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Thursday, January 18, 2018

THE WEDGEFIELD EXAMINER WILL NOT PUBLISH FOR A FEW DAYS

MY FAMILY HAS ANOTHER EMERGENCY HOSPITALIZATION.  IT IS ALL MANAGEABLE, BUT AS ALWAYS THERE ARE PRIORITIES.  WE'LL PUBLISH AS SOON AS THINGS SETTLE DOWN.  TAKE CARE.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

RESIDENT WRITES AND COMMENTS ON FROG PRINCES AND LIGHTENING POSTING. THE WRITER IS NOT SURPRISED BY "THE EMPTY OFFERS" OF THIS BOARD


RESIDENT WRITER SAYS, "I'm not surprised the board keeps coming to you with empty offers to help them do their job, but it's more likely this is all just a pathetic attempt to silence you.      I'm sorry our board plays games like this."  The entire letter is posted below.

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Do you have information, or an opinion - agree, or not, you can email The Wedgefield Examiner at wedgefieldexaminerthe@yahoo.com.  We'll remove your name to protect the innocent, and publish it .  P.S.  If you would like your name published, please note that on your email, otherwise we leave your name out.
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HERE IS THE UNEDITED RESIDENT LETTER:
Madelyn,

This is in regards to your latest blog postings about board members empty requests for help. 

The board blowing it out of their butts is nothing new to the level headed and mindful residents of this community.    In November 2015 a Wedgefield resident questioned then Welcome Committee Chair Inge about the lack of welcoming her committee does during the Annual Meeting.  He had been living in Wedgefield for 18 months and no one bothered to contact him.   Inge appeared so taken back by this person questioning her job performance that the resident felt bad and called her later to apologize.   The resident also offered to be on her welcome committee should she need someone to help her greet new residents.  There was no direct response to the offer or follow up from Inge after this phone conversation.   During the December 2015 board meeting, Inge nominated this resident to her welcome committee and it was unanimously approved, (see meeting minutes dated 12/15).   Almost 2 years later I asked this resident why he wasn't serving on the committee and he had no idea he was on it.  No one gave the resident another thought after voting him on the committee.   I went back into the meeting minutes archive and showed him proof of his nomination.  SURPRISE!   Unfortunately, Inge never told the resident of her plan to nominate him or of his acceptance onto her committee.    You can only speculate Inge's reason for not following through.   But the bottom line is ... the resident was dismissed and it's unfortunate because this he would've been an awesome neighborhood greeter.    

So I'm not surprised the board keeps coming to you with empty offers to help them do their job, but it's more likely this is all just a pathetic attempt to silence you.      I'm sorry our board plays games like this. 



Monday, January 15, 2018

PLEASE NOTE: PART TWO WAS ADDED TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS POSTING ON 1/16/ 2018, AS PROMISED. TODAY WE WRITE ABOUT FROG PRINCES, AND LIGHTENING STRIKING TWICE, AND AN UNWILLINGNESS TO EVER BELIEVE AGAIN, THAT ANYTHING CHANGES IN THE BEHAVIOR OF OUR WEDGEFIELD BOARD

There is a statue of Prince N'Boots in my front yard.  It was created from a picture in an old french story book that my husband's father use to read to him from.  I had an artist in Canada craft it as a gift to him.  I had a plaque added that says, "Sometimes, fairy tales do come true."  For you that should mean that I do have the ability to try and find the good in a situation.  I've tried to work with this board a number of times, and yet once again, just when I think one of them has gone from FROG - failing to follow sound governance, and harming those who would speak the truth,  to PRINCE - let's take a look at this and try and do the right thing, this board falls back to governance trolls.


I'm usually smart enough to avoid lightening striking me twice.  It has struck me twice in the last year in the governance convoluted storms brought almost daily to you by this board and their interior one up man struggles regarding their self viewed powers - own individual behind the scenes fighting.  The good thing about lightening strikes is that the person who is struck makes sure that they are not the target of another strike.  I allowed two, and you may label me uncooperative - whatever, but trust me, it will not happen again.  Perhaps, you should start really looking at the Wedgefield governance storms brought by the winds of this board, and the lack of truth in their made up weather reports, rather than just taking them at their word.

HERE ARE THE TWO RECENT LIGHTENING STRIKES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY ME - THE PERSON WHO BOUGHT THEIR FAIRY TALES DELIVERED BY A BOARD MEMBER PRINCE, WHO IT APPEARS ONLY HAVE THE CAPACITY TO RAIN GOVERNANCE NIGHTMARES ON OUR COMMUNITY.

