Please note: Attachments 4 and 6 must be obtained from the White Birch office. These two attachments were too large to include in the minutes due to file size limits. Call 989-588-2853 to obtain copies of these two attachments or email the manager at:
firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!
BOARD MEETING MINUTES
December 9, 2006
CALL TO ORDER
President Al Isaac called the meeting to order at 9:03am. Board members present were President Al Isaac, 1st Vice President Marvin Frayer, 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden, Director Don Papesh, Director Sharon Bridges, Director Bob Adair and Director Brian Kozlowski. Also present were Manager Gail White, Treasurer Priscilla Moore and Secretary Todd Graham. President Al Isaac opened the meeting with The Pledge of Allegiance. Director Brian Kozlowski followed with prayer.
Motion by Director Don Papesh to approve the meeting agenda. Seconded by Director Brian Kozlowski. All in favor, motion carried.
Director Sharon Bridges moved to approve the minutes from the November 2006 Board Meeting with one correction – minutes should state November and not October regarding the passing of Frank Zakalowski. Motion seconded by 1st Vice President Marvin Frayer. All in favor, motion carried.
For the month of November 2006 Treasurer Priscilla Moore reported income of $13,305.05 and expenses of $36,807.36. Cash on Hand at November 30, 2006 was $131,619.10. Motion made by 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden to accept the Treasurers report. Seconded by Director Don Papesh. All in favor, motion carried.
President Al Isaac reported:
Member Dr. Bill Ferrell recently passed away. Bill was very active in White Birch helping with The Birch Bark and serving on several committees and was a long time member of our community.
DOW Chemical in Midland has offered to donate a large amount of green vinyl clad fencing to White Birch. This fence will be used for our camper storage area. President Isaac directs Fred Witchell to get the footage needed to enclose the camper storage area as well as any other area’s that this fence may be used.
Manager Gail White read a letter from Terry Obrecht lot 251 (attachment 1) regarding White Birch By-laws governing Board Seat vacancies and Conflict of Interest. Response was read by Director Brian Kozlowski (attachment 2).
Manager Gail White read a letter from Ken Passage lot 163 (attachment 3) regarding the Board Work Shop meeting of December 2. No Board response at this time.
Manager Gail White read a letter from Mike Turner lots 86,87 and 88 (attachment 4) regarding Democratic election process and the Board setting terms of office. Director Sharon Bridges reads Board response (attachment 5).
Manager Gail White read a letter from Mike Turner lots 86,87 and 88 (attachment 6) regarding Board Workshop being conducted as a closed meeting on December 2, 2006. Board response was read by Director Sharon Bridges (see attachment 5 again).
Manager Gail White read a letter from Mr. And Mrs. David Burkitt lot 471 (attachment 7) regarding allowing campers to have sheds on their lots. Board response by Director Don Papesh (attachment 8).
MANAGER'S REPORT AND APPROVAL OF PAYABLES
Manager Gail White reported:
The old gate system has been removed and the only hold up on preparation for a new gate is getting a representative from MISS DIG to handle their responsibilities.
Chain at Timber Lake has not been up for two months now.
Director Brian Kozlowski moved to approve the payables. Seconded by 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden. Director Brian Kozlowski states we need to examine electric use at the campground due to higher than expected expense, possibly from hunting season. Director Sharon Bridges states the Board should consider placing an additional charge for anyone using the campground after October 31. President Al Isaac directs manager Gail White to place item on the agenda for the next meeting. 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden questions the propane charges for the campground and clubhouse – are they monthly fees or a tank fill? Manager Gail White explains they were a tank fill. All in favor, motion carried.
Report by Tom Forman. New security members are in place with a new rotation schedule that is working well. The schedule has been cut back due to less people in White Birch during the winter months. Tom Forman resigns as head of security and recommends that Bob Pelfery be considered as his replacement.
Activities Committee – Report by Joe Romine. Christmas Party is tonight. Committee is considering ideas for January like a Gong Show or Newlywed Game. February the committee is planning a Tip-Up Town event.
