This letter to the editor is reprinted from the Ahwatukee Foothills News, July 8, 2020.
Author: Rafael de Luna III
Term Limits are finally on the ballot for the Foothills Community Association HOA.
Our HOA badly needs term limits, and I have been championing them for more than a year.
The HOA Board states that is has taken no position on term limits. But in the latest edition of its “The Foothills” magazine, its opposition is abundantly clear.
In the opening paragraph, the Board essentially attempts to make the argument that term limits are better suited for “paid positions” rather than unpaid volunteer positions. “Not everyone is in the position to make the time commitment required for this role and that makes retaining a committed and productive member of the community even more important.”
Before we dive further into the article, it is important to note that several Board directors have been on the Board for over a decade. So, it is quite understandable why their opening paragraph would attempt to diminish the importance of term limits.
The magazine article continues by laying out a list of pros and cons.
Our long-tenured board directors listed the following reasons against term limits.
“Prevents accumulating knowledge, experience, and expertise”
“Limits continuity over time on projects”
“Limits timeframe and synergy with vendors and service providers”
“Risk of reduced candidate pool”
The first two bullet points dealing with loss of institutional knowledge and project handover are two of the most common, but weakest, arguments made against term limits.
Every organization has to deal with the loss of institutional knowledge when someone retires or leaves the organization. Some organizations are better at dealing with personnel change than others. Well-documented processes, procedures, and detailed onboarding programs are some of the ways that make transitioning new personnel easier.
The argument that the board attempts to make against term limits suggests that the ability to develop strong relationships with HOA vendors would be jeopardized due to term limits.
This argument alone should concern everyone. In fact, I would argue that this is a principal reason why term limits are needed. Up until last year, this board did not have a written procurement policy. Procurement policies and best practices, not personal relationships with vendors, will provide our HOA community the best value.
The final argument that fewer HOA members would run for the board because of term limits simply makes no sense, and there has not been a problem finding well-qualified candidates.
It is important for everyone to understand that getting this issue on the ballot took an enormous effort. Our HOA Board directors adamantly oppose term limits; they fought hard to keep this issue off the ballot, and now they are fighting to see terms limits defeated.
Several board directors have been on the Board for over a decade. It’s time for change!
I am extremely excited that our community will finally be able to vote on this important issue as part of the package of Bylaws reforms.
I urge all HOA members to vote ‘APPROVE’ on the ballot for the Bylaws reforms that they are receiving in the mail.
The homeowners who sponsor the reforms will have a Zoom meeting for HOA members on Thursday, July 14 at 6:30 pm. Information on how to join the meeting can be found on: TheFoothillsInfo.com.
-Rafael de Luna III