Marcy G. Mermel, CCIM, CACSynopsis-Marcy-G.-Mermel-1-17-21
There are many, many issues and concerns relevant to the up-coming POA Election, of which the most important I see as TRANSPARENCY.
I have been involved in the HSV POA in as director, researcher, corporate officer (and other), and never have I seen so much secrecy. I will be asking for the exact number, but the current board has exercised telephone, email, and private discussions including voting more than any other. Likewise, this board has chosen to remain small (5 members), so every conversation with two other members means they are in a quorum state and having an official meeting. All these meeting and votes should be reported to the property owners at the next regular meeting – NOT in a consent agenda, but in a separate report telling the property owners the subject of the discussion and the outcome, i.e., no action, or a vote and what it was, and even who voted how when a roll-call vote is taken. Generally, email and telephone discussion and votes should be used only on an emergency basis. Likewise, the reasons allowing secret meeting in our Bylaws should be reduce from 8 to 2. With that said, all meetings, committee, Ad Hoc committee and board, should be open, live-streamed if possible, but always recorded for review. Property Owners need to be and stay involved and informed.
The most recent violation is the creation of a Task Force (which falls under the category of Ad Hoc Committee) to create and carry out a campaign for an assessment increase. It has been voted upon and declared as a closed committee with private meetings. I would like to know who of our current 5 directors voted to secretly meet about the most important and valuable investment of most of our lives – our home and community!
Who believes that we, as property owners, should not be able to see or listen to the discussion, the reasoning, and the motivation to raise our assessments, even more importantly, to keep us in the dark and not allow us to comment and weigh-in on their points of discussion?
I challenge this board to come forward with a roll-call vote to let us know which of them choses such secrecy and colluding.
Responsibilities to Property Owners
The current Board, and any Board needs to understand that Fiduciary Responsibility is the BOARD’S RESPONSIBILITY TO THE PROPERTY OWNERS! Additionally, I have advocated since 2015 for the entire definition to be used, which is to include Accountability and Notice. However, each administration has omitted them for years, only listing Care, Obedience, and Loyalty. This practice was adopted because ACCOUNTABILITY and NOTICE are the fourth and fifth components that require true TRANSPARENCY – constantly and consistently.
Regarding an Assessment Increase – I support that we remain an assessment plus fee-based community – we all pay for the infrastructure but pay for our individual interests such as golf, the lakes, pickleball, etc.
In the short term, I am not in favor of a regular assessment increase before we know exactly where we are and are in control of our spending. We need to either create project oriented Ad Hoc groups or use the Finance & Planning Committee to do a “deep dive” into:
- Where our dollars went in 2018, 2019, and 2020;
- Review and restatement (if necessary) the 2021 budget with applications of the reality of COVID and other socio-economic influences and events with specific scrutiny of top-down payroll;
- The calculation and statement of deferred maintenance, current annual needs, plus discussion on future needs that may be required with the growth that we are anticipating will take place in the Village. This statement should include objective, understandable definitions, assumptions, and narrative for good decision making.
- Consideration for Special Assessments should come first, escrowing funds and incorporating the strictest of rules regarding their use.
Our Governing Documents need serious attention. For this we should be reinstate Robert’s Rules of Order (RR) to regain consistency and dependable structure – RR not only manages meetings, but its principles and guidelines are used throughout our Bylaws and Policies.
When the current board voted to drop RR and adopt Democratic Rules of Order (which they are not following as well), the Chairman at that time said it was because the board wanted to govern more casually and informally – I am confused, dismayed, and actually insulted at that statement. This Board should know that making decisions about governing the largest investment we property owners have made in our lifetime – where most of us believe is our last residential destination – is neither “informal” nor “casual”.
Reinstatement of all Financial Policies and Spending Limits that were enacted by the original 2020 Treasurer and Board is a must. Also, reinstate the separation of Corporate Officers from employees. Right now, every day that employees remain Corporate Officers, commingling two very different roles, puts us in serious risk of conflict of interest and provides no “checks and balances” – the proverbial “foxes watching the hen house”.
I see the Engagement of the Board as a quasi-governing/working entity. Because of our size, geographic location as related to the employment pool, and the need for the POA to work as lean as possible at this time, our Board should be ready, willing, and able to assist in all areas, administration and committees alike.