By-Laws Committee – Report by Sal Scozzari. The committee is working well; we have a lot to do and will take considerable time to complete. Sal stated the importance of By-laws to a community such as White Birch and discussed how they apply to a corporation like White Birch is structured.
Campground Committee – Report by Fred Witchell. The campground will be completely shut down by the end of December. Anyone needing access to power after that must contact the office in advance to schedule. Campers who used campsites during hunting season will be sending in payment for $5.00 per day used. Fred will get footage needed for fence around camper storage area to President Al Isaac by next week. Director Sharon Bridges asks if this fence includes all posts, etc. President Al Isaac explains it does. Director Bob Adair offers the use of his truck to pick up the fence and other supplies.
Communications Committee – Report by Todd Graham. The Birch Bark was mailed November 21. We had six ads, the same number as last month. Costs were the same. Thanks to editing, stamping a labeling helpers – Sharon Bridges, Pat Zakalowski, Pat Graham, Gina Frayer, Joe Romine and Gail White.
Many items were discussed at the last meeting on November 18. The minutes of that meeting are posted to the Web Site. Some of the things we talked about were whether a mission statement for White Birch had been adopted and if it should appear on the Web Site. The possibility of White Birch owned lots for sale appearing in the Birch Bark and on the Web Site. And the consideration of a Tip-Up Town event for White Birch. And the possibility of including depth maps for our lakes on the Web Site.
There will be no meeting for the committee in December. Our condolences go out to the family of Dr. Bill Ferrell.
The Web Site has been decorated for Christmas and New Years. We have received several requests from members asking to have their personal information updated on the Web Site and all updates requested have been done. The committee will publish an article in the next Birch Bark explaining the benefits of member’s usage of our Web Site.
Conservation Committee – No report given.
Election Committee – Report by Todd Graham. Todd turned in his resignation at the last Board meeting. At the last committee meeting the committee decided to ask President Al Isaac to post for additional committee members and reconvene the committee in the spring.
Entrance Committee – Report by Gail White. Monday December 11 we will be decorating the entrance. Anyone interested in helping, your help would be appreciated.
Environmental Protection Committee – Report by Fred Witchell. The committee handled one tree removal, one new residence on lot 175, two pending residences which will bring the home total in White Birch to 303. Camping units were removed on time – THANK YOU CAMPERS! Only had two units on lots after the deadline.
Future Planning Committee – Report by Joe Romine. Meeting will be held immediately following the close of the Board meeting. Committee is going well, lots of good ideas and enthusiasm.
Seedling and Sapling Committees – Report by Joe Romine. Committee is in hibernation for the winter.
Mark Conelley lots 277, 389, and 390 – What is the cost effectiveness of redoing the electrical at the campground vs. money generated by camping fees? Has the Board accepted the audit? President Al Isaac explains that the audit was tabled at the last meeting. Mr. Conelley states when something is tabled a date to bring it back to the table needs to be posted.
Gary Farnham lot 637 – I sent a question to a single Board member and I have not received a response. Do I need to resend? Does correspondence need to be addressed to the entire Board or is addressing to a single Director ok? President Al Isaac explains he has received Gary’s letter but does not have an answer at this time, but he will respond once research into Gary’s question is done. Gary expressed concern over personal attacks.
Ken Passage lot 163 – When was the vote for approval for the gate work? What are we being charged for it? Where will it be applied in the budget?
Judy Gute lots 82 and 83 – Does WBL not file a 990? Manager Gail White explains that yes WBL files a 990. Mrs. Gute then asks why the Board hasn’t presented the audit to the membership? President Al Isaac explains there were a couple questions regarding the audit report and the Board was awaiting response. Mrs. Gute also asked was there a closed door meeting held? President Al Isaac, 1st Vice President Marvin Frayer, 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden and Director Brian Kozlowski all state no.
Mary Perkins lot 1095 – If no actions are taken until a Board vote then how was the gate issue handled? The new coal stove in the clubhouse? Director Brian Kozlowski explains the coal stove was a gift.
Barb Adair lots 59, 60 and 60 – When hunters used the campground were they charged just for the days they were here or for all the days the camper was hooked up to the electricity?
