To All Residents of VOL:
The annual election held on February 8, 2021 has been recalled. Because of the Covid pandemic, Sterling Association Services Inc. chose to host the annual meeting via Zoom this year to provide a safer environment for residents. Sterling ASI also placed restrictions on the Solicitation of Candidates, Notice, and Proxy/Ballot by including the statements “No voting will be done at the Annual Meeting” and “No nominations will be taken from the floor at the Annual Meeting” due to the fact that the meeting would not be held face-to-face. Sterling ASI also removed the typical write-in section for candidates on the Proxy/Ballot, because the Solicitation of Candidates stated that in order to be considered for the open Board positions residents had to submit their name and information to be on the ballot by Wednesday, January 20, 2021.
On Friday, February 5, 2021, numerous proxies were turned in to Sterling ASI with two write-in candidates. The Board was made aware of this shortly before the annual meeting on Monday, February 8, 2021. We were very surprised to learn of this and were confused on how to proceed since none of us thought this was allowed. Sterling ASI consulted the HOA attorney and informed us that the proxies with write-in candidates were considered valid and should be counted as votes for the write-in candidates. Thus, the two incumbents, Carla Wingerson and Siraj Parmer, were voted out and the two write-in candidates, Karen Powell and Kent Sheffield, were named as the new board members. We (the “old” board) were very unhappy about this advice and felt that it was unfair that the election could proceed in this manner.
Shortly after the meeting, Sterling ASI started to receive complaints from some homeowners regarding the annual election. Some residents felt they were misled by the instructions on the proxy/ballot and didn’t vote since there were no other candidates running against the incumbents. Other residents voted for write-in candidates since this has been allowed in the past. Some residents questioned how two Board members could be voted out if there was to be no voting and no nominations taken from the floor as stated on the proxies/ballots. Still other residents thought this was acceptable since the ballot read to “Vote for no more than two candidates.” Other residents said that they never received the Notice of Solicitation in order to be placed on the ballot. Because of these valid concerns raised by our homeowners, the “new” Board voted to seek legal counsel regarding a recall election.
The HOA attorney found that the restrictions Sterling ASI placed in the Solicitation, Notice, and Proxy/Ballot prohibiting nominations from the floor and voting at the annual meeting conflicted with the provisions in our By-laws. The attorney also stated that all nominees should have been announced from the floor at the meeting per our By-laws which was not done. Although we realize that Sterling ASI was trying to make safer accommodations due to the pandemic, it did not have the authority to do so per the provisions in our By-laws. Because of the homeowners concerns and the findings by the attorney, the Board decided to recall the annual election that was held on February 8, 2021. We feel that this is the only fair way to proceed so that all homeowners have a clear and equal chance to vote and the nominees are elected to the Board in a transparent and equitable manner.
We want to apologize to all homeowners that this has happened. We have been dealing with this chaotic issue since the election last month and have really tried to make decisions in the most honorable way possible.
A Nominating committee will be formed made up of one board member and about four other homeowners who would like to participate. Sterling ASI is currently working on a new Solicitation of Candidates for our review that will include instructions on how to run for the open board positions and ask for volunteers for the Nominating Committee. We will update the website when this document is mailed to all residents.
We encourage you to exercise your right to vote.
Recall Election: Monday, April 26, 2021 (time and place to be determined)
Joe Hernandez, Leo Furman, Khalid Razvi, Karen Powell, Kent Sheffield
VOL HOA Board