What follows is the report given by General Manager, Kelly Hale, at the February 16, 2022 Board Meeting. Mr. Hale talks about the inclement weather, the election, marketing, creating a release of information policy for Property Owners and the press, and much more.
This transcription was made to the best of my ability and is deemed to be close if not exact to what was said. Headings are added for clarification purposes and easier reading.
Chair Joanie Corry: Next up is the General Manager’s report – Kelly Hale.
Kelly Hale, General Manager: Good deal. Thank you, Joanie.
First thing that we have is the Inclement Weather Event. I do want to thank all the members of the community for really following the communication we put out. It was a – it really worked well – that we were able to get the emergency crews out and also thank the POA employees that worked through that. We had a lot of folks that worked a lot of long hours to get everything out that we needed to. They worked throughout the event to ensure the public was kept up to date. It was a big thing that I really want to push is the amount of communication that we are sending out to the members. We’ll continue to make sure that we support all of these departments. Special consideration to our fire, police, and public work employees for their tireless efforts and then also our sanitation groups that were able to readjust into Saturday and finish the trash pickup so we could get back into cycle going into the new week. We had a lot of folks that adjusted their schedules to be able to make sure that we did what we needed to do. So I want to thank all of those folks.
Due to the upcoming resignation of the Board of Directors of Chris Jones, we have submitted a request to the election vendor, IT Vote to change the number of vacant Board seats from three to four. Due to this change, the four candidates with the highest number of votes will be taking seats on the Board in this election.
The 2022 Board Election will be conducted via hybrid vote with online and mail-in voting available. Election packets will be mailed to all members in good standing by February 25.
The Accounting Department is completing their year-end financial close for 2021. We have an audit that is scheduled now. The staff will work to prepare required preliminary documentation and will be ready for upcoming visit from outside auditors.
We welcome a new Accounting Manager, Ricky Bennett, who reported to the job early this year, which will be an asset to the department in being able to help us serve better.
Our Marketing update right now through the beginning of February 1, just the first week of February, we’ve already seen 116% in outside visits to the website over last year at the same period. We expect to see an increase in Discovery Packages throughout this advertising, as well as interest in available lots, in-house and [indecipherable word but it sounded like “rep”] referrals, (excuse me) through February 11 (excuse me), through February we’ve had 11 Discovery Packages already taken advantage of, versus six the same period last year. So, we’ve almost doubled what we have. We have a lot of traffic and a lot of interest wanting to come in and visit the area. So that’s outstanding.
Building Maintenance – we’ve recently completed updates to Isabella, Ponce, and Magellan for the assets that we have there. That’s in the restaurant areas. Give them fresh coats of paint. All are waiting for, also in the pro shops, we’ve got the merchandise started to be put into those. So you’ll see those starting to come back to life. They’ve looked rather bare. But I went and visited several of those this past week and they look very good. So you’ll see the pro shops and the restaurants being able to get put in line.
We also fixed a water line at the DeSoto Club that was underground. We dug that up and ran that through the ceiling so that we could get access to that in the future if it ever has another issue. But that was corrected and that allows us to take that asset and be able to manage it going forward.
The new sanitation trucks were placed into service Monday, January 31. We’ve had very positive response. We’ll continue to manage the drivers out there and make sure that they are following processes on how the units work and then continue to make sure that they follow those as we go forward. We’re doing that with observations and communication out to the community. We have a couple of areas that we need to follow up on, but a lot of our Property Owners have been very pleased.
We have folks that want smaller can sizes, so we’re trying to coordinate with people that have a small one and want a big one or have a big one and want a small one. So we’re trying to coordinate that internally, but we also got some of the smaller containers on backorder. So our department is working through how we can manage that to get the members what they are looking for.
Safety Risk Assessment Coordinator
We hired a new Safety Risk Assessment Coordinator for the Village. This person will be focused on OSHA compliance, along with risk assessment to be able to keep the cost down there. This person will start the beginning of next week, if not later this week. But, they have an extensive background in safety coordination and risk assessment, so they’ll be an asset for keeping us in compliance for OSHA, EPA, and many of the other areas that we need to be very focused on.
