Candidates for Lake board share visions


Each Lake household received a paper ballot to enable members to vote by proxy, either by mail or electronically on The deadline for proxy voting is June 20 at 5 p.m.

Directors do not receive any compensation for their service.

The vacancies on the board are created by the expiring terms of Weaver, who is seeking re-election, and Treasurer Mike Harrison, who is not. Also on the board are President Rich Barringer, Vice President Tom Braithwaite, Secretary Bing Spitler, and Directors Stephanie Davis and Jim Gerling.

The Fluvanna Review asked the three candidates to answer five questions about their vision for how they would serve Lake Monticello. Each candidate had a total limit of 650 words to answer the questions. Rather than specifically answering questions, Cormier opted to submit a single response.

Tell us about yourself

Robert Harris: I am a business finance professional who can immediately step into the office of board treasurer, if chosen by the board. Since making the decision to run I have immersed myself in the laws of the state of Virginia and the by-laws of Lake Monticello that dictate how we are to govern. I have attended all board meetings and the recent very important finance committee meeting in which the 10-year financial plan was discussed. The job of being an LMOA director comes with great responsibility and I am ready to serve on day one.

I have 30 years of multi-industry financial management experience and participated in hundreds of millions of dollars of business acquisitions, mostly while participating in the consolidation of the Coca-Cola bottling industry during my 14 years there. My Master’s of Business Administration was earned at Florida International University. I have been an adjunct professor for over 14 years, and have taught accounting and finance at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

With my wife of 45 years, I have lived here almost three and this is our home. We are both involved in various community volunteer programs and are active members at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church.

Marlene Weaver: I moved to Lake Monticello in 2010 after retiring from a 38-year career managing budgets and people. Through those years, I completed a Business Administration degree and a Master’s of Business Administration. I am originally from Pennsylvania and spent six years completing my career in Northern Virginia. I have two sons and three grandchildren.

I have been part of the current Board of Directors for three years, serving one of those years as president. Previously, I served several years on the finance committee and other ad-hoc committees and assisted the staff in implementing the new LMOA website in 2013.

At the end of your three-year term, what will you have accomplished on the Board of Directors?

Marlene Weaver: At the end of another three-year term, I hope to see our beautifully renovated facilities (both the Ashlawn and Bunker facilities) utilized to the fullest, providing all members a safe and secure environment to engage in business and pleasure activities. I hope to see other upgrades including improved and expanded boat storage options, a park at our marina rather than a boat storage lot, increased play at our golf course, more varieties of fish in our lake, more tennis and basketball players on our newly renovated courts, more children playing at the upgraded playgrounds, and especially consistently well-maintained houses throughout our community so that our property values are protected.

Robert Harris: This answer requires measurable specifics. Success will mean having been influential and getting support from the board and the membership. In three years please check off the following:

1. No dues increases for three years resulting from more board oversight on costs and member approval of Item 2.

2. Eliminate the $2 million loan repayment that will only benefit residents 15 years from now. Get that money into the cash flow stream so current residents will benefit from their dues payments.

3. The five-year playground renovation accelerated from funds provided by Item 2.

If those cannot be checked off I would not consider my term successful.

Are you good at working with people?

Robert Harris: Yes. Because of my experience in developing complex financial models and producing convincing proposals my skills are a great asset to any group. Those skills will also lead to my being an effective liaison with the finance committee should I succeed at being elected as treasurer.

Marlene Weaver: I have worked in a managerial position for more than three decades and currently I actually teach young adult university business students how to work well with other people. During my career, at any given time, I was responsible for overseeing up to 20 other managers and hundreds of contract employees at various international locations while managing an annual $100 million budget.

Will you raise dues? If so, how will you spend the money?

Marlene Weaver: No one board member can raise dues. Each year during the budget cycle, if there is a need for additional operating funds, dues can be increased, but only up to 3 percent. This equates to approximately $23 per household. So $23 is the maximum amount that any seven-member board can raise the dues in 2017 or thereafter to meet the growing needs of our community without a vote of the entire community. There is no plan to request a community vote for a dues increase currently. The board will evaluate the 2017 budget and decide if a 1 to 3 percent increase is necessary to avoid any reductions in current services. The board must approve a budget by November of each year, and at that time the seven-member board will vote on whether or not they will implement a cost-of-living dues increase. It has been my experience, that given our growing and very diverse community, and given the pressures this has placed on our budget, the 3 percent increase has been necessary for most years. LMOA is more than just a business; it is a little city with over 4,500 properties, over 12,000 people and has over 80 full, part- time and seasonal employees along with many service contracts. None of the salaries for our own staff or contractor staff decline or remain stagnant, but hopefully will at least keep up with inflation.

