End Groundhog Day in PMC (scroll down to see OpEd and Editorial)

  • Page one here shows the current bylaws and the changes proposed by the PMCPOA board on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. in the Condor room. Double click on this image to get a full-size printable image. And be sure to see the suggestion on page two!

    Image 1 of 2
    Page one here shows the current bylaws and the changes proposed by the PMCPOA board on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. in the Condor room. Double click on this image to get a full-size printable image. And be sure to see the suggestion on page two!

  • Page 2 of PMCPOA's 10.02-I and 10.03 bylaws that the board of directors are being asked to amend. An alternate amendment is offered on this page, by Katherine King, 18 year PMC resident, former board member, 8 year member of the PMC Governing Documents Committee. Double click on this image for a full size printable image.

    Image 2 of 2
    Page 2 of PMCPOA's 10.02-I and 10.03 bylaws that the board of directors are being asked to amend. An alternate amendment is offered on this page, by Katherine King, 18 year PMC resident, former board member, 8 year member of the PMC Governing Documents Committee. Double click on this image for a full size printable image.

UPDATE—Pine Mountain California, CA (Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018)—On Saturday, Feb. 17 the Pine Mountain Club Property Owners Association board voted unanimously to adopt the compromise amendments to PMCPOA bylaws 10.02 and 10.03 which were advocated for in the Editorial and OpEd carried in The Mountain Enterprise in January.

UPDATE—Pine Mountain California, CA (Saturday, January 20, 2018)—Today the PMCPOA board tabled the proposed bylaw changes, to which members objected. The concern is that members want to keep the guarantee in the POA bylaws that they will be provided with complete financial information in advance of the PMCPOA members’ budget meeting, and in advance of the board’s adoption of a new budget.  Members want to come to the budget meetings fully informed and prepared to to ask intelligent questions. The board will take up the issue again in February.  Scroll down to see the Editorial and OpEds below for the big picture. On Saturday, Feb.  3 at 9 a.m. members are invited to come to the governing documents committee meeting in the pool pavilion to learn more about this bylaw change, and the substitute proposal.

Editorial: Groundhog Day in PMC tries to limit access to budget info… again

Hiding the Price Tag
What if you wanted to buy a new car, but when you walked into the showroom, all the price tags were hidden? What if, when you asked for the information you need to make a decision about your purchase, the sales crew said, “No problem! Just hand us your credit card and…after we’ve billed you…we’ll give you all the information you need! No problemo! Bada Bing!”

The $1.8 Million Surprise Is Growing
Now, what if it wasn’t a car you were paying for, but the expenses of a clubhouse restaurant that cost $1.8 million in budget overruns that you, the PMC homeowners, are not supposed to understand are occurring…until after it is too late?

How can that happen?
All it takes is a little trick the PMCPOA board of directors is trying to use again this year, by voting for two bylaw changes this Saturday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. to try to limit homeowners’ access to budget info… again. This is a trick they have used year after year to hide the price tag for their pet budget overruns. They spend the money. Then you, the homeowners, get the bill. This Saturday, Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. is PMC’s Groundhog Day

Once Again in Pine Mountain Club
Like the Bill Murray movie of an endless repetition of the same events over and over and over again, if you own property in PMC, come out this weekend to watch a stubborn board chair and vice chair who refused to accept the will of the voters in the election of June 2017. In that election, voters said “No, we do not want you to be able to hide info about the budget from us until it is too late.”

At the Pine Mountain Club Property Owners Association (PMCPOA) board meeting this week, Chair William “Bill” Gurtner and Vice-Chair John Cantley will ask the board to vote to change the rules of the contract with PMCPOA homeowners, the people who pay PMC taxes to cover the board’s spending habits.

Bylaws 10.02 and 10.03 Say You Get to See the Price Tag
The rules of the budget-season game they keep changing—and then the voters keep changing back—are Bylaws 10.02 and 10.03.

Those bylaws say you, the homeowners, get to see the price tag in advance of being charged for the new budget. These bylaws say you also get to see the financial info that is a report card, in detail, to show how well the board has managed your money in the past year.

Changing the Rules—But Only While It Matters
By changing (amending) the 10.02 and 10.03 bylaws temporarily year after year, the same directors keep changing the rules of the game for making the budget—during the months they are actually writing the budget—so they are not held accountable in advance of spending your money.

Playing by the rules they keep changing on you, they get to do what they want to do the way they want to do it—without giving the homeowners an opportunity to become informed in time to stop the train from running off the tracks…again.

Revolving Door Directors
Bear in mind, please, that this board is formed largely of the same “revolving door directors” who keep returning and who are personally responsible for handing homeowners a $1.8 million bill in Bistro cost overruns over the past 10 years. Why? Because these same directors keep rubber stamping the Groundhog Day bylaw amendments that Gurtner and Cantley put in front of them.