Toni Passage lot 163 – The coal stove was a gift – ok, but coal is expensive. The audit should be placed on this months meeting agenda. What about the security camera installed at the clubhouse? 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden explains the security camera was also a gift.
Judy Gute lots 82 and 83 – How many Board members are part of the White Birch Lakes Defense Fund? Or were part and did attend meetings? Director Bob Adair states that group has been dissolved.
Mark Conelley lot 277 – Concerned over wireless Internet access in White Birch that is on the agenda. Feels it would not work in White Birch. With President Al Isaacs’s permission secretary Todd Graham explains that the issue on the agenda deals with wireless Internet access at the clubhouse only for members to be able to bring up their laptops to use.
Jerry Bridges lot 158 – States he had wireless Internet access at a campground downstate and it worked very well even with the heavy tree areas.
Ken Passage lot 163 – Work shop sessions have been open to members in the past to attend. Members deserve the courtesy of being informed if we are not going to be able to participate. Board needs to rededicate themselves to their promise of listening to all members.
Richard Mitchell lot 421 – Minutes from April 8, 2000 state that the camping fee will be used for fencing in the camper storage area, where has that money gone?
Ryan Racine lot 568 – It’s great that the coal stove was donated; this will save us a lot of money as coal is less expensive than propane. The security camera in the clubhouse being donated is also great and it’s a great safety factor. Certain members need to stop nit-picking and appreciate what is being done!
Matt Lucas lot 405 – If someone were to donate a tanker truck full of purple paint and a rail road engine, would White Birch feel obligated to use it?
Ryan Racine lot 568 – The fence donated by DOW will make the storage area more secure and should be easy to install. Why are some people having a problem with this?!
Open seats on the Board – last month 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden made a motion regarding term limits for Directors appointed to the Board. Motion was seconded and it moved into discussion. Director Sharon Bridges requested the motion be reviewed by the Association lawyer for legality. The Board then voted to seek legal council regarding this matter which passed in a vote of 5 to 1 so the motion was tabled. 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden states this shows the process works and was used appropriately by the Board. Since last month he has spoken with members, read legal opinions and talked to other Board members regarding whether we need to deal with this issue. 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden states it was his understanding that unfinished terms of office would go to the next election and this was supported by legal council so he withdraws his motion. Director Brian Kozlowski who supported the motion last month states it should not be withdrawn but voted upon. 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden agrees to a vote. Director Brian Kozlowski asks President Al Isaac for a roll-call vote on this issue:
Director Brian Kozlowski – no
Director Sharon Bridges – no
Director Don Papesh – no
2nd Vice President Greg Hernden – no
1st Vice President Marv Frayer – no
Director Bob Adair – no
Motion defeated 6 to 0
Director Brian Kozlowski asks President Al Isaac to direct manager Gail White to make a correction to the invoice from the Association lawyer regarding looking into the terms of office. The invoice states time spent reading letters when no letters were sent from the Board. Letters sent from members should have been addressed to the Board and not directly to the Association lawyer. President Al Isaac directs manager Gail White to make the correction on the invoice.
Audit – Director Bob Adair moves to accept the audit. Seconded by Director Sharon Bridges. Director Brian Kozlowski states that passing the motion at this point is acceptable but the attitude of the auditor should be considered when entering into contract for future audits. Director Sharon Bridges would like a letter sent along with payment expressing the Boards dissatisfaction with how this audit was handled. All in favor, motion carried.
Coal Stove – President Al Isaac states it is the responsibility of the Board to save Association funds where possible. The coal stove donated will do so and will show cost savings in the future. The coal stove will heat the family room area, game room area and entrance area of the clubhouse. It was installed with volunteer labor so no monies were spent. Director Brian Kozlowski states that in the past other donations to the Association like the defibrillator did not come before the entire Board for approval. President Al Isaac asks if Board approval was needed and the Board agrees no approval was needed. Since no monies were spent the Manager can approve.
(A five minute recess is called by President Al Isaac at this point)
President Al Isaac directs manager Gail White to repost for additional members to the Election Committee.
