February 06, 2013
There's a lot of dirty linen being aired here. The level of mean-spiritedness is amazing! No wonder potential buyers are scared away. The community has to find a way to protect the rights of the owners, and also to give the Board the necessary tools to govern the organization in a responsible, consistent manner.
For starters, let's look at the governance framework. Are Board structure and members' duties spelled out? How does the Board hear and deal with complaints? What is the decision-making process? Is there an Audit Committee - - if not, why not? Is there a statement regarding style of governance e.g..."to ensure all board operations are conducted in a transparent, legal and ethical manner". Is there a statement regarding the Board's duty of good faith? How about Confidentiality - - the duty not to disclose information to unauthorized individuals etc if it would harm the organization, relationships, or an individual. Is there a conflict of interest policy? Is there a Code of Conduct for Board members and Staff, including respecting principles of fair play and due process? Does the Board say it respects and gives fair consideration to diverse and opposing viewpoints? Is there an Oath of Office and Confidentiality Agreement for the Board members.
Some might think these measures are over the top, but based on the amount of rancor and vindictiveness some action to mollify the extreme viewpoints must be taken.
Next, forget the "forensic" audit. What's needed is a directed project to determine whether essential financial controls are in place; most importantly, is there adequate separation of duties for revenue and expenditure functions. Certified Internal Auditors are internationally recognized and could conduct a focused project of this type for a fraction of the cost. Check the GDL phone book or call the university.
I'm an interested and experienced observer; not an owner, renter nor a resident of Jalisco, and it's painfully obvious some work has to be done to restore trust before it's too late.
Good luck in your deliberations at the AGM.
SO WHO'S RIGHT AND WHO'S WRONG
I try not to talk about or get involved in the politics of EP since we are all friends and neighbors. However, it is getting consistently harder to ignore how ugly things have become. We attended the meetings and were taken aback at the repulsive animosity that was displayed by Board members and homeowners at the first meeting. I did not speak up one way or another, first and foremost because I didn't know the facts behind any of this and secondly for fear of being placed on the chopping block next. Now, I wish I had tried to add a bit of civility to a meeting that got so far out of control that all of us should hang our heads in embarrassment.
At the meetings, the board and Administrator’s views and history of the cash payment issue, whether true or distorted, were accepted favorably by the homeowners. It seemed reasonable to them. My greatest fear is that the board may attempt to float their version of this issue through a court of law. I believe any court would find that it is irrelevant whether the board’s position appears reasonable or popular. A court of law is only concerned with the law and our own bylaws clearly state that “fees must be paid in Mexican currency at the Administration office”.
There is an agenda item proposing to change Article 123 at the AGM's Extra Ordinary meeting to say that cash will not be accepted at the office for payment of fees. Let’s assume that I agree with the board’s assertion that the supposedly delinquent homeowner’s position is unreasonable, unpopular, and not even understandable to most. The board has conceded that the homeowner repeatedly attempted to pay his fees in Mexican currency at the Administration office. I simply don’t understand how the board can possibly support their case when their only legal argument is that the homeowner complied with the law as it is written in our own bylaws?
If the board is totally convinced that their position is currently legally supportable, why does Article 123 need to be changed? I, personally, believe that Article 123 needs to be changed as suggested, but that’s not the point. If this issue is somehow taken out of the venue of El Parque homeowner meetings and into the venue of the courts, I honestly don’t like the board’s or the general homeowners’ chance of winning.
Would it not have been more appropriate for the Administrator to have accepted the cash payment and informed the Board that if they want it done differently, then they need to get it changed at the next AGM as is proposed for this meeting, thereby avoiding this ugly mess and potential lawsuits? Isn't that the Administrators job?
So the question may not be WHO'S RIGHT AND WHO'S WRONG HERE? Like it or not, the only relevant question here may be WHAT IS LEGAL AND WHAT IS NOT?
For a long while I didn't quite understand the whole situation either but with time and after going over the By-Laws myself, I have decided that the homeowner was actually complying with Article123. The Board keeps saying they are in the right but I'm not seeing it. It doesn't make any sense at all to me. If I am wrong, would somebody please set me straight?
