The Recreation Centers of Sun City West is taking a look at some bylaws in efforts to simplify them by removing unnecessary details that involve procedures.
Those will then be moved into a governing board procedures manual.
“One of the things we are trying to do on the board is take procedure out of bylaws and put it where it belongs,” Board Director Peggy Robbins said.
Bylaw 4.2 currently states who is eligible to run for the board, followed by steps a candidate must take to get on the ballot.
Regarding eligibility, Bylaw 4.2.1 states, “Any resident Owner Member in good standing who is available on a year round basis for participation in the business affairs of the Association, in accordance with the section defining “Director Meeting Attendance,” may become a candidate for election to the Governing Board by filing with the elected Secretary of the Governing Board not later than January 15 of each year.”
But there is a recommendation for the bylaw to be changed as follows: “A resident Owner Member in good standing, available on a year-round basis, not related to any other member of the board by marriage, domestic relationship or birth, may file for candidacy.”
Including the part that an Owner Member not be related to any other member of the board by marriage, domestic relationship or birth lead to a discussion during the RCSCW workshop Sept. 16. Eventually, the board decided to delay a vote on the bylaw changes as it will revisit the matter at its next workshop meeting, 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 14 in the R.H. Johnson Recreation center lecture hall, 19803 R.H. Johnson Blvd.
Board President Wanda Schnabel broke down the discussion into two separate issues, as members were at odds mainly over whether candidates needed to acquire 200 signatures, as well as how a relationship between two or more members might affect the board’s operation.
“Say the whole board turned out to be all related to each other,” Ms. Schnabel said. “How do they relate to the rest of the residents that are here where you can have a family gathering and discuss corporation business, board business and it can greatly sway what can happen in the community.”
Ms. Robbins did not hide the fact her husband is president of the PORA board.
“If there is an issue where we are dealing with PORA, I will make sure everyone understands if I choose to vote, which can be my right, you will first hear me say that there could be a conflict of interest and then I will make a decision whether I vote or not,” she said. “I do not want anything to be questioned. And that is why we’re making the suggestion that this be taken out. We need to be above reproach.”
In an interview prior to the workshop, Board Director Ed Van Cott said he does not have the same views as those who drafted the changes.
“I think it should be the choice of the voters to decide who they want,” said Mr. Van Cott, and at the meeting added there is no definition of “domestic relationship” in the Procedures Manual.
He also said the change in the bylaw is not clearly worded.
“The way it’s worded, if you had someone on the board you’re related to, whose term was ending, you still could’t apply to be on the board at the start of the next term,” Mr. Van Cott noted.
RCSCW General Services Officer Katy O’Grady said while the bylaw as is may seem that way, the intent is not to prevent a person related to an outgoing board member from filing, only to keep two relatives off the board at the same time.
Mr. Van Cott and Diane Cheney, a former director, are in a domestic relationship and served on the board at the same time until she resigned in January.
Mr. Van Cott is puzzled that the recommendations to changes in bylaws were made without committee input, as is normally done. Mr. Van Cott pointed out there has been no bylaw committee approved by the governing board.
“There’s something I don’t understand. A group of directors decided they would get together and do that,” Mr. Van Cott added. “The group was not approved by the governing board. They just did that independently on their own without telling others on the board what they were doing.”
Also on debate was whether candidates need to file a petition with 200 signatures. Directors Bob Garrett and James Young said they are fine with the needed number, though Mr. Young, director, joked that more should be required.
“If a person wants to run for the board, that doesn’t take the time to go out there and do a little work, and get a few signatures, introduce themselves, meet some people, they don’t belong on the board,” Mr. Young said.
Others, like Mikal Haaheim, said the number should be lowered or eliminated.
“One of our issues is how to recruit, train and retain board members,” he said. “Quite often we are limited. When I ran for the first term we had exactly the number of people for the positions available. My experience as a councilor weren’t directly applicable and on paper I didn’t look that good. If anybody else with more business background probably would have gotten more votes than me. I’m glad I’m in, but we need a bigger candidacy pool.”
Ms. Robbins said the petition should be taken out entirely, saying that activity is something associated with polictical candidates.
“We are a group of volunteers,” she said. “You will get to know who I am when you come to the forums. I think getting 200 signatures is eliminating a bunch of people from running for the board.”
She added, however, that if there is to be a 200-signature petition, a candidate would have to personally go out and get them.
“If I went and got Tony, or anybody else to support me, the people they’re getting to sign, he represents them, he knows the people, so they’re taking his word that you’re worthwhile. And that’s a valuable thing,” Mr. Young said.
• Tina Gamez may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.