Robert Harris: The board can vote to implement a 3 percent dues increase each year without approval from the membership. Raising dues is not within the power of an individual board member. “Will I join the board in a vote to raise dues?” The answer to that is, “It depends.” One of the objectives I gave to be graded on at the end of three years included a provision that required more hands-on cost control activities by the board. If I am satisfied that all the proper steps have been taken to fulfill the board’s managing principle, as put forth in their 15-year master plan, and it appears a dues increase is needed, I will vote yes. That managing principle (in part) is: Residents and lot owners have a right to expect that their fees will be used prudently, effectively and efficiently.

If I am not convinced that the board has established the culture and processes to keep that promise, I will vote no on any dues increase proposal.

As for what I will spend it on, there again, “it takes a board, not a board member.” Since the question pertains to dues, any increase I vote for will be to maintain the facilities, provide the services as established and provide for adequate legally required reserves.

Since our community continues to grow, so does the burden for more maintenance and more staff. We have more than twice the number of children in our community than years ago. We are excited about that, but we also have more wear and tear on our amenities. If we want Lake Monticello to continue to attract responsible new homebuyers to a well-maintained community, we will need to do more, not less.

Why should an LMOA

resident vote for you?

Robert Harris: As of the end of April there were 18,498,379 reasons to vote for me. That number represents the $18.5 million in equity we have in our association. Our balance sheet is not small and inconsequential and considerable cash balances or near cash investments are required. Our investments total $11 million. This association requires sophisticated financial management and ideally our board should reflect a balance of directors that includes someone with a strong hands-on background in business finance. I am that choice for the current board.

Marlene Weaver: I have served our community for the past five and a half years in varying capacities. I want nothing more than to see our beautiful community continue to move in the right direction. That forward direction must include directors who know how the budget, the staff, and the contracts work for the benefit of everyone who lives here. I have proven my ability and commitment, and wish to provide continuity and experience to the board. I value this community’s success.

Larry Cormier submitted thefollowing response:

My internal compass to serve has driven me to run for the board. I volunteer with Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, the Lake golf committee, as well as having served as a missionary, along with my wife.

“Double residents” of Lake Monticello – we first moved here in 1993 and raised our grandchildren here until 2002, when a job transfer took us away – we happily returned when I retired from a management position in 2007. We enjoy living in this vibrant, activity-filled community.

I value our unique neighborhood – The Lake – because retirees, single people, and working families with children make our community vital and exciting. I feel called to contribute to Lake Monticello by actively giving my time and talents to continue the feeling of “home” the Lake provides, and to help grow our community through improvements that increase quality of life with fiscal prudence.

My background as a manager, missionary, and volunteer has prepared me to work with fellow board members to find creative and pragmatic solutions. I believe in collaboratively empowering people with the tools needed to get things done, while balancing revenue and expenses. As for raising dues, I would look for ways to transfer monies from projects not needed or that can be postponed to insure we are being prudent when raising dues. After looking at all the possibilities and if there is a deficit I would then and only then vote for a raise in dues.

If I am elected to the board, I will focus on continuing the excellent changes the renovation and replacement (R&R) project is bringing. Recruit energetic, competent individuals to operate food services. Help food services to be successful at Lake Monticello by implementing an effective promotional strategy: promoting our amenities as a fun safe place to live. Our community is built around excellent amenities – especially a first-class lake and golf course. Not only are these (and other recreational opportunities such as tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds and ball fields) very attractive, but they are secure. I would promote our community as a safe place for families to enjoy great recreation. Our security measures make Lake Monticello a very attractive place in which seniors, children, and families can enjoy an exceptionally high quality of life, while seeking additional ways to improve life quality and the strength of our community, which will in turn, continue positive growth trends in Lake home values.

If I am elected to the Board of Directors I will vote according to what is healthy for our community. I do not bring any self-serving agenda to the board. I look forward to serving Lake Monticello as a member of the board and ask for your vote.

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