By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
The lack of an official date of the upcoming Steiner Ranch Master Association board of directors elections has gotten the recall initiative reinvigorated.
The SRMA has three board members who were elected for three-year terms in March of 2020. Although it would appear that their terms would expire on March 31 of this year, that is not the case, according to Jonathan Garriss, SRMA board president.
“HOA board terms don’t expire under Texas Property law,” he said. “Board members serve their terms until their successor is elected.”
At the January 17 board meeting, Deb Arizmendi-Kopack – who is part of the recall initiative – asked in the homeowner forum about the timeline of the board elections which she assumed would be in March. But that is when it was brought up that the election date hasn’t been set.
One SRMA board member then said that “elections will be scheduled in June so we have plenty of time.” Another said that it could be in an April timeframe.
That has caused concern among some residents that the SRMA board has not yet set the date for its elections – especially in a year when the SRMA board has been under the microscope.
A group of residents started a recall campaign in the fall of 2022 challenging some of the board’s decisions on projects like the dog park and lake club parking lot. The need for more repairs and maintenance and better record keeping, especially on construction projects are other reasons. They also want more transparency, better communications and better community management.
The recall group gathered 1,100 signatures on a petition to force a recall election to remove five of seven board members. But the petition came up just shy of the necessary 1,300 signatures needed.
Rachel McGilvray, a Steiner resident who is also part of the recall initiative, wants to see this board election as soon as possible.
“Because the board did not (already) set the election date, we are now behind on our voting,” McGilvray said. “The earliest date that can be set at the next board meeting is April 10, 2023, and we urge the board to do this immediately.”
McGilvray did some research and found that the original declaration had the election date set for April 16th +/- a day or two for weekends/holidays, but with the changes made in 2019, the elections were moved to March 31 for the next three years in 2019, 2020 and 2021. “Then mysteriously, the election in 2022 was held in June,” McGilvray said.
SRMA president Garriss confirms that historically, the SRMA has held its annual meeting and elections in April. During the past few years, it has deviated from that schedule for a number of reasons but should get back to that regular schedule, he said.
This year’s election date is expected to be on the agenda to discuss at next week’s board meeting on Feb. 21.
“The goal of discussing the election is to set a date and have the staff secure the resources to make it happen,” Garriss said. “The staff has already been working on engaging the company that runs our election, but now the board has to provide a date. If we’re discussing it at (the February) meeting, then April would be an option (for an election).”
Since Texas Property law calls for at least 10 days notice, but not more than 60 days notice, if the meeting were scheduled for April, Garriss said, it could not be announced until mid-February (date -60 days) which coincides with the current timing of the upcoming SRMA board meeting, Garriss said.
But as a safeguard and in case the SRMA board does not set the election in a timely fashion, the recall group wants to gather enough signatures making the SRMA board call a special meeting to recall Lawrence Spinetta, District 1, Raj Singh, District 2, Naren Chilukuri, District 3, and Garriss, District 5. They updated the petition, removing Chris Langevin who resigned in 2022.
“We are asking everyone to sign so that we are guaranteed our member meeting regardless of what the board decides,” said McGilvray. “It may be our only way to vote in new candidates, candidates who are knowledgeable about all of the documents and issues the neighborhood currently has, candidates who want to be there, who have a passion for improving our neighborhood and who will provide transparency to the community.”