Sierra Canyon “Bullying Policy”

In late 2018 the Sierra Canyon Association (SCA) Board of Directors (BOD) enacted a new SCA Policy entitled “RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS OF SIERRA CANYON ASSOCIATION CONCERNING BULLYING AND UNAUTHORIZED INTERFERENCE WITH ASSOCIATION CONTRACTORS OR EMPLOYEES”, to be incorporated within the SCA Policies, Rules and Guidelines.

A copy of this document may be accessed via the following link: “SCA Bullying Policy”.

It appears that the purpose of this document is to incorporate the provisions of Nevada Law NRS 116.31184, “Threats, harassment and other conduct prohibited: penalty”, into a formal SCA policy document, along with some added provisions and penalties. For reference NRS 116.31184 states the following in its entirety:

1.  A community manager, an agent or employee of the community manager, a member of the executive board, an officer, employee or agent of an association, a unit’s owner or a guest or tenant of a unit’s owner shall not willfully and without legal authority threaten, harass or otherwise engage in a course of conduct against any other person who is the community manager of his or her common-interest community or an agent or employee of that community manager, a member of the executive board of his or her association, an officer, employee or agent of his or her association, another unit’s owner in his or her common-interest community or a guest or tenant of a unit’s owner in his or her common-interest community which:

(a) Causes harm or serious emotional distress, or the reasonable apprehension thereof, to that person; or
(b) Creates a hostile environment for that person.

2.  A person who violates the provisions of subsection 1 is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Added to NRS by 2013, 2529)

The SCA policy document incorporates the above NRS provisions (with some minor editing). It also adds the following provision (c) to item 1 above, along with extending its applicability to SCA vendors and contractors:

(c) Interferes with any work, service or action being performed by or on behalf of the Association by any third-party individual or entity acting with the Association’s authorization or under any contract with the Association.

The policy document does not contain any reference to NRS 116.31184 Article 2, but does incorporate a Section 2 that outlines the penalities associated with perceived violations of the policy, which include: prohibiting voting on SCA matters, prohibiting use of facilities/amenities, and the imposition of fines (for details, access the above “SCA Bullying Policy” link).

One might ask the question why the SOA BOD chose to incorporate a Nevada Law into a SCA Policy document, as the Nevada law speaks for itself. It would appear because the BOD wanted to incorporate “Interfering with work” as a prohibited activity and to establish penalties and fines for doing so.

This new policy has raised its ugly head in a recent disagreement with a SC owner, who has been threatened with a $1000 fine. Lots of dialog on this issue within the Somersett “Nextdoor” social website regarding a perceived unfair application of this policy, which will not be repeated here. Suffice it to say that complaints regarding the policy reflect the following sentiments:

  1. Given the existence of NRS 116.31184, this policy document is not necessary
  2. Owners were not consulted on or properly advised of its existence.
  3. The Policy is meant to stifle opposition to BOD proposals or decisions.
  4. Penalties and process are harsh and not consistent with other SCA controlling documents.
  5. Policy oversteps the power that the Board should have with respect to the conduct of members.
  6. The BOD is accuser, judge and jury. What protects SC members from BOD Bullying?

Obviously the SCA BOD had its reasons , hopefully admirable, but questionable to many, for enacting this policy. Perhaps a SCA Board member would care to comment on these reasons and address the above sentiments.

Likewise, as SU has no access to SCA Board or Committee Meetings, we are not completely informed as to what may or may not being done to address the policy in general, the above sentiments and current violations. Therefore, comments from SC owners are encouraged and welcome.

14 thoughts on “Sierra Canyon “Bullying Policy”

  1. There was no reason for SC to make its own Bullying Policy as has been stated bullying is already covered in NRS 116.31184. In fact much of SC’s policy is copied from NRS.

    As one owner has so eloquently stated:

    “I am guessing that the subject policy/bylaw was not passed by competent legal counsel prior to it adoption. If it was the Board should get new legal counsel. If it was not, then I urge the Board to rescind the policy and seek legal advice regarding what they can and cannot do as a homeowners association board. As currently constituted, the policy has several potential legal defects. It is too far reaching in that it seeks to impose criminal penalties. It is probably void due the vagueness of the prohibitions. The terms “harassment” and “bullying” are so subjective that they do not give a reasonable person notice of what is and is not a violation. And lastly, there are serious First Amendment issues here. This policy is clearly intended to restrain speech. The courts are historically never in favor of such restrictions absent compelling circumstances.” (note a policy not a bylaw)

    Somersett United is wonderful blog and has been in existence for many years. I urge all owners to become a follower (see box when first accessing SU at somersettunited.net However, there is another newer site that has a wider audience and that is Nextdoor Somersett. Become a member of it. Why not both?

