The Sept. 10 WCA Board elections saw Westchase Voting Members (VMs) elect three longtime association volunteers.
Winning the three positions were Heather Greeley-Hessefort, Dale Sells and board incumbent Rick Goldstein. Election was determined by a plurality of votes with each VM allowed to cast up to three separate votes (without stacking). With 29 VMs casting ballots, Greeley-Hessefort won broad VM support with 26 votes. Meanwhile, Goldstein (15 votes) and Sells (14 votes) roughly won the support of half of VMs.
Rounding out results, Jim Wimsatt won 12 votes, Deb Guerino won 10 and Mark Bolton took 8.
Prior to the election, VMs held a brief regular business meeting where the final approval of the Village Green Fence Guideline was unanimously approved. That meeting adjourned at 7:03 p.m. then outgoing Westchase Community Association (WCA) Director Joaquin Arrillaga, who chaired the Nominations Committee that oversees the board elections, explained that there were three positions open and eight candidates.
Director Keith Heinemann interrupted briefly explaining that as WOW liaison, he wanted to let everyone know that one of the pre-announced candidates’ bios—that for Lucas Capuzzo, the Harbor Links/The Estates alternate–had not made it into the magazine so printed copies had been distributed. Heinemann said, “Look over his bio and give him the same fair chance. We apologize that it didn’t get in there.”
Capuzzo, however, as well as previously announced candidate Earl Kitover, did not show up for the election and ultimately received no votes. Capuzzo later cited WOW’s failure to publish his bio as the reason for not attending.
No further nominations came from the floor so VMs submitted a pool of questions from which the Nominations Committee selected three questions asked of all candidates.
During opening statements, Goldstein spoke of his accomplishments as the chair for the WCA’s Government Affairs Committee (GAC). He spoke about working on traffic issues, turkey vulture issues, and transportation and disaster plans.
Deb Guerino spoke about achievements working on her Sub Association Board, being a Voting Member Alternate and working on the GAC.
Jim Wimsat spoke about being a younger parent with kids in the community, serving on a few WCA committees, attending almost all the board and VM meetings this past year, and speaking out during meetings for those who he felt weren’t being listed to. Wimsatt emphasized improving customer service and making board decisions that are less personal as key areas for improvement.
Heather Greeley-Hessefort noted that she was a 15-year resident of Westchase, had been a VM and alternate, served on the Electronic Voting and Covenants Committee. She also spoke of her background in human resources, which had taught her to reserve judgement until hearing all sides. In speaking of her knowledge of the violation process she said, “The most effective board members take the time to understand our documents.”
Saying he was the “new kid on the block,” Mark Bolton noted that he had not yet been previously involved in Westchase government. He highlighted what he called the three Ts: 1) Technology – using his 30 years of experience from his professional career, making technology work for the association; 2) Transportation – wanting to be a part of the continuing work that had already been done 3) Transformation – encouraging VMs to explore incorporating Westchase into a city to better control local governance. He said that it would add additional Westchase weight around transportation, services, finances and spending. “As a candidate, I stand for something a little different.”
Dale Sells noted he had volunteered with the Modification Committee and chaired the documents review committee three times. He explained what he believed were the roles of the WCA and the board saying “The WCA role is to preserve and protect our community.”
The three questions selected to ask each candidate were:
1) What have you done to prepare to be a board member?
2) Anything new you can bring to the board?
3) Express your position on transparency on the WCA Board if elected.
In responding to the questions, all the candidates said they supported more transparency. Newcomer Mark Bolton expressed prior experience on a large condominium association and using technology for transparency. Deb Guerino noted her professional background as a former vice president of project management, where she emphasized data to take the emotional decision making out of things. Around transparency, she said that already things were being communicated in the WOW and on the Facebook pages but suggested the association needed to have more community events or door to door communication.
Wimsat said being a younger person with younger children he would bring a new perspective to the board.
In their closing statements, Bolton suggested VMs only vote for him if they supported his incorporation idea. “I have come in with a bold idea. I am the new kid on the block. I ask for your support if you like the new idea.”
Wimsat said he wanted to end the way certain board members make policy personal and said his goal was to create the best customer service in all the area within association services and facilities.
Guerino said, “Change is good, change is great. As we look for change and push for change, we need to make sure that we are relevant. We need to look at the relevancy of our community that is over 25 years old. We are competing with brand new communities with new amenities at lower prices. We need to think about our influence – how do we make sure that people come here, what do we have to do to keep our property values up?”
When the vote was taken, the group had elected Heather Greeley-Hessefort, Rick Goldstein and Dale Sells. Many in attendance noted that it was wonderful to have so many strong choices of candidates for the three open seats.
Heinemann closed the meeting with his words sparking a standing ovation for outgoing Arrillaga. Heinemann said, “Ten years ago, then President Carlos Quiros asked me to sit next to Joaquin Arrillaga. This was Joaquin’s last official act. He has done a super job. Thank you, Joaquin.”
VMs adjourned at 8:26 p.m.
A table of VM votes follows:
|Neighborhood Name||Mark Bolton||Lucas Capuzzo||Rick Goldstein||Heather Greeley-Hessefort
|Earl Kitover||Dale Sells||Jim Wimsatt|
|Arlington Park –NO VM||——||——||——||——-||——–||——||——|
|Classic Townhomes of WPV||1||1||1|
|Enclave –NO VM||——||——||——||——-||——–||——||——|
|Harbor Links/The Estates||1||1||1|
|Reserve at WPV (absent)|
|Single Family Homes of WPV||1||1||1|
|Townhomes of WPV||1||1||1|
|Traditional Townhomes of WPV||1|
|Villas of WPV||1||1||1|
|Villas of Woodbridge||1||1||1|
By Brenda Bennett