By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Voting is underway for the Steiner Ranch Master Association Board of Directors election where seven residents are candidates for four board positions.
Three races have an incumbent and a challenger. The at-large race has incumbent Robby Roberts facing Richard Clark. District 2 has incumbent David Doman facing Brad Stanton. District 3 has incumbent Naren Chilukuri facing Adam Mehevec. The District 4 race is uncontested and Christina Morales is running for that vacant seat.
Last week, Four Points News asked the seven candidates three questions. All candidates except one shared their answers and headshot by the deadline.
Four Points News asked candidates a question on the management and management ideas of Steiner because of the tremendous amount of community feedback on the subject. There has been homeowner feedback since last summer at many of the SRMA board meetings and also at the three town hall meetings held in September and November. Ideas about Steiner management and how to proceed on the matter has caused division with the current SRMA board. Additionally there has been high turnover of the Steiner homeowner association staff in recent months including the executive director, the community manager twice, and the controller.
1.) What are your thoughts on Steiner Ranch management and what type of management model do you want to run Steiner Ranch – the existing model with local director and staff, or an outsourced model with outside management, a hybrid between the two, or another idea?
2.) What are your top three priorities if you are elected to the board?
3.) What experience qualifies you most for the board?
1.) I have heard an overwhelming majority of homeowners express their desire that we objectively evaluate our current, self-managed model. We owe it to our community to evaluate our association staffing in a financially responsible manner but also, so we can deliver resort-style service and amenities to our residents.
Our community should have a board that has direct control over the management and staff serving our community.
2.) Ensure that our board serves in a governance role so that it allows our management and staff to function without the interference that has created excessive turnover, poor morale and dysfunction for those charged with serving Steiner Ranch residents during this past year.
Objectively evaluate our association’s organizational structure to ensure that our staffing model is designed to be responsive to residents’ service needs, that operations are effectively run and efficiently managed.
Continue efforts to identify and realize financial efficiencies in our association necessary for the amenity enhancement/investment that best meets the needs of our community as a whole.
3.) Your election of me as an at-large candidate in April 2016 has given me insight into the challenges our association faced as we transitioned from a developer-led to a homeowner-led board. I respect and value perspectives of our homeowners in guiding my decision-making. Acting with respect of others, exhibiting character and integrity are traits that I pledge to uphold.
In addition to my professional experience as a CPA, commercial banker and realtor, my service to community has been extensive.
1.) My sense is that a hybrid solution will work for Steiner Ranch. I reserve opinion until I, as a board member, have a collective discussion with all the other board members. The issue is what form provides the best service. The board can decide only after reviewing all the options. The public doesn’t have all the facts. Anyone who claims he or she alone has the answer is wrong. We have to maintain board control, have a manager answering only to the board, and on-site employees providing direct responses to resident needs and inquiries. Some of the back-office work, like accounting, could be bid out. Many larger planned communities have a contract services type plan. It does not mean Steiner should go that route but it does mean it should be considered.
2.) Provide additional, much needed amenities including meeting rooms, heated pools, dog park, playgrounds and athletic fields, safety devices, and provide efficient use of all facilities.
Landscape maintenance and improvement. Property values and quality of life will increase.
Have a thorough, open discussion of financial and accounting practices and failures so the all residents know where we stand.
3.) Success on a large, nonprofit board for 25 years including chairman. As an attorney for 47 years, I have represented several nonprofit organizations and public agencies which deal with similar board issues. President of two, county-wide service organizations. SRMA Golf Community Committee chair.
1.) I believe that the concept of an outside, for-profit, management organization being less costly than an internal one is extremely short-sighted. Additionally, local management, regardless of performance issues of previous personnel, will always be more responsive to the community. Hence, I am totally committed to local, internal management.
2.) One: cost containment, keeping yearly assessments at a minimum.
Two: landscaping improvements to the common areas of Steiner Ranch while keeping priority one in mind.
Three: bringing a return to normalcy to the actual board, which will raise the value of all of our homes.
3.) In my two years on the board, I have seen both sides of what a board can and should be. We had a workable board of directors two years ago, and saw value improvements to Steiner. This past year, we had a dysfunctional board, and saw all of our home values decline for what I believe is a result of same.
1.) A hybrid of both outsource and local leadership are necessary to serve the community and the taxpayers. The great people of Steiner Ranch deserve a clear path of escalation and traction when they aren’t be served appropriately. Outsource the tasks and work and the management, as such, but keep the measurement of quality, execution, and time-bound commitments local.
