Candidate Response: Dale McGinnis

Below is the unedited response to the Candidate Questionnaire from Mr. McGinnis:

Question/Topic Candidate’s Response
What is your position on the use of the Lake Forest Preservation votes by the board? If you are in favor of retaining them, please explain your rationale. They should not be used for any votes and neither should the common area. I would propose a bylaw change to prevent them ever being used.  
Would you be willing to give the right to vote on bylaws amendments back to the LF Members? Yes, that is one of the reasons I am running for the board. Bylaw changes should be rare and only by a vote of the residents, not by just four people on the board who want to enhance their power  
Would you consider a dues reduction since dues were raised to $70 when the Board was planning to build a new YC and 19th Hole, now that building renovation is planned instead? Yes, that is also one of my campaign positions
How do you envision the lake after the remedial work on Tiawasee creek and the marina dredging? The lake should be dredged and since it is a part of the runoff system into the bay, federal and/or state and county funding should be sought to help pay for it. An actual lake that people can kayak and canoe on would be an asset to the community.
What would you do about the Yacht Club? Keep it running or figure out a way to get rid of it and why? I think the board should explore all options for the Yacht club and present them to the members for a vote and then execute the option the residents chose, whether that be keep it open regardless of cost, repurpose it to some other use, sell it, or something else. The fate of the Yacht club should not be the decision of 7 individuals who happen to be on the board
What would you do about the golf course and the declining number of players? I think the board should explore all options for the golf course and present them to the members for a vote and then execute the option the residents chose, whether that be keep it open regardless of cost, or repurpose it to some other use. The fate of the golf course should not be the decision of 7 individuals who happen to be on the board
What is the plan for enforcing current rules to keep our neighborhood nice? The covenants need to be enforced. My understanding is that a large part of the problem is absentee landlords. Stricter provisions need to be put into the covenants to hold them accountable. One possibility to explore would be a provision for the POA to do the repairs and then bill the owner if they refuse to do the repairs themselves.  
What would you do about terms of office and term limits for board directors? My understanding is that at one time the terms of office where three years and after two terms you had to be off for a year before you could run again. I would propose that the two terms of three years limit be reinstated with the change that you must be off the board for the same number of years as you have served before you can run again. I would also stagger the terms so there is at least two open board positions every year.
Rather than having the board decide unilaterally, would you be in favor of having member committees formulate multiple options to be presented to the membership to vote on the future course of action for our amenities? Absolutely. In fact, I believe that all committees should have no more than two board members on it with the rest of the committee made up of members of the community.
Would you put the financial reports back on the Lake Forest website? Yes, and they would be on the public section, not the members only section along with all the minutes of the meetings. We may be a private organization, but we are not a secret one.
What would you do about answering homeowners’ questions? Since no questions are answered at the meetings would you consider putting the Parking Lot back on-line? Homeowners have a right to know what the board is doing and the reasons why the board has made any particular decision. With that in mind the parking lot would be an excellent means of doing that if it was used properly by the board. “Because the board has the authority” would not be an acceptable answer to a why question.  I would also consider a provision that all questions be answered within 30 days.
What would you do about instilling trust between the homeowners and the board? Trust can only be restored by the board being open and honest with its actions. The board needs to realize that they are there to serve the community. They are not there because they are smarter than everyone else. With that in mind I will always listen to the homeowners and answer their questions as fully as I am able.
What would you do about the dictatorial attitude the current board has? I would remind those board members that they serve at the pleasure of the homeowners and not as their betters. You were elected because people placed their trust in you, and you abuse that trust when you are arrogant or dictatorial.
What are your thoughts about excessive absenteeism of Board Members at the Stated Board Meetings? There should be a provision in the bylaws to automatically remove board members that are excessively absent, and the enforcement of that provision should not be up to the other board members.
Would you spread the workload among board members so that one member does not have so much power and control? Yes, there should be a limit on how many committees one member can be on.
Which, if any, of the key positions do you feel qualified for and why?  President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Sergeant at Arms. I feel that I could fill any of those positions. In my career I have served in all those positions on various committees and work groups. I have had a varied career with experience as an assistant manager of a retail store as well as material control at a precious metal reclaimer among other things
Would you be in favor of at least 3 Member’s Meetings (counting the Annual meeting) per year?  Yes
Would you be in favor of members introducing motions at members’ meetings and having a member vote on them?  Would you abide by the decisions made at such meetings? Yes
How do you feel about doing projects as we can afford them, instead of trying to do several projects at once and raising dues to do so? There needs to be long range planning done so that projects can be completed in a reasonable manner without raising the dues. Timely maintenance needs to be done on all facilities so that budget busting emergency repairs are not required.
What would you do about the 53 or so employees Lake Forest has and the large percentage of our dues it takes to pay them. There needs to be a workforce audit done to determine if we need that many employees and whether some of the work can be contracted out for a lower cost.
