As the result of an action taken by the SOA Board at the October 14th meeting, Simon Baker resigned his position as the SOA’s Treasurer (however, not as a Board Member). Following, published with the permission of Mr. Baker, is a copy of his resignation letter:
“Dear fellow members of the SOA Board,
When I ran for a seat on the SOA Board of Directors last year, I had no agenda. My desire, having recently retired as the Corporate Treasurer of Fox Entertainment Group, was to use my 20 years of experience in running large corporate treasuries to try to benefit the Somersett community. I was duly elected to the Board and then elected by the Board to be Treasurer.
Last week, I presented the proposed budget for 2021 to the homeowner community. As you know, that budget called for a modest $2 increase in the assessment for the General Common cost center. At last night’s Board meeting, the Board voted to overturn the recommendation of its Treasurer and the recommendation of the Finance Committee and to keep the General Common assessment flat. If you recall, the General Common assessment was raised by $13 in 2019. The reason for this is because prior Boards had failed to set adequate assessment rates in an environment of rising costs and the SOA was consequently running dangerously short of cash. Now that the SOA is on a better financial footing, the Board has voted to continue the mistakes of the past and risk having to have further large catch up increases or special assessments in the future. Many areas of Somersett are now 15 years old and maintenance costs are only going to increase. In addition, the SOA still has $5.5m in debt and hence my recommendation was to take some initial positive steps to start attacking this level of debt. It is deeply disappointing to me that the Board ignored this recommendation. This came on the same day that I was also troubled by the Board’s blanket approval of bonuses for First Residential staff and the Board’s apparent indifference to my request for greater transparency in the cost structure of First Residential, a vendor that accounts for a substantial portion of the SOA’s total annual expenditure.
As a consequence of the above, it has become clear to me that the Board does not value my experience. It is the ultimate vote of no confidence when a Board overturns the budget recommendation of its Treasurer. Therefore, effective immediately, I am resigning from my position as Treasurer and my participation on the Finance Committee. I will continue to serve on the Board and will await the outcome of the upcoming Board election, where three of the five Board seats are up for election. Should the future Board determine that they would value my contribution as Treasurer, I will reconsider my position at that time.