RSF Association President’s Corner: Updates, accomplishments


By Philip Wilkinson, Rancho Santa Fe Association President

At the annual homeowners meeting last week, which was well attended, I borrowed a quote from Henry Kissinger: “The smaller the pond the bigger the ripples.” Our hope is that on June 9, after the election, the ripples will subside and we will have two newly elected directors that will work in a meaningful way with the board to address all of the issues that face our community in a very informed, open, respectful and diligent manner.

After more than 20 years of service, Pete Smith has announced that he is retiring as Manager of the Rancho Santa Fe Association, effective June 30, 2014. Pete will be missed! I echo the sentiments of Walt Ekard, the highly respected former Association Manager and Chief Administrative Officer for San Diego County, who recently had this to say about Pete:

“The leadership of Pete Smith is a prime reason why Rancho Santa Fe is unquestionably one of the finest communities in the world. For nearly 20 years, Pete has managed the Rancho Santa Fe Association and its high powered and sometimes challenging personalities with a firm but respectful hand... I wish Pete and the Association the best of luck.”

On the matter of the past president’s removal on Feb. 20, 2014: Many of you have asked me and other board members what really happened. In my 30 years of business experience I can tell you that five members of the board acted decisively together, based on their own knowledge and judgment, and without outside influence to remove the-then president Ann Boon after she surprised both her own board and the manager with the Form 990 accusations without prior notice or investigations. It was


because she shared compensation information that members are entitled to have. We, as a board, needed to proceed forward in a professional and respectful manner and to act in the best interest of the membership on the manager issue, and many other matters facing our community.

As I approach the end of my first tumultuous year on the board, I have to remind myself that as a dedicated group of volunteers, working closely with the Association staff, we have accomplished a great deal. I’m proud to list, on behalf of both the board and the staff, some of the highlights. In the past year:

•We upgraded the Association’s IT software and accounting system

•Approved Golf Club membership rights for all condominium owners

•We established a Compensation Committee, a committee which last month implemented changes to the vacation and sick leave policies which should reduce costs by $1 million over the next five years. We also introduced bylaw changes to formalize this committee and make it permanent. The board Compensation Committee is made up of three experienced business executives that have made cost controls a top priority.

•Grew voter registration from 63 percent to 77 percent today and will not stop until everyone is registered.

•Developed a new Association web site:

•Worked to bring expenditures in under budget this year and hold costs down in the 2014/2015 association budget. Grew reserve funding to $6 million and the Community Enhancement Funds to $6 million.

•Constructed new trail and landscaping at the entrance to the RSF Sports Field.

•Replaced 7,000 feet of fencing around the Golf Course.

•Changed the Art Jury name to Covenant Design and Review Committee.

•Constructed new landscaping and improved the trail at the La Bajada entrance to the Ranch.

•Applied to the National Historic Registry for the Osuna Adobe.

•Worked to obtain outside funding for one more RSF Patrol officer.

•Approved a Village Farmers Market trial run.

Let’s continue to work together on solving the issues and challenges we face such as Broadband service, controlling costs, and providing more amenities. We need to continue to recruit qualified volunteers for these projects to keep ideas and solutions flowing. There will always be ripples in the pond, but if there weren’t any ripples things would be stagnant and we don’t want that.