Lightening Strike # 2 - most recent:
I have pulled the following quote from the article I posted on November 18, 2017 - titled - "The WPA Annual Meeting Results, And Comments", regarding questions from residents at the annual meeting, including mine.  I post this quote from the article for you to realize that I consider what I print, and stand by what I say, and it starts bringing us up to date about the most recent lightening strike, by the president of our board.  Here is the quote from that article:

"Resident # 8, and more numbers, because it is me, Madeline Claveloux, and I stood up a couple of times.  This gets complicated.  I will only report what I asked, and what I was told.  There was some interaction with a board member after, that I will not discuss until I see if it unfolds.  That was my commitment.  I wasn't asked by the board member to keep it to myself, but I chose to in attempting to move forward.  

I'm reporting to the best of my ability.  I can't take notes when I am talking.  I have great recall.  I have readers who were present at the meeting and I ask that if you find error in what I say today, that you write the blog, and note your concern.  I will remove your name, and publish it.


I asked how my board could have passed numerous changes to the policy manual, without posting first reading on the WPA website as required by a by-law that was submitted by a resident for a vote at an annual meeting, voted on, and passed a few years ago?  I asked where our legal and compliance committee were that they had allowed this to happen for at least a year and a half, with numerous changes to the policy manual, voted on by every member of that board repeatedly.  The board's answer was that they'd take a look at that!  I came back and stated that every board member at that board table was responsible for knowing the by-laws - governing documents, and it went beyond compliance, and legal, when they all voted to approve without following the by-law.  They sat looking at their hands each and everyone of them.  I further asked if they'd have to recind any of those changes, until they did the right thing?  They'll have to look into it.  Comments:  Residents, call me outspoken, trouble maker, whatever you want, but this is blatant disregard for our governing documents, and our operations in the best interests of Wedgefield.  Hot dogs and votive lights will not buy me.  The fact is, your individual board members and president all ignored this intentionally, and don't care.  If you review the changes to the policy manual they made, they gave themselves higher spending limits, etc.  At times, they ignore what even they put in the policy manual in regard to requests for proposals, bidding, contract development etc.  It is costing us all, and they are thumbing their noses at us, and handling our governance and our very homes, and lives like we are a herd of dumb animals.  The fact is, it hasn't been just a year and a half of this stuff, it has been about 3 years, and I called them on it once before, and they did nothing.  I talked to the actual resident who had submitted this by-law change regarding posting between first and second reading and a vote to change the policy manual.  That resident said that after the by-law had passed requiring this, that he/she was serving on the compliance committee to review and change as needed the policy manual.  When the board wasn't following the by-law requirements then, he/she met with our current president, and he said it would be remedied, and they were false promises because it never happened, and he/she was no longer a member of the committee." 
(PICTURE POSTED IN THAT ARTICLE)
END OF QUOTE FROM NOV. 2017 ARTICLE

Now, for the rest of this particular "fairy tale".  The board member who spoke to me twice at the annual meeting was President Walton.  The first time, I had asked my question, and we were at a place in the meeting where we were on break waiting for the ballot count results.  I was sitting with my husband minding my own business.  President Walton approached, and in regard to my compliance question, he stated he really didn't know, didn't realize, and I told him pretty much what I stated above, that it was every board member's responsibility to know, let alone the president.  He asked if I would meet with him to discuss it, and I said that I would.  The conversation was decent - not combative.  The second time that day, I was exiting after the meeting, and he followed me out the door, and spoke to me on the sidewalk, again stating that would meet, but he didn't even know whether this board would elect him president again.  Should have made no difference president, or not, he would still be a board member, with rights to follow up to do the right thing.

No call came to set up a time to meet in November, even after he was elected President.  No call came in December.  Then, I arrived early for the December 19, 2017 WPA board meeting. I always bring a book and read until the meeting starts so I won't be accused of saying or doing anything, that the board could site as causing a problem.  President Walton approached me, and said he would like me to sit on a new committee - a website committee.  He further stated that if I agreed, he would first make a motion at the December meeting for the board to approve the committee, and if approved, he would submit my name to serve on the committee.  I told him that I would be happy to help, and in that cooperative spirit, further told him that since it was a new committee that he might want to involve some of our newer residents in the committee.  I gave him the names of two residents who have lived here two to three years. He told me that he had ideas of a website that was both public and pass word secured for certain information, and possibly a public comment section, but the committee would discuss that and more, if approved.  I stated that I hoped that in his request for me to serve, that he didn't ask me because he thought I had expertise in website construction, because I didn't - I have the blog, but developed the frame work flying by the seat of my pants.  I welcomed the opportunity, if approved by the board.  

