My reports on the recent annual owners meeting and the board meetings that came before and after can be found on the “Bob’s Blog” page.
In years past, when I was fortunate(?) enough to be able to attend these meetings, I have posted “Shadow Minutes” in the form that minutes of a meeting might ordinarily take. This format is somewhat limited in reflecting the tone of the proceedings, and sometimes does not adequately reflect the total experience those present are subjected to.
This year, I am posting a synopsis of each meeting, along with perhaps an editorial comment or two thrown in. As a result, I am posting this on Bobs Blog rather than in the Owners Forum.
Here we go:
The meeting was called to order at 2:00 PM.
Those present were all members of the board, President Gary Tucker, Vice President Lew Werth, Secretary Rosemary Smith, Treasurer Charles Lea, and Directors, Alden Corley, Jim Dobbs, and Charlie Weidner; General Manager, Petrona Hernandez, CAM; Owners, Norman Moore and Bob Hogg; and Guest, Jackie Peña.
Jackie was there to give a presentation regarding our insurance to the board. It appeared that Jackie does not presently handle our policies, but would like to.
She talked about how she handles the insurance business of many condo associations, and that she was giving us a bid on our insurance. Long story short, according to her she would be able to give us more coverage with lower or in some cases, no deductibles, all for less money than we are currently paying.
The total premium for property, liability and a $5 million umbrella policy was proposed at $51,000 per year.
When somebody on the board asked her how soon we had to decide on this, she said we had lots of time: until the following Saturday, the 10th of April.
There was a discussion of boat and dock issues:
Only one of the boats is currently operable, a situation that has existed since sometime last summer or fall, due to a broken structural member which prevents the boat from being lifted in and out of the water. We are expecting a bid for fixing this boat within the next week or so.
The question was raised about boat repairs that were paid for last year. The repairs cost $20,000, or maybe some other amount, for maybe replacing the fuel tanks on both boats, but nobody actually knows how much, or what, if any repairs were carried out. It was explained that all this happened shortly before Mary was let go, and that lots of records, emails and other things went missing at the same time.
The boat dock also needs repair. The wooden pilings along the dock and the wooden cross pieces which prevent the boats from going underneath the dock when they are tied up has all rotted away, so much so that except for the calmest of days, even the working boat can’t go out, for fear that the wind or waves will push the boat under the dock and damage it.
We were told that we have a couple of bids for fixing this, $3,700 from a local company, and $10,000 from Coastal Construction, and apparently we are considering both. It was not clear to me what the differences were between the scopes of work of the bids, if any.
There was a discussion of the water infiltration in units 401 & 404. This has been a very difficult problem to diagnose. the water only comes in when the wind is blowing a certain way, and apparently not even every time. Gary stated that he rented a platform lift to examine the exterior of the building in this area, caulked all the way around these windows, examined the roof and downspout, and anything else he could think of, and no positive result. Gary is convinced that at least part of the problem lies with the windows in those units, either faulty construction or installation. We are now going to have someone else look at the whole situation to see what they can find.
There was a discussion reviewing our reserve reports to the State of Florida, and suggestions that we include the tikis and docks. Some of the tikis were donated by owners, but we still need to have reserves for them since we can’t count on these same people to donate them again when the tikis reach the end of their useful lives. There was also a brief discussion on the annual audits that we receive, who does them and how much they cost.
There was a discussion about replacement of the floors in the hallways, they will start with the 5th floor next September during maintenance week, and do other floors as they can.
Also they hope to remodel the kitchens and baths. There was some discussion about whether we would replace all the kitchen cabinets, or just replace the doors and refinish the boxes. There are to be new countertops and back splashes. Remodeling of the baths will probably be limited to new vanities.
There was another discussion about owners putting their units for rent on the HN website, somebody thought it would be a good idea to put some kind of link on the website to make it easier for owners to do.
It was suggested that the office show starting and ending water and electric meter readings on the final bill so that owners know what they are paying for.
Old Business: has the budget been formally approved? No, that will be done on Sunday.
Discussion of discrepancies between the owners list and the names on the deeds. Some units we don’t know who owns them. It was suggested that the office staff figure that out.
New Business: At the present time, our fire sprinklers are fed by a pump from the swimming pool. If the pump goes down, or if the pool has to be drained for any reason, we have to evacuate the building, or pay for a fireman to be present on site 24-7 until the situation is rectified. So can we hook the sprinklers to the city water? Everybody thought that would be a good idea if it is possible, we should look into it.
Motion to adjourn at 4:18, seconded, all yes.
Meeting was called to order at 1:02 by President Gary Tucker.
Gary introduced our new General Manager, Petrona Hernandez to the membership and gave her the floor.
Petri introduced herself, she has lots of condominium experience, properties of 700-144 units. She reported on her first month on the job, getting to know the staff and owners. Her plans include the remodeling of the kitchen and bath cabinets, floor tile in hallways, carpet cleaning, concrete restoration and some painting. She mentioned “Cookies by the Pool” where she brings cookies around on Friday afternoons for those around the pool.
