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Meek Interviews Cindi Erickson

Voice your questions with Jeff Meek: Episode 3 Cindi Erickson

On June 25, 2019, Jeff Meek, Managing Editor of the Hot Springs Village Voice, interviewed Cindi Erickson, HSVPOA Board Chairperson. What follows is a transcription of the meeting, provided for the hearing impaired.

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Meek:  Good morning.  I am Jeff Meek, Managing Editor of the Hot Springs Village Voice, and we have another session of “Voice your questions with Jeff”.  And as you can see, my guest is Cindi Erickson, our POA Board President. 

Meek:  Before we start the questioning of Cindi, last time, I believe it was two weeks ago, Jason Temple was here, and he was uncertain about a question.  That was about the subdivision signage.  Who keeps that clean?  So, he found the answer to that and gave it to me.  So, I am going to start with that.  About who maintains the subdivision signs. Jason said,

Jason Temple

Jason Temple:  CCI assigned that responsibility to residents of that subdivision as their responsibility.  Some have done well in maintaining their signs and some subdivisions have not.  I am going to get with Stephanie Heffer, who is staff liaison to ACC to see what can be done to improve the subdivision sign appearances that needs some attention.

Meek: With that, we’ll move on to questions for Cindi.  Thanks for being here. 

Erickson:  I am happy to be here.

Bob Pinson

Bob Pinson:  What is the current status of the Balboa Golf Course and Clubhouse renovation? 

Erickson:  Well, ah, Lesley, our CEO, is to bring us a recommendation for that as part of her CEO strategic goals, yet this Summer.  So, the Board and the community will learn about that, probably by August.

Meek:  Okay.  Any idea?  Have you heard anything about what might go on?

Erickson: Yes. (laughter)

Meek:  But you can’t say?

Erickson: (laughter) That’s right.  There are some conversations going.  When it comes to dealing with real estate, sometimes some of those conversations have to happen confidentially.  We have had some conversations.

Melinda Alvord

Melinda Alvord: You have mentioned the possibility of revising the charter of the Governance Committee.  As you may know, there are Villagers who feel there should be representatives from the rank and file membership sitting on this committee, rather than just Board members.  I think you have acknowledged that possibility.

Alvord: If I am correct, what do you have in mind?  What might that look like?  And would you have the support of your fellow Board members to make some needed changes?

Erickson: That’s a really good question.  First of all, the Governance Committee and the Audit Committee are out of compliance with a section of the Bylaws and the Board is actively working on getting that resolved.  We had a discussion of a proposal in the last Board meeting, about how to go about that and it is scheduled for a vote in July.  So, first and foremost, it is important to get those committees aligned properly with the Bylaws and that’s what we will do first.

Erickson: Having said that, the committee, at the time the problem was acknowledged, was actively working on revising the charter for the Governance Committee.  And in those conversations about how to go about that, the entire Governance Committee feels it is very important to involve property owners in some of the matters that the charter covers.  Specifically, we have talked so far about involving property owners in two areas.

Erickson: One is for those who like to do detailed, deep dives into governing documents, we hope to invite property owners to join a subcommittee, whose purpose will be to look across the governing documents and within each governing document, finding for us any other inconsistencies that don’t serve the association well.  That would be one way to get property owners in the Governance Committee.

Erickson: A second way that we talked about is, we have what we call an ‘onboarding process’ for our board members.  So, from the point in December where a potential candidate might learn what it takes to be a Board member, we had a training session that orients them to that.  We had a two-day training session for brand new Board members at the end of March, who had just recently been elected and then we turn our attention to the future by holding a two-day retreat in early May.

Erickson: Well, it would be wonderful if we could get some property owners involved in designing each of those and helping us make certain that our Board members are equipped and ready to start contributing in their new role as quickly as possible.

Erickson: For people that have interest and experience in developing training and orientation programs, we would love to have their participation there.  Those are just two examples and we are exploring others.

Meek: For example?  Can you give me another example? Or is it too early to do so?

Erickson:  I am just saying we haven’t said those are the only two.  We haven’t talked about anything further, but we haven’t said those are the only two. 

Meek:  Any timeline meshing the committees with the Bylaws?  Any timeline on that yet?

