OFFICIAL YOSEMITE LAKES PARK BUSINESS
In response to questions received prior to the open YLOA Board of Directors meeting Tuesday, May 26, regarding the upcoming election, the board provided the following information:
The changes to Davis-Stirling brought sudden changes to the election process when SB323 went into effect on January 1, 2020. The board was under significant time constraints to comply with Davis-Stirling for this years election. To have a valid election the board must comply with those laws.
Due to the changes in the law, we were unable to utilize YLOA’s accounting firm to count ballots as we have in the past. Any outside entity notary, accounting firm or individual would be expected to charge the association for services.
Inquiries were made to several outside companies to determine the feasibility and cost of hiring an outside accounting firm, or notary, or other allowed entity. We received feedback from some that they were not available, others would not accept the job. We learned it is fairly standard for companies that may agree to take on the election process that an HOA must hire them for the entire process, not just counting ballots. We received pricing information that would have cost the association $1000s.
A brief example of just a few of those costs:
- Inspection of records — minimum charge of $375 plus an additional $175 an hour.
- Solicitation of candidates — minimum of $1.25 each mailing to all members not counting additional postage — $2,800, then another $2,800 for mailing notice to members with candidate names and election detail.
- $6,500 minimum for service on the day of the meeting, that cost to increase depending on how many people they determine they need for the event at $150 an hour for each additional staff person.
- Another $2,800 for mailing election results notices.
- $50 for an on-site ballot box.
And this is just for the first meeting! The cost continues to rise for a second meeting that occurs when the 40% quorum is not met at the first meeting. There is no way to know the final cost to the association until the election has concluded. If a quorum is not reached at the second meeting, the association must still pay the full bill.
The role of the board is to make business decisions on behalf of, and in the interests of, the association.
As allowed by SB323, the board determined an independent third party that is a member who meets the stated criteria in SB323 and is a volunteer, would be a more prudent way to handle this year’s election. The board voted unanimously to appoint Marie Touitou to this position.
The Inspector of Elections may appoint others to assist in counting of the ballots. Those individuals have not been named as of this date and the Inspector of Elections is not required to provide the names prior to counting the ballots. The Inspector of Elections has advised she anticipates more than 2 association members will assist in that process.
Marie Touitou, as a past board president, is very familiar with Davis-Stirling compliance and the importance and integrity of the election process.
Since the counting of the ballots is recorded, cross checked by multiple association members and the ballots are kept securely for a year, the only practical difference of outsourcing the election process is a dramatic increase in the cost.
The election procedure adopted unanimously by the board, with advice from legal counsel, is wholly compliant with the new provisions of SB323 and saves homeowners multiple thousands of dollars.
Election materials will be mailed to homeowners in early June. We encourage all homeowners to participate to help ensure we reach the necessary quorum.