BOD Election Comment

The following Post submitted by Geoffrey Brooks, Association Member

SU Note :  Post is much longer than our suggested 400 word maximum.  However, exception given due to importance of the BOD election

Thoughts on the Board Election Candidates and the Future of Somersett

I attended the candidates night at Aspen Lodge on Monday 30th – I want to applaud all the candidates who are running for a time consuming and often thankless job. Having talked to many Board members over years (and running unsuccessfully myself), I realize that “riding herd” on a community now with 3150 units, built over last 15 years to different standards, is to say, challenging!

Somersett survived the Great Recession when up to 30% of the dues were not paid. Somersett has had two management companies, and a revolving door in all the “functional slots” – leaving so much more general administrative work for the Board to do. The current board under Glenda Powell’s leadership, has strengthened (professionalized) the FSR management team, and instituted monthly Board meetings. Hopefully, this makes serving the community less onerous. We have the future challenge of not only repairing the Rockery Walls, but also our depleted reserves.

One of the prime fiduciary duties of the Board, is planing for the future. What happens if there is another recession? What happens if the Somersett Golf and Country Club fail? What happens if we have another wet winter and more Rockery Walls fail? What about another earthquake? These are tasks the Board have to address on behalf of the community.

What was highlighted by two of the candidates, is the so-called “poor relationship” between the Del Webb HOA and SOA. A solution proposed was a “memo of understanding”. Perhaps those candidates meed a better understanding of the PUD and CCR’s and the responsibilities of the Master Association… Our community was “designed” to have sub-associations, with common infra-structure, natural thematic landscaping, architectural styles to blend in with the high Sierra foothills. Perhaps Pulte should have stayed in control of the SCOA…until now…rather than turning things over to the SC residents…Then the incorrect landscaping installed by Pulte in the newer villages (10-15) could have been corrected by the developer, rather than being tasked to the unsuspecting buyers! What this does shows, is that AGC/SOA approved plans may not be completed correctly to the approved plans & guidelines…There needs to be a mechanism (inspection for compliance) before accepting new construction into Somersett!

All the candidates asserted that if elected they would work for everyone in Somersett, be approachable at any time, to answer resident concerns… Not try to impose or change things to suit a specific opinion…Help enforce community standards… Quite honestly, I was not convinced. The last thing we need , given the immediate issues concerning Somersett’s future, are new Board members with an agenda…

Thumbnail sketches:

Glenda Powell – currently Board President – anxious to see the community through the current difficult patch (rebuilding the Rockery walls), continue the revitalization of the TCTC. She noted the recent community wide defensible space/fire suppression efforts. She wants continue the revamp our aging landscaping and it’s supporting infra-structure. Keep the West Park (a City of Reno property) construction project moving along and plan the revitalization of the 22 miles of trails.
Resident of SC for 11 years.

Jason Roland – Experienced in HOA property management, aware of NRS R&R and CC&R’s. His wife Tiffany Roland (former Board member) is on the Community Standards Committee, active and experienced with Somersett’s OA history. He considers access to her knowledge an advantage. She still works for the Master Developer – Somersett Development. He has experience in working with builders, which he considers will be an advantage as there are still 500 units to be built. He hopes to enhance community standards and minimize community friction, such as the Pulte landscaping issues!
Resident of Somersett for 7 years.

Steve Guderian – SC Board member and “activist”, promising leadership (to what end?). Wants to enhance harmony between SC and the Master Association, bringing all the sub-associations together to discuss common goals and issues. He promised to “fight” for common sense and to maintain high community standards. He was concerned about the fire danger and wants to make sure that we have adequate defensible space. He expressed widespread community concerns about traffic issues.
Resident of SC for 6 years

Frank Neto – New to our community, but a long term Reno resident (22 years) who watched Somersett appear in the desert, and aspired to retire to Sierra Canyon. He described himself as an independent thinker and promised to bring a fresh approach to community affairs. This was said, in spite of his personal complaints about the heavy handed nature of the CSC and AGC! He is for minimizing conflict and for greater community harmony. He promised that he would be a team player delving into the committee detail. He said that his experience from working for the NY Times would enable him to enhance community communications.
Resident of SC Village 15 for 1 year

The meeting lasted for nearly 2 hours and was well attended. The moderator did an excellent job, preparing a comprehensive list of questions… remarkably, the candidates all proffered similar comments and thoughts! There was time for questions…So, in light of the fact that all the candidates professed to read “Somersett United” posts for information … I asked what each candidate planned to do to enhance community involvement and reduce apathy? The SOA website is not yet responsive, folks who try to post queries, comments rarely see them published (and not answered!). None of the candidates really answered that question.

Interestingly, checking the SOA website today – the home page does not mention the up-coming Board Elections …wow …!

By Geoffrey Brooks

5 thoughts on “BOD Election Comment

  1. The last part of this article contains misinformation regarding the SOA website.

    There are at least 2 articles providing information on the upcoming elections. One of these articles is “featured” and appears with a large graphic on the website slider at the top of the home page (paste the URL’s given below into your browser):

    Election information:

    http://somersett.net/board-member-comments/

    http://somersett.net/board-candidate-statements/

    Comments are also accepted and published. Following are 2 examples

    Brook’s comment on the Budget Presentation

    http://somersett.net/2018-budget-presentation/

    Brook’s complaint about the new website improvements

    http://somersett.net/soa-board-member-comments/

    The comments are, admittedly, hard to find. I have been advised that a fix to this problem is currently underway. Unlike the SU website, which is free, the SOA website uses a custom WordPress theme tailored specifically to the HOA, and cannot always be “fixed” in a point and click manner.

