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Ranch administrator earns respect at Ranch

Crooked River Ranch Roundup


by: JOHN BOWLER - Judy LaPora has been the CRR administrator for just over two years.It’s rewarding to talk with someone who is content with her/his profession, does the job well and is generally respected by her/his employer and clients. That’s the kind of person Judy LaPora, current Crooked River Ranch administrator, is.

She has just completed her second year in that position and doesn’t appear about to leave it in the foreseeable future.

As she sat in her office in the Ranch Clubhouse during a visit last week, it was apparent she likes living in Central Oregon, her job, and the people to whom she reports as well as those she serves, the latter being Ranch residents and CRR Club and Maintenance Association members.

When asked if there were any surprises in that job that she hadn’t expected, she exploded into laughter exclaiming, “What a question that is!" But her answer was, "Yes, how multifaceted and complex the tasks are," adding, "and exhausting at the end of the day."

It wasn’t a complaint or lament, just a statement of fact. LaPora has a reputation for telling it like it is without window dressing or theatrics.

As an armed services family "brat," LaPora has lived in a lot of different places, both overseas and stateside. She obviously likes Crooked River Ranch and its people, starting with the boss to whom she reports directly, Ben Johnson, president of the homeowners association.

She characterizes him as "a strong leader" who she thinks has been good for the Ranch and "has accomplished a lot" as HOA president. "He makes himself available to me, which I really appreciate," she said.

She considers the other HOA board directors to be "dedicated to the Ranch interests; an intelligent, thoughtful and congenial group to work with." They also are very supportive of her, for which she is grateful.

LaPora is not sure why it’s so challenging to attract Ranchers to serve on the board, but is not surprised they need to be invited. "It’s that kind of a job," she said, "and there is always the innate fear of rejection when one volunteers for such a position; but somehow we always seem to end up with enough candidates."

She said recruiting board candidates is not her job and she doesn’t get involved.

Helping prepare the annual Ranch budget is her responsibility and she’s right in the middle of it these days. First off, she sits down with all eight department heads and listens to their financial needs for the coming fiscal year and records them.

She showed the 20 or so sheets that make up the budget with each page chock full of line items. "It’s as complex as the budget for a city of over 5,000 people and just as large at roughly $2.3 million." She estimates the Ranch will eventually grow to around 8,000 in population, but considers the HOA capable of governing it when it reaches that size.

After she finishes talking with the department heads, she makes up a pro forma budget and they meet with the Budget/Audit Committee to justify their needs and to answer questions why some items can’t be done without or at least reduced. It’s a grueling session that takes three to four hours.

Jesting, she said, "The Ranch unofficial mantra is 'Do more with less,'" but pointed out the Ranch budget is based on sound accounting principles and not whimsy.

She doesn’t think the handle once applied to the Ranch by another publication — "Home of the Hatfields and McCoys" — is valid anymore, if it ever was.

LaPora said she is not concerned by the small number of Ranchers that attend meetings. For that matter she is one of those who thinks it’s a vote of confidence to how well the Ranch is governed. She concedes that most meetings are about boring administration and governance details that are of little interest to most HOA members.

She summed up saying, "I feel my whole life before I took on this job prepared me for it. Banking taught me a lot about dealing with people, the real estate business and how to stay focused on what’s important."




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