Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Mismanagement or Ignoringggggggg?

feel this needs to be injected here because of the subjects and issues involved with my personal experience recently. Working with Keystone getting landscape problems resolved of is like herding cats. I contacted and started working with Keystone ( We do not need to use names here) eight months ago. This was contact by email, phone and personal contact to get plants replaced in the hedge between Coto drive and association property. A truck made a spill there years back and the area slope plants and hedge has never survived. Keystone sent out a soils engineer and made tests. Three months later I was contacted that plants were ordered and would be replaced. Five months after initial contact I again started the email and phone calls. No action. Two months ago a landscape crew replaced two plants about ten inches tall/ ( The hedgeline is over three feet and plays a part in cushioning the traffic noise from Coto Drive) and they lasted about three weeks before dying. We now have thirty five foot open area with dead plants and a bare slope as a result of eight months of working diligently with Keystone. If that is not mismanagement I need a new definition of the term. What Joe is saying in part is, that situations like this should be put in a file at Keystone and when the contract is renegotiated with landscaping, it is reviewed. It has been stated several times but to no avail that Coto is just too large a property for Keystone. This community should be split between the north and south residences and two property management companies assigned and the responsibilities divided. That is another subject and issue but one that will reoccur I'm confident in the not so distant future. In respect to the fuel modification changes, at one time, CZ Master was very strict on the use of any plants not indigenous to the canyon. Then, In 1996 J.M. Peters built the Canyon Estates and used palms in every one of the models. The board did nothing to my knowledge and so now we have palms,Cypress,Willow and even avocado trees in front yards. ( Once "the Camel's nose is inside the tent".....)
How to correct this?Delegates elect the BOD. Delegates do not show up at BOD meetings and are not even close to these issues. ( Count the signatures on any sign-in sheet and see how many are Delegates)To be a Delegate is more of a popularity contest than a community dedication. Joe's "concerned citizens" need to start now interviewing and educating a select number of residents that share these concerns and will run for Delegates in their respective areas. This is the most expedient avenue to change. I remember not so many years back---- and many that read this forum will also-- a gathering of dedicated residents meeting in a garage and starting a mail campaign. It snowballed into a movement that kept this community moving in the direction that has resulted in continued growth, not stagnation. These are the kinds of actions that will bring change and correct these problems. the only problem is, Coto no longer seems to be comprised of residents that care what goes on down the street or beyond their doorstep. I remember the prophetic words of John Zarian in an article in the OC Register following the school issue. John gave the interviewer a running account of both sides position in the school within the gates of Coto and concluded with " Eventually, the residents of Coto will get what they deserve ."
I didn't really understand what that meant at the time. It certainly has a new meaning today.
Bill Gast
----- Original Message -----
From: Morabito, Joe

John: In my business, we deal with Purchasing Department types all the time. They are nice people; but tough, non-emotional negotiators. We need to differentiate between managing people and managing suppliers. In running my company, I wear many hats. When I am managing our employees, I react very differently than when I am involved in managing our hundreds of suppliers world wide. In dealing with CZ suppliers while I served on the Board, I was always nice; but tough when it came to protecting our member's interests. At least one Board member needs to fill this role. A Board member with experience, needs to focus on Supplier Selection and Contract Management since it is the key to controlling our expenses. The current Board wants to hire an Executive Director to do the job because clearly they have not been doing it. That might be ok; but it depends on that person's experience. We cannot depend on the Property Management Company or the Association Attorney, who ever they may be, to fully protect our member's interest because they all belong to the HOA industry and relationships are cozy. Only a tough minding Board Member can fill this role. When I stepped on to the Board, I found contracts, presumably reviewed by the Association attorney, that were a mess; missing all sorts of language that we needed. It was not good.

Finally, I have never suggested that current CZ Board Members are stupid. After all, they do live in Coto. They did not get here by accident. I just don't believe they have done a good job while serving on the Board. I don't think they fully understand their fiduciary responsibility to protect the interests of our members as paramount. They have never developed comprehensive goals and objectives to manage the Association which in my opinion is sloppy management. There has been no strategic thinking that I can see. Since I understand the workings of the Association, I know what should be happening to properly manage it and I just don't see those things happening. It really is pretty simple. Regards, Joe Morabito


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