  2. I have to say that I dont remember receiving this policy by either email or slow mail. This is the first time that I have read the controversial policy.
    Having said that, I recognize and accept the necessity for such a policy , with modifications, by the Board. We are a community of 1200 homes occupied by one or two owners, each with his/her own personality and ideas as to how the matters of this community should be conducted. I have lived here for over 4 1/2 years and have seen evidence of rude and downright crude owner behavior towards Board members and employees working at the Lodge. Therefore, I believe that the Board needs a policy to address those situations as recognized by the current state statute.
    The addition of the new section seems to me to address owner interference with third parties who work under the authority of the Board. I have no idea which events triggered the need for this new section.But I need to add my comments as to the severity of the policy as it relates to first amendment rights and financial hardship.
    Having said that , I agree with the need for the Board to have a policy affecting the above referenced owners, but I have to add that the Board needs to be cognizant on how the policy can negatively affect owner rights. The words used to describe what constitutes negative behavior and its results will always be subject to interpretation. The Board needs to balance the need to protect itself versus the freedom of speech by owners so that their rights are not diminished or violated. Second, the financial penalties imposed on the violator; fines, management fees, attorney fees, etc can be interpreted as measures to negate any appeal by the owner due to financial hardship. If you remember, Boards come and go, and future Boards could use this policy to squash any new ideas, changes , and opposition by the owners.
    I recommend that the Board open up the policy to amendments which will be more mutually agreeable to the Board and owners.
    In closing, I would like to recommend
    that the Board address , in executive session when needed, the behavior of problem employees towards owners. Over the years, this has been a sore subject with residents and they have felt that their complaints have been ignored. I think that you would agree that attention to this problem is the least you can do for the residents, not only because they deserve respect as senior citizens, but because they are the ones who pay their salaries.

  3. I have lived in SC since spring of 2014. It was a friendly fun loving community with lots of activity, get acquainted parties, free classes and friendly faces. No one was inventing a need to control or persuade anyone. As professionals, who spent years contributing to the success of corporations, we’re probably all capable of adult decisions. Over the past couple of years things have changed, for the worse with pettiness, and people are being treated as if they are to stupid to make decisions and regulations being established without any discussions or apparent reasons. This is not what retired, educated, self sufficient people expect when they decide to live out their golden years in a 55 plus community.

    The constant changes in lodge services personnel, after Pulte left, became an unpleasant issue due to unprofessional and negative behavior toward many residents. People were ignored and dismissed like children when they went to ask legitimate questions or present concerns about their community. The staff appeared to have no concept of “professionalism or meaning of customer service”. I believe there were four different managers in 2 years with finally, success, and now we’re told they are being replaced. The landscape company changed with no coordination between Sierra Canyon and Somersett, water hoses burst, water was turned off without repair, leaving large areas of unattended vegetation to die. Walking paths became littered with dog poop, garbage, and crumbling walkways. Our communication tool which listed all residents was dismantled without open discussion or concern. With the explanation, “it cost too much”? I would ask “what is the price we’ve paid for being silenced”? Now, we don’t even know who lives here!

    I believe everyone in SC has the right to speak, be heard, and treated with respect. We have a right to disagree (we’re not puppets). I’m not sure this is happening and it’s disturbing. It appears that women, especially who speak up, may not be given an equal opportunity. That is unfortunate and will not be tolerated.

    The board may have a high intended purpose but that is not coming across. It appears more likely they’re the judge and jury and we need to be still, quite, and not speak up for fear of retaliation.

    I’m not a big person, have little physical strength, sometimes forgetful, however… when I perceive injustice, retaliation and unwarranted distress being exhibited toward anyone without reasonable explanation my sixth sense connects and I’m fully engaged. I become a warrior if only in my mind.

