Presidents Message: Overview of Podcast #292

John MacDonnell

Audio may be found at:

Below is a synopsis of this episode.

John: I thought it would be important to give you an update on what safety practices we've been following toward COVID-19 and the variants. I've invited Tyler Ingle, our GM, and Mark Dodge, CEO of Desert Resort Management, to share their information with you as well.

We have been working very hard to make sure this community is safe and we've been following the State and County Guidelines. There have been a lot of questions about what exactly are guidelines. The guidelines are coming down from the State government and they go to the local health departments and to the local regional health divisions of each county. In our county we talk quite frequently to Jose to find out what we need to do here at Sun City Shadow Hills. When he advises us, we act on it almost immediately. The Board has already given our management team and DRM the authority to make things happen when something happens in our county. Some people are saying that DRM isn't doing what they can because they won't make their employees get vaccinated or they won't do this or that or that the HOA doesn't care. Well, that's not true. We care so much about this community. When I ran for the Board, I told you that I would always be up front with you and tell you what is happening in this community and I have done that. I live with everything that I tell you folks and I will continue to do that. If I didn't say it, then I will stand up and defend it -- that's for sure.

We've received so many emails that we think it's time for us to tell you directly how things are going.

Tyler Ingle: Effective August 1st, we with DRM went back to a mask mandate indoors for all of our employees. Vintage Landscape, Allied Universal and Troon all agreed to wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status. Out of an abundance of caution we wanted to keep everybody safe and show to the community here that we are committed to doing what's right. It is totally voluntary to disclose vaccine status but we've had approximately 73% of our DRM employees attest to the fact that they are fully vaccinated. We expect that number to be up to 85% or higher by the end of September. Riverside County overall is less than 50% fully vaccinated. At this time, DRM hasn't made it a requirement for their employees to be vaccinated but that may change in the future.

Mark Dodge: DRM has employees in a lot of communities like Sun City Shadow Hills and there has been an ongoing effort in all of those locations, and in our corporate office as well, to get our staff fully vaccinated and to have very few exceptions. The property here is indicative of that. We know through conversations with our employees who has been vaccinated and who has not. Our goal is to have our employees fully vaccinated. We know who we are going to be able to get through those obstacles with and who we are not. We are looking at where we could relocate those employees refusing to get vaccinated to where it would fit them and they would not need to have contact with any of our homeowners. That process looks different in any of our communities. We have one community with over 100 employees and they are already at almost 90%.

And that’s amazing because 60 of those are field maintenance workers. The same thing is going on here. We are looking at the remaining population who is left and the decision to get vaccinated or not is a very personal one and usually fits into one or two categories. But we are not at the point of swinging a hammer and hammering employees into getting vaccinated. We may have to get to that point but we are at the decision-making point where we have to see what we have to do to get to 100%. So we're not taking that approach yet. We're approaching the individual employees, we know who they are and we're managing them and their contacts, and approaching the employees to get everyone to make the decision themselves. September is our soft deadline where we would like to be company- wide where we don't need to be having these discussions at the senior management level week after week.

John: I know we have been doing everything we could to be as safe as possible. We've been staying in contact with the employees, staying on top of how they're feeling to make sure we're not having any issues, and if anyone isn't feeling well I know you've been telling them to stay home. We really haven't had any of those issues. I know if we had gone to a mandatory vaccine about a month ago, we would have lost how many of our employees, Tyler -- 50%. So we would have had to shut down different programs, Lifestyles, so that was an incentive for you guys as the management team to see what you could work out with the employees so we didn't get to that position. You've been working really hard to keep our community safe and I personally appreciate that and you guys taking the time to come in here today to get this information out to the community. We are close.

And as Mark Dodge says, if there is an employee here and we have to move them around, we'll do that if they don't want to get their shot. That should be reassurance enough to know that this team here is working hard for this community. I was hoping we could get Jose on the phone today to give us a drop down on what's happening in the county, but he is out of the office. Tyler, you and I had a chance to talk with him last week and he told us that there is still a pattern of recommended masks for people who are not vaccinated, people who are indoors or less than 6 feet apart. That is not mandatory but a suggestion from the State and the County. If that changes, we'll definitely get that out to the community.

So, Sun City, we're here for you. We appreciate your time. Be safe and have a great day.