Enough homeowners in Gateway’s oldest and largest community, Gateway Greens, have signed the paperwork necessary to have their HOA’s board recalled, however the board isn’t going down without a fight.
Before you go any further, an important note: I’ve been trying to gather information about this for about a week now, but some people haven’t gotten back to me or have been reluctant to speak about it. Information about this situation has been hard to come by. So please consider this article a “best effort” on my part and if anything in it is inaccurate, it wasn’t on purpose.
You may remember that the Gateway Greens community’s cable contract was coming to an end, so the HOA appointed a committee to explore other cable options. Although the community is currently served by Comcast, the committee recommended a switch to upstart provider Blue Stream.
When the HOA board indicated they would support the switch to Blue Stream, several Gateway Greens residents were incensed and started a recall effort. Leading the way in the recall is a member of Gateway’s Board of Supervisors, Ed Tinkle, but Tinkle is acting a private citizen and not acting on the GSCDD’s behalf in this matter. Joining Tinkle at the forefront is Rod Senior. Both men are residents of Gateway Greens.
What I was told is that somewhere between 700 to 800 recall ballots were signed, enough to recall the board, and were presented at a board meeting on September 19. Tinkle and Senior were in close communication with the community’s management firm, Alliant, and the rules that Alliant laid out for them were followed according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
However the HOA board is challenging the recall, saying that votes which were received from various sub-associations within Gateway Greens were not valid based on a technicality. That technicality, according to an attorney the HOA board hired, is that the sub-associations should have met individually and voted… with the sub-association president collecting the votes and presenting them to the Gateway Greens HOA board.
I can tell you that to my knowledge Gateway Green doesn’t hold its major community votes through the sub-associations. What I can’t tell you is what the governing documents say about it because I’ve never seen them. If the community’s rules do require the sub-associations holding their own meetings and votes, things will change quite a bit in Gateway Greens — including how their elections are handled. (Ironically, it could also mean that the current board sitting there wouldn’t even need to be recalled, since by their own argument their own election to the board was invalid.)
Nevertheless, as I understand it… the recall ballots were submitted to Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation – the state entity that oversees HOA recalls — and the HOA board will be filing a protest if they haven’t already. At that point someone in Tallahassee will invite those conducting the recall to file a response, and the recall will be judged to be valid or invalid.
A couple of things.
Many residents in Gateway Greens are extremely leary of the unknown Blue Stream. While those residents tend to agree Comcast isn’t that great, the service level in Gateway Greens was good enough that lots of people wanted Comcast’s contract renewed.
Additionally, it was petty of the HOA board to utilize the sub-association technicality to avoid the recall for the time being. The homeowners obviously got the required signatures, and even if DBPR sides with the HOA board, the residents will just go and do it all over again following whatever rules are defined and recall them later.
Lastly, I don’t understand why the HOA board was so hellbent on switching from Comcast to Blue Stream. Do you have any idea how hard it is to recall an HOA board in a community the size of Gateway Greens? The fact they got that many signatures is a bold statement, and the HOA board should have waved the white flag and said “Okay, the residents obviously don’t want this. So why are we doing it?”
Was switching to Blue Stream really worth being the proverbial hill to die on for that HOA board?
Evidently it was.
And so if things are proceeding as I believe, we’ll have to wait to see what happens in Tallahassee to find out if the recall will be approved at the state level or if Tinkle and Senior will need to regroup and try again.
Or the HOA board members who were on the recall ballot could do the honorable thing by respecting the wishes of the homeowners, and resign.