By Frank Leeming, November 19, 2019
New effort to keep you from seeing what your committees are doing
Two very important things are going to happen at tomorrow’s POA board meeting:
- First, in another extreme effort to prevent property owners from seeing or hearing what’s going on, the board is going to try to ban video and recording devices from being used at committee meetings.
- And second, reflecting the iron control Lesley Nalley has imposed on this board, director Diana Podawiltz is going to be forced to apologize for daring to criticize the CEO.
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The proposal to ban video and sound recordings is a direct result of the outstanding reporting by Cheryl Dowden, who laboriously transcribed what was said at a meeting Nov. 8 of the Comprehensive Master Plan Advisory Committee (CMPAC), and posted it on the HotSpringsVillagePeople.com website. Click here to read her story.
It would be unfair to say this is vice-chair Tormey Campagna’s idea. I hope he hasn’t gone so far around the bend he really believes in the proposal he’s bringing forward. I think he’s just following Nalley’s orders to propose the ban. Click here to read the twisted logic he’s using to explain why the ban is needed.
The heart of this is when Campagna says it’s “to ensure that all Committee and Sub-Committee members feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts and ideas without being unduly scrutinized.”
This board thrives on secrecy and hiding their discussions from property owners, so it’s not surprising they’d think it’s important others would want to “feel comfortable” discussing community business, so let’s do all we can to keep our business to ourselves.
Well, it’s unlikely 14,000 Villagers are going to show up for a committee meeting. But if someone has the time and the initiative to record what happens and wants to share it with the rest of us, I say they should get a medal and a great big thank you, and not be told they can’t do it.
The board should promptly send this ill-advised idea to the trash can.
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The second issue sending chills down my spine is another example of Nalley’s heavy-handed imposition of her control over this board.
At a seven-minute board meeting earlier this month, director Diana Podawiltz outlined what she felt were problems with the 2020 budget. Click here to read what she said.
Her remarks included a challenge to some things Nalley was doing with the budget. The CEO demanded an apology. Nalley didn’t like it when Podawiltz, an accountant, said:
“This year, unbeknownst to me, our CEO changed our capital policy. We are now capitalizing items which in prior years were expensed. In my opinion, there is no logical business reason for violating the accounting principle of consistency and a possible violation of the accounting principle of conservancy.
“This change has the potential of causing business decisions to be made which are driven by this goal, that may not be in the ultimate best interests of the Association.”
Let me tell you it takes guts for Podawiltz to voice her opinions when she’s all alone on the board. Then to have her employee demand an apology is outrageous.
Directors are supposed to speak up and speak out on Village issues. Nalley’s imposition of her will on this board is wrong, and for the other directors to go along with her behavior speaks volumes about their strength of character. They should be ashamed.
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Tomorrow directors will adopt a schedule for next year’s board election. Three Villagers say they’ll be running: Lloyd Sherman, Tucker Omohundro, and Dick Garrison, who Nalley had the board fire in September. Each would make an excellent director.
The best-case scenario would be for them to run unopposed. First, it would save the Village $30,000, the cost of conducting a POA election. Second, it would spare the Village more division. Nalley and this board have caused enough.
On the other hand, it might be fun if this board would put up a slate of candidates so property owners could show once again how little they think of the job they’ve been doing over the last three years.
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The timetable for the next board election:
- Candidate applications will be available beginning Dec. 2 at the POA Building. They must be turned in by Jan. 10.
- Ballots would be mailed on Feb. 28. They must be returned by March 18, and will be counted March 19. New directors will be seated after the regular meeting on April 15.
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Our What’s Happening in Hot Springs Village package of charts and financial data has been updated to cover the first 10 months of this year. Click here to see the latest package. Some items of note:
- Golf play in the first 10 months is down 9,666 rounds, or 4.8 percent, from the same period last year. In 2006, there were 311,076 rounds in the first 10 months, compared to 190,568 this year. That’s a drop of 38.7 percent. Golf revenue for each round was down 38 cents, or 1.4 percent, from last year. Golf is our most important revenue amenity.
- Cash available for operations was $1.9 million, or 49.4 percent, less on Oct. 31 than it was at the same time last year.
- The real-estate market is good. The average price of homes sold in the first 10 months was $216,398, up 2.2 percent from last year. 566 homes sold through the end of October, up from 528 last year.
- For the first time, we’ve updated and included Fast Facts About Hot Springs Village, which were first published in the Hot Springs Village Social and Economic Impact report in 2016. You’ll find them on pages 4 and 5 of this package.
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A new state report says 114 dams in Arkansas are considered to be “high” hazard because their failure has the potential to cause death. One cited as being in “poor” condition is the Cortez dam which creates Lake Cortez.
COO Jason Temple said in his report to the POA board this week the report by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) “included action items to be addressed.”
“No reason to be concerned,” Jason told me in an email.
“We got a letter from the ANRC listing some items we needed to address, mainly vegetation, early this year that I have been reporting to the board about. If you click on the map icon on the Democrat-Gazette website for this article it states for Lake Cortez dam: “good condition,” excessive vegetation, missing riprap, deteriorating concrete in spots. Don’t know why we got listed except for the vegetation issues which have been addressed.”
By Frank Leeming, November 19, 2019