Opening doors and letting the light in
By Ann Boon, RSF Association board president
At the last meeting of the RSF Association board, the main item of interest on the agenda was the status of the negotiations for the purchase of the RSF Garden Club. Although, as an item of contract, the negotiations had been held in closed sessions, members requested a discussion in an open meeting. The board reported that an agreement has been reached with the Garden Club and now it is up to attorneys to draw up legal documents for the purchase and lease arrangements. We will be presenting the details of those documents in open session as we receive them. Every future open session will have an update on the Garden Club purchase until the transaction is closed.
The most exciting thing for me about the last meeting was hearing how interested our members are in having items discussed in open sessions. As in the past, topics that will continue to be discussed in open session will include: the possibility of extending either access to golf club memberships or full Association privileges to condominium owners; the study of a pool/fitness center; the water project at the RSF Golf Club; and the replacement of dead and dying trees at the Golf Club and throughout the Covenant. In addition, we will be providing more detailed updates from the Finance Committee regarding Association budgeting and expenditures.
Although the laws governing homeowners’ associations permit certain topics to be discussed in closed session, the current board will be taking our members’ concerns about openness seriously. We will be discussing everything possible in open session. For example, the Compensation Committee has been reviewing the compensation and benefit packages for our Association employees. The committee has examined salaries; sick leave and vacation leave policies; as well as medical benefits. The purpose of the review has been at least two-fold: (1) to compare the salaries and benefits that our employees receive to the “industry standards” and (2) to project the costs of various policies and packages to determine a level that is sustainable.
Currently, our personnel costs represent about 70 percent of the Association budget. Some parts of the benefit package are growing at a faster rate than our revenues. We want to make sure that our compensation and benefits are fair to employees, yet are also sustainable for members at current assessment rates. We will be presenting a status report in open session to educate members and to receive your comments. Individual employee information, of course, will always be kept confidential and will not be disclosed in open session.
Items relating to an individual member, such as assessment payments that are in arrears or property issues that are in violation of Covenant rules and regulations, have historically been discussed in closed session. Many issues pertaining to an individual property can legally be discussed in open session. Since there is such a demand from our members for more openness and transparency, the board will consider discussing some of these issues in open session as well.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Nominating Committee will be looking for a few good men and women to run for the Association board in the elections this spring. The three-year terms will begin July 1, 2014. If you are interested, please call the Association office (858-756-1174) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.