Parties on either side of the dispute involving governance of the Alta Sierra Property Owners Association have reached a settlement that outlines significant changes to how the South County neighborhood will be administered in the future. The deal has not yet resolved who comprises the nine-person board of directors that governs the association, however.
“Realizing that a prolonged legal battle was not good for the Alta Sierra community or any party to the conflict, we entered into a mediation to investigate an end to the prolonged conflict,” said board secretary Kathleen Carey in a media release issued by ASPOA Monday morning.
The settlement, which was reached through a mediation process presided over by retired judge Albert Dover, means two lawsuits — one filed by Alta Sierra Neighbors and a countersuit filed by ASPOA — will be dismissed.
“We’re thrilled,” said Kathy Monteiro, the leader of the recall movement. “These issues needed to come to the forefront. Changes needed to happen with how the board does things.”
Both parties have agreed to submit to binding arbitration regarding the most outstanding issue currently facing the neighborhood — who is in charge.
There are three possible outcomes:
1. The recall election held Oct. 19 is invalid, which automatically means the subsequent election held Nov. 2 to replace the ostensibly ousted board members is also invalid.
2. The recall election was valid, but the ensuing election was not.
3. Both recently held elections are valid.
If the first case is held true in the arbitration process, a Dec. 2 election for three board seats will move forward as scheduled. Carey, Paul Hoefler and Jim Barrileaux have termed out as board members.
If the second case is held true, Carey, Hoefler and Barrileaux would join five other board members — Lee French, Don Bessee, David Johnson, Gene Jovich and John Keefe — in immediate removal from the board. They could not run in a valid election to replace them that would be held as soon as feasible.
If the third case is upheld, the December election would be canceled, and Gerald Gates, Laura McLeod, Steve Hurley, Fred Crowder, John Noone, Keith Harris, Brad Peceimer-Glasse and Brad Dixon will be ushered in as the ruling body of the South County neighborhood.
The settlement does institute new policies aimed at reducing the confusion and angst that has grown steadily since Monteiro, the leader of the recall movement, first accused board members of secretly attempting to consolidate their power back in May.
Those policies include emphasizing the importance of civil dialogue, implementation of a conflict resolution committee, a requirement that the board survey its members before undertaking large expenditures, establishment of an election protocol and periodic polling of the community to ensure the board reflects the will of the electorate.
Another conflict yet to be resolved relates to the board’s authority to enforce the Declaration of Restrictions in the neighborhood subdivisions, which will be adjudicated in concurrence with the other outstanding issues.
Monteiro said both sides fully expect a decision on those issues before the end of the month.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.