Presidents Blog 04/16/2020
These are challenging times. In the initial phases of the COVID-19 outbreak I felt like I was watching a disaster movie one frame per day. I’m thankful I don’t feel that way now. My family and I are adjusting to the new normal. I personally am thankful for the time I get to spend with my kids. I miss seeing my parents everyday – but its worth if for us to protect our elder generation by being socially distant.
We have become pretty creative with online meetings – Sunday dinner – Taco Tuesday – and just spending time with friends in a zoom meeting. I’m certain your family has too.
Yesterday we had our first successful online board meeting. I successfully made it incredibly awkward too. (I seem to be good at that) Let me give you an explanation.
Last year we had discussed moving to online meeting format, and the board in general mentioned a few things. We really like meeting in person because its much easier to get a sense for what one board member or another is thinking. We were also sensitive to airing peoples personal business with the board, in a public meeting format. Things like – past dues owed, enforcement actions that can be embarrassing, or times when the board in general discusses items that create conflict between us. Not all of those things need to be private – but I’m sure you recognize the nature of the board being a very public and open entity (at least to our members) and dealing with challenging things like personal finances and monies owed, or neighbor conflicts that sometimes go back years. My challenge yesterday was that the board had not finished our discussion about how to handle an online meeting format – that is literally aired to everyone. We had no road map to solve that problem yesterday. A few of the board members brought up to me that in the past anyone in the community is allowed to attend any board meeting and stay throughout. I honestly can’t remember a time when we’ve had more than 3 community members present. Yesterday evening we had 13 community members present! I was very hopeful, honored that people would want to participate in that way, and frankly shocked.
Last night I opened the meeting with a question time for anyone who had something to bring to the board, then asked actual members of the community to leave the meeting (that’s the awkward part). I did that to provide the board a time to discuss how to run these meetings in the future without alienating any board member publicly. Especially considering we had already opened the idea in past meetings and had not yet concluded on how to handle it. I take responsibility for that and offer my apologies to community members who may have felt slighted or as if we had something to hide.
What the board came up with last night was that we will run our board meetings as we always do with a clear agenda. These meetings can sometimes run very long and I try VERY hard to keep them to a reasonable amount of time. After each agenda item there will be a time allotted for anyone to ask questions about the topic at hand and gain clarity from a board member who is knowledgeable in that subject.
The board determined that when it comes to matters that could be potentially embarrassing to members of the community – we can talk in generalities and table a subject for an “executive session” immediately after the open forum meeting. Executive sessions will be for board members and community members directly involved in the specific situation. If those items are individually important to community members – you are welcome to contact the president or the vice president for more clarity. I appreciate your grace in allowing me to clarify this new paradigm with the board before I stepped-off head-long into a new model without board approval.
Changing gears here. There are a lot of things in question at this point. Ill try and hit them one by one.
The Pool – The board is interested in the safety of our community. I personally have reached out to the health department to try and figure out creative ways to make the pool available for our community use during this time. I’m open to creative ideas, but it has to fit into the rules set fourth by the health department- which is to say – until the health department says its ok, we will not be opening the pool for any open swim activity where more than 5 people are gathered.
The playground- The playground is closed until the health department tells us it’s safe to use. The board had a conversation about how to act on this after it was noted that people from the grater Kingsgate community were sponsoring meet-ups in our park that the board determined was entirely counter to what the most basic definition of social distancing is. We determined that closing the play structure was the most socially responsible thing to do. The other parks followed suit in short-order and then the city did the same. Again – we will follow what the health department determines is the best course of action.
CC&R enforcement – There are a few active enforcement activities going on right now. Some of those enforcement actions are limited by temporary relief because of COVID-19 laws. However, the board has determined to continue our enforcement activities up to the fullest extent of the current laws, and the second those laws are lifted, we will proceed until those situations are remedied. The board will review each enforcement case individually, and take the safest, and most prudent action necessary.
Swim Team: We do not know what the status of swim team is yet. I would be remiss to offer an opinion as to how this is going to take place, but suffice it to say, we will follow what the Health Department directs us to do.
Social Activities – Steak Fry and July 4th Celebration – I’m certain by this point you know what I am going to say. I think it’s possible that these activities will be limited, however we do not want to be unprepared. We will have paper plans built for these activities so we can execute quickly if the health department says we can.
I appreciate our community, and everyone in it. I look forward to the future and what amazing things will come out of this difficult time.
As Lee Iacocca once said,” In times of great stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” – For me – our community is that positive.
Please plan on attending the next HOA meeting online. Watch the website for details.
Kingsgate 3&4 - President