Advisory Committees are a place where your neighbors and friends volunteer to address issues and discuss possible solutions to any problems we might have in the community. Often there are differing opinions on matters -- but in the end the committee generally comes to a recommendation. And that final recommendation is then made to the Board, for the Board to vote on.
For example, the Safety Advisory Committee researched the fine structures in other communities in the CV, and recommended to the Board that to solve the safety hazard we had with excessive speeding and failures to stop -- that fines should be increased. The result of course has been a 59% decrease in speeding tickets and a 40% decrease in failures to stop. So it appears the committee was correct. We don't know about you -- bu we think preventing accidents in our community is pretty serious. The Board has recently asked the SAC to provide an updated report on fine structures in other communities.
The Landscape Advisory Committee checks the grounds on a regular basis and may make recommendations concerning tree and shrubbery replacement or turf removal projects. This past year they recommended to the Board a variety of turf removal projects and saved the community tens of thousands of dollars by applying for rebates from the CVWD.
The Information Advisory Committee may discuss new methods of ensuring residents get the answers that they are looking for in our community -- or having even more mechanisms for constructive 2 way communication between residents, the Board, committee chairs and management.
According to California Civil Code 4900 -- Open Meeting Act -- there is no law requiring that advisory committees hold open meetings or post agendas. The Open Meeting Act applies only to meetings of the board. Why? Because the Board makes decisions. The advisory committees discuss alternative solutions to issues the community might face. They only advise; they do not make decisions.
Unfortunately, last year a few unhappy residents attended several of our meetings and disrupted them -- talking aloud, shouting at members, making strange noises -- making it near impossible for the committee to function. One committee had to adjourn. Another simply took the abuse but several members wanted to resign. It's unfortunate that these residents chose to behave this way.
The effectiveness of our community operation depends in large part on the expertise of our advisory committee volunteer members and the recommendations they make to the Board. Our fees are so low and our amenities wonderful, in part, because of the hard work of the resident experts who volunteer their time to work for all of us.
When several different meetings were disrupted several times and some committee members felt targeted and therefore no longer wanted to serve -- our Board was faced with a very difficult decision: Do they continue to allow some residents to disrupt advisory committee meetings, or do they let the committees get on with the community's business. Your Board elected to close the advisory committee meetings and let the volunteers get on with the business of working on your behalf. These meetings are serious business. The Finance Advisory Committee is discussing the finances of a $10 million operation. These issues affect the fees you will pay in the future. These are serious issues.
To ensure that residents would be kept abreast of what the committees were doing, the decision was made to post all meeting agendas and all meeting notes on our community website -- so that residents could be kept informed of what the committees were discussing. In addition, residents are encouraged to use the firstname.lastname@example.org email if they have any questions about what a committee is discussing.
That being said, if any resident has a legitimate concern related to the committee's charter and would like to attend an advisory committee meeting for the purpose of formally addressing the committee, any resident can email the chair of the committee and make a request. If the Chair finds the subject relevant, the resident will be invited to attend an advisory committee meeting.
Many residents have made requests in the past year and subsequently have been invited to attend meetings to make presentations on issues they considered important. Again, if you have a legitimate concern related to a committee's charter and would like to attend an advisory committee meeting to formally address the committee, please contact the committee chair.