Keep in mind that the board also asserted that it was reasonable and popular to fire the garbage people without any negotiation, ignoring the possibility of a law suit. We might also keep in mind the degree of success our board president achieved in his mission, whatever that might have been, at the recent immigration hearing involving the potential deportation of two El Parque homeowners.
Do we really need to continue down this needlessly aggressive path? Surely cooler heads must prevail.
posted by Anonymous : 4:06 PM, February 09,
Specifically with respect to the Dirty Linen post --- changes to the by-laws may be advisable, but seems to be a daunting prospect given the current context. What would you suggest regarding enforcement of the existing by-laws? Group action does not appear to be feasible.
posted by Anonymous : 7:31 AM, February 18, 2013
Suggestion? Here’s one. Read, no study, this blog from bottom to top. It is a veritable catalog of not only problems and their reasons but also feasible suggestions including ones specific to the mess of our laughable "bylaws". See how that fanciful set of rules came about. Learn how they've been turned upside down in application to somehow take pretended precedence over national and state laws. One suggestion that won’t be found is to continue as we are. In a way though, that may be a good thing too and seemingly the one that will come to pass. Arrogant ignorance has us rapidly racing toward a legal cliff. After the willing lemmings have been led over it, perhaps a hesitant surviving few will allow growth to condo maturity as has happened with some of the older ones nearby.
posted by Anonymous : 1:20 PM, February 27, 2013
LEY MONETARIA DE LOS ESTADOS UNIDOS MEXICANOS
De la Moneda y de su Régimen Legal
Artículo 6º.- Las oficinas públicas de la Federación, de los Estados y de los Municipios, estarán obligadas a recibir las monedas a que se refiere el artículo que antecede, sin limitación alguna, en pago de toda clase de impuestos, servicios o derechos.
Artículo 7º.- Las obligaciones de pago de cualquier suma en moneda mexicana se denominarán invariablemente en pesos y, en su caso, sus fracciones. Dichas obligaciones se solventarán mediante la entrega, por su valor nominal, de billetes del Banco de México o monedas metálicas de las señaladas en el artículo 2o.
MONETARY LAW OF THE UNITED STATES OF MEXICO
Of the Currency, and the Legal System
Article 6. - Public offices of the Federation, states and municipalities, are required to receive the coins referred to the preceding article, without limitation, in payment of all taxes, services or rights.
Article 7. - The payment obligations of any amount denominated in Mexican currency invariably in pesos and, where appropriate, its fractions. Such obligations are solved by handing over, at par value, of the Bank of Mexico bills or coins of those listed in article 2.4
posted by Anonymous : 8:10 PM, March 05, 2013
This refers to public offices. Don't think el Parque is a public office as intended by this. There is a reference to Article 2.4 which is not linked to whatever this is intended to prove. All the above is out of context so I would suggest that instead of enough said, nothing has been said.
posted by Anonymous : 9:42 PM, March 05, 2013
OMG, you mean national currency really does mean money? What an odd concept. The peso is truly legal tender for any debt owed in Mexico. Does Article 6 actually say "without limitation?? So much for "currency" being a gray area and didn't really mean money! Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!!!!
posted by Anonymous : 11:05 PM, March 05, 2013
Lets talk By-Laws
It seems to me that the BOD and it's members continuously overstep their authority. According to our By-Laws it is the homeowner's who approve a budget at the AGM for expenditures during the year. Why then did the BOD not include a new pool cover and uniforms for employees in this years budget as opposed to voting on those expenditures in the first monthly meeting after the AGM? Unapproved expenditures are supposed to be for emergency repairs only and that is the job and discretion of the Administrator. It is not the job or in the authority of the BOD to dream up new things to spend money on throughout the year that has not been approved by the homeowner's. It is also not up to 2 board members who run Happy Hour to decide that they are going to improve/remodel the BBQ area with Happy Hour funds. Any changes made to our Common Area's, according to our By-Laws, can only be made after approval by the homeowner's in an Extra Ordinary meeting. If we are going to have By-Laws, we should abide by them or do away with them. You can't pick and choose which ones you enforce and which ones you don't. Playing fast and loose with the By-Laws only leads to problems, some of them serious problems.
posted by Anonymous: 1:49 PM, April 09, 2013
There is another bylaw hardly if ever mentioned:
Chapter 4, ARTICLE 20. It is incumbent on all Condo Owners and their Related Persons to suggest/propose to the Administrator actions and measures they deem appropriate for the operation of the Condominium, so that the Administrator can bring these matters to the attention of everyone at the next Assembly.