Do you feel the LFPOA should opt into the Alabama’s Homeowners Act? Yes
There are companies that provide labor and equipment to maintain golf courses. This would not require equipment leases nor personnel by Lake Forest. Would you compare their cost to in-house costs? Yes, we must continually look for means of cutting costs
Would you do what the homeowners want done, by vote, rather than thinking you know what is best for Lake Forest? Yes, that is why I am running for a position on the board. The POA should be homeowner driven and not board driven.
Would you support opening committees such as finance and bylaws to member participation and make those meeting minutes easily available to members? Yes, in fact I believe that all committees should have no more than two board members on it with the rest being regular members.
Would you support a complete re-write of bylaws? Yes, in fact if I get on the board I hope to be on the bylaw committee to work on that.
What are your long-term and short-term goals/vision for our community? My short-term goals are to return the rights of the property owners which the current board has abrogated to themselves back to the property owners and to reduce dues to a reasonable amount. The long-term goals are to stop the bleeding of money at the yacht club and golf course. Whatever the fate of the yacht club and golf course becomes would be determined by a vote of the community after they have been presented with all the options and the pros and cons.
Should the Board or its Committees be allowed to endorse a candidate running for election to the Board of Directors? No
Should the President’s Column in the Lake Forester be used to promote current board members that are up for re-election? No
Would you be willing to revoke the bylaw change that prevents members from discussing/sharing POA information and removing the NDA from viewing our accounts and other documentation; would you go one step further and use the member section of the website to make information readily available to all members. Yes, I would on all those questions.  
Would you allow members to attend meetings and access the website “regardless of standing”; why should someone who is behind in their dues be banned from seeing the bylaws, covenants, meeting minutes, and their own statements of account? Yes.
Would you consider the rights of homeowners who are behind paying dues as a hardship verses deadbeat and not take away meetings and voting privileges from those who have suffered hardships and are making strides to pay? Yes.
What (besides ignoring them) would you do about residents that have neglected their properties, and let them fall into disarray? Leave trash cans in their front yard? Have non-operating cars in their yard? Have weeds growing in their gutters? Etc. The covenants need to be enforced. My understanding is that a large part of the problem is absentee landlords. Stricter provisions need to be put into the covenants to hold them accountable. One possibility to explore would be a provision for the POA to do the repairs and then bill the owner if they refuse to do the repairs themselves.
The LF POA is registered as a non-profit organization 501(c)(7). Alabama State Law requires that an organization of this type makes available to its membership records of all board activity including stated meetings, work sessions, and special meetings. What is your view on the current level of compliance with the law and how (if at all) do you feel we should change current practices? As things are, there is no compliance with the law. All board activity should be made available on the Lake Forest website within 30 days of said activity and should also be available for viewing and notetaking in the office without having to sign any NDA’s.  
How would you propose to replace board members who resign before their term has expired?  How long should the replacement serve? If a previously suggested change to have quarterly member meetings is made then the position should be filled by a vote of the members at the first meeting that is at least 30 days after the vacancy and the new member would serve out the remainder of the departed members term. If that change is not made then the seat should go to the highest runner up who was not a board member at the last election. No board member who was voted off the board should be eligible for a board position until they have been off as many years as they have served.
What are your specific ideas about working with the city of Daphne to assist in obtaining city and state government funding for ongoing and future improvement projects specifically the yacht club? There are many areas where Lake Forest and the city of Daphne have common interests. The board needs to have a working relationship with the city and as such it would be advantageous for Lake Forest if one or more representatives of the board would serve on some of the city of Daphne’s committees that serve that common interest. Those representatives could either be board members or volunteers appointed by the board.
What experience do you have in obtaining government funding for neighborhood projects, roads, streets, sidewalks, lighting, signage etc.? I have never been involved in seeking government funding however I have been involved in making many business case proposals for capital expense purchases at various companies.
Have you ever been associated with a Federal/State/City grant application that has come under legislative investigation for non-compliance? No.
Have you ever personally violated Federal/City/State or POA building regulations?  Please describe/explain. No.
Have you ever been sanctioned for, or convicted of, or lost a professional license due to, financial malfeasance? No.
Have you knowingly ever committed, or cause to be committed as part of a larger group, financial malfeasance? No
Have you knowingly ever committed, or cause to be committed as part of a larger group, accounting/financial fraud in a non-profit organization such as inflating invoices, overordering equipment/products, or use of preferred suppliers with conflicts of interest contrary to bylaws and fiduciary best practices? No.
Do you think we get value for money from the Icon management contract? What would you do differently (if anything)? No. Icons expertise is in working with upscale communities. I would look for a management company that is more experienced with our type of community and is reasonably priced. Furthermore, the contract should have clearly spelled out performance expectations the company is to meet with provisions for early termination if they are not being met.
Since the board has banked hundreds of thousands of our dollars, would you consider a dues decrease?  What would be your optimum level for our dues in the current climate? Yes. To give a definitive answer on the optimum amount I would have to be able to take notes when looking at the books (something I am not currently allowed to do), as well as see any long-term contracts to determine our financial obligations. However, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank I would think probably around $50 a month.