Gate – Director Bob Adair moves to purchase a new gate system from Security Gate Systems out of Clarkston, MI for $34,650.00 with those funds coming from the Association Development Fund. Seconded by Director Don Papesh. Director Bob Adair states the old gate was purchased 8 years ago at a cost of $40,000.00, it took 8 years to understand that is was inadequate. The proposed new gate costs 25% less and is a much better system. Director Brian Kozlowski states the Board should explain to members how much research was done to find a vendor for the new gate system. President Al Isaac directs Todd Graham to post information on the Web Site. President Al Isaac explains that with the old gate system when the system went down we had to wait for someone from that company to come up and service it, they would not allow us to access the system. The new system is currently being used by other communities with 800+ homes, comes with a 5 year unconditional warranty and our maintenance staff will be trained so we can correct problems ourselves. President Al Isaac states we are in negotiations with our insurance company regarding the old gate (which was destroyed by lightening) and any funds received will go back into the Development Fund. All in favor, motion carried.
Wireless Internet – Director Don Papesh reads a proposal from Todd Graham to install wireless Internet access at the Clubhouse using out current Satellite access. Labor and hardware needed to install is $469.95.
Install would be done by Great Lakes Computers in Clare. This would be a great asset to members, especially those who come up to camp. There would be no additional monthly fees to offer this service to members, we would be accessing our current Internet access and simply allowing members to use that signal on a wireless basis. Funds would come out of the Clubhouse Maintenance – Communications in the budget. Director Brian Kozlowski states there should be a use policy created for members accessing the Internet at the clubhouse. Director Don Papesh moves to accept the proposal. Seconded by 1st Vice President Marv Frayer. All in favor, motion carried.
Historical Committee – Director Don Papesh states that as liaison to the Communications Committee he feels this committee should be made a sub-committee of the Communications Committee. So moved by Director Brian Kozlowski and seconded by Director Sharon Bridges. All in favor, motion carried.
1st Vice President Marv Frayer moves to go to closed session regarding a legal issue with member Steve Bryant. Seconded by Director Brian Kozlowski. All in favor, motion carried.
Motion to return to open session by 1st Vice President Marvin Frayer. Seconded by 2nd Vice President Greg Hernden. All in favor, motion carried.
President Al Isaac directs Manager Gail White to send response letter to our attorney regarding Bryant case.
Motion to adjourn by 1st Vice President Marv Frayer, seconded by Seconded by Director Sharon Bridges. All in favor, motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 12:10p.m.
Todd J. Graham
Attachment 1, Board minutes 12/09/06.
WBLRA Board of Directors,
I respectfully request that this letter be read at the December meeting and be treated as an official correspondence with the question and answers entered into the December meeting minutes.
Our current By-laws state:
Section 2 – Vacancies
Vacancies in the Board of Directors shall be filled by appointment made by the remaining Directors. Each person so appointed to fill a vacancy shall remain a Director until he/she has been elected by the members, who may make such election at their next Annual meeting or at any Special meeting, duly called for that purpose, held prior thereto.
Our By-laws clearly state the terms and conditions for Board members that have been appointed due to unexpected vacancies.
I would like to know why certain individuals seated on the Board believe they have the authority to circumvent this process.
This appears to be a blatant attempt to fix the terms of office without the benefit of a membership vote.
I would also like to know if the Board is still entertaining a proposed By-law change requested by the manager's husband that will permit the manager a 90 day extended leave of absence. If so, this action would also be in conflict with our By-laws.
Our By-laws state:
Section 14 – Conflicts of Interest
The purpose of the conflicts of interest policy is to protect the Association’s interest when it is contemplating entering into a transaction arrangement that might benefit the private interest of a board member, Association officer, member of the management staff who holds a leadership position, or any employee or member.
Please also refer to the Federal requirements for organizations to qualify for the Family Leave Act. As previously shown, White Birch Lakes Recreational Association employees do not qualify due to the number of employees and driving distance of employee from their residences to place of employment.
Theresa M. Obrecht
Attachment 2, Board minutes 12/09/06.
December 9, 2006
Theresa M. Obrecht
Per your request, the e-mail you sent to the Board, and this response to it, are being read at the December meeting.
First of all, thank you for your continued interest in the governing of White Birch Lakes. The Board looks forward to a meaningful dialog with any member.
