Hot Springs Village People

Working Together to Improve Our Village Because HSV Matters

HSVPOA – Transparency & Building Trust

Buddy leaves CMPAC meeting early to attend another secret meeting?

The Comprehensive Master Plan Advisory Committee met on Friday, September 13, 2019, at the Ouachita Room at Ponce de Leon Center. Before the meeting began, Director Buddy Dixon and I had a conversation where he emphasized that he had never lived someplace where there were so many meetings as there are here.  Buddy serves in the capacity of Board Liaison to the CMPAC.

Before completion of the meeting, Buddy Dixon, stood up and left early. 

When this occurred, the thought flashed through my mind that he must be off to another meeting.  It turns out that thought was probably correct as he was apparently on his way to yet another secret board meeting, this time for the purpose of voting to boot off a now-former and very favorite Director, Dick Garrison.

Leeming has this to say about secret meetings

This is what Frank Leeming has to say about secret meetings in a letter to the Hot Springs Village Voice editor, dated May 13, 2019:

Most of the POA directors ran promising to make things more transparent so they could restore the property owners’ trust. So let’s see if I have this straight:

‒ The first meeting of the new board was on the afternoon of April 17. It was in secret.

‒ The second meeting of the board was on May 1 – the first day of the board’s annual two-day retreat. The meeting was in secret.

‒ At the third meeting of the board on May 2, the board agreed to resume monthly work sessions. They’ll call them brainstorming sessions. And they’ll be in secret.

Yup, we’re off to a great start.” – Frank Leeming, HSV

Buddy changed his tune?

Flashback to February 2018 when Dixon was running for the Board.  At the Village Voice Forum, he had this to say,  “We are not a General Motors, we are not an Exxon, we are not a Texaco,” he said. The Village is its 14,000 people. “The board used to be in charge of the Village,” he said, including setting staff parameters. Directors have lost the art of listening to individuals. While a non-profit corporation, the Village is similar to a municipality. “Your voice, your choice,” he said.”

Nancy changed her tune?

At this same Village Voice Forum, Nancy Luehring said, “Transparency is really lacking at the board level.”  Ms. Luehring also said, “More transparency needed; things seem to be decided now before the public comes to a meeting.

As with Mr. Dixon, Ms. Luehring’s statement was previous to her election to the board, the very board that appears to be conducting many private meetings.

Why was Director Garrison eliminated?

Former Director Garrison was a voice of reason among a board majority of rubber stampers who support the increasingly unpopular CEO. 

At the May 2019 Board Retreat, Dick Garrison spoke about the need for forming committees and revision, suggesting that finance and marketing committees should be created. Garrison also advocated for revising the governance committee, in order to have members who are neither staff nor board directors.

Was Garrison removed because his common-sense business views were the antithesis of the direction the CEO is attempting to take this community? 

Was Garrison ousted because he spoke his mind and did not fall in line with the CEO and her board minions?

Was Garrison cast out because he felt he had not received enough information regarding the Balboa project and because of this didn’t feel he could vote for the renovation? 

Was Garrison removed because the rubber-stamping directors and CEO want to replace him with another rubber-stamping board member? 

The property owners spoke

Last November the property owners spoke and defeated all 12 proposed changes to the Hot Springs Village Declaration and a proposal to incorporate under a 1993 state law.

Additionally, this past March the people of Hot Springs Village continued to express themselves by electing three new board directors who promised to represent the voice of the Villagers.  Already, one of them has been tossed aside by the old guard, ostensibly under the guidance of the CEO and her Governance Committee.

Board Directors fail to build trust

Just this past May at the Board Retreat, ALL the Board Directors agreed that building trust with property owners was an important goal.

Conducting a myriad of secret meetings and firing a popular director who represents the voice of the people does not build trust among property owners.  In fact, the actions have the opposite effect.  Furthermore, I would venture a guess that the lack of trust is at an all-time high and as long as the 2018 rubber-stamping board directors continue on their merry path of ignoring the wishes of the property owners, things are going to get much worse before they get better.

HSVPOA Secret Board Meetings create distrust

by Cheryl Dowden

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