Approval of the Chris Allison-crafted governing documents – the declaration, the articles of incorporation, and the bylaws – failed. It took the board until Monday, June 19th – 9 days after the election – to announce the results. The graph below summarizes what many suspected:
With respect to the vote on the Declaration, we deducted the reported 641 Miller & Smith “Trust” lots from the reported Yes votes for the Declaration to present a fairer picture.
In the end, more than the approval of documents failed. Chris Allison and the board failed to make a genuine effort to promote democracy by adopting voting standards different from recent Lake Holiday elections. Chris Allison and the board failed to listen to widespread discontent in the community, evidenced by the numerous “Vote No” signs on Redland Road and at all of the mail stops. They failed to sell the community on their documents, despite their free Miller & Smith hot dogs and other aggressive sales efforts that continued right through the meeting of members on June 10th.
They failed to retain a general manager, Dave Ingegneri, who resigned suddenly just days before the election. The board either doesn’t understand that excessive turnover is expensive and inefficient or they can’t manage it effectively. Even on something as simple as releasing the vote outcome in a timely manner, the board failed to appreciate the anxiousness in the community to learn the election results. Given the huge margin of defeat, Chris Allison and the board simply did not need to keep the community in suspense by hiding behind the mantra of doing an accurate count. It took Chris Allison a page full of numbers to avoid saying what our post title and graph present simply and clearly: approval of all documents failed.
The vote on the proposed documents was more than a referendum on the documents themselves. It was a measure of the support for Chris Allison and the board. The results show that beyond the support of Miller & Smith and their affiliated builders, that support is nearly non-existent. Miller & Smith and their affiliated builders owned approximately 132 lots potentially eligible to vote on the Articles and Bylaws. If all of these lots were included in the reported results and voted in favor of the proposed documents, Chris Allison and the board were able to capture approximately 140 other Yes votes – out of a 1864 possible member votes. That is anything but a vote of confidence in the leadership of Chris Allison and the board.
In the events leading up to this important election, Chris Allison and the board made an unprecedented effort to tip the vote. First, Chris Allison and the board let Miller & Smith vote on the Declaration, something they had previously said would not be allowed. No where in the letter describing voting procedures does it state this explicitly. Then, Chris Allison and the board planned to count these votes at large, instead of section by section. This allowed Miller & Smith to vote approximately 641 lots for which they are not paying dues to amend declarations in sections for which Miller & Smith is not an owner. By insisting on this approach, Chris Allison and the board set a dangerous precedent, making it more difficult to amend the 17 different declarations in the future. Chris Allison and the board even showed the degree to which it would discriminate against members, because the declaration for Section 7 was previously amended – without being put to a vote of all members. In short, the board allowed Miller & Smith to vote to amend the declarations of other members – but prevented those same members from voting on the declaration for a section largely owned by Miller & Smith and their affiliated builders.
On May 23rd, little more than 2 weeks before the vote on June 10th, Chris Allison set the record date for the election to May 1. This had the effect of disqualifying a large number of voters who paid their dues under the Association’s longstanding, written policy to consider dues timely paid if paid before the 15th of the month. Then, the very next day after a court hearing, Chris Allison reversed direction and came up with a once-in-a-lifetime grace period, allowing members to cure alleged delinquencies up to close of business on June 6th. But even this was a stark departure from past elections, where members could make payments literally on the day of the election and preserve their voting eligibility. Allowing members to resolve alleged delinquencies was a good policy for the October 2005 election at which Chris Allison ran for a board seat but he didn’t find it fair for a vote that would re-write Lake Holiday’s entire governing documents. Given that the eligible voter list available before the election contained a number of errors, this abrupt change from past conduct had only one purpose – to block members from voting.
Lake Holiday is a community in a crisis created entirely by the people in leadership positions – namely, Chris Allison and the board. The Treasurer resigned suddenly. The General Manager resigned suddenly just before the June 10th election after only a short tenure. Important people involved in architectural review have resigned suddenly as well. This type of rapid turnover is indicative of problems at the top. The community needs a board that can do more than pass out free hot dogs and unanimously agree to hold a vote on expensive documents that no one wanted. It’s time to replace the board with people prepared to stop making problems for Lake Holiday. Download Ogunquit’s Proxy and return it today. The sooner there is change at the top, the sooner the problems created by those at the top go away.