President Walton put both motions forward during the December board meeting, and they passed unanimously.  I have not heard one word from President Walton since.  

A few days ago, I was doing some research and went to  to the WPA website.  The website was public and pass word protected, with public announcements.  Looks, like I wasn't to be included in anything anyway, and his offer to me was nothing more than buying time, and not answering my questions from the annual meeting.  This isn't the first time, that board members have used this ploy - shut her up in the moment, and pretend that we have been listening.  The first - other lightening strike will appear in Part II tomorrow, and the frog attempting to be a "open" board member, trying to go from frog board member to prince board member, is Anderson.

For today, we'll use another fairy tale/nursery rhyme response, to President Walton.  "Ba, Ba, black sheep have you any wool?"  Today's answer from resident black sheep, Madeline Claveloux is, "no sir, no sir - non to be used to pull the wool over my eyes for the moment."


I'M NOT THIS KIND OF RESIDENT SHEEP NO MATTER WHAT YOU TRY.

STAY TUNED FOR PART II TOMORROW
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PART TWO ADDED JAN. 16, 2018 - BOARD MEMBER ANDERSON'S OFFER TO SERVE ON A COMMITTEE - SUCH AS IT WAS:

MY LETTER TO THE BOARD:
April 24, 2017

TO:                 WPA BOARD

FROM:          Madeline Y. Claveloux

RE:                 RESIDENT OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR FIRST HAND FROM
                        BRIAN TUCKER, DIRECTOR OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT                          
                             FOR GEORGETOWN COUNTY
CC:                 The Wedgefield Examiner, undisclosed group of residents
                        organized to survey every member on the possible 
                        purchase of the Wedgefield Golf Course by the county

NOTE:  Please distribute to the entire board, and place a copy in the correspondence file. 

There is obvious interest by the membership regarding the appearance of the Wedgefield Plantation Golf course, and the possible purchase of the course by the county.  I, and many other residents would like direct information from a county representative, who would answer our questions with first hand information, provided directly from the source.  Additionally, residents are concerned for a number of reasons, about how the board intends to survey, and petition the community for the county.  Basically, we all want first hand information, and we want every member surveyed.

Immediately following the April 28th WPA Board Meeting, there were over 1,000 visits to The Wedgefield Examiner, in just a little over 24 hours.  Additionally, since then the volume of visits, even on the weekend, has exceeded 100 visits per day, and residents are writing letters to the blog about the potential purchase almost daily, and they are being published.  While the board may not like, or wish to acknowledge the blog, it appears that  members are turning to it as a vehicle to both get, and put out information.  Several residents have contacted me, and I have met with them in small groups, and they want to move forward with a plan to see that we get first hand information, and that every member is surveyed.
To date, I’ve spoken to Brian Tucker, and he has agreed that if a group of residents would like to hear from him, that he is willing to speak to them.  The group has suggested that we develop a mailing to every member that would include a cover letter indicating a date time, and place of meeting, and a prepaid post card addressed to Brian Tucker, detailed with a “yes” or “no” on the potential purchase by the county, a place to indicate the # of lots owned by the member, and a signature line.  The group is working on the mailing list now,  and yes, we have recruited promise of donation of funds for mailing, printing, etc.  The overriding question throughout our work has been, “why isn’t our board promoting this kind of open communication, and surveying on an issue that is so important to so many of us.”

This morning, I touched base with some of the people working on the project, and agreed to contact the board, present the fact that Mr. Tucker is willing to meet Wedgefield residents, and ask the board if they would consider taking over notifying every member of a date, and time to hear Mr. Tucker, and at the same time provide a survey tool to every member.  Are you willing to do this to unify the sharing of information with every member, and seek the opinion to be shared with the county, from every member?  Wouldn’t it be beneficial to the board, all members, in unification and providing answers to the county?  


Please respond.  We’ll continue our work if we must and make our decisions if we must.  Shouldn’t we all be working together for Wedgefield?"

