GAC Chair Successfully Removes Political Opponent from Committee

During the May 9 Westchase Community Association Board Meeting, the fate of the association’s early morning swim program was also briefly discussed.

Operations Manager Kelly Shires reported that there were now 11 swimmers so a few more people have joined. Treasurer Shawn Yesner stated they would give the program one more month to push for more attendees and then “see how the budget shakes out.” Shires also reported that the Pipeline Swim program now has 60 percent of their members who are Westchase residents.

During WCA Director Shawn Yesner’s treasurer’s report, he said they were gearing up for summer budget preparation cycle.

During the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) Report, Director Rick Goldstein updated the group on the Citrus Park Drive Extension saying that the county is planning to have meetings to discuss it over the next few months and the project has now moved to the construction phase. Goldstein then asked Transportation Steering Committee member Debbie Guerino to provide updates. She explained that a survey on transportation topics will be distributed on the Westchase Community Chronicles Facebook page and stated they will have a monitored email in addition to a link in a future WOW article. At the end of the survey phase, they will compile the results and put together some focus groups, which will also include surrounding areas. They would like to have “one voice” for Westchase and its surrounding communities. Joe Odda, a steering committee member added, “The hottest issue in this county right now is transportation.”

Goldstein, leading the meeting with President Ruben Collazo attending via conference call, then launched into a long explanation of why he wanted to remove Radcliffe resident Jim Wimsatt from the Government Affairs Committee. He said that he felt that Wimsatt had violated protocol by trying to consult with and get advice from “our attorneys.” He also spoke of a time-sensitive assignment he had given Mr. Wimsatt around the Transportation Plan that Wimsatt had failed to complete which, according to Goldstein, “adversely affected the timeline which has placed our community at a disadvantage.” Goldstein also objected to Wimsatt having issues with Goldstein’s relationships with developers and elected officials, which Goldstein contended are critical. He then made a motion for his removal.

In his defense, Wimsatt, who is a regular critic of Goldstein and WCA President Ruben Collazo and who has made clear his intention to run for a board seat in September when Goldstein faces reelection, said, “I had a conversation with [WCA Attorney] Jon Ellis that had nothing to do with that. Frankly, I’ve been shut out of all GAC communications. Different points of view for the committee shouldn’t be a detriment to the committee.”

Wimsatt added that he had began working on the assigned task but was prepping for a trial and indicated to Goldstein he would get to it later.

Collazo spoke up saying, “He (Wimsatt) has no respect for Rick’s (Goldstein) leadership. Not only is Jim not producing results, this is a distraction that we don’t need.”

Director Joaquin Arrillaga responded, “This vote is not for a code of conduct violation. If there is a team that can’t work together, it’s not usually the right idea to get rid of a coach or a player, but there are other committees you can work on.”

When the vote for removal was taken, all directors voted in favor except for Yesner, who abstained.

A Vineyards resident spoke next with concerns that the lawns in The Vineyards were not being maintained. He said that he had tried to speak with The Vineyards Board several times and sent emails, but he felt that the properties were not being maintained per the covenants. Arrillaga said that he thought Collazo, Debbie Sainz or Rick Goldstein could have a conversation with the Board of The Vineyards about it.

The meeting closed with Director Keith Heinemann reappointing Carolyn Reynolds to the WOW Board through March of 2021.

By Brenda Bennett

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