Revolving Door Directors Doug Wilde, Stephen Bates, John Cantley, William Gurtner
and now Sandy Browne and likely Phyllis Throckmorton and Richard Ballard are lovely people. But they are not showing respect for the rights of the homeowners …the “members”…t o participate as fully-informed stakeholders in the budget debate.

They are also participating in voter nullification: overturning the verdict of the voters in June with a bylaw amendment in January that will be rejected again in June and then overturned again by the board for the next budget season…if the revolving door directors get their way…again.

Hiding in Plain Sight
This Saturday, once again, they are going to try to hide what they are doing from you. They will hear Mr. Cantley say they have to amend the PMC bylaws so they can comply with state law. But that is not true. Only dates have to be changed. Limited and clean. They are making over-broad amendments to Bylaw 10.02(I) and 10.03 to get their way—and to take your rights away.

What is on the agenda this Saturday is a Trojan Horse excuse for depriving the members…the homeowners…the bill payers…a look at the price tag before it is too late.

All the “woke” board members need to do to make this editorial wrong is to limit the scope of the changes to just the dates, and leave the rest of 10.02 (I) and 10.03 the way they are.

In this same issue of The Mountain Enterprise
OpEd: Why reckless bylaw changes should not be passed

OpEd By Katherine King, Pine Mountain community

Once again, some members of the Pine Mountain Club Property Owners
Association board of directors are proposing to amend two key budget bylaws.
This is a bad idea.

I will try to explain why.

Key Bylaws Guarantee Members’ Rights
One of these bylaws, as it is written into our governing documents now, guarantees
members significant access to information during the budget process. The other guarantees that the directors cannot easily deprive members of this access.
The directors passed the exact same amendments last year, and were able to run
the budget process without providing members with the figures they requested.
The board’s amendments were not accepted by the members in the annual June
election, so now some directors are urging their colleagues to repeat the process—as they did last year. They will vote January 20 at the regular open board
meeting [10 a.m., Condor Room].

The Rationale
The rationale given for this extraordinary sequence of events is that the original bylaw
10.03, which governs formation of the budget, contains a few dates that do not conform with state law as it is now, after the state law was updated a couple of years ago.

But There Is A Problem
Don’t get me wrong. I would applaud amending the bylaw if the result created a coherent
budget process that conformed both to state law and to the intent of PMC’s original bylaw.
If the directors passedsuch a revision, I would lead a campaign to ratify it. The problem is that the proposed bylaw 10.03 on the agenda this week does not conform to the intent of the original bylaw.
It Would Be Easy to Simply Change the Dates
It would be very easy to simply change the dates and keep the requirement to provide
members with important financial information six weeks before the board’s budget vote, so homeowners can ask informed questions. The information the original bylaw requires is: an “operating statement of income and expense” together with “a comparison showing each item of income and expense budgeted by the board for the fiscal year ending June 30th in such year.”

In the proposed amendment, however, members will not get this information until after the budget has been adopted! That totally defeats the purpose and intent of bylaw 10.03.

It is ironic that while Vice Chair John Cantley’s proposal rightly codifies the traditional community budget meeting into “our law,” he then eliminates the requirement that the community have information before that meeting!

More Untrue Rationales
Last year, one director argued that the amendment should be ratified because it brings the bylaw into conformity with PMCPOA business rule E-14. This is not true. In fact, it seems likely to me that if the amended bylaw 10.03 were ratified, an amended E-14 business policy would soon follow to conform with it. (Amending business policies is a very simple process.)

The Draft Budget Is Supposed To Be Available Early
The current business policy specifies that the draft budget must be made available to members early in the process, and that in advance of the directors’ final vote in April, members must be given a summary of the eight-month year-to-date budget vs. actual
expenditures, a summary of the final (proposed) new budget, and notification that members can access the detailed (line-item) final proposed budget in the clubhouse business office.

The Revised Bylaw Removes Members’ Rights to Timely Data
The revised bylaw does not require any such policies. What is in the business policy is the bare minimum required by original bylaw 10.03. Even that minimum is not reflected in the revised 10.03.

Dangerous Proposed Change to 10.02(I) Would Make It Easier To Permanently Change 10.03—And End Timely Access Forever
A proposed change to one section of a second bylaw is also of great concern. Here, the proposed amendment consists of eliminating 10.02(I). This is a section that requires a two-thirds vote of members in order to change bylaw 10.03. At the moment, if the board wishes to deny information to members during the budget process, they need to amend Bylaw 10.03 every year. If section 10.02(I) disappears, they would have a good chance in future years of limiting members’ access to information about the budget process—permanently.

Do you want more information?
Just click on End Groundhog Day at www.MountainEnterprise.com (that’s where you are right now). See the PDF at right that I have compiled of the original bylaws. You can double click on them to see them full size and print out the two pages. The proposed amendments on Saturday’s PMCPOA board agenda, and my proposed suggested alternative. Or, if you wish, send an email to katckingATgmail.com. I will send you a PDF with this same information.

[Published January 19, 2018]

 

This is part of the January 19, 2018 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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