I have lived at HLR for almost nine years.  During that time we have gone through a few board members, but during their terms they did what they thought was necessary and important for the ranch without any major consequences.  I mentioned this theory at an open board meeting in February with the hope of trying to calm relations between the two growing factions on the ranch. But, when I mentioned that the dissention was minimal, one faction  of board supporters vocally and rudely reacted and disrupted the meeting to get their point across and the other faction follows Robert’s Rules of Order and their point is over shadowed.

I am writing this from my perspective, but fully understand everything may be a point of contention with some, but a major concern with others.

I mentioned in the March open meeting (when the board finally responded to public request to ask for volunteers for their work committees) that I would like to volunteer for the newly forming election work group to see how the board’s process worked.  Now lets remember the new Board’s March meeting minutes at the next meeting because my request was not mentioned.   They stated that the names were on a separate list.  Are not meeting minutes to reflect ( in summary) what was actually stated or are the past minutes? Yet we get what the Board wants us to hear? Transparency?

The election committee was selected and as expected, my name was not on it.  I was notified by email to that conclusion, which I appreciated.  What I did not appreciate was the second paragraph that accused me of “ your lengthy berating of the Board of Directors” This is one of our board members lashing out at a resident that volunteered for one of their committees.

Past Boards have always refuted to the expertise or knowledge of our residents to volunteer for work groups.  Our present Board has made it very clear many times that they were elected and they will do things their way.  It is not a problem with what they are doing, it’s the way they are doing it.  Almost all past board members or past work group representatives have been totally ignored.  All that experience has been tossed aside to fill spots with present Board supports.  Even our present Federal Government in DC has the sense to realize the importance of experience and places Republicans in positions.  Our recent election was 45-55%  those numbers are not overwhelming numbers, but yet why are only 80-90% or more of the board supporters on all of these committees? Transparency.

Lets look at other campaign platforms- A Full Audit. That’s going great. The board gets rid of the existing finance committee ( almost two years of experience) and managers to ignore any advice from the Ranch accountant (of seven years) and he resigned. Every open meeting at the beginning of this Board’s term, it was mentioned that we are new, getting our feet wet, so give us time.  Time, in six months on the job you have to run through every aspect of Holly Lake Ranch.  Now, that may not be a bad thing, but balls are being dropped, and  with the current load  the Board is taking  on.  Now the Board has contracted with an accounting firm in Hawkins to manage  accounts. I moved to Holly Lake Ranch with the understanding and confidence we were managed by knowledgeable staff.  I for one feel very uncomfortable   having the Ranch run by residents (the Board) and my dues managed by an outside firm that will not have my interest front and center like an onsite accountant.

Have you had a chance to review  the proposed, by-law changes by the Board? The general concepts of their recommendations fall in line with many of their pasts proposals and may or may not pass when voted on this fall. The original by-laws for the Ranch were no doubt put together by Silverleaf to represent Silverleaf and the, then A-Board and their interests. Since we have moved on from Silverleaf, its time that our by-laws reflect professional management. We presently have, without a doubt, the most knowledgeable General Manager anyone could ask for. He is very personable and is always available to the residents. His accounting ability was very evident when he presented his budget for 2015.  He works exceptionally well with the Ranch staff, great restaurant experience, and superb knowledge about golf which is evident by the ever improving golf course, our primary amenity.  Why then are the words General Manager not mentioned  in these new by-law changes? The General Manager is our representative  with a finger on the pulse of everything that goes on here.  The Board is an integral part of our Ranch management, but not the primary. The Board should make recommendations, share ideas, and information with the General Manager, they should be a team with one common goal- the Ranch.

The new computer system, “Jonas” is a very capable program to upgrade many areas of the Ranch. One of the many upgrades was the ability to create a comprehensive network to communicate with the residents. This was a newsletter to come from the administration office with any and all information. Residents were requested to provide their email addresses ( if desired) to get this information and many residents responded. Unfortunately, that is not what is happening. That email list was turned over to a resident by the Board, and tainted.   Processed Ranch information is not coming from the administration office but from a residents personal email account with the Board’s approval. Transparency? And if that’s not bad enough, some of the email addresses turned in to the administration office have been black balled from information. Transparency.

We have such a beautiful community. It is a shame that we cannot agree to disagree on many items. This Board has stated many times that they were elected and they will do things their way.  Well, if nothing else, they have succeeded in that. We have such a great opportunity to grow and prosper, especially under the management of our current general manager. Let the professionals do their jobs that they are more than capable of doing.  We need to make their jobs easier and the Board should be guiding them, not restricting them. How do you feel as a resident paying dues to have an outside organization managing your community? Personally, it scares me.

Since writing the above article, new Board maneuvers need to be brought to light that most residents may not be aware of. Our GM has always had an open door policy with the residents. Our Board president has dictated the door to the Administration office be closed at all times and entry is by appointment only.

Our current Board president recently had a meeting at the restaurant that involved the resident owners of the TABC liquor license. Not only did he have them removed, (which included our 5th Board member) he called security in to do so, and he declared that He runs the Ranch and He has the right to do so. These folks he tried to have removed are concerned   residents and volunteers, that he treated like this. Where is this dictatorship heading? Be very careful with all the half-truths coming from the Board.  Take the time to research all dissemination of Board propaganda. Remember, this letter comes from a residents personal website, not an office site from our administration office. The restaurant presentation is a prime example of a set up. Taking photos in the kitchen just after   serving and cooking for over 100 people and claiming the grill is unfit. A picture the next day had the grill clean and ready to use. Transparency.

We may not need to create new amenities on the Ranch, but we for sure need to keep the ones we have that are being used by residents. We have a Board spiraling out of control and it is clear it starts with the current president.

I’m not sure the 45% of our silent majority on the Ranch will have any affect on this Board’s actions. Believe it or not we are under siege as residents and definitely our administration. Good residents are considering moving, or are leaving HLR and we have already lost five good employees.  I only hope these two factions can come together with a mutual understanding and concern for the Ranch and its residents.


Holly Lake Resident

Greg Demko