Should the Board be allowed to call Special Meetings without a minimum of three (3) days’ notice to the Membership?
Follow up question. Do you feel the Board of Directors use Special Meetings to covertly conduct business of the Association?
No to the first question and yes to the second.
What will be the top 3 priorities for you as a new (or re-elected) board member? Rewrite of the bylaws giving control back to the members Transparency in all board actions Financial accountability
What is your reaction to previous board members referring to the members as “uninformed” and “flat-earthers” Totally unacceptable and grounds for removal  
Should voting (for board members, bylaws, covenant changes, and major financial decisions) be for all members or only a subset of “informed” members; if so, who should decide who is “informed” or not? All members should be allowed to vote. Just because a member has a different opinion than me does not mean they are uninformed. In fact, they may be the informed person and I may be the uninformed one. That is why I will listen to all members.
When voting is returned to the membership, do you agree to abide by the memberships mandate – even if it differs from your own opinion/ideas? Yes
Will you be funding an election campaign? Will any of that funding come from third-parties such as donations? Will donations be accepted from people/entities outside of the neighborhood? All funding will only come from homeowners in Lake Forest.
Would you require the board to answer member questions at stated board meetings since we do not get answers anywhere else? Yes
Would you consider a reduced rate or no POA dues for those who own 2 lots but one lot is not able to be built on? Yes. Also, if there are no dues on undeveloped lots there would be no voting privileges for those lots and that would prevent the Lake Forest Preservation Trust lots votes ever being used against the homeowners again.
Would you consider a fines amnesty period to allow those that are behind in their dues chance to catch up? Yes.
The increase in dues and special assessments over the years, coupled with the BP Oil money wiping out our debt, has created a surplus bank balance of around $1 Million.   What would you do with this money? That money should be used to repair the 19th hole and Yacht Club with any left over being set aside for future maintenance of the facilities and allow for a dues decrease.
What is your view on companies associated with a board member getting contracts to perform work for the lfpoa, either as a contractor or subcontractor? No company in which a board member is associated. Either as an employee or owner shall do business with the LFPOA.  Furthermore, no close family member shall be allowed to do business with the LFPOA without full disclosure to the members.
Do you believe there has been financial malfeasance associated with previous boards and if so, would you be willing to investigate, and prosecute if wrongdoing was discovered? I do not know though there certainly seems to be the appearance of it. There is an actual independent audit for 2019 being done. I would have to see the results of that audit first before deciding what further actions should be taken. However, if any wrongdoing is found those responsible prosecuted
How many board meetings (work sessions and stated meetings) did you attend, in person, in 2019? (either as a board member or a resident) I believe I attended at least 18 of them
Would you have your lawyer threaten legal action and issue cease and desist orders against people who disagree with you? No.
Have you reviewed the financial statements and are you aware of the losses of each and every amenity?  Do you consider the losses to be acceptable? Yes. No.
Would you be happy to continue to have the revenue earning amenities (Golf Club and Yacht club) heavily subsidized despite the effect on our dues being so high? No
If the membership voted to sell or re-purpose amenities such as the golf course and the yacht club, would you respect the membership decision and vote accordingly? Yes.
How would you deal with board member absenteeism? There should be a provision in the bylaws to automatically remove board members that are excessively absent, and the enforcement of that provision should not be up to the other board members.
How would you deal with lack of board member involvement, e.g. not submitting sub-committee reports? The board member should be removed from their position on those committees and possibly removed from the board.
Does you work/life schedule give enough spare time over the next 5 years to devote to POA business and to attend all work sessions and stated meetings in person? I am semi-retired and have plenty of time
Have you read, and understood, Robert’s Rules of Order?  Are you prepared to invoke Robert’s Rules when appropriate to ensure board meetings are conducted in the best interest of the Membership?  Are you aware of: The 6 steps that every motion must have?The 4 points which can be used to draw attention away from the person who has the floor to correct or clarify a situation? I am in the process of reading it and should have a good understanding by March 26th.
There are approximately 15 sub-committees; are you aware of them and which ones do you feel qualified to chair or serve on, and why? Yes. I am currently involved in facilities maintenance at my church so that would be one in which I would be a good fit. Bylaws & Covenants would be another one as I am logically minded and can write in a clear and understandable manner. Nomination/Election would be another as I believe that elections should be fair and honest.
Are you willing to formally work with the members of the LFHOG Organizing Committee, and other member volunteers, to create an atmosphere of inclusion, information exchange, and overall improvement in the relationship between the POA board and the membership? Explain how you would achieve this. Yes. I have been a member of their Facebook page for the past year and would continue to exchange ideas with them and invite the members of it to serve on various POA committees. I would continue to actively seek an exchange of ideas.
If you are not elected, what would be your future involvement in the POA and Lake Forest community (if any)? I would continue to attend board meetings and give my opinions during the member comments section of the meetings and volunteer to work on various committees.

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