Leaf and Debris Pickup
We have a change with our leaf and debris pickup process, going to the paper bags. We will be communicating that to the Members on what the change in the process is, how it’s going to work. That will come around beginning of next month, but also why.
You know, the big thing there is that we’ve always had to go and break the plastic bags open before we took them over to the dumpsite outside the Village. Now we put them in the paper. We can take the whole unit over there and dump it. It’s not a change with the counties. It’s always been there. But it’s been a real labor-intensive for us to do it inside the Village. So we’ll be looking at some options as we move forward, but we want to communicate out that change coming and make sure that we get it right with everybody.
Looking at the restaurants, we have signed a vendor lease agreement at Isabella. That will be taking place here very soon, probably within the next week. The couple will take over that and they’ll have that open and running.
We put Magellan out. Magellan was one of the only POA assets where a restaurant lies that we had left that we managed. We have a couple of vendors that have already participated in putting in bids for those so we’re looking to get that in there so we can make sure we have that staffed and ready when we need it.
We have the DeSoto Club that we’ve gone through and we’ve done some repairs on. We’ve got a vendor that’s already came, an existing restaurant, that has visited and is looking to sign an RFA with us. And we have a visit next week with a vendor out of Hot Springs, an existing restaurant, from the 501 Prime Group that wants to come in and tour the DeSoto as well, as far as potentially making an opportunity to come in and do business here in the Village. So I think that is exciting, but we’ll play that one by ear and see where we land.
We’re wanting to make these vendors successful and create flexible models that can not only serve the Members but be able to make them profitable, that they don’t go out of business on us. So, we’re looking that they be able to know how, they clear understanding they need to support our golfers. If they’re going to do a lunch/dinner or if they’re going to do a breakfast/lunch type model, but we’ll communicate those out by sites so everybody knows where they are at. But if they’re going to do a lunch/dinner, we’re requesting that they have people available from 9:00 a.m. on, that they can serve the golf Members or anyone that might be coming through there to get beverages or snacks at that point in time. So more to come on where our restaurants are as we go from there.
Drainage and Dredging of our Lakes
Drainage and dredge of our lakes – right now we’ve got Lake Isabella, Lake Pineda that we went out, toured. We’re getting all that taken out of there and we look to have that done here by the end of what, Jason? Next month? Roughly. So we’re taking out quite a bit of silt that has gone into those two lakes and I am sure many of you have seen those. But at the same time, we are looking at additional options for the next go-around next year – finding a vendor that can come in and take that dirt out, that can use it, at no cost to the POA. So we’re going to start pursuing that.
Vandalism and Theft
Then we had a vandalism and theft. We had a fire unit that was at a vendor getting repaired and had a generator, a toolbox, and an ax stolen off of it that we’re gonna… We already filed a police report on, but we also had a halfway house out of Cortez that had a damage to the door and a camera stolen. So we’ve already filed police reports on this. We’ll communicate ’em out. You know, these are internal, we feel on both. But we do want to make the members aware so they can help us keep an eye out for these type of events and kind of deter those in the community.
Release of Information to the Property Owners and the Press
And then the only other thing that I really want to review with the Board is we need to make sure we validate a process on releasing information. We get inundated with wanting information about things that are going out, whether it is police reports or member incidents that could be out there. We want to have an established process that we have a point person at the POA that is designated. That person that can hand out that information. My concern and a lot of my staff’s concern is we don’t want to give out information on somebody that could be deemed personal and they get upset. Being a member and releasing it to a nonmember. We want to make sure we have a good policy established to be able to share information that’s viable. But at the same time our members and our employees being here, have privacy as well. So we just want to make sure we get that right. So I would ask that we do a little leg work and figure out what our legal obligation is and how that process works and that we can communicate that to the members and any members of the press to make sure that they are clear that if you want anything, you can contact this person and they will give you what we think that we are able to give you and be fair about it. But at the same time, I don’t want us being in a position of being liable as a POA because somebody got upset because we released information.
