The “Meet the Candidates Night” held at the Aspen Lodge on Wednesday was, in our opinion, pretty much of a failure as regards community participation. Attendees numbered somewhere between 30 and 40. Not a very good turnout considering the 3000 + unit owners. Given that the meeting was well advertised, one may wonder why the apathy. Perhaps due to the low number of candidates (Tom Fitzgerald, Byran Martin, Terry Retter and Joseph Strout) ) for the three open Board of Director (BOD) positions. Whatever the cause, those who did not attend are encouraged to watch the meeting video, which will soon be released as a U-Tube video and accessible on the Somersett Owners Association (SOA) website (www.somersett.net) and presumably via a future SOA email distribution.
As regards the meeting content, the Communications Committee did a good job in formulating general questions for the candidates to respond to. These included the following easy topics to address (candidate responses noted, if remembered correctly):
- Time Required – All candidates acknowledged the requirements for the position and have the time available to properly prepare for and carry out their BOD responsibilities, including assigned SOA Committee support.
- Outside Influences/Conflict of Interests: No problems here expressed from all candidates, except Mr. Strout, who acknowledged that his position as Treasurer and Board Member for the Somersett Golf and Country Club (SGCC) could present a potential conflict regarding legal issues between the SOA and the SGCC, which he would properly evaluate and recuse himself as required. Note that Mr. Retter is also a member of the SGCC (not a Board member) and did not express any conflict in this regard.
- Top Priorities to Undertake: Mr. Fitzgerald & Mr. Strout – Financial Stability; Mr. Martin – Strategic Planning/Funding Stewardship; Mr. Retter – Updating the Governing Documents (e.g., CC&R’s)
- SOA Committee Interests: Mr. Fitzgerald – Aesthetic Guidelines & Community Standards; Mr.Martin – Facilities; Mr. Retter – Community Standards and Communications; Mr. Strout – Finance & Budget
- Increasing the Number of BOD Members: Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Martin and Mr. Retter felt that increasing the number of BOD Members was warranted. Mr. Strout felt that the current five was enough.
Response to the preceding questions were pretty straight forward, brief and easy to summarize. However, additional questions requiring more lengthy, detailed and informative responses pertained to the following:
- Master and Sub-Association Relationships
- Rockery Wall Failure Issues
- Roll of the Aesthetic Guidelines Committee
- SOA and SGCC Relationship and Lease Agreement Issues
- Homeowner Questions
Given their complexity, we will not attempt to summarize all the responses to the above. Rather, we refer the reader to the aforementioned meeting video so one can draw their own conclusions. Preferably before submitting your ballots.
This website believes that all candidates are suitably qualified for service on the SOA’s Board of Directors and will not be making any recommendations in this regard, but do offer the following observations:
- Mr. Fitzgerald’s prior service as BOD Member and President provides him with a vast knowledge of ongoing community issues, BOD operations, the Governing Documents and needed continuity moving forward.
- Mr. Martin is a “brand new” member of our Somersett Community and obviously was not as well versed and knowledgeable on community issues, governing documents, etc. as the other candidates. However, we do not see this as a significant disadvantage as he can bring a fresh presence of ideas and suggestions to the Board not biased by past experience or agenda.
- Mr. Retter has been a Somersett owner from its very beginning and is well versed in its past trials and tribulations. Also, has ownership interest in not only the Master Association but two of the Sub-Associations as well, thereby providing a vested interest in all working together. Hence, perhaps his interest in updating the communities governing documents.
- Mr. Strout has an excellent financial background and is currently serving on the SOA Finance & Budget Committee and is well versed on the SOA’s current financial situations. Would make a good replacement for outgoing BOD Member Ryan Burns as the SOA Treasurer.
It should be noted that both Mr. Retter and Mr. Strout are SGCC members and, considering the ongoing legal conflict between the SOA and SGCC over Water Rights and Rocky Wall liabilities, the question arises as to whether or not having two out of the five BOD Members potentially recusing themselves or involved with decision making in this regard presents an acceptable situation.
All comments are welcome!