BOARD MEMBER ANDERSON'S RESPONSE AS IT RELATES TO A  OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON A SURVEY COMMITTEE:
"I would suggest that you and your group contact the office and join the committee already in place and discuss your ideas openly with the committee. We don't need two petitions going around. That would only create confusion. "

Later in the same letter:
"I feel the original idea was to do the petition first to see if the “concept” is something a large number of residents are open to and THEN have a meeting with Mr. Tucker. The petition spelled out the generalities of the concept. I am not personally opposed to anything that is a reasonable idea. Some of your ideas here seem good. Again, I would recommend you join the committee already in place and work with them to incorporate your ideas into what is already being prepared."
Still later in his letter Anderson attempts to throw a wrench in his good will offering of my serving on the committee by negative assumptions. You'll see in my response to him, that I didn't bite, but offered assurance that I would be happy to cooperate, and serve on the committee. He says the following:
"I couldn't agree more that we need to work together. And that usually means compromise. I will already assume one of your responses to this letter will be that you cannot work with the existing committee because of its chairperson. To my knowledge Mr. Armistead volunteered to head this effort up. To refuse to work with his committee over a 10 year old disagreement on a completely different issue isn't indicative of a “let's all work together for Wedgefield” attitude. I will guarantee you he be willing to work with you and hear your ideas.  So let's ALL put aside our differences and see if we can find some common ground on perhaps the most important issue Wedgefield will ever face."

Adam Anderson
Community Liaison

I respond pleasantly, and cooperatively immediately:
April 26, 2017

TO:                  WPA BOARD

FROM:             Madeline Y. Claveloux

RE:                  COMMUNITY LIAISON EMAIL DATED 4/26/17

CC:                  Wedgefield Examiner, undisclosed groups of residents 
                        involved in a resident project pertaining to the possible 
                        Wedgefield Golf course sale to the county

Please place a copy in the correspondence file, and distribute to the board.

I appreciate the board’s timely response to my email.  Thank you.  I took a little time to contact the various people working on the project I described to you, to gather feedback.  I, and they, want the unity that the board wants, open communication, and a presentation of unity to the county in any information provided.  

First, I welcome the opportunity to be considered by the board, to be a member of the committee.   I realize that it is only an invitation to be considered, as the board votes on committee members.  Yes, I couldn't agree more that we need to work together, and that usually does mean compromise.  That is why I wrote the board.

The project I described to you has been put on hold.  We won’t move forward with printing of a letter, and post card, and mailing.  We will continue the work in progress on the mailing list to all members, not as a threat, but because a few of the groups have discussed other projects that may require it.  I hope that will confirm for you our interest to cooperate.  One of our groups is working with involving new residents in projects.  While I stay out of their finite business, two names – fresh perspectives have been suggested of individuals who appear at this distance willing to work to improve Wedgefield.  I’m told one has been contacted, and would be willing to be considered for your committee, and another has been left a message.  There is no demand, but if the board is interested, I would be happy to provide their names. 

 I agree that we can’t function on rumors.  It appeared most of the concerns of the individuals who have written to me, either to have their letters (names removed) published, or stating their concerns, but asking that their writings not be published, or comments on Face Book, were negative regarding the possible county involvement.  That is why I took the time to call Mr. Tucker, and the realtor, and have taken calls from residents asking what I knew about this, or that group of people walking or driving on the golf course.  I have no stated opinion on the county’s possible purchase. My inquiry has been to the process & value of a survey, and how it would have any value, drove me to make those calls.  I found Mr. Tucker was willing to talk, put the possible county’s very early stage consideration of involvement - to put things in perspective to be helpful.  It appeared to me, and the people who were working on the project I described, that it would be helpful to have that prospective outlined by the county directly to all residents, to benefit residents’ survey answers.   

In the frankness required to work together, you have assumed incorrectly, when you state: “ I will already assume one of your responses to this letter will be that you cannot work with the existing committee because of its chairperson. To my knowledge Mr. Armistead volunteered to head this effort up. To refuse to work with his committee over a 10 year old disagreement on a completely different issue isn't indicative of a “let's all work together for Wedgefield” attitude.”  When I wrote the board in a cooperative spirit, I did not even bring that discussion to the table.  While your reference to a “10 year old disagreement” does not begin to describe the situation that is documented in WPA records, I suggest in the spirit of working together that we not jump to conclusions of one another’s reactions.  Having worked with unions and management in large company shut down situations, providing outplacement facilities, and services for both under the satisfaction of both, I learned to study the issues and personalities of both, meet with them together in meetings, without prejudicing the outcome of common goals.  We have common interests and goals, and shouldn’t assume, and taint an open working relationship.