Erickson: Yeah.  As I said, there’s Article 12 in the Bylaws addresses committees.  There are other places in the Bylaws that references Board and their establishment of committees.  But Article 12 is what we discussed in the last Board meeting; specifically, just Article 12.  We recommended some changes.  We discussed those changes.  It is open for property owner input to those changes and we’ve received some.  But in July, we will be voting on the changes or changes as amended through motions that might take place in July. If that vote is favorable, then we will have no committees out of alignment with the Bylaws.

Kathy Miramontes

Kathy Miramontes: I totally understand the reason for Architectural Control. However, denying a homeowner the use of his property is taking the control too far.  Is it possible that the controls now being exercised can be visited to make them more homeowner friendly, for the benefit of the community?

Erickson: Absolutely.  In fact, last Fall, almost a year ago now, the Board put in place a process by which the Protective Covenants, which governs how the ACC makes their decisions – how those Protective Covenants can change over time to better serve the property owners.  So what I would recommend is that any property owner who feels there is any element of Protective Covenant that isn’t serving the interest of Property Owners should express that concern to the Architectural Control Committee.  What happens then is, if the Architectural Control Committee agrees that that Protective Covenant could be rewritten to better serve the community, then they make that recommendation to four people.  Those four people include the CEO, the Staff Liaison, who is Stephanie Heffer, the ACC Board Chair, who is John Froning, currently, and the Board Liaison, who is Buddy Dixon.  The four of them, then will write a modification to the Protective Covenants and propose that to the Board so that the Board is given the opportunity to approve that change.  So that’s how we control change to the Protective Covenants.  But it all starts with property owner expression of a desire for change, to the ACC.

Meek: So they should come to an ACC meeting?

Erickson: Yes.  Or, I imagine John Froning would be happy to receive an email as well.

Meek: Also, from Kathy…

Miramontes: There are many paid positions in the community that could be done quite effectively by very qualified and willing volunteer homeowners.  Has this avenue been investigated in recent years in an effort to save the community money?

Erickson: You know, I think our CEO has put out some statistics – not recently but in the last year to 18 months that suggest we have even more volunteers, currently, than we did in the past.  Now, I could provide that reference at some other time.  So, we are a very volunteer-laden organization.  But specifically, no we haven’t had recent conversations about that, other than trying to establish more opportunities for property owners to get involved.  Beyond that, I don’t have a good answer.

Meek: I would also add, covering committee meetings for ten years now, this has come up at some of the meetings. On some occasions, the hesitancy to get more volunteers involved, centers around liability.  You know, like helping to clean out a culvert or something along that line, folks have said “you know we really can’t do that because of liability issues”.  So, I think that is also helpful for that question.

Lots of ways for HSV property owners to plug in and volunteer

Erickson: Now that I have thought about this a little bit more, I want to point out a couple of examples where we are seeking more property owner involvement.  One is, at the last Board meeting, I announced the establishment of an ad hoc 2020 Budget Committee.  We are seeking volunteers that have financial expertise to contribute their expertise and lend some assistance to our CFO, as she prepares our budget for the coming year.  There is another subcommittee that has been established by the CMP Advisory Committee, that is a Marketing Subcommittee.  We would very much appreciate the contributions of those with contemporary skills and marketing to contribute to advising that committee as well.  And I mentioned a couple in the Governance that we will likely be seeking.

Erickson: There are ways to plug in – lots of ways to plug in and we encourage our Property Owners to do so.

Ruth Smith

Ruth Smith: Wouldn’t a lodge, built just outside HSV, east or west gate, better serve HSV and the surrounding community.  Less wear and tear on HSV infrastructure, including streets and utilities and possible subsidization of the facility.  What would be the advantage of having the lodge inside HSV?

Erickson: I think that is a reasonable question and I believe all options are being considered.  Outside the gates of HSV, of course the POA doesn’t own that property.  So, we would have to acquire that. Or a developer would have to acquire that.  Inside the Village, however, of course we have some properties that could be, with the right approvals, made available to a developer to build. 

Erickson: Honestly, I think there are merits to having it in each place.  You know, outside, immediately outside the Village, of course, would have more traffic.  Within the Village, however, it is a convenience factor, perhaps for people who are coming together for family reunions or whether we have a golf tournament or a bridge tournament, it would be a convenience factor.  And would create some wear and tear, certainly on the roads.  So, I think both are legitimate options and it would be a matter of acquiring the property to construct such a lodge.

Meeks: I am going to ask you about timeline again.  Where do you think…where are we in having a lodge, do you think?  In terms of when.

