Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The special "NOT America's Toughest Job" issue of my housing co-op newsletter

NBC has a new reality show out now called "America's Toughest Jobs". For me, being on the Savo Island board of directors has always seemed to be more than a bit tough -- even sometimes bordering on hazardous. But times have apparently changed.

For instance, our August 2008 board meeting could have been a big disaster -- but fortunately disaster was averted.

At the meeting, our management company's representative told the board that we needed new roofs this winter and that the best -- if not the only -- way to get them was to put a reservation down with our re-hab's roofing contractor within the next week or so. The sooner the better. HUD had approved using funds from our general operating reserve, we had a roofing bid in hand that was acceptable (only $80,000) and we were ready to go.

Geez Louise! What could be simpler. We GOTTA have roofs!

But no. Our board president stalled, dragged his feet, put up roadblocks -- just like he'd done with the re-hab. Give me a break! Just go ahead and vote yes on the freaking roofs!

Finally I got so pissed off that I made the motion myself.

Now usually whenever I make a motion, I expose myself to very hazardous job conditions (only without the hazardous pay!) because the other board members usually jump on my proposals, tell me how wrong I am to even suggest them and let my motions fail. But apparently, after facing three (3) different lawsuits for discrimination and also an annual election coming up wherein it would be really hard for the board president -- who is coming up for re-election -- to explain to the residents that they would have to live through yet another winter from hell involving lots of buckets and leaks because the board apparently wasn't focused, the motion actually passed!

And I'll be darned if the same thing didn't happen again with the 10% rent increase, which we also desperately need. HUD apparently told the board to raise the rents, the board dragged its feet, I made the motion -- and it actually PASSED -- even though the board president later sent out a memo to all the residents that made it appear as if the two beneficial motions were actually HIS idea.

So. What's my point? That being on Savo's board of directors is one of America's toughest jobs? Nope, that's not it. But if HUD hadn't harassed the board, if I hadn't sued them twice, if the residents hadn't complained that the place was falling apart and the management company hadn't stood up for the residents, we'd still have no 10% rent increase passed and no new roofs, right? And, also, if the current board had done their jobs right for the last several years, our re-hab wouldn't have had to be put off yet again (apparently until spring of 2009 this time) and we wouldn't have had that REAC scare either.

So please tell me, exactly, why we need to keep re-electing this board?

At Savo Island's next annual meeting, supposedly to be held this Saturday, September 6, I'd like to see us vote all eleven current board members OFF of the board and start again completely fresh. New board. New re-hab. New look. New attitude. New Savo!

Savo's bylaws state that all we need to vote the old board off completely is to have a simple majority of residents vote in favor of the motion. And then we can elect a new board from scratch -- one that will represent US.

But who will run for this new board? I will! I mean, it's not like being a board member is America's Toughest Job. It's not like crab fishing or bridge painting or being a lumberjack. You just gotta show up for three hours once a month.

However, we do need a slate of candidates to run for the new board -- people who are willing to serve for the good of the co-op instead of just look out for themselves. If you are a resident of Savo Island, a housing professional or an interested neighbor, it is now time for you to step up to the plate! I'm serious. The current board members have run Savo Island long enough! So. Let's get rid of the entire old board and elect all new faces!!!I Let's throw the old board out -- they had their chance -- and pick eleven all new members (except me -- I think that I have honestly and fairly represented the residents of Savo Island over the years).

Here are some other possible suggestions:

Laura (and baby Mena!)
Mr. Harun
Any of the new residents who have moved here within the last three years, especially those of foreign origin
Both of the Shantes
A Gant family member
People who don't live here and don't have personal vested special interests in serving on the board -- such as Joel Rubenzahl (an original board member)or some of our neighbors or one of the local merchants.

Please consider running for the board. For those of us who live here, our homes may depend on it! As for the rest of you, Savo Island could us a little help! Just ask for ten volunteers (plus me hopefully), get a slate going and elect yourselves on Saturday! How easy a job is that!.

PS: I won't be able to attend the annual meeting unfortunately. But I still want to run!

When: Saturday September 6, 2008 at 10 am
Where: Savo Island community room, 2017 Stuart Street
Why: Not only for the obvious reasons but there will also be a $50 door prize!