Again, I appreciate your email.  No response is required, except to let me know, what my next steps are to be considered for the committee. "

HERE IS THE LIGHTENING STRIKE.  HERE IS WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THE OFFER TO SERVE ON COMMITTEE, AND MY POSITIVE RESPONSE - AS POSTED ON THE BLOG ON MAY 26, 2017:
Board Member Anderson, I NEVER HEARD from the board again, after I clearly expressed an interest to serve on the committee the board had formed chaired by resident Armistead.
NOTE:  From the approved minutes of the April 18th WPA Board Meeting: "New Business: Bob Garrison stated that if the County did decide to purchase the golf course, it could take at least four (4) months to accomplish that and in the meantime, the grass is growing like crazy. Bob presented a potential Petition to see if the residents are interested in the County owning the golf course. Bob suggested that we get this out street by street. Would the Board agree to circulating this to get an estimate of everyone who is in agreement? Jacky Walton mentioned that we could appoint Roger Armistead as an Ad Hoc Committee to accomplish this task."   Additionally in that same answer to the board I asked if they would be interested in two additional names of new residents who would be willing to serve.  What is worse is that by the time we got to the May WPA meeting, there was no report during the meeting for the adhoc committee - let alone naming and voting on committee members!  Mr. Armistead spoke during resident comments about inviting Mr. Tucker, and his recent email to him, and a meeting where he would speak, but NO mention of a survey - the very item the board made him responsible for during a vote at the April meeting.  Once again, it appears our board changed direction with no discussion at the table about what happened to the survey/petition.  The mailing regarding a meeting has since gone out, and there was no survey,nor do we know whether it went to every member house hold.  Was the board afraid to move forward with a legitimate committee once I said yes, I'd serve?  Don't talk to me about negativity.  I wasn't, and my board failed all of us.  We are back to your hidden agenda, and you are looking for scape goats - I'll never qualify as that, I'm not only not negative on this issue, I got the problem identified correctly, and it is the board!  It should be noted that immediately following Mr. Armistead's comments, that I went directly to him, offered any assistance that he might need, and told him that I had spoken quite some time ago to Mr.  Tucker, and during our conversation that he had agreed to speak to Wedgefield residents, and that I had immediately notified the board of that opportunity.  I further explained that Mr. Tucker spent as much time as needed on our call, and I felt it would benefit all residents to hear him.  I fulfilled my commitment to work with Mr. Armistead, BUT ONCE AGAIN THE GAME CHANGED. "

TODAY, you've seen the second lightening strike of the board when they put an offer forward, and you genuinely respond, and offer to help.  I'm done attempting to cooperate in any of the board's convoluted, sinister attempts to draw me into cooperating with their illegal (according to the governing documents), efforts. I've never been into game playing, and won't start now.  Since the blog's start I have received many thanks from readers for the efforts to keep the residents informed, when your board obviously won't.  Over the holidays, I talked to a long time reader who told me how proud they were of me for all that I have done for the community in attempting to bringing truth to what our governance in Wedgefield truly is.  They stated further that they appreciated my attempts to work with the board when asked.  I told them at the time that I would do what I could outside of the blog to help.  I hope that individual will continue to be proud of how I operate, but enough is enough, when the board continues to be less than genuine in their offers, and in fact use it as a tool of abuse, to someone who cares.  

If anyone thinks that these board actions have caused me to feel defeated, and shut down the blog, they are sadly mistaken.  In truth, it has spurred me on to continue to tell the corrupt story of Wedgefield governance.  Stay tuned.  I'll never be a sheep cowered by the board herders.














Sunday, January 14, 2018

THE WPA RESERVE STUDY. WILL WE GET AN UPDATE ON THE CURRENT ONE? I HOPE NOT! I HOPE WE GET A NEW ONE - OPEN AN HONEST, AND REAL TO THE CONDITIONS THAT EXIST HERE. WHY A NEW ONE? BECAUSE THE WPA BOARD WENT CHEAP WITH THE FIRST ONE, AND MAY NOT HAVE BEEN HONEST WITH THE VENDOR WHO CREATED IT, OR THE RESIDENTS AS TO THE DEVELOPMENT, AND IMPLEMENTATION.