  2. I checked through the links provided – they all worked, that is great. So I stand corrected!

    I had to send an email to the SOA to get the candidate statements electronically. (Before I went to the Candidate Night at the Aspen Lodge)

    I checked the home page – mysomersett- Somersett.net on November 4th and the budget presentation was there – a nice change – but to my untutored – computer illiterate eye there was nothing about the election.

    We have big issues facing the community, an election and it appears that the majority of the residents are unaware of these events (apathy?, maybe!). However, not having “stuff” posted up front and center does not help.

    It was nice to see responses to the questions/comments I had asked about the web-site. I am still interested in knowing what the plans are for restoring monies to the reserves for the Common & C9 – and what are the chances of a further $13/month increase in 2019.

    I have to complement the Finance Committee for their time consuming hard work in coming up with a plan to finance the repairs to the Rockery Walls, I am sure that they have run (or FSR) many projections on possible scenarios. Also, it is my understanding that one of the failed Rockery Walls was on the CGC and its maintenance is covered by the Lease back deal… how has potential repayment been handled?

    I wish to applaud the urgency that the Board has addressed fixing the walls, as well as the extensive fire-suppression work carried out by Reno Green during the summer.

    A special thanks to Dennis O’Connell to patiently answering my website questions at Somersett.net – and, presumably on Somersett United!

  3. Geoffrey, thank you for evaluation and involvement with our community. Reference your comments on Steve Guderian (ME) regarding my promise on leadership you asked “to what end” here is a short answer.

    At the first candidates meeting at TCTC current SOA BOD President was asked about the email that went out to the entire community regarding the enforcement of the chicken wire fencing. Her response was after her involvement in 2011, 20012, 2013 (I wrote down the years she stated when she said them) and the mess then this was not an issue she wanted to be involved in again…. but her actual answer to the questions was she knew nothing about it. How can the SOA know nothing about a compliance email that went to all Somersett home owners? Lack of leadership.

    I also have to add that so far as I know not a single complaint has gone out yet. Why? Violation of “due process” as set forth in NRS. And, the statement about this issue occurring in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and nothing being done there provides a direct defense for any complaint that come out now, unless….. I will not bore the readers with the exceptions/solutions.

    My first evaluation of the SOA budget is that there is about $150K worth of cosmetic issues to the community that can be put off for a bit. This means there is about $150K that can be reprogrammed into rockery wall inspections and/or defensible space. I believe that at the candidates night at TCTC the question of defensible space was asked and as I recall the current SOA BOD President saying something to the effect that only part of the priority one areas had been cleared last year. To me, leadership puts community safety above cosmetic issues when it comes spending money.

    And, my initial research into the area of programming money is that the board can move the the $150K out of cosmetic and into safety. I also know where this is another $40K that could be reprogrammed, but again I will not bore our readers with more info.

    Leadership is being knowledgeable and taking responsibility for the action the BOD takes, anybody who wishes to know about multiple actions where the SOA BOD President failed to take responsibility can contact me at any time and will be happy to share some of my discoveries.

    Respectfully, Steve Guderian, SOA BOD Candidate

    1. Hi Steve

      Thank you for your reply – as to what “leadership” means to you. I agree that the “fire danger” is a high priority – the area of Somersett (a high priority gulley according to the study) was cleared. Reno Green had about 6 men working on this for about 2 weeks. I am not sure what abatement measures were taken in other parts of the community. This actually goes to the heart of the matter as far as communicating issues to everybody – not just the interested! (apparently few and far between)

      The maps from the “fire study” and the plans to clear them (and when) should have been posted on the HOA websites – as a front line item. Similarly when we have Board meetings, a Somersett Map (large) should be viewable, and when specific issues are discussed (like Rockery Wall failure, West Park, Trailheads, trails) the affected areas be pointed out and captured in the minutes.

      As an owner with fencing with wiring (fortunately to code) on it, I blame most of the confusion on the fact that the descriptions of what is allowed (and not allowed) should be backed up with pictures (worth a 1000 words) for all to see – and the realtors/developers tasked with making everyone aware of our community standards. Again photos posted prominently on the SOA website would be helpful.

      Taking the issue of how to pay for fixing the Rockery walls, I was in favor of a special assessment (~$650/unit owner), and not draining the reserves and raising monthly dues.
      I spoke to that at the last Board meeting. I also believed that this should have been put to a vote (would need participation of 25% of the owners- yes and no).The finance committee felt that asking for a vote would take too long – too much apathy – a special assessment would depress property values – and most folks could not afford it! I want to add, that I believe that the Board made what they considered the “best possible decision” – and as an owner, I support it! Looking for monies, as you suggest, to put back into the reserves is a good idea, spend on additional fire abatement… who knows what will happen next.

      Respectfully Geoffrey Brooks

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