As we are sure you are aware, many other members communicate with the Board, although some members request that their comments and questions be held in confidence. Also, we are sure that your are aware that some members choose to communicate with the Board without giving their name or lot number. By whatever method or means a question or comment is directed to the Board, we take each one seriously, and respond appropriately.
Because each communication from a member should be addressed, regardless of an individual Board member's opinion on the subject of the communications, various means are taken to bring the issues before the Board as a whole. Such means may be by a motion, a suggestion to amend the Bylaws, or maybe a resolution. The means by which the issue is brought before the Board is, in and of itself, not important. What is important is that the each member's concerns are brought before the Board.
Those WBL members who have attended the Board meetings can tell you what happens when an issue is brought before the Board by whatever means. The issue gets a full hearing, in that each Board member has the opportunity to address the issue, take a stand, and vote accordingly, You may be surprised to learn that bringing issues before the Board by various means often stimulates further communication from the membership.
The above described mechanisms for Board deliberations and actions in and of themselves are not unusual in how many boards of directors respond to their members concerns. Nor is the manner in which this Board has acted unusual. An examination of the record will show that this Board has always taken action consistent with commonly accepted practices, and in compliance with our Bylaws. But, as you so clearly pointed out, that is not the problem. What seems to be the problem is that a few members, a very few, view the means by which an issue is brought before the Board, and the Board's subsequent deliberations, as if those were an official action taken by the Board. And of course, they are not. Until the Board votes an issue up or down, no official action has been taken.
Let us speak plainly. When a member brings an issue to one of us, we are duty bound to bring that issue before the Board, even if we think the issue has the likelihood of surviving as that of the proverbial snowball in Hades. We would have more time to devote to other things, and our Board meetings would be shorter, if we did not bring so many issues before the Board. But if we did that, we would be shortchanging the concerned member, and not doing our job.
In regards to the terms of office of those Board members appointed to fill the vacancies caused by the resignations of former Board members Conley, Holzer and Passage, some members brought this issue to some of our Board members. Consistent with our stated obligation to represent all WBLRA members, and give all members issues a fair hearing; the matter was brought before the Board. The issue has stimulated long and thoughtful deliberations by the Board. Let us assure you that if and when the Board acts on this issue, it will act in compliance with the Bylaws.
We are not sure specifically what you meant by your comment stating that Jerry White, the husband of our Manager, Gail White, requested a Bylaws change that would permit a 90 day extended leave of absence for the Manager. Please tell us from whom, or from where, such erroneous information originated. We are aware of a Bylaws change submitted to the Board by Director Kozlowski, and referred to committee, which addressed the need to provide for continuity of management. We can state emphatically that Jerry White has never submitted, requested, or individually proposed any amendment to the Bylaws which even remotely corresponds to your stated supposition. It may be that someone has purposely, or inadvertently, given you false information.
In closing, we say to you, and all our members, do not confuse issues before the Board and the deliberations on those issues, with formal action taken by the Board. If you need information on an issue before the Board, please request that information from the Manager, or a Board member. You will then be well armed with the facts, and will be able to make an intelligent decision on how your Board is governing.
WBLRA Board of Directors
Attachment 3, Board minutes 12/09/06
Board of Directors
WBL Recreational Association
In accordance with your stated policy for correspondence to be addressed at the next regular board meeting, I am directing this e-mail to the entire board and request that it be addressed at the next regular meeting of the board.
The WBL web site listed the regularly scheduled workshop for December on December 2, 2006 at 9:00 a.m. at the clubhouse. And in accordance with past practice and our by-laws, myself and several other members attended the meeting. Despite the fact that Article VI, section 1 of the by-laws states that all meetings of the board of directors shall be open meetings, each director left the table set up for the meeting in the room adjacent to the office and proceded to gather in the office behind closed doors to conduct business. This was done without moving to go into executive session, without stating any legitimate business that should be properly conducted in closed session, and without even the courtesy of an explanation or statement saying that you were going into a private meeting.
