Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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Forum Oakmont: 09/01/2011

Oakmont’s new manager – one year later

Patricia Arnold found herself in Spain with her daughter and headed for the Grand Canary Island, when the all-important summons came to audition for the job of Manager of the Oakmont Village Association. She made the cut thanks to her impressive credentials (remember: CAI; AMS; CACM; CCAM and ECHO, acronyms which attest to professionalism, excellence, competence and experience in the field of Home Owners Associations, both national and statewide.)

After a short introductory stint with the departing manager, Ted Throndson, Patricia took command of a mountain of unknown challenges. The OVA offices were being moved to a new location, requiring retrofitting; major projects had to be completed; the new budget process started together with the review of the Reserve Fund, all calling for contemporaneous action with a staff that lacked two full time employees. The new Manager took to the task like a fish to water. She was buoyed by the many demands, and heartened by the warm reception she received by the residents of our Village.

A little over a year has passed since her arrival, and it is clear that Patricia has not lost her enthusiasm for an exceedingly demanding position. Her expertise was put on early display at Board and special meetings where her advice and guidance facilitated the solution to a particular procedure, business item or policy question.

A seasoned administrator brings to the table an intricate knowledge of the Davis Stirling Act, the state document that regulates Common Interest Development; familiarity working with governing documents; and the ability to interface with city and public entities. It calls for proficiency dealing with contractors, outlining scope of work to be performed and the writing of specifications. And it means running a large community with all the requisite diplomacy.

The Manager is seldom involved in the development of policy, but it is her knowledge from the frontline that frequently leads to the resolution of business and community issues. While she is charged with the implementation of policy, it is also her responsibility to offer alternatives if a program is not working, as is her counsel to leave alone something that is not broken.

Patricia Arnold is a firm proponent that a policy needs to be not only legal, but ethical and non-selective. That is, if a process is structured for a specific party, it must be evenly applied and without regard whether it applies to a home owner, a renter, a visitor, a business or a Board member. In another instance, if a policy is not followed, the Manager will recommend to either change or dispose of it.

Residents of Oakmont have concerns and questions. The easiest person to reach is usually Patricia Arnold, and they will take advantage of it. The Manager, though fully engaged, is of a concierge nature. If someone does not understand an action, she will explain it, or if a complaint reaches her, the matter will be researched and investigated.

A desire that both Manager and Board are expressing, is for residents who find themselves with inquiries to take them directly to the committee in question. For example, if you are concerned about weed abatement, contact the Landscape Improvement Committee; if the Berger Center is lacking attention, address it to the Facilities Improvement Committee, rather than the Board, thereby saving the question from being referred back to the respective entities and hence avoiding doubling the effort.

A change from the previous administration encompasses the voluminous Manager’s Report to the Board. It used to be read aloud, taking precious time from other deliberations. Today a hard copy is available for those members attending Board meetings.

The digitization of the Oakmont administrative paper avalanche and its many activities is well under way. Financial, management, facility use and maintenance software are being installed and utilized. The minutes from past years have been scanned and are available electronically. Residents will be able to access their own accounts via password and become instantly aware of their membership status.

Patricia is pleased with the advantages of a fully integrated IT system. It will allow her to perform ever more functions with the same number of employees, while simultaneously monitoring and controling cost.

On the design boards for the Central Facility lay the plans for audio visual upgrades to the Berger Center Auditorium. An outstanding blueprint has been drawn up with drought resistant plants, gazebo, benches, trellis, and new concrete walkways in place of sod outside the Central Pool Cabana. The median strip on Oakmont Drive will also undergo a make-over, and the unattractive Pythian Road entrance might finally see better days.

Patricia Arnold, our innovative and indefatigable Manager, working long hours into the night, still thoroughly enjoys her work after an eventful year. She remains amazed at the spirit of Oakmont, a senior community where “there are no old people” and no bored residents.

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