It’s time again to speak up, to make your voice heard on a matter of great importance to PTCA, our condominium association.
The Board of Directors comprises five persons, and three of those positions will be decided by the election on June 15. This is a huge chunk of decision-making responsibility, as the winners will fill those positions through the coming year and the next, until 2017.
For the three open positions there are four declared candidates – the four unit owners whose experience and views are expressed here, in their own words, in the election issue supplement.
The questions were developed by the NSM Committee, which tries always to keep its ear attuned to the concerns of residents. Our hope is that they will stimulate follow-up questions by owners who attend the several Meet the Candidate events early in June.
Thanks to the candidates for going on record, both in their personal Candidate Statements, and by addressing the specific questions that follow.
Joe Guzzardo [JG, new candidate] Our board has gotten out of hand. They have persecuted residents of this building and engaged in self-serving activities. The clique that controls our board acts without regard to the rules they are required to follow. They need to be stopped.
Michael Parrie [MP, standing for re-election] I have been and would like to continue to be a Board member in order to contribute to the fine building in which we live. Each of us has an investment at Park Tower, and it’s important to ensure we maintain the high quality of living and property values of the building. Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure we comply with the law and maintain a healthy reserve in order to avoid any unnecessary special assessments or lawsuits.
George Pauley [GP, standing for re-election] To continue to improve the association’s finances and to assure the building is well maintained. To improve the building amenities to a first class level so as to increase property values. Continue to lower assessments beyond current levels. During the 8 years I have been on the board, assessments have decreased 22% compared to the historical average, at the same time as the contributions to the reserve fund have been increased by $1,000,000 a year to $1,400,000 this fiscal year. As the building is over 40 years old, we have been able to pay for major repairs without special assessments. I voted against the 3.5% increase this fiscal year. I believe a 2.5% or 3.0% increase would have been sufficient to meet current needs and reserve funding. I will do the same next year unless there are unanticipated major funding needs. Because of the sound financial planning of the past 8 years, we will not need any.
Jean Shamo [JS, new candidate] I want to support our excellent management and maintain our building’s quality since my husband and I enjoy our home and hope to remain here for the rest of our lives. We also have a significant financial interest in it.
[JG] I’ve lived here for a long time. Overall, I like living here and hope to do so for many more years assuming that I’m not driven out by either our rising costs or persecution by the powers that be.
[MP] I have several years of leadership experience in which I have learned to look at the big picture as well as listen to experts, employees, clients, and the community. It’s important not to get too carried up into the details that one loses sight of our mission and purpose. Ultimately, a leader serves the will of the people and makes decisions that are best for Association, not for oneself or a few individuals.
[GP] Eight years as president of the Park Tower Board. The association is in excellent financial condition, assessments are lower, the reserve fund has doubled and we are able to fund major repairs without a need for special assessments. Personally, I recently retired from a successful 40 + year career working in health care. Most recently for a multi-million dollar hospital system running their managed care company, taking it from a money loser to one of the top profit centers in the company.
[JS] We lived for over 25 years in a housing cooperative where consensus was sought on important issues facing its members. As an accountant and financial advisor by training and experience, I believe I understand issues facing individual owners and the association as a whole.
[JG] I was a member of the Budget and Finance committee for a year or so, about 8 years ago.
[MP] As Board liaison, I have served on the Home Improvement Committee for the past two years, the Rules & Regulations Committee for the past year, and the Ad Hoc Rules Review Committee last fall.
[GP] Rental Policy (2014) .. Rules Review (2014, 2005) .. Health Club (2014-15, 1999-2004) .. Home Improvement (2000-present) .. Social (2000-present) .. Floor captains
[JS] Budget and Finance Committee (2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15) .. Ad-hoc Rental Policy Committee (August 2014 through adoption of policy) .. Ad-hoc Rules & Regulations Committee (Winter-Spring 2014)
[JG] Our board needs to follow the rule of law and our condominium declaration. The funds of our association are not their personal piggy bank that can be tapped for any pet projects of their own.
[MP] The Board will continue to face budget issues, such as continuation of the riser project, consideration of a remodel of the health club, as well as possible amendment issues to be voted on by owners, who have suggested purchasing a delinquent mall space, expanding the board of directors, allowing pets, and/or lowering the threshold to amend the declaration in the future.
[GP] To lower assessments while maintaining the building and fully funding the reserve fund to recommended levels in the next 2 years. To continue the riser project and multiple other major projects such as replacement of the tower roof. To keep Tim as the building manager and a stable office staff.
[JS] Maintaining adequate reserves while keeping assessments at reasonable levels .. Keeping abreast of legislative proposals and influencing outcomes for our association, both positive and negative, such as rebutting the sprinkler initiative by the State .. Improving the collaboration among management, board and owners
[JG] I think they have a pretty cozy relationship with Tim. The board should use the resources provided by D&K where appropriate and their experience and advice should be considered before any relevant decisions are made, but it must always be understood that D&K operates in a management capacity only. D&K is not a member of our board and executive decisions belong exclusively to our board.
[MP] Simply put, the Board sets the direction and policy of the Association, and management carries out the policy through procedures. Many times, I have asked, “Tim, what is your recommendation?” I do this because he is the professional property management expert. Overall, the Board and management should work together as a team, not adversaries.
[GP] It is the board’s role to set the direction for management, so management can carry out the day to day operations of the building. The board does NOT micro-manage. We have an excellent professional management team and management company that can be trusted to run the association.
[JS] The Board directs and approves all major actions and contracts but Management carries out the policies and day-to-day activities.
[JG] That’s a very bad sign. The 3 staff members that I know of who are now gone had been with us for many years and they all left within short order of each other. Why?
[MP] There has been a lot of discord among Board members, primarily between those who like to micro-manage the office for their own agendas and others who have trust in DK Condo carrying out the duties set forth by the Board. I speak up if I have very important questions, but otherwise have faith in the professional management company we have hired. They are the property management experts with years of experience and the resources to perform the day-to-day activities of serving residents and overseeing the accounting. In a similar manner and in following the spirit of the Palm II decision, I follow the recommendation of our Board attorney. To sum it up, it frustrates management when Board members completely disregard management and our attorney’s recommendations and/or spread information that is simply not factual.
[GP] I had first-hand discussions with each of the people who left. They left because of harassment by a politically motivated group of residents and board members. I publically stated over a year ago that staff would leave if this group continued to: post false statements on websites, send out critical campaign materials (from last year’s election), continued in person harassment of management staff and continued to disrupt board meetings. It continued and staff left.
[JS] It is highly regrettable that we have lost experienced personnel who provided valuable information to our committees and management. I believe there was acrimony between some owners and management and the hostile environment led these people to pursue other positions.
[JG] 29 years
[MP] 11 years
[GP] About 28 years
[JS] We bought our residence in November 2007, so 7-1/2 years.
[JG] 28 years
[MP] 11 years
[GP] About 30 years
[JS] We lived here half-time until April 2011, as we still had a business elsewhere, and moved here full-time in April 2011 .. so 4 years full-time, 3-1/2 years half-time.
[JG] Maybe 4 or 5
[MP] I have attended all meetings except one, when I was out of town at a conference.
[GP] All 25
[JS] Around 22.