When a point of order was announced by member Mike Turner, the entire board ignored the call to order which was fully in accordance with Robert's Rules of Order (which has been adopted as our parliamentary authority in Article XV of the by-laws). Then, when member Marty Perkins opened the door to the office and informed you that your meeting was in violation of our by-laws, he was physically pushed out the door by Director Kozlowski and told that the open meetings act does not apply here.
While Director Kozlowski is technically correct in that the open meetings act does not apply as a requirement of the by-laws, the intent and spirit of that act has been incorporated into our by-laws specifically to prevent the exclusion of interested members when the business of the association is being discussed.
I am dismayed at the behavior of this Board and the blatant violation of our by-laws. At the heart of any representative government is the requirement of its elected leaders to conduct themselves in complete openness to the people whose interests they are duty bound to serve. In that regard, the entire board should be admonished and Director Kozlowski's actions singled out as being particularly reprehensible.
It is especially troubling in that some of the same members of this current Board took issue with members of the previous Board when they had gathered around campfires for social enjoyment, calling them "illegal meetings".
My question to the entire Board is this: Since Article III, section 7, subsection C of the by-laws declares that membership in good standing can be suspended and the privileges of membership interrupted because of any violation of the by-laws, how can you continue to represent this association as members not in good standing and further expect its members to abide by the rules and regulations which you are charged with enforcing?
Yours for an accountable White Birch,
Attachment 5, Board Minutes 12/09/06
Dear Mr. Turner,
In response to your letters dated November 15, and December 2, 2006. Thank you for your comments regarding these two issues. I would like to respond to each separately.
Regarding the November 15th letter. The Motion was made and seconded regarding terms of office. There was no vote on this matter, in fact, I asked to have the motion tabled pending a legal opinion. To table the motion was voted on 5 - 1. Information on this motion is still being explored. Thank you for your concerns on this matter.
Regarding your December 2nd letter. In the time I have owned property in WBLRA, I have seen a movement that employees half truths, lies, assumptions, fabrications etc. I feel that this movement is disruptive and destructive. Frankly, I am appalled that adults act in this manner. I can only imagine what spin people could but on parts of conversations that are overheard. Think of the childhood games that people play. In my application for appointment to the Board, I stated I would come to the Board with no baggage.
If one uses Webster’s Dictionary, the definition for meeting is …an assembly; gathering of people esp. to discuss and decide on matters. The definition for workshop …a seminar or series of meetings work, discussion for intensive study. There is no reference to “work shops” in the by-laws. A work shop has no minutes, no votes. It is only an opportunity for people to come together and discuss ideas. That free exchange can take place if there is no concern that ones words will be twisted, changed, taken out of context, misconstrued, and otherwise misused.
I have been a member of many boards, committees, advisory groups, and have experienced a positive flow of ideas and productivity. I have experienced disagreement, and an opportunity to come to a consensus. I chose to use the mantra, “We judge ourselves by our intentions, and we judge others by their behaviors. My intention is to serve the members of WBLRA without prejudice and to the best of my ability. I will make decisions based upon exploring information, the thoughts of others, and my own thoughts; not on the behaviors of others. I would think that you would like your board to make decisions based upon the free exchange and uninterrupted ideas that occur during the work in work shops. An opportunity for one to decide after fully considering the issues.
Attachment number 7, Board minutes 12/09/06.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday December 10, 2006 10:10 PM
TO whom it may concern: I would like C&R revised to allow campers to have sheds on their lot. the dimensions can be 12 by 12 or larger. My lot number is 471 thank you Mr.and Mrs.David Burkitt
Attachment 8, Board minutes 12/09/06.
Mr. & Mrs. Burkitt.
As a camper at White Birch and a member of the board, I appreciate your interest and can assure you at your request is currently being looked into. We have contacted the Lincoln Twp. Zoning Administrator to get a complete interpretation of the Zoning rules in Lincoln, before we can proceed. We received a letter back from him, which was unclear in its content. We are contacting the Supervisor of Lincoln Twp. to explain their position and answer one question:
"Are accessory buildings permitted or not without a residence?"
We are requesting him to meet with us and explain the Township's rules and position. We hope to have an answer on how to proceed by January, at the latest.
Thank you and Best Regards,