Saturday, May 4, 2013

APRIL BOARD MEETING: LET'S HEAR IT FOR THE MOMS!


I have been a season ticket holder since 1999 at CCSU for both basketball and football. I love sports and have played many of them. The MA Board Meeting this past Monday was like watching a good game and there certainly were upsets. In the end it looked a little like both sports; the Mom’s Group had a last minute touchdown, and slam dunk if you'll pardon the mixed metaphors.

There was only one comment at the beginning of the meeting and that had to do with water aerobics. Apparently the program is changing days, times and routines. A live instructor as will be taking over the activity as opposed to the old tape recorder. It sounded like a cost may be involved which is why there was a comment about it. Ultimately the discussion was taken off line and there was no mention in the minutes of it. So for those who enjoy water aerobics, I encourage you to contact Jim Samia, Chair of the Pool Committee to get answers.

The pools will be opened for Memorial Day weekend with the exception of the Mallard pool which probably will not open until June 15th at the latest. Seems it needs quite a bit of work and no one is sure how long it will take to complete. They would like it to take only two weeks but have allocated three weeks just in case.

The Greenwich pool now has solar panels on the roof of the bath house. I found this to be most interesting and fascinating because it was mentioned at a prior meeting. In fact, Farmington Woods received a grant award from the Clean Energy Finance & Investment
Authority. We were all told this was the first grant ever given to a condo association but unfortunately it was less than the amount needed, and the project will not be going forward. I didn’t think the project was for solar panels on the pool bath house which would heat the water in the pool, but it sounds like that’s what happened. The pool would have been my last choice for solar panels; the clubhouse or MA seems more deserving.

The meeting opened with discord about the minutes. One board member refused to accept the minutes because her corrections were not reflected. When she pressed our president, Sarah Harrigan for answers, sighting Roberts Rules of Order she got the same answer we all get, “We’ll have to check with our attorneys”. Why are we spending money on questions to attorneys that seem like they could be solved within the group? Clearly, there is a rub here.

Our general manager,Bob Elwood, said the clubhouse is making some improvements in sales and changes in the menu. It sounded positive. Seems residents really like the flatbread pizza. There has also been some networking with the outside community in an effort to bring in private parties and functions. But access to the club house continues to be an issue. Sarah really wants the two elevators, but for now the wheelchair lift will have to suffice. They are looking to replace the present one and would like a “more elegant” one in its place. It was also noted that Bob is really trying hard to make a go of a troubled community. He can be seen working around the community, painting and apparently as one employee put it, “he’s here all the time”. He should be, he works and rents a condo here. But Bob, you are doing a good job and we are happy to see you and your family about the Woods.

The budget was once again a large discussion item. It seems employee’s raises for employees is an issue. At the town hall meeting last month our GM made a statement something like this, “The employee’s did not receive a raise last year and are budgeted this year for a 3% increase.”  The Board members took offense to this statement saying it wasn’t true. The employees did receive bonuses which were distributed at the discretion of our previous GM. He in turn, as it was told at the meeting, gave each department head a sum of money that would be used for bonuses after the employee received their evaluation. So it wasn’t a wage increase, but a bonus from a pool of money which was somewhere in the neighborhood of $11K total. Some employees received a good bonus and some didn’t receive anything, but again, it was based on their performance review. It sounded as though the board was going to do the same thing this year as opposed to the 3% across the board raise as indicated by Bob at the town hall meeting. By giving bonuses as opposed to pay raises the cost to Farmington Woods is lower due to increased contributions to employees 401K that raises bring. I’m not sure if our employees know that.

Golf was a slim discussion topic at this meeting other than to say, golf membership is up to 196 not including the junior golfers. This is still a far cry from the 300 members necessary to break even, but they continue to work hard trying to recruit new members both individual and corporate. The new platinum program is flourishing and everyone seems pleased with the results. Good job Margaret Darby! Does this mean we are nearing the day when the golf department is self-sustaining? One can only hope.

The meeting closed and there were comments from the moms, who with their children waited patiently to speak about their Trick or Treat proposal. They wanted to know from the board why the Covenants Committee rejected their request.  Jamie Lee, Chair of the Covenants Committee, indicated that they were not turned down but told to come back to the committee with a new proposal that addressed one, child safety, two, residents living in 4-plexes with a common entrance way and three, ways to have trick or treat in a confined area of the community. The first objection, child safety was a joke. Parents are always concerned about their child’s safety and I’m sure Farmington Wood’s parents are no different. The second objection, resident’s living in a 4-plex was one covenant committee member’s pet peeve. Yes, you read correctly, pet issue. He doesn’t want the kids disturbing his dog although his dog disturbs all of his neighbors with incessant barking all hours of the day. The third objection leads me to tell the following story again and the resident who suggested it was in the room to clear matters up.

It was suggested that Trick or Treat be held out of a car trunk; after all, other communities are doing this. This goes against everything mother’s teaches their children about safety and accepting candy from a person in a car. Heck, I was told that as a kid. Anyway, the Moms called area towns only to find out that this was not advocated by town officials and was actually discouraged. The suggesting resident explained schools in West Hartford are doing this and kids were told that this was the exception to the “candy from a stranger” rule. The parents in the room, rightfully so, saw this as giving mixed messages to their children who have the same rights as all other residents.  

And that’s when the football crossed the goal line for touchdown or a slam dunk if you prefer the basketball metaphor. One very brave mother got up and scolded our president Sarah Harrigan for being rude and condescending to both her and her children who, before the meeting were sitting in chairs usually reserved for adults and committee members.

Prior to the start of the meeting Sarah approached the mother asking why kids were taking up chair space. The mother promptly replied, “They can sit on the floor or in our laps.” The mom called Sarah on her bad behavior and suggested this was an example of the children being seen and not heard attitude in Farmington Woods almost to the point of discrimination. But Sarah couldn’t and wouldn’t simply apologize for the off-handed remark.

No folks, she had to make matters worse by saying that she has a dog she dresses up for Halloween, as if a dog was comparable to a child! We certainly have a long way to go in attitude adjustment when it comes to acceptance of children in our community. By the way, the kids were well behaved at the meeting. They busied themselves with play dough and crafted all sorts of things with it. We have some creative and talented children in our community. How about we lighten up on the kid bashing?

Oh, and one more thing: Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there. You're doing a great job!





2 comments:

  1. Mothers usually teach their children not to accept candy from strangers or talk to strangers, regardless of whether it is out of a car trunk, on a street corner, or from the front door of a house. Perhaps it is trick or treating that sends the mixed message...
















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