Restructuring HOAs case study supplement

The SCG case study is in preparation as a supplement to A Plan Toward Restructuring HOAs. This paper will be released soon. Here’s a peek:

Preface

For this case study, my objective was to advise the BOD of a $22 million revenues, 9,500 unit, active-adult community in Arizona as to its conduct in deciding difficult and controversial  issues.  I put my management/BOD skills to work and began the study. It is very important in the learning process to share recommendations with others, and to accept their constructive criticism. Readers can reject, modify, or remove recommendations. This approach sharpens one’s thinking and helps to make a more solid case for HOA reforms.

In regard to the SCG members at large, apathy — evidenced by silence or perhaps fear — prevailed as commonly found in HOA-Land. The vast majority of comments  to my posts on social media and elsewhere were irrelevant and without merit. They failed to address my messages concerning  violations of the laws and governing documents by boards of directors.   Rather, they focused on my HOA right or wrong, take it or leave it, and move out

 The necessary first step for democratic reforms, as proposed in A Plan Toward Restructuring the HOA Model of Governance, is the reorientation and reeducation of the pubic and especially boards of directors. Based on my experience I presumed that  they are uninformed and many prefer to remain uninformed; wrongly believing, and being led to believe,  that their HOA is  a wonderful country club instead of a legally binding contract between them and their HOA. 

The findings from this research reaffirmed this view of HOA directors and members regardless of income or education levels — they are highly uninformed about the legal and governmental issues of an HOA association. It seems that the  boards of directors over the years were and are heavily influenced by the Community Associations Institute’s teachings and programs.

Collectively referenced as the CAI School of HOA Governance  stemming from its focus on “large-scale associations,” such as SCG. Some 13 SCG members served as CAI members, including CAI presidents or directors, while serving as SCG’s presidents, directors, and committee chairs.  Its impact is devastating and cannot be underestimated.

This finding was very disappointing!  The behavior and conduct by the leadership displayed false and misleading information, an illusion of “no problems here,” and for the most part, silence. It supported the position of authoritarian and cult followers as maintained in the Plan’s view of the HOA Culture, and its description of the social and political dynamics at work in HOA-Land.

This Supplement is organized in time squence based on posts made to the HOA Contitutional Government website, including comments,  referencing or alluding to emails, to  the official Sun City Grand website’s News of the Day posts; and to posts and comments to social media websites: NextDoor (Desert Sage); Facebook’s Sun City Grand Members (AZ), closed by Administrator’ opposition; and Members of Sun City Grand AZ.

These exchanges are all reproduced as is, unedited except for  omissions of non-relevant sections.  In this manner, lacking audio-video materials, one can get a feeling of the message tones.

George K. Staropoli

February 14, 2022

HOA case study approach vs focus groups

The more familiar focus group methodology stands in sharp contrast to the Case Study approach, which is a top-down, managerial process, while focus groups are a bottoms-up approach to provide guidance to decision-makers. The key aspect here is how does the researcher use the data gathered, which is dependent on the depth and quality of its subsequent analysis.

An important caveat:  focus groups can be used to advance personal agendas by shaping the content of the issue or conditions to be studied and/or the phrasing and wording of the questions asked.  There is generally no debate between the respondents questions or criticizing their views.

HOA Case Study Overview

Simply put, the case method is a discussion of real-life situations that business facing executives.  IT IS AN EDUCATIONAL PROCESS FOR ALL HOA MEMBERS and will help in becoming a more meaningful, relevant, and productive participant in the governance of your HOA.   It is members only and independent of any HOA approval or regulations.

If properly conducted, the outcome  should provide your BOD with solutions that have much more merit than listening to the views gathered at focus groups or Q & A sessions (workshops, fireside chats, meet the board, etc.).

The method consists of being presented with a real event or issue or a case facing an executive – president, BOD, committee chair — and asking a question or two regarding what you would decide. As you review each case, you’ll put yourself in the shoes of the key decision maker, analyze the situation, and decide what you would do to address the challenges.   