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Do you have information, or an opinion - agree, or not, you can email The Wedgefield Examiner at wedgefieldexaminerthe@yahoo.com.  We'll remove your name to protect the innocent, and publish it .  P.S.  If you would like your name published, please note that on your email, otherwise we leave your name out.
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Reader, I'm going to start the posting off with a quote from a legal article regarding HOA boards.  Why?  Because my review indicates to me, that our WPA board did not follow our governing documents from the very beginning - provision of information to the contractor, of the WPA current reserve study.  I've been in the archives of information in developing this article for some time.  I've done the best that I can, and suggest to you as always, to seek answers for yourself from your board, through requests to review documents - minutes, etc., and listen to tapes of meetings.  The article will be long, and completed in parts.    HERE IS THE QUOTE FROM THE LEGAL ARTICLE THAT DRIVES MY RESEARCH, AND HAS FOR A LONG TIME:
"VIII.    Conclusion
Homeowner rights in a common interest community against their community association arise out of the community’s legal documents and the conduct of the association in carrying out the duties and functions assigned to it in those documents, by state statutes and common law.  While the most clearly defined rights that a homeowner possesses lie in the areas of breach of covenant, simple negligence, and liability for trespass, more complex legal questions are posed by the extent of association liability for the protection of owners from foreseeable crimes and breach of statutory duties.  While the outcomes vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, there continues to be an expansion of owner rights and community association liability.  As community associations are increasingly being recognized as quasi-governmental entities with powers greater than a mere landlord, the exact nature of the legal relationship between the homeowner and their community association is in the process of being more clearly defined.  In any event, educated homeowners with expanding legal rights will help ensure the smooth operation of the community by the community association."


The association had NEVER had a professional reserve study performed until this one.  It is a critical tool for the long range financial planning of any association.  In our case it is probably even more important.  The association has been riddled with lawsuits, disputes, recall or recall attempts on board members, hiring and firing of CPAs and lawyers, almost always driven by funding and the decisions of boards regarding spending and interpretations of what needed to be done and when.  If done correctly, with good intention, it can be the confirmed guide to planning and implementation in keeping a HOA sound.  It would seem that the expertise, input, and approval would be sought from EVERY board member and the community members would be openly kept abreast of its development.   Anywhere else but here. Consider:

*A shelf contract was utilized.  $10,000 had been set aside by one board.  Later it was reduced to $5,000. 

*Information Obstruction:Since the study contract didn't include engineering the contractor was reliant on the board to provide concrete back ground asset information. Some on the board held the project close to the vest.  There was board in fighting and information held from fellow board members.  DeMarchi told me that he had asked McMillin for information regarding the spoil site and canals and McMillin told him "to mind his own business".   Review the study.  There aren't any figures for the spoil site.  Why?  It is owned by the WPA, and maintenance of it resides in the ground's contract.  It is more than rumor that DeMarchi and President Walton would not allow McBride to sit in on a conference call with the vendor.  President Walton would not allow McBride to view the draft of the study.  I had asked to review the draft.  My request was denied and I was given an explanation that didn't make sense.  A draft is a draft.  It is sent for review and comment.  Why would you deny anyone, let alone a board member (s) to review all critical information?   Additionally, I asked to review the information that was provided to the contractor to initiate the study.  When I arrived at the office I was shown the equivalent of a large moving box filled with engineering type plans.  When I spoke to three of the board officers I advised them that I was sure there was a notebook or folder that gave reference to the drawings and other information and that was what I wanted to see.  They all remained silent and didn't answer. There was information provided to the vendor on policy that conflicts with fact that will be provided later. PRESIDENT'S REPORT:  President Walton reported that the reserve study contract had been signed and sent to William Douglas.  The start date has not been determined yet.  He was asked whether the canals and spoil site were stated in the contract.  The response was that they were included in the proposal, but not the contract.  (January 15, 2013 Board Meeting)

*Was the information provided to the contractor influenced by the opinion of the current committee chair of an asset?   For instance, remember, DeMarchi had told us that the last 6-7 drainage committees didn't know what they were doing and he was going to fix his road and the road he owned lots on and built homes on.  How could that information contribute to a credible study. Here is what the study says about drainage, "The grade of the community is quite flat and abuts the Black River.  It is our understanding that there has been concern with slow site drainage from some of the residents.  We have noted standing water in the drainage swales along the roads.  Unfortunately, due to the flat grade of the entire community there is little in the way of effective solutions.  Simply cutting a steeper swale along the road will have little if any effect with moving water quicker off site.  We have included an allowance for drainage problems that the community wishes to address."   At the time of the study development, I reviewed the correspondence file several times.  There hadn't been more than 2 letters regarding drainage to the board over the prior year.