    We need honest answers to questions as to “why” things happen. We deserve to be treated as part of this community not like second class citizens by Sierra Canyon or Somersett. We all want the community to succeed and thrive with rules and expectations that are geared towards adults who actually have a say in what impacts our lives. Secret meetings need to be open and all reshidents need to be heard. Petty lawsuits need to be justified and if lawyer fees are paid they should not come out of our community reserves.

    When there is a perceived necessity to regress to “rules of bullying” we need to rethink who we’ve entrusted our community to. We pay to live here and we have rights! We are not going to be bullied by the board and have our money spent on a frivolous lawsuit without explanation. Without Communication there is no Community!

    1. Like Marilyn said, you could not have said it better.

      The issue is (as I see it) is that the Board and the Managing company for the SC HOA (Lodge) don’t understand that:
      1) We are all human, in spite of the fact that we might have foibles, we STILL need to be treated with respect
      2) The Management Company is here to serve all as customers – we are paying for a service
      3) The Board consists of members who should be insisting on the above – and – treating their equal, fellow residents with respect
      4) Naturally, all the residents should reciprocate and treat the staff at Aspen Lodge and they Board members with equal respect.

  4. Referring to Joe B’s post above, there was more to this post than he has put in there. But lets just take the post on face value, the opinion of the person who made this statement is significantly flawed. This policy is not a free speech policy, it is an action policy. Of course people can say what they want, I refer you to my post above and the “Nazi” comment. Consider the words I also talked about above, THREATEN, HARASS, CAUSE HARM OR SERIOUS EMOTIONAL STRESS and HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT. These are actually action issues that can be associated with words. I am aware of the background of the person that Joe quoted. This person has an awareness of “terrorist threats” section in the laws of many states and with the feds. Words alone can send you to prison. Lets look at harass, lets say that I stand on the sidewalk in front of your house every day and take photographs of the home owner through a front window. This sure seems to be harassment to me without a single work being said. Lets say that you are in a public place and where ever you go there is the same person in the area, and every time you look at this person they load a weapon in front of you…. seems to me like this could be emotional stress or a hostile environment if this occurs in the same location every day. Again, not a single word said but very definitely not situations that any of us want to be in.

    One of the best things about the post that Joe has copied for us is the comment, “I am guessing that the subject policy/bylaw was not passed by competent legal counsel” Really, attacking the expertise of another attorney with limited information, not a smart idea. This is especially true when the poster has zero NV HOA law experience and the SC atty has years of NV HOA experience, and works for the firm of the best HOA lawyer in NV, this is Joe’s opinion that he has personally told me more than once.
    Respectfully,
    Steve Guderian

    1. No matter how the SC Board cares to spin it, this so-called Bullying policy document is uncalled for. NRS 116.31184 adequately covers, as a misdemeanor offense, improper conduct by individuals within a common interest community who “causes harm or serious emotional distress” or “creates a hostile environment” for others within the community. Therefore, no need for the SC policy document. It would appear that the Board simply wanted to also include “interfering with work” as a prohibited activity. “Interfering with work”? What in the world does this entail? No wonder many feel it is simply a mechanism meant to stifle dissent or protest against Board actions. If Mr. Guderian or any other Board member feels he has been violated under NRS 116.31184, then he should file a criminal complaint. Adopting the Bullying policy is bad optics, wherein one could conceive the real Bullyer is the SC Board!

  5. Not to pick on Dusty, but you don’t know me, how can you judge me? I spend almost as much time in two other careers as I did in police work.

    And this is for everybody else like Dusty who tell us it is all about the power… OK, time to step up to the plate and tell my what power I have as an individual or the BOD has collectively?

    Also, I just posted a lot of information above that quoted sections of NRS 116, which is a book of laws designed to protect the home owner not give the BOD power… so please step up to the plate and tell me where I am wrong in any thing I have posted here in SU. The “keyboard posse” is great at judging without factual support.

  6. And to Ladydian116, in my perspective SC is still a fun loving great place to live. I for one am loving being retired here… even with all of the BS I have to put up with because I decided to volunteer for the BOD…. Every single home owner in SC has the right to enjoy all that our community has to offer. This means that no home owner should ever be subjected to ongoing confrontations with other home owners. Unfortunately we currently have a few people living in SC that seem to believe that they can take what ever action they want against any other home owner they want and that is unacceptable. As I have stated above, I would absolutely love to tell you all of the facts about everything that is going on, but as a board member the law does not allow me too… The one thing that I would ask you please take a critical look at everything that is posted on social media and what you hear. The “Keyboard Lynch Mob” (KLB) is quick to judge and push and attack, but to date I have failed to see a single solution out of the KLB.