Importantly, there is the requirement to present your views or opinions before the study group (online participants), and  after a discussion with other group participants you will be asked to volunteer your decision and reasons why.  If you feel that your decision[s] have merit you can present them to the president or BOD as you feel comfortable.  It would be appropriate to indicate the basis for your recommendations, the HOA Case Study Group that you participated in.

How to participate in a meaningful and instructive manner.  YOU are the decision maker! What to do?  (Harvard Business School, Executive Education). 

Here’s your chance to deal effectively with HOA issues and resolve the problems in a practical  manner. No unsupported opinions, feelings, likes/hates, etc.

  • What are the most important issues being raised?
  • Each case begins with a text description followed by exhibits. Ask yourself: What is the case generally about, and what information do I need to analyze?
  • Put yourself in the shoes of the case protagonist, and own that person’s problems. Ask yourself: What basic problem is this executive trying to resolve?
  • What recommendations should I make based on my case data analysis?

. . . .

Why are focus groups used?

(Copley Focus Centers)

“Focus Groups are generally used to gather people’s opinions, ideas, and beliefs on a certain topic or product.  While surveys or questionnaires can be useful, they can not capture what a person is thinking or feeling.  This is where a focus group will come into play. . . .  The main purpose of focus group research is to draw upon respondents’ attitudes, feelings, beliefs, experiences and reactions in a way where other methods are not applicable.

“Focus Groups are generally used when there is little or no knowledge about the target market.  Most commonly Focus Groups are used when a new . . .  service is being developed and the company is not sure how the public will react.  In this instance, a Focus Group is conducted to get opinions, ideas, suggestions, and reactions before the product or service is available to the public.  Once the information is gathered, changes may be applied to the service or product to make sure that it will be received well by the target audience.”

Publications on HOA constitutionality and legal structure

Peter F. Drucker was an internationally renowned management consultant in the 50s and author of the management “bible,” The Practice of Management. “A classic since its publication in 1954, The Practice of Management was the first book to look at management as a whole and being a manager as a separate responsibility.” Bob Woodward you should know. 

View publications here: Amazon.com: George K Staropoli: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

Advocate HOA practical education webinar

After viewing Raelene Schifano’s first webinar I was impressed with her detailed knowledge and involvement in HOA issues. Her education series dealing with the nitty-gritty of HOAs is much needed and should be helpful to the average HOA homeowner.  She’s undertaking practical and knowledgeable proactive steps toward HOA reforms. While based in WA state, I strongly believe all concerned homeowners seeking information from an advocate and not from your HOA or its attorney, especially if he’s a CAI member, to listen up.

From her promo:

HOA Fightclub302

“I will offer this educational series every Saturday, August 14th at 11:00am CST. I allow everyone to participate and offer solutions. Hope to see you there.”

The continuing saga of Bendt and public speech in HOAs

Earlier I had reported on Arizona homeowner Bendt who dared speak out and criticize her HOA president and BOD using social media, emails, and pamphlets among other statements. See HOA limited-purpose public directors and officers  and Limited purpose public HOA board; slander; AZ HB 2052. What courage and determination to fight against her HOA president and 2 board members who are attorneys.

 With all respect and encouragement I have supported her fight to defend  herself from accusations of defamation. In her appeal, which she lost, the HOA admitted that the president was a limited-purpose public figure with the acceptance that social media and that the HOA is a public forum;  with protected free speech in regard to matters of members’ concern and HOA governance issues. Bendt protested an election and alleged improper and wrongful acts by the president. The result was  a well calculated, in my view, personal defamation attack on Bendt to avoid the larger, broader aspects that protect members’ criticisms, with certain restraints.

Her defense has now moved on to the AZ Supreme Court, waiting for acceptance of her petition. Roughly less than 10% of supreme court petitions for review are accepted. Good luck to Bendt!  If accepted, then her case is scheduled for oral arguments and a decision in a few months.

 Stay tuned to this case of widespread importance to homeowner rights.

 BTW, homeowner protections contained in AZ HB 2052 are lost as the bill died in Rules committee, which is controlled by the leaders of the majority party.

 For the record, I am not a lawyer nor am I giving legal opinion or advice.