We have a set process that is in place, how those things are done and managed, so we don’t have six different ways of doing it. But, I would like to pursue that Madam Chair and establish a process that is there that members are aware, members of the press are aware and we follow that procedure moving forward so we don’t have issues of things getting all over the place.
Fair enough? Thank you.
Corry: Fair enough.
Vice-chair Tucker Omohundro: I think it goes without saying, the lawsuit that we went through – we just have to make sure that we do it according to that. We don’t want to get in on the other side either, if that makes sense.
Hale: Yeah, I just think that there needs to be a point person…
Omohundro: A better procedure?
Hale: Right…that is the one that can handle that so we are fair and consistent in our actions as opposed to somebody calls Coreena in her department. Somebody calls Jason in his department. And we have different ways information is being given out and we are not consistent in what we do.
Joanie Corry, Board Chair: And we do have a form on the website.
Were There Injuries During the Inclement Weather Event?
Bob McLeod, Board Director: I have a question, Kelly. With the weather event that we had last week, did we have any injuries? I know we had some problems with some of that before.
Hale: No, we had – I am sorry, I should have lead with that. We had zero injuries or accidents with any of the POA employees. And we had six total people we had to get out of the ditches, that put their cars off, that slid off, that we had to retrieve and take home. So it was very low, Robert, all the way across. But we had none with our employees and that was a testament to the Members, allowing our folks to get out there and not have all those additional challenges.
Omohundro: One year there was over a 100 cars on DeSoto alone. [laughter]
Omohundro: And that was fun.
Hale: And that really puts a strain on your limited resources you got, trying to meet all the Members’ needs. So, I’d like, I said, I can’t thank the Members enough for you know the communication we sent out, of staying home and just letting this thing play out was fantastic. The Members were a big part of us being successful.
Corry: I heard a lot of really good comments about the communications that your team did. So it was very good.
Hale: And we plan on doing more of that with everything that is going on so that we can stay ahead of what we’re really working on and educating people about what’s going on out there.
Corry: Okay, thank you, Kelly.
Hale: Thank you.Corrected-GM-Report-2-16-22
Cheryl Dowden, HSV People, February 16, 2022
We are glad you dropped in to visit Hot Springs Village People. If you like, please comment below; we love to hear your opinion. Thank you for keeping the comments polite and on topic. Please use your first and last real name. If you are an HSV Property Owner, please join us in our private Facebook Group. Click here to join the group. If you would like to submit an article for publication, contact us through this website. Be sure to bookmark this site and come back to visit with us often as fresh content is frequently published.
02/16/2022 — 8:53 pm
Great transcription Cheryl, that’s a lot of work!
02/16/2022 — 10:06 pm
It does view better than it reads, go view it on HSV you tube, body language and voice helps with character analysis
02/17/2022 — 10:28 am
Great report!! Mr. Hale seems very organized quite well spoken. He is exactly what our Village needs. When he mentioned an audit by an outside company I was thrilled! From a business standpoint, we have needed that for years, just to know where we really stand instead of having to guess! With Mr. Hale in charge, I definately see light at the end of the tunnel!!! Our beautiful Village deserves great leadership!!!! Thank you for very informative report!
02/17/2022 — 3:20 pm
Thank you for the report!
Keith V. Hall
02/17/2022 — 4:29 pm
“….how we can manage that to get the members what they are looking for.” – GM Hale
Mr. Hale and his staff are to be commended. I’ve no doubt that formerly failed processes and operations will receive their increased attention.
I would, however, like to comment on my experience with the new trash collection program as there appears to be a constant subtextual inference that we, the residents, somehow made mistakes which the staff is now left to correct.
I’m only looking for what I was required to order.
From my perspective, the roll out of this new program was not particularly well done and should be reviewed in order to preclude similar shortfalls in future programs. Capturing lessons learned is always in the best interest of future performance.
