News and Musings from Seven Lakes West

The following was sent into The Seven Lakes Insider by a reliable anonymous source who is a Seven Lakes West resident. While it is not our general policy or practice to publish anonymous articles, we feel it is important to share news and viewpoints on the community that might otherwise find no voice.

So, it seems the drama in SLW has continued since the previous article appeared here (“What Is Happening In Seven Lakes West: New Management & Fees”, March 10, 2020). Not only continued, but worsened.

            A survey of SLW residents conducted several years ago resulted in a discouraging result: less than 25% of Members (SLW residents and lot owners) look at the SLW website or the weekly eBlast – both of which are excellent sources of factual information.  It seems most Members will seek information from Facebook, Instagram, or other sources. Again, distressing -these sources are not always factual, but they do tend to be fun – and a method of getting instant gratification when one’s post gets ‘liked’.

            When the Seven Lakes Times was published, Greg Hankins and his staff did an excellent job of keeping the Community informed of the FACTS. Unfortunately, the SLWLA Board of Directors banned all local news staff from Board meetings some time ago. They are lacking transparency in most of their actions. Issues are discussed and decided behind closed doors (a clear violation of Robert’s Rules of Order), and then disclosed to Members in Board meetings. Little to no discussion takes place at these meetings; only an “All in favor, vote aye” and then on to the next motion.

Front office staff and most Board members had already been reluctant to respond to the concerns of Members, whether via email, phone messages, or the website “Message Board” (an authorized source of information, monitored by the Community Manager, the Board and/or Committee Chairs) – leaving Members pleading for information to many relevant questions that occur day-to-day.

            Fast forward to the rocky transition to GrandManors (GM), the new “digitally superior” management company based in Texas. Not only did GM not visit SLW nor hold a promised ‘Town Hall meeting’ (not even a virtual one), the advent of COVID-19 was blamed for the lack of responding to Members. The Community Center was totally closed; the same staff that were CAS employees were now GrandManors employees, and residents were told to be patient. Staff worked from home (residents were told “16-18 hours a day”), and sent over a hundred violation notices – and most were sent in error. The Community Manager’s solution to angry, frustrated, confused residents? “Throw the violation letters away. Most of them were sent by mistake.”

            One resident in particular was waiting for his boat sticker. His check had been cashed; during his follow-up calls to the office, he was told his paperwork was complete and in place. Weeks later another call was placed, only to be told to be patient, his sticker would get to him by July 1st. He made another follow-up at the office (during the very limited days (3) and times (4 hours) they were actually open), only to be told that the resident had not taken the “boating safety test” – even though he was over 60 years old (and exempt). Staff in the office told him he had to prove he knew the rules. He came back with the completed test, only to be told that the insurance information submitted was missing the liability dollar amount. Remember: he was told numerous times everything was in order. To add insult to injury: the resident was told not to get angry…. seriously! Total and complete chaos and incompetence.

            Without any warning or notice to Members, OUR Community Center was closed on Thursday, July 2nd (1 of the 3 days they were scheduled to be open that week conducting OUR business). Subcontractors working on Members’ homes were denied access to the community on Friday morning, July 3rd; again, with no notice or warning. Later in the day, after scores of calls of complaint, Members were told it was considered a federal holiday. So…why close on the 2nd, too? And why weren’t residents told earlier in the week, or in the eBlast issued on June 26th?