    I take exception to your following statement, “I’m not sure this is happening and it’s disturbing. It appears that women, especially who speak up, may not be given an equal opportunity. That is unfortunate and will not be tolerated.” I have and I always will allow ANY PERSON and ANY HOME OWNER to speak their piece. Ask Joe B. he has come after more time than I can count, but we still converse and I still listen to what he has to say. I may disagree with it and state my position and facts but I have never tried to silence him, or anybody else for that matter.

    Here is a perfect example of the KLB influencing your perception without fact…. Ask them to provide you with documentation, names, times and circumstance regarding women in our community being singled out. Just because a woman maybe claiming this does not mean it is true. Please tell me or show me where is says that a woman cannot THREATEN, HARASS, CAUSE HARM OR SERIOUS EMOTIONAL STRESS and HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT to another person.

    Lodge staffing, boy I could go on all day long with that. I am glad to hear that you believe the current staff is good. The BOD put its foot down with FSR and told them they had better quit getting rid of the SC staff. I completely agree with you about the change over that was occurring. That will not be occurring anymore.

    I will answer any questions that you have, simply contact me. I am more than happy to meet any home owner anywhere and sit down and chat. As I just stated I will answer any question that you have. You cannot shot the messenger if my answer is I cannot talk about something…. that is a rule I did not make. When I start breaking that rule then all that has been said about the board going have power and control will be true.

    Again, lets be perfectly clear here, I am a home owner in Sierra Canyon first and a volunteer on the BOD second. I too have rights. You can pretty much say anything you want about me, I do not care. But when things start to involved my wife of 43 years who has done nothing to nobody. I will enforce my rights. SC is a great place to live and I am not moving. I love living here and the friendships I have been able to form. You talk to anybody who knows me, and they will tell you that I am not the bad guy that the KLM is trying to make me out to be.

    Let me tell you how much power I have as a SC board member. I can walk into any Starbuck in the nation, tell them I am a Sierra Canyon Board member and order a cup of coffee and they will give me that cup of coffee….. right after I give them $5 dollars…. not that is pure power.
    Respectfully
    Steve G.

  7. Bullying and now maybe this. See last sentence.

    Copied from Quartz:

    The surveillance state is no longer limited to the state.

    For years, police departments have been tracking people’s cars with cameras that capture the license plate number of every vehicle that passes by. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based digital privacy nonprofit, has described the technology as “a form of mass surveillance.”

    Now, a new generation of tech firms has made it possible for private citizens to use the devices, known as automatic license plate readers, or ALPRs—without the strict oversight that governs this type of data collection by law enforcement.

    Putting ALPR into civilian hands allows for a broad range of new applications, including customer service and school security. But it also raises untold numbers of new legal and ethical issues, few of which have yet been tested in the courts, experts warn.
    A 3,000% increase

    Automatic license plate readers, or ALPRs, have long been geared toward local, state, and federal law enforcement users. The systems can be mounted on utility poles, streetlights, overpasses, in police cars, even within traffic cones and digital speed display signs that show drivers how fast they’re going. Once a vehicle’s plate is photographed, and the date, time, and location are recorded, an algorithm checks it against a database of cars that cops are looking for.

    ALPRs can capture roughly 2,000 plates a minute, on vehicles traveling up to 120 miles per hour, casting an astonishingly wide net. Police can store and later access this data, enabling investigators to zero in on a suspect’s whereabouts and behavioral patterns.

    Unlike traditional ALPR systems, which consist of professional-grade equipment priced beyond the reach of most civilians—and even some smaller police departments—the new setups rely on off-the-shelf security cameras.

    At least one company, OpenALPR, offers software for free, on Github. Anyone who downloads it can turn a single web-connected camera into an automatic license plate reader that can monitor traffic across a four-lane highway with 99% accuracy. (Customers pay between $49 and $995 monthly for optional cloud-based storage and analysis.)

    OpenALPR software was used in just 300 cameras two years ago, according to the company. Today, it is being utilized in 9,200 cameras in 70 countries, a 2,960% increase. About half those customers are police, OpenALPR founder Matt Hill says, with private citizens making up the rest.

