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Letter: EPOA Clarifies the Facts

(Editor’s Note: The following letter is in response to a letter printed in the Nov. 19 edition of Garden City Life.)

Residents Ron Tadross, who lives in Estates, and Ray Rudolph, who lives in the East, have mounted a broad and inaccurate attack on the Garden City Property Owners Association (POA) system and on the Eastern Property Owners Association (EPOA), an attack heavy on innuendo and short on facts.

The following points are facts: The EPOA heavily advertises its October, January and June public meetings, asking residents to attend, listing a complete itinerary, and inviting residents to comment and ask questions. In addition to the three regular public meetings, the EPOA holds additional public meetings during the year devoted to specific topics of importance or of interest to village residents, most recently the HUB meeting on Nov. 16, which was well advertised.

The EPOA Newsletter is mailed to every resident of the East, whether or not they are dues-paying members of the EPOA. The EPOA website is available to anyone with access to the Internet. It contains detailed, updated information on a wide range of topics that affect Garden City and its residents. It also allows them to contact the EPOA with any question or issue they may have. Before elections for village or EPOA offices, the EPOA publishes bios of every candidate; the newsletters containing the bios continue to be available on the EPOA website, www.gcepoa.org.

EPOA officers, directors and representatives (all volunteers) spend many personal hours advocating on behalf of all residents of the East. We attend village meetings, speak to issues at village meetings, have representatives on village committees and commissions and attend and participate in relevant meetings outside the village that the Town of Hempstead or Nassau County may hold. Many will recall the efforts put forth by the EPOA regarding the Lighthouse Project and the public hearings that we attended and participated in during 2009. We are certain our efforts had an impact on bringing to light many of the negative financial and environmental impacts that the project would have had on the East as well as the entire village.

EPOA dues of $20 per year are necessary in order to publish and mail the Newsletter to each resident of the East to keep them up to date on the many issues we face in the East and in the entire village. Dues are also necessary to mail special notices of meetings and elections to ALL residents of the East as required by our by-laws. Everyone doesn’t have computer access, everyone doesn’t subscribe to the Garden City News or Garden City Life, and mailing ensures that all residents have access to important information. Dues are also necessary to fund special challenge elections such as the one in 2009 in which a resident challenged the EPOA candidate for trustee. Dues helped finance the 2008 POA conducted poll on St. Paul’s in which over 5,000 village residents voted. We have yet to receive any complaint from a resident regarding our dues; in fact many have complimented us on our efforts and the value they have received for such a small cost.

The EPOA treasurer shares a detailed financial summary and takes and answers questions at every meeting. In addition, he reports on finances in the Newsletter for those who cannot attend the public meetings. The EPOA does NOT have “thousands of dollars” in reserve. Generally our membership revenue covers the costs related to the printing and mailings sent during the year that have been discussed earlier, the only reserves we keep are those required so that we can fund any challenge in an election year. The EPOA books are reviewed annually by a CPA and found to be accurate and our controls appropriate. We file required tax reporting forms in a timely manner as required by the IRS.

Candidates from the East for village board of trustee and school board trustee positions are interviewed and chosen by the 10-member nominating committee of the East. This committee is separate from the EPOA Board of Directors. Village and school board representatives are not recommended by the EPOA. The advertisements you see in the local press-seeking candidates are submitted by this committee, NOT the EPOA board. This nominating committee is chosen through election at the June public meeting by ALL residents of the East who attend and vote, not just dues-paying members of the EPOA, therefore not excluding anyone from participating. In addition, any resident of the East may be a candidate for the 10–member committee by expressing interest. Any resident of the East may appear before the 10-member committee to be interviewed for the position of Village or School Trustee. Participation is the key.

The EPOA historically holds three “public” meetings. At the public meetings we provide full updates on the many issues facing the East, The village and school district in addition to a summary on memberships and the finances and cash balances of the EPOA. Our village, school and library trustees, in addition to the school board president attend and participate in these meetings and residents are free to ask any questions that they would like. In addition, we attempt to have speakers present on important issues facing the village. The non-public meetings are necessary to review and discuss the many issues that we monitor on behalf of our residents during the year as well as to prepare for the administrative responsibilities carried out at our public meetings.  

It is fascinating how Mr. Tadross and M. Rudolph twist volunteer service into something negative. They turn the many hours spent away from our families at night and on weekends into power trips and hidden agendas. The EPOA slogan is “Progress through Participation” and each officer and director of the EPOA pride themselves on this. According to himself, Mr. Rudolph has bothered to attend exactly one EPOA meetings since being a resident of the East, last June, but he is now an expert critic on EPOA matters.

To suggest that the EPOA leadership does the bare minimum in regard to fairly representing Garden City residents is an insult to us as dedicated residents who serve as volunteers on behalf of all village residents. To further relate the lack of EPOA or other POA efforts to Nassau County finances is beyond comprehension. The EPOA has never been charged with village or school board policy. This is managed by the trustees on the respective boards. We can only provide input as we see fit and are asked, and do so on a regular basis. In 2009, the four POAs successfully revised the Charter of the Citizens Budget Review and Advisory Committee. During last year’s village budget cycle, this committee, with two resident representatives from each POA, worked side by side with village administration and the village board of trustees to assist with and provide suggestions as to revenue generation, cost savings, financial planning as well as to gain operational efficiencies. This committee was praised by the mayor and board of trustees for its positive impact and professional work ethic. Since the last village budget was approved, this committee has continued its efforts and has spent numerous hours continuing to analyze many expense areas and reporting formats so that they can have a positive impact on the upcoming budget cycle.

In their letter, Mr. Tadross and Mr. Rudolph have singled out the POAs and demanded that we reform or else they will do this at the next village election in March. However, they have yet to say what exactly the POAs are not doing. They intermingle the POA responsibilities with those of the village and school board’s as to Garden City’s infrastructure and rising taxes, again, all issues that are not within the control of the POA. They would rather misinform residents that the POAs are somehow the obstacle preventing change in these areas and preventing their participation in the process. This could be no further from the truth.

Submitted by the Officers of the Eastern Property Owners Association

Walter McKenna – President

Judy Courtney – Vice President

John Lattuca – Treasurer

Jaime Gans – Corporate Secretary

Christine Mullaney – Corresponding Secretary