Eight homeowners from the Continental Ranch community are squaring off this month in what is shaping up to be a heated homeowner’s association election.
The election follows an effort by a neighborhood recall committee to force the resignation of the currently sitting HOA board. The board currently consists of president John Lambert and members Peggy Bracken, Connie DeLarge, Karie Westphal, Robert Volbrecht, and Marilyn Stimpson.
That recall effort failed after Clint Goodman, the attorney who represents the Continental Ranch Community Association, claimed signers of the petition had been misled about the petition’s purpose, or denied signing it altogether.
The names of the alleged 20 dissenters were never provided, which raised questions for homeowners behind the recall as to the legitimacy of those complaints.
Members of the recall committee also argued that more than enough signatures were collected – 667 total (137 more than required under state law) – and thus claimed the petition should still be enforced, though it never was because to do so would have required the expenses that came with hiring an outside attorney.
In the community’s monthly newsletter, The Windmill, Board President John Lambert has rejected claims by the recall committee that the board is corrupt and inconsiderate of residents’ wishes, and has instead, in the August publication, blamed the committee for costing the HOA “$11,000 in losses to address their actions.”
Recall members submit that not only does Lambert control what is published in the newsletter, the message is contradictory to the truth, as the subsequent month’s newsletter acknowledged a balanced budget and claimed the HOA to be “in great shape financially.”
Recall members further declare that the $11,000 in expenses was the result of the board’s usage of Goodman’s services to negate the recall effort.
The ensuing drama has prompted several newcomers to run in the election, in which four board seats are open.
Running as newcomers are Sandra Padilla, Dorothy Bruce, Richard Roberts, Larry Lemieux, Nick Westphal, and Bill Daws.
Incumbents running for reelection are Peggy Bracken and Marilyn Stimpson.
Ballots were sent out by mail on Sept. 20. The election results will come during an Oct. 22 meeting at Twin Peaks Elementary School at 7 p.m.
Given the controversy between the board and recall committee, the process for which ballots are to be counted could prove to be another battle.
Last year, the board made use of a certified public accounting firm to count ballots, but members of the recall committee are fighting for a different method this year.
“Homeowners who were on the election committee used to count votes, but last year it was all done behind closed doors,” said Padilla. “We’ll see what happens this year. I’d like the votes to be counted by homeowners again so that we can verify those.”