources Committee (NRC) is now known as the Common Property, Forest, and Wildlife Committee.) Here is a little committee history from Bruce Caverly’s presentation.

Over the years, the committee developed, implemented, and managed a wide variety of programs. This was only possible with the committee members working closely with POA staff and the Board of Directors.

Committee members have consisted of professionals in many walks of life including, but not limited to: landscape architects, foresters, hunters, an entomologist, a lawyer or two, and some marketing and project management experts.

The committee has a three-fold approach:

  1. Identify situations and issues,
  2. Seek needed expertise in order to gain an understanding of the issue, and
  3. Work closely with staff to develop and implement plans to correct and/or improve problems.

Programs developed and implemented by the committee

  • East Gate Hwy 5 redesign
  • Forest Management Plan (12-year program) Contributed 1.2 MM $ to the general fund
  • Fire Wise community certification since 2008
  • Deer Management Program since 2008
  • Canada Goose Management Program since 2010
  • Education and publicity on use of the common property via print media, Newcomers Meetings, real estate companies, and title companies

Other committee tasks

  • Village Visual Impact – Desoto Blvd beautification – Not funded
  • Assessment of fines
  • Reforesting the clear cut area on Balearic Road
  • Permit applications related to common property. These permit applications are assigned to a CPF & WC member who investigates and either approves, modifies or denies the application.
  • Investigation of property owner complaints regarding:
  1. Misuse of common property,
  2. Work on common property without a permit,
  3. Dumping on common property, and
  4. Blowing leaves into lakes. 

Staff that has worked with the committee

The committee worked closely with the following HSVPOA staff and committees:

  • Golf superintendents,
  • Golf committee,
  • Lakes manager,
  • Lakes committee,
  • Public Works Department when necessary – i.e. east gate,
  • Permitting and Inspection Department,
  • Administrative Assistants, and
  • Others as needed.

Urban Deer Hunt

After this committee was dissolved, HSVPOA staff member Stephanie Heffer asked Bruce Caverly to organize the Urban Deer Hunt program in 2018 and 2019.

When disbanding this committee in 2017, the need for the Deer and Goose Management programs had been forgotten.  Caverly along with Dan Webb, Zach Sykora and Stephanie Heffer worked closely on these programs in 2018 and 2019.

Committee concerns regarding the memo

Caverly said, “at this point here are the issues/concerns as we see them.

  1. “We have a committee fully capable of handling Common Property permits, issues and complaints and the Wildlife Management Programs as we have for the last 12 years. 
    1. Question 1.)  Do you want this committee to do as we have in the past?
    2. Question 2.)  Does it make sense to pay staff for work committees can do?”

Caverly also expressed the need to simplify the permitting process.

Director Avila responded to Bruce’s report saying, “Not every committee was designed to serve the exact same purpose…Some get more deeply involved – some less involved. Some only advise. Some actually assist and advise.”

Additionally, Pam said, “we as a board need to do some more thought on this and we need to include Charles in this discussion process so that we are all clear on how the staff, the board and the committees all work together.”

Tucker said the ACC is definitely different from other committees. “They make decisions every meeting,” explained Omohundro.

Lloyd said, “This [discussion] has been very beneficial.”

Committees have always worked closely with staff

ALL committees work closely with staff and by doing so have contributed greatly to the HSVPOA with their ideas, talents, and ingenuity. Committees have saved the HSVPOA an untold amount of money over the years.

A delicate balance must be achieved with the Board/committees and staff. This has been possible in the past. Is this possible, moving forward? I sincerely believe it is.

By Cheryl Dowden, September 11, 2020

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