In short, everyone, owners, renters, visitors, - and maybe "related persons" even includes writers, readers, talkers, and others affected beyond the barbed wire - are obligated to let the administration know what they think of the place and would like to see it be. It is a legal obligation. Keeping your mouth shut is not an option.
Isn't that exactly what most on this blog, being denied other means, have been trying to do and been damned for? Not written but implied is that obligation to speak requires obligated listeners.
posted by Anonymous: 4:35 PM, April 09, 2013
I'm wondering whether "related persons" was translated from Spanish. At any rate, I understand that tí mean relatives/family members and certainly not renters or visitors. It would be ludicrous for them to participate in Board/'community decisions.
posted by Anonymous: 9:17 PM, April 09, 2013
I think the point is that the by-laws as they now stand are poorly drafted and translated, hence are potentially unclear or misleading. A full review and overhaul is advisable to weed out extraneous matters that should not be included in by-laws and to tighten up and clarify the language. Of course, that level of revision would also be a good opportunity to introduce any new areas that should be covered by the by-laws and to bring them into full conformity with Jalisco law.
posted by edp: 10:51 AM, April 10, 2013
Sandy, I understand your wonder. I do also. You have probably already consulted the ruling Spanish language version of our bylaws. I’ll quote its text for others possibly less bent to detail:
“Todo condómino y sus causahabientes tendrán la obligación de proponer al Administrador las medidas que a su juicio sean más adecuadas para la operación del condominio, a efecto de que el Administrador las haga del conocimiento de todos en la siguiente Asamblea.”
The word "condómino" is defined as property owner of a condominio. Now however, we are left to ponder meaning of “sus causahabientes” - possibly successors, assignees, beneficiaries, successors in title, holders of (rental?) contracts – and who knows what else?
Looking into origin of our “ruling” Spanish language bylaws should but will probably shed little light. As recorded on this blog’s Bye Bye Laws post, their original text was copied from those of a north of the border condo, tinkered with a bit, translated from those to Spanish with more regard for condo legalization than content. That Spanish was finally translated again back to English with more tinkering for monolingual El Parque denizens. You used the words “arroz con mango” in a previous post. Ditto.
It might help to delve into applicable municipal laws, Jalisco condominium code, other sections of Jalisco civil code, federal civil code, state and federal property laws, other federal laws, and even the Mexican constitution, any or all of which may trump our bylaws. But sorting that is reserved for mastery of Mexican judges, of which I, and possibly you, are not. So, I have to rely on familiarity of circumstance and sense of right and wrong to determine what for me is “ludicrous”, as you termed it, and what is not.
Let’s consider a few examples, albeit hypothetical extremes.
1. A long term renter of many years in El parque who believes a board member should not strike his body with an automobile on a condo street, continue driving merrily away, and somehow avoid jail.
2. The proprietor of a nearby restaurant who believes his business is adversely affected by what he sees as El Parque’s unlicensed and untaxed bar and grill.
3. The commander of Chapala policemen who were refused entrance to El Parque when responding to a resident's call for help.
4. Parents of a San Antonio little girl dressed for Halloween who returns home in tears because she was not permitted to show off costuming within El Parque.
5. A local drunk sauntering up Allen W. Lloyd who is hurt while stumbling in fear of being bitten by our gate guard dog.
6. A resident home owner of many years who acts within the law but is regularly maligned for just that in board documents, publically vilified at a board called meeting, and surreptitiously summoned for phony investigation of criminal character.
7. An El Parque home owner residing north of the border who visits Mexico for a week or so every few years and rents the property other times, an absentee landlord if you will.
What is the scale of validity vs ludicrousness that should be attached to what each of those might have to say to our administration about the way El Parque should or should not be run?
posted by Anonymous: 1:30 PM, April 10, 2013
I may be a number seven, but I am concerned about my investment!
It is very hard to understand the whole rigamarol. No one will agree on everything and I have already expressed my ambivalence concerning people I have met over the years. I now feel that if I were seen saying hello to them I Would be tarred and feathered even if I don't agree with what they are saying and doing.