    Private businesses are using these setups in markedly different ways than law enforcement, although the general idea is the same.

    OpenALPR competitor PlateSmart Technologies, another company that markets ALPR systems to the general public, advertises various uses in security and “business intelligence,” including analytics packages that allow retailers to analyze customer response to promotional offerings and track the demographics of people who drive into their parking lots.

    Schools can also use the systems to control access to their campuses, and hospitals can track staff, visitors, and patients, PlateSmart tells prospective customers. Casinos can connect to law enforcement databases, and create custom hotlists to alert police when criminals, banned people, or “gambling addicts,” have come onto the property, it adds.

    Joseph Giacalone, a criminal justice professor at City University of New York, says it was only a matter of time before ALPRs were deployed for civilian use. “Any new technology comes with the promise of making our lives better, and making our jobs simpler,” says the former NYPD commander. “But they also come with a caveat—the potential for abuse: people stalking exes, making targets more accessible to criminals, and keeping tabs on your spouse.”
    Ethical issues

    Unlike police and other law enforcement users of ALPR, private citizens are not beholden to constitutional protections barring unlawful search and seizure, or racial profiling, for example. Civilian users don’t have to worry about departmental review boards or internal affairs units watching over them, either.

    At least 16 states have statutes related to ALPR use and data retention, which civilians are required to follow. However, the states that do have rules don’t do a very good job of publicizing them. “It’s possible not a lot of users realize this when trying out the software,” says Dave Maass of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    Further, unlike law enforcement agencies, which are generally subject to public information laws, there is no way for citizens to know exactly how private companies are using the ALPR data they collect. The amount of information they can gather is unprecedented, and they can do it all in secret.

    The ALPR industry itself is not regulated—nothing currently prohibits ALPR companies from marketing their data—so the potential for misuse is high, says Kabrina Chang, a law and ethics professor at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.

    “The money to be made from compiling and selling data will infect decision-making,” adds Chang. “OpenALPR, or any company using the ALPR-gathered data, could have internal policies and rules, and corporate governance processes in place, but we have seen over and over companies violating their own policies.”

    OpenALPR insists they do not sell or share their customers’ data with any outside entities.
    The more you know

    To get a sense of the issues private use of ALPR can raise, consider the kind of information picked up by a typical security camera.

    OpenALPR, for example, can provide users with the make, model, and color of the vehicles. In response to privacy concerns, some police departments have purposely restricted the camera settings on their ALPR systems to photograph only the rear of each vehicle, so as to capture the license plate but not a wider shot of the car or its occupants.

    It would be far more difficult to take action against a private company for misusing ALPR data than against a government agency, explains Chang. Each state has its own standards and definition for invasion-of-privacy claims. Most won’t consider any cases that don’t involve trespassing. That wouldn’t be particularly helpful for someone who, say, thought their employer had wrongfully wielded ALPR information they had collected on them. (ALPR systems can also be hacked or otherwise exposed online.)

    OpenALPR’s Hill has referred to himself as “a big privacy advocate,” and says ALPR systems can help companies and private individuals. “It’s not just surveillance,” he says. “You can just add it to a product and all of a sudden you have a more streamlined experience.”

    EFF’s Maass says that a single person using a system like OpenALPR on their own home cameras is probably not a big threat to the public’s privacy. “If those people link their network together or share it live with law enforcement, then that does create a large surveillance net,” he adds.

    In fact, that’s exactly what Hill says he plans to do:

    “You talk to [homeowners associations] and you talk to private businesses and one of the things they really find valuable is allowing the police access to their data to proactively catch people,” he says.

    1. Hi Joe

      We live in the 21st Century. Information technology, cameras, facial recognition (+ your IpHone) can allow big-brother to track every movement, analyze your thoughts. Now you can be flooded with ads for things your “shared” captured thoughts and movements. The algorithm in the Cloud knows…

      Why are we worrying about Sierra Canyon? Well, it seems that both the staff, board and residents prefer “shouting out their thoughts” rather than entering into a respectful discussion amongst equals. Maybe pernicious electronic surveillance and data capture is to be preferred.

      I am not sure that NRS statutes (when enshrined or just quoted) will bring civility to discussion and argument.

      Perhaps folks who are over 55 need to pass civics courses to qualify for residence!

      “Say and Do unto others as you like to be done to!”

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