VIA SBINSIDER| January 27th, 2024
A routine HOA1 Board meeting got testy when the time came for Board and resident comments regarding the proposed draft of a 5 year plan for SaddleBrooke. The plan was generated by new Board member Joe O’Connor at the behest of President Jo Ann Ellison. The Board was made aware of this task at a January 18th meeting.
The conflict arose when two of the Board members, Dr. Kathleen Sartoris and Don Taylor, objected that the entire board had not been involved in the development of the plan. Specifically Dr. Sartoris spoke at the January 25th open BOD meeting. SBINSIDER received this statement from Dr. Sartoris that she shared at the board meeting: I had no knowledge of and more importantly no opportunity to contribute to the “plan” . It is known that I was on the Official Long Range Planning HOA1 Cmte and have extensive experience as a leader in a professional environment …
Further she wrote in the email: “A Strategic plan is a serious undertaking with a formal professional process involving many people and iterations to make sure it’s truly robust.” <This> “is not our best effort for the Community or the future of SaddleBrooke.”
Don Taylor had these remarks at the meeting: “I was totally unaware of the development of this 5 year plan until last Friday, when I was copied on an email rebuffing Kathleen’s request to meet with the board and provide input on the plan that she had not yet seen. I received this 5 year plan in an emailed board package late Friday afternoon. I then received a substantially changed second revision on Tuesday afternoon. My goat is simple: Permit Kathleen, Don, as well as other board members, to present their ideas on the 5 year plan to the rest of the board and have a quiet discussion.
Residents also had comments on the plan and the process by which it was created. Bruce Landeck emailed SBINSIDER with the gist of his public comments:
I stated that it was wrong that the entire Board was not made aware of, nor had the opportunity for input on this initial draft. I said that the Board should strive for transparency in all its actions and all should have the same level of involvement on important matters, such as this strategic 5 year plan. Our Association’s Mission Statement includes the statement that it operate with “clear and transparent rules and governance.” That didn’t happen here.
I further stated that The Board members represent me as a homeowner and I expect all my representatives to be aware of issues and matters and work together as a team, not just a select few players. I recommended they vote in favor of Don’s motion and table a vote on advancing the 5 year plan; that the entire Board should meet and work together on the initial draft, and then re-present it at the next board meeting.
Bill Bengen, a former candidate for the Board and member of United SaddleBrooke also spoke\emailed SBINSIDER as summarized here: Several residents, including myself, made statements critical of the approach taken in developing a strategic plan. There has been no public involvement up to this point. Contrast this with the approach of HOA2, aided by a third-party consultant, in which public input was elicited early on through focus groups, Town Halls etc. I am aware of only one resident who made a supportive comment to the Board.
Taylor then made a motion to table the report until the regular February 29th Board meeting to give all the Board members input to the plan. This motion failed. The Board then moved and passed a motion to send the plan forward.
SBINSIDER spoke to President Jo Ann Ellison and asked her for comment on the dissension. She replied by email: “During January, Joe O’Connor at the Presidents request, prepared a discussion draft. The draft was sent to the entire Board on on January 19. Comments received from Board members prior the January 25 meeting were added to the presentation draft on January 25. Please bear in mind that this in only a straw man draft meant to start the process. We are have scheduled an additional meeting on February 22 for further input from all Board members. An initial 30 day review and comment period was approved by the Board at the January 25 meeting, which will start on January 29.”
SBINSIDER then asked why a 5 Year plan was needed when only two years ago, the prior Board voted to end the Long Range Planning Committee. President Ellison replied that “All the prior planning documents are available to the residents and as a mature HOA, a standing long range planning committee was deemed unnecessary.”
The entire audio of the meeting will be available to the residents next week in the HOA1 website.