Foothills residents deserve fair elections, term limits
This article first appeared as a letter to the editor in the December 11, 2019 edition of the Ahwatukee Foothills News.
At the December Foothills Community Association Board meeting, President Bill Fautsch showed his true colors in breathtaking fashion.
In October, in response to a storm of criticism, the board created a committee to update the bylaws. The committee members deadlocked on the issue of term limits for board directors, with homeowners in favor and board directors adamantly opposed.
To break the impasse, the committee agreed that the association’s entire membership should decide the issue in a special election in February.
This reasonable compromise was taken to the board last week, but the board defiantly rejected it 7-0. Essentially, the board refused to allow the membership (read: us homeowners) to make this decision.
They made clear they opposed term limits, but even if the membership approved term limits in an election, the board would not make them effective until 2021. Moreover, the clock would only begin then.
In essence, the board insisted that no matter what the FCA’s members say, Fautsch—who has already been on this volunteer board nearly 14 years—could remain for many more.
For me, the board makes a mockery of the whole concept of term limits. And it became apparent to me that the various actions that the board has taken in recent months to address our legitimate complaints were feints aimed at quelling the groundswell of criticism.
Fautsch’s assertion that the FCA’s members could decide in the annual election whether they wanted to re-elect him sounds reasonable, but it overlooks the inordinate power of corporate members.
Two corporate members command 465 votes. In the May recall, these two used their power to overwhelm homeowners who voted nearly 4:1 to remove Fautsch. In the upcoming election, these two could re-elect Fautsch without a single vote from homeowners.
At the board meeting, Fautsch and other directors railed against last week’s article in the Ahwatukee Foothills News.
In fact, the article was written by an independent journalist; it was well researched and well written, and it offered a fair reflection of what has been going on.
Much of it accurately quoted board directors’ own words. In essence, it held up a mirror to the board…if the directors did not like what they saw in that reflection, they should not criticize the mirror.
The team of concerned homeowners with whom I am proud to associate has repeatedly proclaimed its desire to work collaboratively with the board. We agreed to participate in the bylaws committee in good faith, and we refrained from public criticism in order to help foster a productive atmosphere for this important effort.
Sadly, in the face of the board’s intransigence and Fautsch’s manifest intention to remain in power no matter what, we are compelled to resume our efforts to force transparency and accountability.
Homeowners will be receiving a letter from me with petitions calling for a special election for bylaws reforms, including term limits. I ask homeowners to read the enclosed information, and I urge all those who are not among the hundreds who have already signed the petition to do so and send it in as soon as possible.
With regard to the petition, when I pressed Fautsch to commit to having a special election within 30 days when we submit it with the legally required number of signatures, he would not do so.
I invite FCA members to visit our website: thefoothillsinfo.com. It contains information about the issues, and details of Fautsch’s own troubling record.
Fautsch and his board have much power, but we FCA members have greater power. If we stand up to them, we can start fixing our HOA.