BY JOHN NAGY
Insider Staff Writer
The Seven Lakes West Landowners Association’s Board of Directors has appointed three residents to fill vacancies left following unexpected resignations in April.
The board appointed Paul Brezinski, of James Drive; Mary Ellen Buckley, of Andrew Drive; and Mary Anne Fewkes, of Donnell Point. Buckley and Fewkes will serve out terms that end in March 2024; Brezinski’s term will be up in March 2025.
The three replace Josh Davis, Jim Greaves and Bruce Keyser, who resigned in April.
The turnover also meant new roles for board members. The new board president is Jack Roberts; Frank Ingham is vice president; Buckley is the new secretary; and Kevin Gustafson is now treasurer. They each have also been assigned as liaisons of certain board committees.
In a statement to the Seven Lakes West community, the board of directors said each of the three new board members “has the requisite experience, talent, skills, and abilities to help the Board move forward in executing its community governance responsibilities.”
The new board faces a couple of immediate issues, including whether the community will retain its current property management firm or hire a new company. At its work session on May 15, the board briefly discussed openly that it had been given a 120-days termination notice from Community Association Service Inc., which has been the onsite property management company for the past few years. CAS’ three-year contract is set to expire at the end of September and new board members were looking to put the contract out for proposals from other vendors.
Board members adjourned into a closed executive session following the work session to discuss the contract status with CAS.
In addition, the board faces a June 12 hearing in Moore County Superior Court related to whether it should pay legal fees to several residents who sued the board a couple years ago over board elections.
Ten property owners sued the association over what they claimed were election irregularities and improper votes cast in the 2021 board elections. Two of those plaintiffs, Brezinski and Buckley, are now on the board.
In that suit, Moore County Superior Court Judge James Webb ruled that only dues-paying members of Seven Lakes West are entitled to vote in association board elections.
“The plain and unambiguous language of the Association’s governing documents bar a ‘developer’ or ‘declarant’ from membership status, and consequently, from possessing voting rights in director elections,” Webb’s order reads.
Webb stopped short of ordering a new election to redo the 2021 board vote at the center of the dispute. He also left unresolved the matter of payment of legal fees. The June 12 hearing is expected to determine whether the association owes fees and, if so, how much.
With Brezinski and Buckley now on the board, it raises the question of whether, as part of the original team of plaintiffs, they can remain on the suit, since they are also now, as members of the board, defendants.
The Insider on May 17 emailed Roberts several questions pertaining to that issue, including whether:
* a firewall has been established by the board, given that two plaintiffs now sit on that board?
* Brezinkski and Buckley have formally recused themselves from discussions and votes?
* Brezenski and Buckley, as plaintiffs, now have access to prior attorney/client emails or other communications given to the board prior to their being on the board? Board members typically inherit board email addresses from their successors to aid in the continuity of association business.
* the board has decided whether to mount a defense on the issue of paying legal fees?
In a May 19 email copied to all board members, Roberts declined to provide any immediate answers, writing that “after further review of your questions, they will need to be reviewed by the BOD and committees to respond accurately and we will not be able to provide answers by your Sunday deadline due to people not being accessible.
“As soon as we have this information, we will be providing you with a response.”
Further coverage of the board’s responses, its May 30 meeting and the June 12 court hearing will be available online at thesevenlakesinsider.com.
Contact John Nagy at (910) 693-2507 or email@example.com.