Foothills Board’s agenda aims to block term limits
Last month, I complimented the Foothills HOA board for allowing an “up or down” vote on the reform package put forward by more than 1,200 members. I hoped this could help heal divisions in the HOA and usher an era of harmony.
Sadly, the board has gone in a different direction.
First, it used the HOA’s magazine (paid for by us homeowners) to tell us what a great job it does and to put forth a veiled opposition to the reforms. Then it posted letters in the Ahwatukee Foothills News with caustic personal attacks on reform participants.
What is going on? Why is the board doing this?
I suspect the board realizes the reforms are headed toward approval; all its attempts to derail or coopt the reform campaign have backfired.
I think the board never believed that one-quarter of the membership would sign the reform petition. It misjudged homeowner dissatisfaction and ignored the message of the May 2019 recall, when homeowners voted overwhelmingly against it.
In its desperation to defeat the reforms, it is pulling out all the stops. And it is making increasingly evident its real agenda: block term limits.
I will not respond to the personal attacks. It is more important than ever that we be civil with one another. This difficult period will be over soon, and we will be neighbors who must work together.
But I must respond to some of the misleading assertions.
Vice President Gary Reny conflated our reform campaign with all of the actions by disaffected homeowners in recent years, such as the recall. He claims that we seek to divide the community.
In fact, we are not connected to any prior action. It was the widespread opposition to the board, including the recall, that shook us from apathy and got us involved.
Our reforms offer a path to HOA improvements that could heal the divisions and foster harmony.
Gary claimed that we have “brought forward legal challenges” but “every legal decision was decided in favor of the association…” We never filed any legal action. In our only ‘legal’ dispute, the board ultimately conceded that we were right.
Gary insinuated the Association has spent $50,000 responding to the reform campaign. I challenge him to show how he came up with this figure. (Is he including the $30,000 the board approved for a magazine?)
The Association will spend about $10,000 on the special meeting.
But this is on the board, not on us.
Last year we proposed a way to let homeowners vote on the critical issue of term limits for negligible cost. The board’s bylaws committee recommended this to the board. But the board unanimously rejected its own committee’s recommendation.
The $10,000 now spent on the special meeting is a result of this poor decision.
Gary asserted that we are not willing to collaborate with the board. Nothing could be further from the truth. We initiated meetings with directors last summer, but (in Rob Doherty’s eloquent words) we were told to “pound sand.”
When the board formed its bylaws committee (a week after we launched our drive) and invited us to join, we were delighted to do so. Under Gary’s leadership, the committee conducted its work professionally.
But the committee deadlocked on term limits—homeowners in favor, directors opposed – and, as noted above, the board rejected the committee’s recommendation on how to deal with the issue.
Month after month, we requested the board put the reforms on the agenda of its meetings. The board refused.
We feel like we are Charlie Brown and the board is Lucy with the football. We challenge Gary to identify a single instance when we rejected an effort to collaborate.
The part of Gary’s letter that bothers me most is his claim that we feel he is “what’s wrong with the community.” He knows we think highly of him. I publicly lauded his work as the chairmen of the board’s bylaws committee.
Since the board can’t argue about most issues in the reform package (e.g., how could it argue against a strong procurement policy?) and it doesn’t want to be open that its real objective is blocking term limits, it is trying to create a red herring about the reforms being voted on as a package.
Of course, the single-package approach is the method used for propositions in governmental elections, and it is what the 1,200+ members who signed the petition called for. To see what a confusing mess the board initially proposed for the ballot, check out our website: TheFoothillsInfo.com.
Our agenda is clear: transparency, accountability and responsiveness to the membership.
We urge you to join your neighbors by voting “approve.”
No one opposes bylaw
reforms except the board
Judging from recent letters in the Ahwatukee Foothills News, the only people who oppose the Foothills HOA reforms are current board directors. No one else has written a letter opposing the reforms. In contrast, many homeowners have written letters in favor of the reforms.
This is not surprising because the reforms are basic and common sense — what’s not to like? Even the board directors have been unable to argue against the actual merits of the reforms.
Instead, the board directors attempt to distract from the substance of the reforms by arguing about irrelevant topics, like whether the ballot should have been a single up or down vote. What does that have to do with whether the reforms themselves are good or bad?
If passed, the reforms will modify the bylaws to require the following: a written procurement policy; a written election policy, which also ensures additional information about board candidates; electronic voting; annual bylaw updates; and term limits for board directors.
These are simple improvements, contrary to what the board tries to portray.
Also, despite the board’s claims that they have already taken care of most of these reforms, the reality is that none of these changes have actually been made to the bylaws, even though these changes are supported by all of the homeowner members of the board’s own bylaws committee.
If you’re wondering why the board directors oppose these reforms, I think the answer is term limits.
Rather than graciously accepting a four-year limit on their voluntary service, after which they can sit out for a year and then run again, the current board directors have been fighting tooth and nail against term limits, despite so many homeowners being in favor of them.
In essence, the board directors are fighting against the people they represent.
The truth is that the board directors should recuse themselves from the term limit debate because they have a conflict of interest. They should not be taking a high-profile role fighting a reform measure that directly affects them as board directors. Instead, it should be left up to the 4,800+ members to decide.
Due to board-friendly corporate block voting, it will take a strong homeowner turnout to ensure passage of the reforms.
If you have not voted yet, I urge you to vote “approve” on the reforms. The deadline is Monday, July 27 at 5 p.m.
More information about the reforms is available at TheFoothillsInfo.com, including information about how to vote.
- Rob Doherty
Bylaw proposals represent positive changes for all
As the homeowner members of the Foothills bylaws update committee, we fully support the reforms to the bylaws currently being voted on by Foothills HOA members.
These are positive changes for our community, and they do not detract from any of the work we are doing on the bylaws update committee.
Dan Oelkers, David Randolph,
Keith Phillips, Liz Green. Philip Nick
Rob Doherty, Vicky Glove