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Video coverage of the RMA meeting (1 hour, 5 minutes)

After months of loud discussion, the Rancho Murieta Association began a quiet conversation at Tuesday’s meeting about how to improve its process for nominating and approving committee members.

Director Rob Brown, from his position as chair of the Governing Documents Committee, suggested the RMA create a written procedure for selecting committee members and dealing with those who volunteer but aren’t selected.

Brown suggested that a volunteer who doesn’t win a spot on one committee could be offered a seat on another committee where there’s an opening. 

“I think that needs to be more transparent,” he said of the process of selecting committee members. “I think it needs to be more definitive. And we can avoid some of the things that we’ve had the last couple of months. Again, if it’s in writing and it’s transparent, I think that’s a little bit better way to go than just having a slate come up to vote on....”

No one on the board reacted to Brown’s suggestions, which weren’t listed as an agenda item, but Director Stephanie Bianchi later reported that the Recreation Committee, which she chairs, had discussed the need for such steps at its meeting earlier this month.

The Recreation Committee has been ground zero for the problems in recent months, with a string of contentious board meetings about who should chair the committee and who should serve.

Also as a result of the recent Recreation Committee meeting, General Manager Greg Vorster suggested the board forward to the Governing Documents Committee a proposed statement of purposes and goals written by Recreation for itself. He said the document places term limits on committee members, allows up to three alternate members and fixes the total number of committee members. Vorster said Governing Documents needs to review the statement to be sure the document doesn’t overreach the committee’s powers. The board agreed.

Vorster suggested Governing Documents revisit all the committee charters and sweep any changes through them all. Brown said he’d like to see a uniform approach, “so that what goes for one committee goes for all the committees.”

Pursuing a community survey

General Manager Greg Vorster renewed the board conversation about the possibility of a community survey. He said an outside firm he contacted would charge in the neighborhood of the $50,000 the Community Services District paid for a survey that has come in for much criticism.

Neighbor Martha Glunt suggested the community survey be done by employing community organizations to help drive survey response.

Director Cheryl McElhany urged that a survey be done, possibly with an online service like Survey Monkey. In addition to questions about recreation activities, she said the survey should ask about issues like support for a community center. Director Rob Brown endorsed a survey and said it could be done with paper forms mailed with RMA ballots this fall.

In other business...

  • The board unanimously approved the long-discussed purchase of security cameras – 38 of them, including six to keep an eye on the RMA Building – from Watchdog Surveillance at a cost of $36,832. General Manager Greg Vorster said funds for the purchase have been accrued already. The purchase has been on hold as the RMA awaited the Community Services District’s technical requirements, he said. 
  • In public comments, Eric Cargo complained about the $3.50 monthly charge Greenfield has begun levying for sending paper bills – without much notice, he said. “It just seems there’s another piece of the puzzle where Greenfield, (CEO) Mike Powers, is going on the cheap,” Cargo said. Director Joanne Brandt said the RMA’s Communications Committee doesn’t have any say in Greenfield’s rates and fees. General Manager Greg Vorster said Greenfield is required to charge RMA customers less than the national rate for video services, but he agreed RMA has no say in Greenfield’s decision to levy a charge for paper billing.
  • Maintenance Manager Rod Hart received kudos from all directions: Mail from members who appreciate a new approach to maintaining common areas, compliments from Director Rob Brown for the great condition of the community’s sports fields despite the heavy rain, and thanks from President Alex Bauer for the lack of flooding despite the precipitation.
  • Also in public comments, Danny Carrillo asked the board to consider having its ballots be public in Thursday’s election to fill a vacant board seat. Alex Bauer, board president, said the process would be explained at Thursday’s meeting. Carrillo is a candidate for the position.
  • Neighbor Stephanie Xenos, who serves on the Recreation Committee, thanked the board for its support of the recent Casino Night. Separately, the board approved setting aside half of the event’s $5,000 profit to fund the 2020 event.
  • The board approved Stephen Bianchi and Linda Klein as alternate members of the Finance Committee and Amy Hein as an alternate member of the Recreation Committee.
  • The board approved spending, from reserves, $10,128 for a turf aerator and $9,441 for an aero-thatch and seeder.

Nellie Bloom's picture
Joined: 08/03/2007
Posts: 362
Post rating: 587


Thank you to Director Brown and all the Board and Committee members for starting this important process. It's a good idea add more structure and transparency and it's a gift to the community.

I can set up a survey if the Board would like to test drive it before investing all that money. It would cost about $100 for a month long subscription to the software for 3k and up responses.  It would have the benefit of collecting responses as well as comments. Multiple entries from the same person can be eliminated to a reasonable extent and there would be a downloadable response analysis. The hardest part of surveys are structuring the questions to get the information you need while avoiding influencing the respondents. Let me know if you'd like my help. nellie@hipentertainment.com

Thank you to all the Board members and thank you RM dot com for the great reporting. 

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