Jim Dobbs: In his first year on the board, Jim was given shared responsibilities for personnel. He chaired the team put together to search for a new manager to replace Mary. The result of this was the hiring of Petri. Jim hopes to reduce board micro-managing of the staff.
Charles Lea, Treasurer: We had management issues this fiscal year, with billing errors and costly boat problems. He says this year has been challenging financially, probably resulting in a net loss.
Rosemary Smith, Secretary: Nothing to report except that she did the mailing for the annual meeting and election.
Gary Tucker, President: As we all knew, Gary did not run for reelection this year. (When he became president, he said that he would only serve two more terms.) With regard to the boats, he says he has instituted a spreadsheet to track all boat income and expenses. He says that he’s aware that some owners are in favor of getting rid of the boats altogether, but he thinks that’s premature.
He also stated that we currently have about $600,000 in our reserve accounts, and will put in another $200,000 this coming year, for a total of $800,000.
Alden Corley: Alden’s been working on the planning for updates of the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. He hopes to be able to have them all done during maintenance month next September. He says he also helped with the windows.
Charlie Weidner: Charlie is hoping to be able to institute some kind of surveillance system at the Hawks Nest. We had some very serious disturbances last summer, and this could help.
Lew Werth, Vice President: During his tenure as VP we have revamped the sprinkler system, hooked up to the municipal sewer, got rid of the treatment plant, did extensive concrete repair, painted the building and installed new hurricane windows.
By-Law amendment: The results of the owner vote on the amendment were announced. The results were 116 votes “yes”, 9 votes “no”. Gary gave an explanation of what precipitated the need for this amendment. Last summer there were several disturbances resulting in fights, destruction of property and police involvement. Apparently, several owners and guests were completely out of control, and there was nothing in the by-laws that would enable management to discipline those causing the problem. The new amendment allows persons breaking the rules to be fined if they refuse to stop the behavior. If the fines aren’t paid, we will have recourse to sue in court to collect the fines.
Jim Dobbs stated that now would be a good time to revise our rules and regulations and bring them up to date.
Old Business: Gary says were are trying to get the window company to take some responsibility for the leaks in some of the units on the East end of the building. So far he’s not having much luck.
New Business: We are hoping to get the floor tile replaced in the 5th floor hallway in September, and maybe one more floor this year also.
Owner Norman Moore made the following motion: Eliminate one of the boats, and if the remaining one can’t pay for itself, get rid of that one too. Seconded by Joe Shipman. Discussion: Gary says it isn’t fair to make that kind of a decision this year due to the unusual (and questionable) expenses that have occurred. Bob Hogg said that at the very least, the there should be a completely separate account for the boats segregating the income and expenses from the rest of the Hawks Nest finances. Norm stated that there was no reason that we should be in the boat business at all. He said that the reason we had boats in the first place was to attract buyers in the beginning. We no longer have to do that, with units selling recently for $15,000 and up. There was more discussion, and questions from Joe Shipman.
The question was called, and the vote of those present was 67 “yes” and 43 “no”. HOWEVER, Secretary Rosemary Smith was in possession of proxies representing 221 weeks, and she voted all of them “no”, resulting in failure of the motion.
Owner Bill Bergey brought up an interesting question: Do the board members receive a per diem payment while away from home on board business, and if so, for what purpose? Answer: yes, for meals. $12 for breakfast, $13 for lunch, and $25 for dinner. Bill then asked if the board members were required to provide receipts to prove the expenditures? Answer: no. Bill said then that he had looked through the minutes of the meetings that were held during the time that the per diem payments were approved, apparently unanimously, by the board, and could find no mention of this action in the minutes. Neither the Secretary, Rosemary Smith, nor any of those present who were on the board at that time had any idea how this action did not make it into the minutes, but all agreed that it hadn’t. Bill’s position was that if this didn’t appear in the minutes, it didn’t officially happen, and any payments were improper. With that, Bill moved that the per diem payments be discontinued immediately until such time as the board properly reinstates it. Gary Tucker seconded. During discussion, several members of the board indicated that they would voluntarily pay back any per diem payments that they had received. Further, Charles Lea made a “Substitute Motion”, seconded by Jim Dobbs, that the board reinstate the payments at this time and that all board members pay back the payments that they had received. Rosemary reminded the board that she was in possession of 221 proxies and that she would vote “no” because she didn’t think that the board members should have to repay the money that was improperly paid to them. Accordingly, the substitute motion was defeated. A vote was then taken on the original motion which made no mention of repayment, and that was approved. Bob Hogg then made a motion identical to Charles Lea’s substitute motion except with no mention of repayment. That was seconded and approved, including by Rosemary’s 221 votes.
Approval of budget: Gary moved that the budget be approved, it was seconded and approved.
Gary noted that he had several letters form owners with various concerns. He said the board would address them.
Owner Paul Smith got up and congratulated the board for all they have accomplished over the last few years.
