Election 2020: Candidate Questionnaire

The following questionnaire has been sent to all candidates, via email, on 1/29/2020.

The challenger candidates freely provided their email addresses.

The incumbent board members did not reply to two emails (each) that were sent to the email addresses published in the Lake Forester. The first email, sent 1/28/2020 requested confirmation that the published email address was correct. The second, sent 1/29/2020 contained the questionnaire.

The questionnaire was also sent to the POA Office with a request to circulate it to all candidates.

It is the LFHOG OC’s belief that every effort has been made to fairly distribute the questions to all 9 candidates and give sufficient time to reply.


Dear candidate for the Lake Forest POA board of directors,

The Lake Forest Home Owners’ Group consists of over 800 residents that are concerned about the running of the POA, and the upkeep & future of the neighborhood.  Communication in the group is via our website at lfhog.com, email lists, and Social Media sites such as Facebook and NextDoor.

We feel that the use of the Lake Forester by the current board gives an unfair advantage to incumbents and we are interested in ensuring each candidate is given equal opportunity to answer the questions that matter most to our group.

If you would like to take this opportunity to reach a large number of actively involved residents, please complete the questionnaire and return it to lfhogeditor@gmail.com by 5pm (Central) on February 7th, 2020.  All replies that have been received will be published on lfhog.com; please note that any replies or updates received after this deadline will not be considered for publication.  Any questions not answered will be marked as “declined to respond”.

Your responses in their entirety will be published as a standalone web page, plus the responses from all candidates will be published in a comparison matrix to allow members the opportunity to compare the candidates on specific topics.  The web pages will be publicly visible, and you will be free to link to them from your own social media accounts, email blasts, etc.

Any negative comments about other candidates, as well as any attempt to answer a question that wasn’t asked, or grandstanding, will be removed.  Simple answers to pertinent questions please!

Thank you for your commitment to making our neighborhood a better place for all residents.

*Please note these questions are not in any order of priority or importance, just the order they were submitted by the members of LFHOG:

Candidate Questionnaire

Candidate Name: ___________________________

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.  
Would you be willing to give the right to vote on bylaws amendments back to the LF Members?  
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?  
How do you envision the lake after the remedial work on Tiawasse creek and the marina dredging?  
What would you do about the Yacht Club? Keep it running or figure out a way to get rid of it and why?  
What would you do about the golf course and the declining number of players?  
What is the plan for enforcing current rules to keep our neighborhood nice?  
What would you do about terms of office and term limits for board directors?  
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?  
Would you put the financial reports back on the Lake Forest website?  
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?  
What would you do about instilling trust between the homeowners and the board?  
What would you do about the dictatorial attitude the current board has?  
What are your thoughts about excessive absenteeism of Board Members at the Stated Board Meetings?  
Would you spread the workload among board members so that one member does not have so much power and control?  
Which, if any, of the key positions do you feel qualified for and why?  President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Sergeant at Arms.  
Would you be in favor of at least 3 Member’s Meetings (counting the Annual meeting) per year?   
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?  
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?  
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.  
Do you feel the LFPOA should opt into the Alabama’s Homeowners Act?  
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?  
Would you do what the homeowners want done, by vote, rather than thinking you know what is best for Lake Forest?  
Would you support opening committees such as finance and bylaws to member participation and make those meeting minutes easily available to members?  
Would you support a complete re-write of bylaws?  
What are your long-term and short-term goals/vision for our community?  
Should the Board or its Committees be allowed to endorse a candidate running for election to the Board of Directors?  
Should the President’s Column in the Lake Forester be used to promote current board members that are up for re-election?  
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.  
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?  
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?  
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 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?  
How would you propose to replace board members who resign before their term has expired?  How long should the replacement serve?  
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?  
What experience do you have in obtaining government funding for neighborhood projects, roads, streets, sidewalks, lighting, signage etc.?  
Have you ever been associated with a Federal/State/City grant application that has come under legislative investigation for non-compliance?  
Have you ever personally violated Federal/City/State or POA building regulations?  Please describe/explain.  
Have you ever been sanctioned for, or convicted of, or lost a professional license due to, financial malfeasance?  
Have you knowingly ever committed, or cause to be committed as part of a larger group, financial malfeasance?  
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?  
Do you think we get value for money from the Icon management contract? What would you do differently (if anything)?  
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?  
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?
 
What will be the top 3 priorities for you as a new (or re-elected) board member?  
What is your reaction to previous board members referring to the members as “uninformed” and “flat-earthers”  
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?  
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?  
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?  
Would you require the board to answer member questions at stated board meetings since we do not get answers anywhere else?  
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?  
Would you consider a fines amnesty period to allow those that are behind in their dues chance to catch up?  
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?  
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?  
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?  
How many board meetings (work sessions and stated meetings) did you attend, in person, in 2019? (either as a board member or a resident)  
Would you have your lawyer threaten legal action and issue cease and desist orders against people who disagree with you?  
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?  
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?  
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?  
How would you deal with board member absenteeism?  
How would you deal with lack of board member involvement, e.g. not submitting sub-committee reports?  
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?  
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?  
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?  
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.  
If you are not elected, what would be your future involvement in the POA and Lake Forest community (if any)?  

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