A petition to the new OVA Board from Oakmont residents
By Yvonne Frauenfelder
With a much applauded gesture, John Taylor, newly installed OVA president, postponed the Board’s annual goal setting conference from April to June to give residents ample time to voice their wishes, opinions and concerns, regarding the governance of the Association and the future of their community.
Independent of the official appeal, I have asked fellow citizens to write to me anonymously, expressing their candid thoughts and feelings relating to the management of Oakmont.
The survey is neither scientific, nor complete. It represents a snapshot of community leaders and residents interested in the continual improvement of the place they call home.
Oakmont in its 50th year of existence faces challenges that call for sober analysis and prudent decisions by the new Board.
Although the Association is in excellent fiscal shape, concerns are being articulated that major expenditures, such as infrastructure repair and rehabilitation, a planned OVA office building and generous landscaping projects, as well as unanticipated events, could alter that positive picture. And, while a potential replacement of the West Recreation Center is opposed, doubts over its safety and those of the East Recreation and Berger Center were listed as primary considerations.
Advice was given to establish a mechanism that would track all approved projects by priority, listing start and ending dates, replete with cost factor. The expenditures for core responsibilities (maintenance and operation of community owned structures) need to outweigh discretionary spending, such as expenses for possible wifi reception throughout Oakmont. Concluding this topic, a time proven adage was offered: We should not spend because we can, but because we should, and after ensuring precautionary reserves “PAY DOWN the DEBT!”
The commercial spaces in Oakmont are underutilized, with a vacancy factor of 20 percent. The Long Range Planning Committee has researched the problem and its report is available online and through the OVA offices. Perhaps, too much space was built and most certainly not enough residents took advantage of doing business locally. Greatly missed are a General Practitioner’s office and medical laboratory.
Communication between the Board, the Administration and the residents remains writ large. One futuristic wish gives OVA the online capability to poll residents on each project. If this “Direct Democracy” proposal may not be feasible, then the posting of agendas, minutes, special notices and committee reports, on Oakmont’s official website, certainly is. Parenthetically, the Oakmont News is slated to go digital on June 4, 2013. The live streaming of events, public and social has been an unqualified success. The simultaneous transmission of the Board meetings needs to be far better publicized in the future. All in all, however, Oakmont is making much progress with the dissemination of relevant information.
The last summer brought to Oakmont dissent and opposition to both Board and Administration. One of the principal complaints was the closure of the access to Annadel. This concern was brought forth once again, as was the payment of medical insurance to the relatives of Oakmont staff. Inadequate research and procedure were pointed out in connection with the purchase of the defibrillators.
The controversial change in accounting firm needs to be reviewed post haste, as well as the possibility of bringing accounting in house, led by a General Manager with experience as Chief Financial officer.
Since the forensic analysis of the communal structures brought unpleasant surprises, OVA should immediately begin work on the development of a strategic five to ten year plan! To mind come golf courses and alternative energy (fuel and solar cells.)
Efficient and courteous communication between individual Board members, the Administrator and residents continues to be an urgent request, as is transparency in governance.
Significant weight is given to the question of our General Manager. The issue calls to attention whether or not Oakmont is the right venue to make the best use of her capabilities (which are considerable), but seem not to mesh with the local residency, nor appear to have fully satisfied each and every member of the past Board.
It was further suggested that the skill level of all office personnel be reviewed to ensure reliable assistance with all necessary clerical functions. The current staff (which seems overworked) is lacking in fiscal management expertise, good public relations talents, and falls short in the economical scheduling of events and reporting comprehensively to both the Board and the community.
And, finally, thank you for the last mentioned, but imaginative proposal, namely to install dummy cameras all over Oakmont, adorned with smiley faces!!