A New Beginning
For those of us lucky enough to live in Oakmont, there is no more beautiful spot on earth than the fabled Valley of the Moon, cradled in peaceful woods and towered over by majestic mountains. Far from noise and industrial pollution, the community is surrounded by vineyards and golden meadows, punctuated by magnificent oaks. A short drive brings you to the shores of the Pacific Ocean; Lake Tahoe and the Sierras are within easy reach, and a visit to San Francisco can be accomplished in less than two hours.
The village and its 4,500 inhabitants project a postcard-like perfection with neatly kept homes, lush landscaping and a generous green belt in the shape of two golf courses. The public spaces, including pools, tennis and bocce courts, lawn bowling greens, walkways, recreation buildings and meeting halls, are immaculately maintained and ready to accommodate some 125 clubs and associations.
A board of directors, chosen bi-annually, is in charge of this Common Interest Development, the statutory name given to what is commonly referred to as a “retirement” or “adult community.” The directors, whose primary function is to develop policies affecting the overall operation of the village, delegate their respective decisions to the association manager, who is tasked with their implementation.
And here is where the story begins. In six short weeks, on Sept. 30, Patricia Arnold will have left her administration post, and Oakmont hopes to have found a suitable replacement – something easier wished for than accomplished. While the location and work environment appear to be a dream destination for anyone seeking a management appointment, the requirements and prerequisites are both technically rigorous and personally challenging.
Gone are the days when an MBA from Harvard was sufficient to run a homeowners association. Today you have to be certified by the state to assume such a position. Arnold has six acronyms after her name, a testimony to her professional proficiency and intricate knowledge of the Davis-Sterling Act, part of the California Civil Code which governs Common Interest Developments (CID).
To be recognized as “CID” Manager, qualification and expertise are required in, but not limited to, the following areas: understanding of all applicable governing documents; finance issues, budget preparation and administration of association financial affairs; contract negotiations; supervision of personnel; management of recreational programs and facilities; training and strategic planning for board of directors and committees; supervision of building maintenance programs; knowledge of insurance, liability and risk issues; and, last but not least, interpersonal and communication skills.
And while the association manager is charged with the execution of board-generated policy, a major responsibility consists of providing professional expertise and guidance to the directors.
A new administrator will find her/or himself confronted with immediate challenges. While she or he needs to be introduced to the new environment, putting residents at ease and gaining the trust of the board, there loom a plethora of issues awaiting resolution. A new office complex is in the planning stages; the West Recreation facility is slated for structural upgrades and a new swim center; the Forensic Building Report has to be analyzed and acted upon; the Berger Plaza beautification needs to be brought to a conclusion; the computer and accounting system reviewed; and, finally, the consequences of an increasingly close collaboration between OVA and Golf Club needs to be monitored and evaluated.
Finding the right administrator for Oakmont will not be easy. Much is asked of the next association manager. But the magnificent surroundings, and our always-friendly residents should make the assignment less demanding for the blue ribbon search committee.