*It could appear that the contractor was not informed that those members providing information had not included the entire board.   The contractor states the following regarding dredging, "On 4/6/13 RDA met with Wedgefield Plantation board members. RDA was informed that the canal dredging was not the responsibility of the Association, even though it covered the cost of the first dredging.  The board explained that the canals are owned by the Federal Government and future dredging may need to be performed by the individual homeowners with property fronting the canal  However, the board presently wishes to provide $30,000 each year toward any future dredging.  RDA has reviewed the Declarations and dredging is not discussed.  We have attached this document.  It is our understanding that first dredging involved multiple government agencies and legal proceedings.  RDA has not reviewed any of the government or legal documents from the previous dredging and has relied on the board's direction concerning the responsibility of the canal dredging."  The contractor did not meet with the entire board.  We don't know how many of the board members were included.  We do know that President Walton and DeMarchi have appeared to be in charge.  If you'd been at board meetings at the time, it could appear that Garrison was kept informed about this project.  I have been able to confirm that there wasn't a notice sent to all board members for a meeting noted by the contractor in the above quote.  You decide whether those in attendance misinformed, or lied to the contractor.  First we all know that there have been two dredgings and the entire membership paid to some levels in both.  The bottom of the canals are owned by the government.  Multiple government agencies were involved in approval of permits and the state of SC in a lawsuit.  No court has ever decided that the WPA does not have responsibility.  In fact, here is the wording from the court order on the lawsuit brought by Zieske, Thomas, and Wilson, Page two of the court order says, "The State Plaintiffs, and other named defendants acknowledge that this order in NO WAY addresses ANY RIGHTS, DUTIES OR OBLIGATIONS of the Board of Directors for Wedgefield Plantation regarding the maintenance, dredging, or ANY OTHER ACTIVITIES pertaining to the canal and therefore, this order in NO WAY addresses or RULES UPON those rights, duties or obligations."  The contractor appears to find it necessary to include language about what the BOARD?????? - not with the knowledge of the full board told them, a second time in the reserve study.  "The board has informed us that dredging of the canals is the RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL HOMEOWNERS WITH WATERFRONT.  This direction is based on history of the community, multiple government agency involvement, and lawyers' opinions.  The board has indicated that they would like to contribute $30,000 each year  the dredging, REGARDLESS of association obligation.  WE CAN CHANGE THE WORDING, TIMING, AND UNIT COST OF THIS ENTRY IF THE BOARD SO DESIRES."   Whether you want the canals dredged, or believe it isn't the responsibility of the WPA, you have to wonder why it may have been necessary to lie to the contractor.  Why didn't they provide the contractor with complete information?  Why did some board members speak for the entire board, while not informing the entire board?  Lawyers opinions?  There are concrete lawyer opinions from the board attorney of record at the time of the board vote for the last dredging, that are contrary to what some on the board told this contractor.  Additionally, if the board does truly believe that they have no obligation, members should be asking them why they are setting aside $30,000 a year for dredging?  It could look like once again some are speaking out of both sides of their mouths.  How can you trust your board or the reserve study after the shoddy preparation, hidden agenda, denied access to process and information to all duly elected board members, and what could appear to be outright lies to the contractor?  MOST IMPORTANT:  ask the board to identify the meeting minutes prior to these conversations with the reserve study vendor, that state the exact date of meeting, motion, and vote by the entire board to set aside $30,000/yr our WPA assessment dollars for future dredging of the canals?  I haven't been able to find it.  The minutes are a permanent record on the WPA retention of records retention schedule in the WPA policy manual.  Write and ask the board to provide you that information.

Remember,  I wrote the board and requested the opportunity to review the contract, proposals, and RFP (request for proposal).  I was provided the contract, and the responses to the RFP.  The RFP was not in the file.  I was told that William Douglas (Short lived management company) sent out the RFP and the board didn't have it.  This is just the beginning of a list of problems that have surfaced during the early months of reserve study, at the January 15, 2013 board meeting.