Election Results: By this time all the votes had been counted and the results were as follows:
Alden Corley – 320 votes, ELECTED
Charles Weidner – 281 votes, ELECTED
Richard Holmes – 239 votes, ELECTED
Martin Shapiro – 217 votes
Keith Gilliver – 192 votes
Lowell Ladd – 134 votes
George Burck – 16 votes
Motion to adjourn by Bill Bergey, seconded by Charles Lea, unanimous.
Sunday, after the Annual Owners meeting, the new board, Alden Corley, Jim Dobbs, Richard Holmes, Charles Lea, Rosemary Smith, Charlie Weidner and Lew Werth, met first in closed session for organizational purposes and elected Lew Werth President, Alden Corley Secretary, and Rosemary Smith Vice President and Treasurer.
When they came down to the screen room and announced the new officers, it was pointed out by a member of the audience that the only two offices that the by-laws allow to be combined are Secretary and Treasurer.
President Werth then reopened the organizational meeting in open session, and after much discussion, Alden Corley was appointed Vice President and Rosemary Smith was chosen to be Secretary and Treasurer. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when somebody in the audience has to inform the board what the by-laws allow and what they don’t.
This year, four generations of the Moore Family came down to the Hawks Nest. Right to Left, Norman and Gloria Moore, their daughter, Christine Skrocki, her daughter, Rachel Rivard, and her son, Abraham Rivard.
As Many of you know, Norm and Gloria are original owners and Norm spent several years on the Board of Directors. This just shows how the Hawks Nest is a family place, occupied chiefly by owners and their families.
Incumbents Alden Corley and Charlie Weidner and newcomer Richard Holmes elected to the board.
Vote totals were:
Alden Corley 320
Charlie Weidner 281
Richard Holmes 239
Marty Shapiro 217
Keith Gilliver 192
Lowell Ladd 134
George Burck 16
April 1, 2016
Swimming pools all over Florida my soon fall silent if one member of the legislature has his way. According to the Tallahassee Clarion-Eagle, Rep. Ludwig B. Hoven (D), Weeki Wachee, has introduced a bill requiring children’s games played outside to be conducted only in sign language.
Rep. Hoven stated that arguably this would be required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but to make sure hearing-impaired children could participate in these games on a level playing field, so to speak, he thinks these rules should be codified in the laws of Florida.
A reporter present at the lawmaker’s press conference noted that some children’s games like Marco Polo, for instance, require the children to have their eyes closed. “How would they be able to see the hand signals of the other children?” The legislator smirked and said, “Those little buggers always peek anyway, so no problem.”
Another questioner wondered aloud how the children were going to learn sign language. “That’s the beauty part.” replied Hoven. “The bill also requires all elementary schools to teach sign language starting in the Fall of 2016. That gives the teachers all summer when they usually are doing nothing, time to learn it themselves. I think Rosetta Stone has a course, but it would be less expensive for them to just google it.”
I have to say, I’m torn over this. On one hand, it really does seem to be political correctness run amok, but on the other hand, oh, the peace and quiet around the pool!
Former board member and Past President of the Hawks Nest, John Hilkin, passed away on March 10, 2016 in Davenport, FL. John was president when I first became an owner here, and he was always friendly and helpful to me. He was a real gentleman. Please click Here to view his obituary.
I’m sorry to report that Edward F. “Ed” Hughes, a longtime owner at the Hawks Nest, passed away on March 12 in New York City. He was last here just a few weeks ago. He will be missed. To view his obituary, please click Here.
Well, the deadline for those who wish to run for one of the three board positions up for election this year has passed, and there are seven candidates. I know several of them. Here are their names and what, if anything I know about them, including membership in the Hawks Nest Owners Group. They are in alphabetical order.
George B. Burck – Unfortunately, I am not acquainted with this man, and have no information on him. According to our board secretary, Rosemary Smith, he did not include a resume in the required format.
Alden Corley – Alden is a current member of the board and has been for quite few years. Alden’s expertise on the board is construction and building maintenance. Alden is a member of this group.
Keith Gilliver – Keith is not presently on the board, but has shown interest in the management of the Hawks Nest. His experience is in contracting, manufacturing and personnel. Keith is also a member of the group.
Richard Holmes – I don’t know Richard, but I do know who he is. His wife, Stacy’s parents were long-time owners at the Hawks Nest.
Lowell Ladd – Lowell is a third-generation Hawks Nest owner and a member of the group. His grandmother served on the board with my mother in the 1970s. Lowell is a small business owner and is familiar with budgeting, training and personnel.
Marty Shapiro – Most everyone knows Marty. He is a former long-time board member and former president of the Hawks Nest. After a several year absence from the board, Marty is running again. Marty is a member of the group.
Charlie Weidner – Charlie and his wife are 15 year owners at the Hawks Nest. He is a current member of the board and former treasurer. Charlie is a civil engineer and has an MBA in finance.
When I can get copies of the candidates’ resumes in their final form, I will post them here.