—Crestone Eagle report
At the Baca Grande Property Owners Association Annual Meeting held on Friday, November 9, 2012, there was a slate of seven candidates for three POA Director seats. Vote totals for the candidates were as follows: Russell Schreiber, 531; Matie Belle Lakish, 497, Diana Motz, 422, David Burrell, 414; Janie Thomas, 367; Bruce McDonald, 360; and Will Welty, 201. Outgoing board president Bill Folk chaired the meeting and thanked the members for attending.
The election was not without controversy, however, and a recall was proposed. A group of citizens and two of the directors of the new Board of Directors petitioned the board, at the new board’s work session on November 15, to call a special meeting to be held just after the next regular meeting of the board on November 29. Diana Motz and Bob Garnett, Directors, submitted the following request: “We, the undersigned, respectfully request a special meeting of the POA Board of Directors to address the conduct of the POA Board (members) with regard to election procedures prior to and during the Annual Meeting on Friday, November 9, 2012.
The letter lists some of the concerns and reasons the group is seeking a recall and a re-vote.
“Senate Bill–100(b)(l)(A): Votes for positions on the executive board shall be by secret ballot. Ballot issues for this election were “proxy” ballots only—no absentee or secret ballots were mailed out. …” They advocate a full re-vote by secret ballot.
The group was also concerned that, according to the language on the Proxy ballot, “in the absence of a written name, your proxy will automatically be granted to the President of the Association or in his/her absence….with full power of substitution…” Some felt that the President of the Board, William Folk, was exercising his right to vote for a candidate by virtue of being the President of the association. In reality, Folk stated, he only voted the eight ballots to which he is entitled by his own properties. The “proxy” ballots were delivered as they came in to the election tellers for counting.
Other complaints about the election included that there was no clearly defined time for membership voting at the meeting. Signs posted locally said voting in person must occur between 5:00 and 7:00 pm. That information was not included in the mailing, and two members came in at 7:10 pm with a number of votes. A discussion followed about whether the 7:00 pm deadline had been properly noticed. After reading the membership meeting announcement, it was discovered that there was no language to that effect; therefore chairman Bill Folk agreed that people should be allowed to vote and Smilack and the other person’s votes were counted. The additional votes changed the outcome of the third place position from David Burrell to Diana Motz.
Some members present wanted to vote on issues at the meeting but Folk stated that items to be voted on at the Annual Meeting needed to have been submitted by the deadline to be put on the agenda in time for absentee landowners to get it in the mail and return their votes.
At the November 15th meeting, new directors were seated at a business meeting that preceded the work session. Treat Suomi was selected as chairperson, Bob Garnett as vice chair, Matie Belle Lakish, Secretary with Russel Schreiber, Treasurer and Diana Motts director at large.
One topic of discussion at the work session was the election. The discussion centered on the importance of developing policies and procedures that will ensure fair and widely accepted election results in the future. A task force was recommended to help identify issues and recommend procedures. It was also noted that Hammersmith, the POA’s management company, could recommend better procedures for future elections.
Results of the meeting on November 29th will be available on the Crestone Eagle Website, www.crestoneeagle.com.