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ALA Board Addresses Election Challenge

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Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 9:00 am

A recent challenge to an election to approve Arrowhead Lake Association bylaw changes was quickly addressed at an ALA Board of Direction meeting on March 23.

Board President Gary Clifford said that the election was a success with all items being passed by an overwhelming majority. Despite the outstanding challenge to the election, Clifford said the vote was proper and that the amendments will be finalized.

Director Roberta Rindenow said one amendment, Item No. 2, in the election pertaining to changing the election cycle and length of term for directors, would result in two directors having a five-year term. Such circumstances are contrary to the California Corporations Code which limits directors’ terms to four years. The board members will reconsider Item No. 2 in a future closed session.

That particular election item is one of several reasons ALA member Marie E. Simmonds sent a letter of complaint dated March 8 to attorney Gregory M. Garrison of San Diego, who serves as corporate counsel to ALA. As of March 18, Simmonds received no response, so she drafted a memo to the ALA Board of Directors with copies sent to the ALA Election Committee, the Inspector of Elections and ALA General Manager Wayne Austin. She provided a copy to the Mountain News following the board meeting.

Simmonds raised the following main points in her letter, which addressed other issues as well.


• The voting instructions stated that the member’s assessor parcel number (APN) could be found at the top of the letter, highlighted in yellow. That was not the case, and the absence of the APN contributed to nearly half (45.1 percent) of the 1,300 ballots being deemed invalid. Those votes were not counted.

• The bylaws state that the signatures on the ballot envelopes will be verified by the ALA staff. However the ballot instructions did not ask for signatures; thus signatures were not verified.

• The ALA bylaws do not require that the APN be written by the member and verified by the staff.

* The voting instructions referred to the ALA Election Oversight Committee, but ALA does not have any such authorized committee by that name.


• The ballot instructions included only a summary of the proposed bylaw amendments. The summary, as described in the letter, was a list of “facts” that amounted to a biased, one-sided opinion by the majority of the directors. The voting members did not have adequate opportunity to see the actual language of the amendments prior to voting.

• Ballot Proposition No. 3, changing the procedure for the directors to fill a board vacancy, is in conflict with the actual ALA bylaw amendment, and the summary language was not consistent with the amendment language. “What was voted on, is not what appears in the actual ALA By-Laws language, which would invalidate the vote.”

• The bylaw amendments were not posted on the ALA website during the voting period, as required.

• ALA e-blasted the bylaw changes to the members on March 7 at approximately 12 p.m., provided a link to the changes and claimed they would be posted on the website. They were not posted on the front page of the website.

• Members were given only one day to review the bylaw changes.


• The instructions said members could contact the General Manager if members wanted to change their vote. However, the bylaws do not provide a procedure for members to change their votes.


• For the first time in recent ALA history, no ballot count numbers were disclosed to the membership — only percentages. Past practice has always been to report a certified count of the actual numbers of ballot votes.

Simmonds concluded by stating that the election should be redone in a manner consistent with the ALA bylaws and required election procedures.

At the March 23 board meeting, Clifford said the Inspectors of Election rejected the 12 issues that Simmonds raised in her election challenge.

The Board of Directors includes Clifford as president and representative of the East District; Eran Heissler, vice president and representative of the Grass Valley District; Alan Kaitz, secretary/treasurer from the South District; Brian Hall of the West District; Roberta Rindenow of the North District; and Bob Mattison and Ralph Wagner, both at-large directors.

Heidi Fron can be reached at

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