2.) Get the board moving from its current state of impasse to take action in the critical areas of need in a safer and more secure neighborhood, improving complaint outcomes through a modern website, updating common facilities, all without increasing HOA dues; Remedy the dangerous traffic flow to Westridge park; Be a better a steward to all sport clubs and teams.
3.) Fifteen-plus years of leadership at some of the most forward-facing corporations that demand and provide results. A thorough understanding of what constitutes creating and meeting a budget. A career that crosses the chasms of products, services, and consulting. A strong belief in the reverse pyramid of serving those you lead, removing obstacles and people that suck time and energy out of progress, a spirit of good to great in everything I do, except for my poor golf game! (#MSRGA)
1.) I believe the current onsite model was working well until recently when this issue became very contentious and led to the resignations of almost all of the HOA staff. If elected, I will work to re-establish the local staff and implement technology enhancements to improve the level of service to the residents. I am not opposed to a careful evaluation of the merits of each management approach in the future, but I believe we owe it to the neighborhood to try and make the existing onsite system work first, since it is a system that is part of the community and not some large, outside management company.
2.) Re-establish some level of cooperation and effectiveness to the board. The current board is hopelessly divided and is unable to agree on even routine matters.
Re-construct a qualified staff to manage the community and evaluate technology improvements that will make the staff more efficient and provide better service to the residents.
Address maintenance needs that have been neglected over the last couple of years and start planning and budgeting for amenity improvements for the neighborhood.
3.) I am a civil engineer and I have spent the last twenty-plus years designing and managing large construction projects, and I feel this experience will provide a valuable asset to the board as they evaluate landscaping and amenity improvement contracts.
1.) I don’t think enough time has passed to truly know how our neighborhood would run without a management system. I feel as though the residents just gained control. To completely pass it on now is like treating our neighborhood like it’s a hot potato. It doesn’t seem right. I would like to give Steiner a chance to work. If in a few years, this question comes up again, and a few boards come to the same conclusion, then this is a subject that should be voted on by our community.
2.) Our Pools. Our equipment and pool service needs to be top notch.
Our Roads. In the 12 years I have lived here, this area has grown exponentially. Our roads need to follow suit to be safer. An HOA board member should always be present at meetings that represent our neighborhood. We need to branch out and work with together with SRNA, and our representatives. Do not tell our community why something can’t be done, but tell them what we are doing to get it done.
Financial Transparency. All big expenditures should require community notification and approval. Simple.
3.) Currently, I work, as a sales operations administrator at a local software company. I am required to pay attention to detail and numbers as my job involves numbers and reports. For 12 years, I have volunteered my time to Laura Bush, River Ridge, scouts, and Leander ISD. I truly love and give where I live.
More Steiner voting details
Steiner Ranch homeowners should have received annual meeting and voting packets via the mail recently which contain information for online and in person voting.
The Steiner Ranch Master Association annual meeting and election is April 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Towne Square Community Center.
Voting will take place at the meeting and early voting is taking place up until April 13 via electronic ballot or proxy, which can be mailed, faxed, emailed, or brought to meeting.
The SRMA community is divided into voting districts and not all districts have a board seat up for election. Candidates from districts 2, 3, and 4 are running for seats on the SRMA board during the current election. Two candidates are also running for the at-large seat, which any SRMA homeowner may vote on, regardless of their voting district.
All are two-year terms except District 4, which is a one-year term due to its vacancy.
SRMA neighborhood voting districts are as follows:
District 1 – Beverly Ridge, The Casitas, The Fairways, Lakeview, UT Golf Community, The View
District 2 – Bellagio Estates, The Headlands, Longhorn Canyon, Majestic Oaks, The Estates at Westridge, The Hills at Westridge
District 3 – Canyon Glen, Parkside, River Heights Grove, River Heights Overlook, Shire Ridge, Towne Hollow
District 4 – Lakewood Hills, Las Brisas, Summer Vista, Savannah Point, Rio Mesa, Savannah
District 5 – Belcara, The Bluffs, Emerald Ridge, The Grove, Mediterra, Monterey, Palisades, Santaluz, Sierra Vista, Tierra Grande
The Steiner Ranch Residential Owners’ Association, there other, much smaller homeowner association, will hold its annual meeting on April 19.