Erickson: That proposal also is scheduled to be presented to the Board this Summer.

Meek: So, we should know more in another month or so.

Erickson: Yes, we should.


Frank Polidark {spelling ?}: Why has the Board continued to break the laws of the state of Arkansas by meeting in secret sessions?

Erickson: Well, first of all as a nonprofit mutual benefit organization, we are not breaking any Arkansas laws by meeting in secret.  But I want to talk about when we do meet in, quote, in secret.  Secret obviously has a negative connotation.  There is a policy, an open meetings policy that the board is governed by.  And there are nine instances specifically where we are not only entitled to but obligated to meet outside of the public view.  And that will involve things like if there are legal matters, if there are personnel matters, if there are real estate acquisition matters, if there are contractual matters, if there are things that rightfully need to be outside of the public eye and that is specifically governed.  We do those in what is called executive sessions.  We are not allowed to talk about anything but those topics in executive sessions.  So, we call them for purposes of discussing a legal matter or for purposes of discussing a personnel matter and then that’s all we can do in that meeting. 

Erickson: So there, beyond that, there are no, quote, secret meetings.  There are meetings that are sometimes not held in the public venue, for certain, but they are not secret.

Erickson: Now having said that, in the last Board meeting, it came up that maybe what we need to do is reestablish the work sessions.  What I hear from the property owners is they want to see more of the sausage making.  They want to see more transparency.

Meek: They want to see you guys talk.

Erickson: Right, they want to see us do that and so I hear that so I asked Director Medica to work with Director Garrison to come up with a recommendation for the Board to consider for satisfying what it is the property owners are looking for when they call for a work session.

Charles Williams

Charles Williams: Gate security – an overview on the status of gate security lawsuit.  Where are we at?

Erickson: I can’t talk about any legal matter, other that what is publicly made available through the docketing system.  But that lawsuit is proceeding.  I have seen some email traffic wondering if we aren’t going to go out for bids to continue the project.  There is no activity happening in that regard, at all.  I don’t know that it won’t, but currently that is not happening.

Williams:  Did a qualified attorney review the gate security contract and approve its language.

Erickson: I don’t know because that took place prior to me being a Board member.

Williams:  Was ISN bonded?

Erickson: I don’t know the answer to that question. But if you’d like, I can get back to you.

Meek: Yes, like we did with Jason.

Bob McCleskey

Bob McCleskey: Why do you and the carryover Board members refuse to acknowledge or respect the results of the amendments election and continue to pursue the CMP with it having been rejected by the vast majority of Hot Springs Village owners?

Erickson: Well, first of all, we’re not ignoring the results of the vote, as we legally cannot ignore the results of the vote.  The vote, of course, as everyone knows, denied any change to the Declaration or the Articles of Incorporation.  So, we are 100% abiding by that.  With regard to the CMP, the prior Board, last year’s Board, established the CMP Advisory Committee.

Erickson:  It’s purpose, among other things is to look through the CMP and see which of it’s recommendations are aligned with property owners’ interests, which ones should have our high priority efforts applied to it and which, conversely, should be set on the back burner and not looked at for some time.

Erickson:  We’re going to be hearing from the CMP Advisory Committee, probably early in the Fall, with some of those recommendations, that say, here’s the things that effort and resources ought to be applied to in the budgeting season and beyond.  And which are the ones we don’t think are well-aligned with what the property owners want to see.  That committee is made up of nine property owners that are exceedingly well qualified, in my estimation, to make those recommendations.  And those recommendations will come to the Board, will come to the staff and will be made available to the community.  So, its quite the effort that way. So, this Board continues to support their efforts.

Stay tuned for an interview with Stephanie Heffer in two weeks

Meek:  Thanks for coming in and sitting in the “hot chair”.

Erickson: Oh, my pleasure.

Meek:  Cindi did not know what questions were coming.  In about two weeks, our next guest will be Stephanie Heffer, Director of Placemaking.  I’ve also reached out three times to Mr. John Cooper, to see if he would interview.  He has not gotten back to me on that possibility.  So we will continue to do these interviews.  We’ve been doing them every other week, so we will try to stay with that, as best we can.  We appreciate you watching. Thanks.

Erickson: Thank you.

Jeff Meek Interviews Cindi Erickson YouTube Video
Jeff Meek Interviews Cindi Erickson

Transcribed by Cheryl Dowden

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