We, as a Board need to work together with the Architectural Control Committee (ACC) to come to terms with what are truly deed restrictions and items necessary for the best and healthiest HSV – not trying to force items on our property owners just because someone doesn’t like e.g., circular driveways anymore. The compliance department should be disbanded – we need not be spending that much money on following rules that may not even be enforceable, or necessary.
I understand that there are many more issues that face us this year that I have not mentioned here, and I will scrutinize each seriously and conscientiously. Working towards resolution of all is my promise as I ask for your Vote for a seat on the 2021 POA Board
The Role of a Board Director
I believe our Board should consist of experienced leaders – each having (or the willingness to acquire) competencies in financial analysis, group/public communications, a clear capacity for fair and decisive group decision-making, and an aptitude for strategic planning with measurability and metrics. Each Director needs the ability to prioritize without prejudice or influence, ego, political/monetary gain, deep pockets, or self-serving hidden agendas. And, foremost, each must be of substantive character with the integrity to act on the promises made, even when difficult; and the fortitude to admit when a mistake has been made, whether in policy or employment, and act swiftly to correct.
I am and will remain the nature and essence of this Board Director as I ask you to vote for Marcy Mermel in 2021.
A Board Director should have an understanding of what a POA/HOA is and specifically the uniqueness of our Village. I see that we have 4 fundamental components or requirements necessary for our existence as a Community – First is Maintenance, including the care of roads, common property and forestry management, specialty use property such as our golf courses, lakes, parks, courts, and amenity buildings.
Second, Programming and Amenity usage/scheduling providing the premier adult lifestyle we were all promised.
Third is a Strategic Land Management Department (SLM) to oversee land use such as amalgamation of neighborhood lots for third party development and undeveloped/non-performing lots for suspension. We also need to set regulations and standards in preparation for seeking out and responding to commercial development opportunities – THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE ARE THE DEVELOPERS – it means we are ready with rules, rates and fees to implement when an outside or third-party developer wants to build within our gates. The SLM Department would also manage the relationship with HSV Board of Realtors/RE Broker/agent Community as well as the POA Marketing effort.
The fourth component is that of Property Owner Communications. This is where communication to all Property Owners is managed, using all available methods in which Property Owners may listen, learn, and obtain information. Additionally, it is important for Property Owners to receive real answers to questions, suggestions, concerns and issues. Non-discrimination of freedom of information should always be the norm, except for the two necessary rare instances as should be addressed in our Bylaws.
From these four components comes our organizational chart and job descriptions, clearly minimizing duplicative services, promoting economies of scale, and mitigating human resource concerns by refraining from employment practices (when hiring or promoting) based on nepotism, the Peter Principle, and other misguided/unhealthy protocol.
I will work to make this vision of our POA (or with the help of others, an even better one), an efficient and effective reality.
Personal Data as requested in the Candidate Application Package Instructions:
BS in Business Administration of Applied Life Sciences, University of Illinois, 1978.
- Director level employment local government of 2 major Chicagoland NW Suburbs (Hoffman Estate and Arlington Heights) creating multi-generational programming and amenities;
- CCIM Credentialed Illinois Licenses Commercial RE Broker (1986-2015);
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Lending – AVP (TMSIC & Heller Financial. 1990-2001);
- Change Unlimited – my own consulting firm (2001-2015).
First property with home purchased in 2011, becoming a full-time resident in May 1, 2013
HSV Community Involvement:
- HSV POA Board of Directors (2015-2018);
- HSV POA Board of Directors Parliamentarian and Corporate Secretary (April 2020 – resigned on 9/16/20 due to mother’s death in August and an unexpected extended stay in Chicago);
- Creator and Facilitator of the original Village Values (2016);
- Worked with Jerry Yeric on Election Integrity (2017-2020), resulting in the creation of the Election Committee in 2020;
- Election Day committee member, 2020;
- Board Director, Friends of the Coronado Center Library;
- Board Director, HSV Area Chamber of Commerce;
- Affiliate Member, HSV Board of Realtors;
- I am also a trained Facilitator in Business Visioning and Goal Setting and have been used by our Finance & Planning Committee’s Strategic Planning Workgroup, the HSV Chamber of Commerce, and various nonprofits in Hot Springs.
Why I wish to serve on the Board of Directors:
The Village deserves the opportunity to once again thrive in the image and intent in which it was created.
We cannot be everything to everyone, but we can be something to everyone. I ask for your input, opinion, and your Vote.
Please contact me at email@example.com or call 312-925-2020.
Thank you for your time and especially for being an interested, informed Property Owner and Voter in 2021.
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January 15, 2021