VMs Debate Exploratory Committee’s Final Report

WCA Vice President Michele DelSordo, called the meeting to order in President Shawn Yesner’s absence. After approving the minutes, they voted in favor of appointing Thomas Bruce as an alternate VM for Glenfield.

The next topic of discussion was the Nathan Lafer Community Service Award. DelSordo asked the VMs to consider nominating outstanding Westchase residents for the award. Radcliffe VM Keith Heinemann suggested that because Lafer’s wife no longer lives in the area and nominations are few and far between, it might be time to either discontinue the award or change its name.

Woodbridge VM Rick Goldstein objected to Heinemann’s suggestion, saying that it would be a travesty not to have the award in Lafer’s name. Heinemann asked whether the board could discuss the matter at their next meeting, and DelSordo said it would.

DelSordo then moved on to the WCA Exploratory Committee’s final report. Committee Chair and WCA Board Member Eric Holt took the floor to share that the committee was formed almost a year ago in response to the upcoming expiration of the current contract with Greenacre Properties, Inc. (GPI).

He said the purpose of the committee was not necessarily to replace GPI, but to learn what options existed in the current market to ensure the board makes an educated decision about how best to proceed. The committee wanted to share its progress with the VMS and allow them to ask questions and provide input in the interest of transparency, explained Holt.

Committee members started with a list of approximately 40 property management companies, which they narrowed down to 13 that met certain criteria. The criteria in question made committee members feel confident that the remaining companies were capable of managing an association of the size and complexity of the WCA, he added.

After initial inquiries, committee members opted to move forward with eight of the 13 most relevant companies, said Holt. The committee invited each of the eight, along with GPI, to make a presentation highlighting their services and capabilities. Committee members did their best to compile the information from all nine companies and create an objective comparison, he said. The committee then presented its findings to the board at its most recent meeting.

Holt showed the VMS a series of slides featuring a chart that indicated which of the nine companies (listed anonymously as Company A, B, etc.) offered each of a variety of services. Some of those services included a “Robust & Comprehensive Resident Portal,” “Real Time Inspection Recording,” and “Salaried Structure (CAM).”

“The main purpose of this committee was really to create this comparison,” stated Holt. “It wasn’t to evaluate which company was better than the other, but simply to ask, ‘Did they have the service being offered?’”

Holt said the WCA is currently not at the market standard regarding best practices and electronic efficiency. He clarified that GPI does have services available that have not yet been implemented in Westchase.

West Park Village Villas VM Deb Guerino asked whether all the companies that were asked to present actually managed HOAs in the Tampa Bay area. Holt said they did and that all offered the option of onsite staffing.

Russ Brooks, Bennington’s VM, asked Holt to further explain what was meant by “not at the market standard.”

“In a nutshell, it means that the things that we consider requirements for an HOA are not being provided,” Holt said. “Like a resident portal.”

Goldstein said he objected to the committee’s characterization of the current management situation as being below market standards. He argued that the services offered by GPI meet both the standards of Florida law and of the professional association to which the company belongs.

Goldstein described the committee’s finding as “an indictment of the WCA board and the voting members,” and accused its members of giving more credence to their own assumptions than to the existing professional standards.

Glencliff VM Dr. Terry Boyd pointed out that the industry services comparison table the committee provided included about 20 different criteria. He asked who would prioritize the importance of those services. Holt said the board would most likely decide with input from the VMs.

Brentford VM Michiel Oostenbrink said it was critical to know what the services the community required would cost. He made a motion to send out a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the relevant management companies and solicit competitive bids.

Goldstein suggested asking GPI whether it could provide Westchase with the requisite services before sending out an RFP.

Kingsford VM Forrest Baumhover observed that going out for competitive bid would theoretically take much longer than negotiating with GPI. He asked Holt whether he was confident that the committee could create an RFP in a timely fashion, given the contract with GPI expires at the end of this year. Holt said he was.

DelSordo asked the VMs to vote on Oostenbrink’s motion, and it passed by a vote of 16 to 6. Boyd abstained.

In other business, Nancy Sells, alternate VM for Harbor Links/The Estates, asked whether GPI could send the monthly financial report to all VMs and alternates along with the meeting agendas. Community Association Manager Debbie Sainz said she would do so moving forward.

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