It’s 3:00 PM as I gaze out on the gigantic trash can sitting in my driveway. I was required to have it out by 7:00 AM. At this point, I have no reasonable expectation of pick-up on the day assigned to me. Maybe tomorrow (?) We have not had an on time trash collection since the can that I did not order was delivered. I’m of course sensitive to schedule interruptions due to the recent ice storm and the difficulties of training on a new piece of equipment. I am aware of the challenges in executing a new program. I am supportive of the staff’s efforts. But the fact remains that we are not receiving the service for which we pay nor enjoying the value of the new trash trucks for which we paid.
On the day the gigantic can that I did not order arrived, I walked out to greet what I initially believed were POA employees. I wanted to wish them good morning and personally thank them for this valuable new program.
I encountered a flatbed trailer being pulled by a non-POA pick-up truck that was so overburdened that it would have been cited by law enforcement in any municipality. It was a clear danger to the community being operated in a condition of barely controllable chaos. A large dog hung out the back window.
Before I could greet and thank these…employees?…contractors?…random day hires?, I was immediately addressed by a young man who spoke at length about how much he hated this place, hated Arkansas and it’s hills, and couldn’t wait to go back to Florida. When I politely questioned him on the size of the container his response was dismissive – “This is what we got.”
In my previous employment with the POA and volunteer service to the community, I have routinely encountered unprofessional and surly behavior, but his was a new low. As always, I attributed it to a lack of leadership and enforced job performance standards.
But the crux of the issue is the size of the cans. We were all compelled to fill out a form stating the size of can we desired. We were given a suspense. We were given a requirement. Those of us who complied as directed are now scratching our heads because, again, there have been not less than three public statements all of which seem to imply that the size mismatch has something to do with those of us who simply followed the directions.
Knowing the Village as I do, I’ve no doubt many complained when they received their can, having not done any previous research before submitting their request. It likely was either too big or too small. I feel for the staff who are all too often left to contend with these sorts of complaints. But surely a count of submitted requests was done; cans were ordered in accordance with the count; cans were delivered to residents by the specified order; and then returns, mismatches, etc, were addressed by exception. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear so and the very subtle chastising, started with Mr. Paul, continues.
It’s not my intent to throw stones. As I said, all actions and processes require review in order to preclude future poor performance. I routinely encourage the staff to do so, but there’s seldom a response.
Luckily, we have this forum because there is no other recourse within our current system. I know because I’ve tried. Two days of phone calls and messages, ending with “well, do you want your name on the list?”, in order to receive the thing I was required to request.
It’s Kafkaesque and we need to do better. I recommend senior leadership measure their comments in the future.
02/17/2022 — 6:17 pm
Thank you for the increase in communication. Looking forward to next Tuesday’s meet and greet.
02/17/2022 — 7:42 pm
The report included a comment that an audit was scheduled however I did not see a reference it was to be performed by an outside firm. Can anyone clarify or confirm if the audit will be conducted by an outside firm?
There was a comment about the pro shops being restocked with merchandise. Does the POA provide the money for that merchandise? What kind of contract is there and with whom? What kind of “deal” is there concerning the pro shops? If the POA is providing the money to stock the pro shops what is the split percentage wise…..if there is a split…. and with whom? Who manages all the golf courses?
02/18/2022 — 9:08 am
A financial audit is done annually by an outside firm. Annual audit reports for 2015 – 2020 are available on the member’s page of explorethevillage.com. All past audit reports are filed in the Corporate Secretary’s (GM’s) office at the POA.
02/17/2022 — 8:14 pm
Great posting job Cheryl!! Impressive.. seriously, hoping to be in town for meet n greet..Looking forward to meeting the new guy !!! I like him already
Ron and Susan Viecelli
02/20/2022 — 9:24 am
Ditto from us!!! Glad he is here and looking forward to the days ahead.
02/18/2022 — 10:13 am
Have the audits from an “outside” source been the same company for the past few years? If so, how about a change? It would not hurt anything and would possibly help to instill more trust in the administration. The trust factor is improving a bit however it is not where it should be and it is up to the new GM and BOD to build that trust. Property owners have been burned too many times over the last 10 years. I don’t blame them for being skeptical at this point. Actions are more powerful than just talk.