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Foothills HOA board is moving in the right direction

By David Randolph, AFN Guest Writer

Aug 4, 2021

Two years ago, I wrote an open letter to my fellow members of the Foothills Community Association advising them that our HOA was in trouble.

One year ago, homeowners spoke up loudly demanding change. They voted 11:1 for bylaws reforms intended to increase transparency, accountability, and responsiveness to the interests of the Association’s members.

This year, I can report that the HOA is moving in the right direction and great progress is being made toward realizing the goals of the reform movement.

One laudable example of this new transparency is that the HOA’s website now posts the packet of materials prepared for directors for monthly Board meetings, as well as videos of board meetings. Homeowners can now see exactly what the Board is acting on. Outstanding!

The reforms created term limits for board directors, and this facilitated the election of three new directors in October. I have been delighted that these new directors and the four incumbent directors have been able to work together in harmony.

Incumbent director Gary Reny was elevated to be board president and he has done a superb job of managing the melding of old and new directors.

At all times, he has shown balanced and objective leadership, and a willingness to give all directors - and all homeowners -their say. The rancor and sense of ‘us versus them’ that previously plagued meetings are distant memories.

I am particularly proud of Rob Doherty, who had been my colleague in the reform campaign.

Rob was appointed treasurer, and he has done a superlative job of tightening up the HOA’s finances. For example, he closed a redundant bank account containing significant funds for which there was no budget and transferred these funds to the budgeted reserve account.

One unexpected benefit of having Rob on the board centers on the rescue of the Festival of Lights, whose dire situation was revealed last month in the Ahwatukee Foothills News. He was the first to grasp the need for the HOA to take over the FOL in order to preserve this cherished Foothills tradition.  

Rob conceived a plan to save the FOL without any increase in the HOA’s financial commitment. While questions remain concerning long-term issues, Rob’s plan ensures the FOL will live on while the community decides these issues.

The Board now welcomes the greater involvement of the HOA’s homeowners. It is forming new committees to join the existing ones in tackling key issues.  

The reconstituted Lakes Committee is energetically acting to address the many aspects of restoring our lakes to prime condition.

A new Landscape Committee has been created, and it is blessed with a wealth of exceptionally qualified and highly energized homeowners. I already have seen the fruits of the committee’s labors as I tour the community.

The committee that was addressing the 14th Way and Dry Creek Road erosion dilemma has had its mandate expanded to include serious erosion problems throughout the HOA.

A new Election Policy Committee (on which I serve) is developing a formal policy to ensure free and fair elections.  

One committee of particular interest to me is the Bylaws Committee created in 2019 to review and update the HOA’s bylaws. Gary initially chaired it, but he passed the chairmanship over to Rob when he became president.

The committee’s extensive reworking of the bylaws is now posted on the HOA’s website for review, and it could be voted on by the HOA’s membership in October. 

I thank Gary, Rob, and the others who served with me on the Bylaws Committee for their tireless efforts over many months to update and strengthen the Bylaws. I urge all HOA members to vote in favor of the proposed amendments, as they fulfill a major promise of the reform movement.  

I commend the board for its initiative in delving into some of the critical issues facing the HOA that had been avoided for too long.  

For example, the board is looking seriously at the problem of exterior walls. I fear this is a ticking timebomb, with potentially major financial implications. The sooner the situation is addressed, the better.

Another vexing issue is the HOA’s relationship with the Foothills Golf Club. Given the history of the other golf clubs in Ahwatukee, it is imperative that the HOA make this a priority.

Overall, I am very hopeful that our HOA has turned a corner. There is a lot of hard work yet to do, but things are moving in the right direction.

I thank the board directors, both old and new, who are all volunteers who have been selflessly giving our HOA so much of their time.   

I also thank all the HOA homeowners who backed the reform movement and voted for Rob and the other new directors last October. Your support was crucial to achieving this progress.  

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