HERITAGE HARBOUR — The Heritage Harbour South Community Development District meeting started with the resignation of its chairman and ended with the resignation of its district manager.
At the start of the Feb. 7 meeting, Supervisor Joseph Jaudon resigned immediately from his post as chairman, leading a motion to elect Joyce Sandy, who attended her first meeting as a supervisor in January, as the new chairwoman. The motion passed 3-2.
Jaudon, who cited health issues and stress as reasons for his decision, will resume his assistant secretary role on the board.
Longtime District Manager Jim Ward also submitted his resignation, giving the board 60 days, or until about April 8, to find a replacement, after some supervisors suggested he was not following their directives, among other criticisms, and requested he seek proposals for services from other management companies.
“He forgets that he is working for the board, perhaps,” Sandy said during supervisors’ comments. She noted a different management style could emerge by using another company. “We should all be working together, and it seems sometimes we are not.”
Sandy returned to concerns she’d previously raised about brush piles left on the Stoneybrook Golf Course and district property. Since last month’s meeting, the district’s field operations manager, Morris-Riley Development Management, went on the Stoneybrook Golf Course with its staff, and had brush piles on district property removed, as requested by the board. Golf-course representatives said the course would not necessarily move piles on its property.
Sandy said she was disappointed the situation had gone on for as long as it had.
“That problem (of forgetting he works for the board) probably happens with Morris-Riley,” she said. “This brush situation really bothers me. This brush situation has been going on for years. Nothing was done until I pushed for it.
“It’s a health, safety and welfare hazard,” she said. “Residents are concerned.”
Supervisor Lee Bettes, former chairman, cautioned the board against harsh criticisms of its staff, adding the district’s employees work hard to address board and resident concerns.
“It’s really corrosive to this operation,” said Bettes, who has, at numerous meetings, advised fellow board members against attacks on staff, who he believes is doing a good job.
Ward’s resignation — which he said he would not reconsider, even after the district’s attorney begged board members to reject it because Ward is a key witness in two current lawsuits against the district — came after some board members chastised him for not following directives to change the meeting time to 6 p.m.
At last month’s meeting, supervisors voted 3-2 “to move the meeting time to 6 p.m. and to move the meeting location to the Stoneybrook Recreation Center, if available.” Neither the Recreation Center nor the River Strand Clubhouse were available at 6 p.m. on the night requested, Ward said, so the meeting time and location remained the same.
Supervisors are expected to receive proposals from other management companies at their March meeting.
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In Other Business:
• Supervisors spent more than an hour discussing conduct and structure at future board meetings. The new format, which the board formally would vote on at its March meeting, will be for residents to fill out comment cards at the beginning of each meeting; comment cards would be linked to specific agenda items and residents would be able to speak about items for which they had signed up. Comments would be limited to three minutes per person.
Meetings will be limited to two hours, or as close to two hours as possible. Any agenda items supervisors suggested would be added to the end of the agenda, so residents would have a chance to comment on them via comment cards. Agenda items not discussed within the two-hour meeting timeframe would be postponed to a future meeting.
• Supervisors directed staff they’d like to get the district’s website up and running and asked to have bids for the project back to the board by the April meeting, at the latest.
• Lawsuits against the Heritage Harbour South CDD continue to move forward, with discovery in the Lighthouse Cove/Joe Ramsey case well under way. Depositions were slated for Feb. 13 and Feb. 15. Two cases — one stemming from changes to stormwater assessments in 2011 and the other from continued changes in 2012 — have been consolidated into one case. A trial date has been set for the two-week period starting June 10.
The Stoneybrook Investors cases against the CDD — also regarding changes in stormwater assessments — have also been consolidated.
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