I would like things to be ironed out without having to resort to the Mexican authorities. And I fully support our right to hold social events funded by donations that go to improvements. I believe this alone is a huge contributor to what makes El Parque a desirable place to live.
Note to folks who disagree with me: at least I sign my name!
posted by Anonymous: 8:41 PM, April 10, 2013
On this blog, you are entitled to express your views, Sandy. Suggest you do a close read of the material on this blog (current and archived) to help resolve your confusion re. the issues. You are also entitled to use your name or to comment as "anonymous" or whatever tag you choose. Just don't be too smug about signing your name. All that indicates to me is that you haven't (yet) been targeted for reprisals from the board, administrator and hangers-on.
posted by fed up 2: 11:17 AM, April 12, 2013
Fed up, you took the words right out of my mouth. I too would sign my name but only If I lived north of the border and rented out my house. Since I live in EP, it's too risky to attach ones name to anything at this point in time.
posted by Anonymous: 9:05 PM, April 12, 2013
Come on you guys. Get a life! What’s this afraid to use your name crap? Lighten up and quit making big deals out of nothing. So they add you to a 5% don’t talk to list. Who of them have anything to say? Same with deporting. Probably heading that way anyhow. Send you to jail? Hey no fees, free food, realistic company. Don't be gutless. Stand and be counted!
posted by Anonymous: 9:32 AM, May 13, 2013
Back to by-laws --
I re-read the Bye Bye Laws post. It's certainly useful to have the history set out for all to read, and ponder. In my view, there's nothing inherently wrong with a "quick and dirty" version of by-laws prepared for the purposes of legal recognition of the condo, etc. (And I mean no disrespect to those who were involved. Even a "quick" version required a lot of time, energy and thought to put together, and I'm sure it was prepared in good faith.) However, these things tend to outlive their usefulness, and that seems to be where we are now.
There must be more resources available now that can be used to have a new and improved version of the by-laws prepared. Persons who have money invested in El Parque should be able to expect an appropriate level of professionalism in the administration of the condo. Professionally prepared (and applied) by-laws are a significant aspect of that. There DOES need to be a general recognition by homeowners that revised/re-drafted by-laws are necessary, though, and I suspect we're still some distance away from that.
The "extreme" examples of the logical extension of unclear drafting, set out in the Anonymous comment of April 10, are certainly troubling. Good thing the examples are only hypothetical.
posted by edp: 11:03 AM, April 13, 2013
To whomever posted the Come on Guys. Stand up and be counted post and then signed it anonymous. Your comment is generalization that says absolutely nothing of value. The point of a blog is to express opinions on issues. The identification of the posters expressing those opinions should be irrelevant.
posted by Anonymous: 8:41 AM, April 15, 2013
Re comment from "edp", April 13:
I wish the examples WERE hypothetical. "Troubling" is quite an understatement! I'm still astonished that so many "residents" don't or can't or won't see what's been going on. ("Sandy" for instance seems fixated on social activities and upgrading the Clubhouse?!)
I like the ideas in the Dirty Linen post, above, about matters that should be in the by-laws. Would just like to add that it could be a good idea to include a process to IMPEACH the Board.
(I don't care if people use "anonymous" or names or whatever. Enough of that.)
posted by fed up 2: 10:57 AM, April 15, 2013
To the gutless anonymous poster who wishes to point out that others should identify themselves on this blog, when in fact, he or she does not have the courage to do so:
When you make light of any homeowner being deported or jailed, then there is nothing to say to you except that you must be a brain dead, spineless lackey of this administration, which would lead one to believe that you are either on the board or a sheeple. You add nothing of value to the resolution of the issues. Your only purpose is to keep the community fired up with your hateful posting. Next time please have the "BALLS" to sign YOUR name, so we can confirm who lives in the underbelly of El Parque.
T.Gibbard Casa 90
posted by Anonymous: 11:08 PM, April 15, 2013
About 90% of what I read here sounds very childish. Sam Davis #14
posted by Sam Davis : 7:07 PM, May 01, 2013
Perhaps you'd like to elaborate on the 10% that isn't "childish"?
posted by Anonymous: 11:13 AM, May 4, 2013