Why is it a problem?  When did your board verify for themselves that the RFP detailed all the necessary specifications and information, for our project?   Our first reserve study should literally lay the foundation for our reserves.  It is always important for this process to be competitive, but this isn't the time to go cheap, if it impacts credible results. Is cost, not enough money,  why the didn't really want to know what the RFP, representing our needs, looked like?  You get what you pay for, and the time you are willing to invest to see that your project is done correctly, start to finish. It would be the same as you asking a contractor to bid to build something, and not knowing what specs he was using to bid.  Things only go from bad, to worse.  How could board members vote to accept the reserve study if they didn't ALL have the request for proposal specs?  Our governing documents require the following review of request for proposal on expenditures.  How, if the RFP wasn't in the office, did your full board - each and every member, ever get the information they needed to vote to accept the reserve study, and assign reserve percentages?  "Expenditures in excess of $2,500 but less than $5,000 can only be made after Board approval. These expenditures require a scope of work to be prepared prior to being submitted to the Board. The scope of work will specify: a) why the work is to be done; b) exactly what is to be accomplished by the expenditure; and c) the measurable results from the work. It is desirable to secure three or more bids for this work; however, if not practical, the Board may accept a single bid for the work. (Rev. 6/16/15)"  An HOA legal article states, Directors must exercise reasonable diligence in following through and carrying out the responsibilities assumed by or assigned to them under the governing legal documents.  Generally, directors must remain informed about the community association’s business at all times, be knowledgeable about the legal documents governing the affairs of the association, and attend and participate in the association meetings.  Directors may be held responsible for obtaining and reading the minutes of those association meetings the director was unable to attend.  Directors must also vote against actions taken or adopted by the Board of Directors that they are in disagreement with and record their disagreement in the meeting minutes.  Failure to perform any of these duties in a reasonably diligent and prudent manner could expose the director to liability to homeowners for breach of fiduciary duty."  

I reviewed  what I was told was the contract in January 2013.   About a year prior, we were told that if the board didn't assign reserves we would face problems, with either the audit, or our taxes.  I don't recall which, but I believe it was a set up to use one board member's figures.  I had reviewed the last audit administrative report and it wasn't mentioned.  We'd been paying taxes for years, and it wasn't mentioned in the past.  What we didn't know at the time was, almost immediately, the board began to use this formula to distribute funds into reserves, monthly.  There was no real foundation to the appropriations, a lame excuse, but now we have reserves assigned accordingly.  

From the contract, "(CONTRACTOR - I won't name) will assume, unless otherwise advised by client, that all reserve assets have been designated and constructed properly and each estimated useful life will approximate that of the norm per industry...."  In signing that contract your board lied on paper, and violated the contract.  The WPA doesn't have any of that.  No former reserve study, as a building block.  No experts EVER out here to assign the life of anything!  Our reserves were assigned, without realistic formula or backup.  They may have been based on a study by board members of past expense, but what is that worth?  It doesn't speak to life of asset, or have a solid foundation.  Take roads for instance.  In 2011, we spent almost $30,000 on an unlicensed, uninsured, contractor.  Many on this board justified it, and knowingly let it move forward.  Is this how the board prepared their information for the only study we ever had?

In 2013 when I was doing this review I ran into a board member in the office.  I asked if I was correct in stating that any assets that didn't have a proper reserve study background and foundation, would cost us beyond the contract, if the vendor had to create that information?  The board member said that was how he read it.  Basically, we don't have anything solid on any of our assets. I don't believe we have a single asset, that has the appropriate documentation. 

At that time, more information came my way, from two different, credible sources.  When I can't, or won't provide documents, The Wedgefield Examiner calls the information - RUMOR.  That is what I called it then.  Turns out, it was credible information.  First, the contract President Walton signed, was not the contract the board approved.  Next, a board member stopped payment on the check written to the contractor.    Was I concerned?  YES!!!!  I was afraid we are were headed to another half baked job, and we were!  I had a question during the 2017 WPA annual meeting.  It reinforces what I just stated, and some of the other areas in this article.  I did a write up of the annual meeting immediately after.  Here is a portion of what I reported. "Back to my own last question to the board.  I asked the board how they could appropriate money to the reserves according to the reserve study, when according to president Walton's answer to a resident question (not mine) at the time that the canals were included in the proposal, but not the final reserve study.  President Walton didn't recall that, and they'd have to look into it.  This is a long subject which will require a lot of documented research.  I have the information, and I went to the office after the reserve study was approved, and reviewed it, took notes, and reported on it, on the blog with documentation, at the time.  So for now, I'll present to you the rest of the story as it relates to this question, by posting what I emailed a resident last night.  Here it is:
There is something smelly there when I had questions after, and quoted Jacky Walton about his answer at the time of the reserve study completion when he was asked if the canals were in the study, and Jacky answered that they were in the proposal, but not the final.  Larry jumped in and said there were TWO SETS of finals.  I requested and reviewed the final  way back then, and the company had stated clearly that the board didn't want the canals in the study."      

Don't let this board add - enhance or update a corrupt reserve study.  Suggest they start again on a real, honest reserve study.