A recall election is set for July 7 to determine the status of seven board members

BARBARA SHERMAN - King City Civic Association Administrator J. Pat Moore (far right) discusses a point during the May 12 KCCA Board of Directors meeting; from left are Bill Barber, Joe Wilson, Paul Downing, Terry Pittsley, Denny Gelfand, KCCA attorney Tom Johnson of Vial Fotheringham LLP, Mike Whitmarsh and Blair Wyatt.There is only one candidate – Joe Wilson - officially running for the King City Civic Association Board of Directors in the May 29 election, and he may be recalled shortly after that along with the six other members.

Three of the seven board members resigned this spring - with three other people since appointed to fill their seats - but only Wilson, who was already on the board, filed in time to officially make the ballot.

A deep fissure has divided the three former board members from the remaining original four, with each side making accusations against the other, and former board president Jim Armour, who was the first to resign, initiated a petition drive to recall the other board members.

The recall election is set for Tuesday, July 7, at 6 p.m. at the King City Clubhouse.

The monthly KCCA board meeting held in the Clubhouse on May 12 drew about 50 residents – many more than the usual number - and had to be moved from the card room to the banquet room, which ironically is in the process of being refurbished by some of the remaining board members to attract non-residents interested in renting the facility.

BARBARA SHERMAN - New KCCA board President Denny Gelfand and the other six board members have made improvements to the Clubhouse and changed some policies and practices.Although the open forum portion of the meeting was canceled by President Denny Gelfand, Jim Armour, the former president who was the first board member to resign and is the petitioner, stepped forward and presented the petition signed by more than 100 KCCA residents demanding a recall election of the board members.

According to Gelfand, the board must hold the recall no sooner than 30 days and no later than 60 days from the date it was presented.

Armour’s resignation was followed by the resignations of Vice President/Secretary Bridget Smolen and Treasurer Carolyn Griffith.

Armour told the Regal Courier on April 22 that the board had become “dysfunctional” and accused the four remaining board members of not following Robert’s Rules of Order during meetings, not doing their jobs, spending money without board approval and focusing on pet projects.

The board currently consists of the remaining board members – besides Gelfand and Wilson are Paul Downing and Mike Whitmarsh – plus newcomers Blair Wyatt, Terry Pittsley and Bill Barber, and they were anxious to present the other side of the story, which six of them did (in groups of three so as not to create a quorum) following a board work session May 5.

“The board is not dysfunctional, the real truth is that it is functional,” Downing said. “We now have a board where the people are happy to be on it. The board was out of control when Jim was running it. His accusations are an insult beyond comprehension.”

As one example, Downing said the improvements to the Clubhouse banquet room that include chandeliers, mirrors, drapes and new round tables, have been a wise investment and will generate many times that amount in rental fees.

“Estimates show that the improvements would cost $18,800, and we have spent $8,600,” he said.

Gelfand said that the KCCA needs to be run like a business, adding, “We have long-term plans for repairs. I came up with the idea of forming a fundraising committee. We have six committees that spend money, and we need one that raises money.

“We might be able to get grant money from companies like Nike or Intel. I know of two people who want to leave money to the KCCA. We can charge more to rent a renovated banquet room. It’s my fiduciary responsibility to protect KCCA members’ money, and it’s our fiduciary responsibility to maintain our assets.

“We’re improving the place. There are several people with business backgrounds on the board, and not only do we know how to do it, but we are dedicated to doing it right. We’ve tried to bring people onto the board with diverse backgrounds. There is not a dishonest person in the group. And one thing different about me is that people will be treated respectfully.”

As for running board meetings, Gelfand added, “We follow quasi-Robert’s Rules of Order.”

Wilson, who is char of the Greens Committee, said that one of the most important reasons to be on the board is to increase revenue for the KCCA “so we won’t have to increase assessments. One of the things we have done is to lower the price of golf tickets, we are selling more at a lower cost, and we have new people coming in to golf. This board is not dysfunctional – it’s a hard-working board.”

One of the biggest disputes between the remaining board members and the ones who resigned was over KCCA employee contracts, which have been automatically renewed each year unless employees were notified 90 days before the end of the calendar year that the contracts weren’t being renewed. The board has since modified the contracts.

“We voted not to renew the contracts as of Jan. 1,” Gelfand said. “Employees will work as at-will employees. The old contracts didn’t benefit the residents.”

Wilson added, “We didn’t cancel anyone’s contract,” and Whitmarsh added, “We’ve tried to reduce expenses while increasing revenue.”

Wyatt said she stepped up to serve on the board because “I have a long history with this community, and I want to be on a board that works better. I have a vested interest in this board and this community.

“Denny is one of the best board members – he runs meetings in a calm manner and treats people well. I think there are great people on the board now.”

Pittsley, who has lived in King City for three years, said, “I got involved with upgrading the pool and women’s locker room at the Crown Center. I heard that Jim resigned from the board and then Carolyn and Bridget, and I heard Denny make a plea for new members, especially women.

“We have people on the board with skills. And it’s good to have new eyes take a look at things. But when you come down to it, this is a place where neighbors help neighbors.”

Wyatt responded, “That’s what this board used to do – we should go back to it.”

Before the May 12 board meeting started, Griffith, sitting in the audience, said that she resigned because the board wasn’t maintaining the budget as required and spending money unadvisedly on items not sanctioned by the board.

“As treasurer, I had to co-sign checks, which bothered me,” she said. “My term was up, and no one was listening to anything I was saying, so I quit.”

Smolen added, “I believe the employees are an asset to this community. A motion made by one of the board members affected the employees, and morale is down.”

At the board meeting, Gelfand pointed out to the residents that “we work for free,” and added, “We work for the love of our community. This is one of the hardest-working boards that I know.”

When Armour was told that the board members had refuted all his allegations, he responded, “I haven’t said anything that wasn’t true.”

Barber, who due to quorum constraints was not able to speak to the Regal Courier on May 5 and did not return a phone message seeking comment, said at the May 12 meeting, “My late wife went through this recall crap 10 years ago. I ran for the board because I wanted to serve. We are not political in any way.

“You want to recall this board – have at it. You want it back? Take it.”