LMOA Board candidates speak

By Page H. Gifford

Four candidates are vying for three seats on the Lake Monticello Board of Directors. Residents are encouraged by the slate of individuals running this time around and see  change in moving the community forward in a new and positive direction. Judy Fish, Gary Sellick, Gary Vogan, and Larry Henson have diverse backgrounds, are enthusiastic about new changes but are grounded in fiscal responsibility, transparency and working with the community and the county. Here are their thoughts on a few questions.

Judy Fish has a B.S. Degree in Public Relations and News Editing, a background in broadcast journalism, Executive Director of the Association of the U.S. Army, worked for the DelRay Methodist Church, and for over four years was the Communications Director for LMOA.

Larry Henson was the former VP of Operations for Kraft Foodservice. Later, in his career he was a government contractor for over 13 years. He worked briefly in the LMOA Maintenance Department before retiring and also completed the Fluvanna Leadership Development Program.

Larry Vogan, a CPA, got his graduate degree in Business for Pennsylvania State and his MBA at Lehigh University. Vogan was an auditor Touche Ross, Co., Controller and later CFO of St. Luke’s Hospital Bethlehem, Controller/CFO of MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, The Lewin Group, D.C. Consultant for Physican Practice Plans and Hospital Planning, VP of Healthcare, and Controller, CFO, and Regional CFO of Holy Cross Hospital, Silver Springs, MD. Vogan is currently on the Finance Committee.

Gary Sellick, from Plymouth England, BA from the Univeristy of Kent in the U.K. History teacher, then did post-graduate work in U.S. M.A. in Public History and a PhD in History from the University of South Carolina. Currently he is working Monticello as an Editorial Assistant at the Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series. Sellick is currently on the Audit Committee.

Why are you running for the LMOA Board of Directors?

Vogan: I feel that since I am in good health, good spirits, and have time available, I should work with other talented individuals to pass LMOA on to those who come after us in even better condition than we found it.

Henson:  I want to help create a positive environment where board members are receptive to the needs of our community, making board meetings a welcoming forum for all members to attend, and feel comfortable enough to speak and raise concerns.  Being a member of the board would provide me the opportunity to put my leadership and common sense skills to use and obtain a voice, thereby in turn, giving a voice to all of the members of our community, whether they live on the golf course, the waterfront, or on a street filled with the laughter of young children, retired, or raising a family.

Fish: I am running for the LMOA Board because I want to help shape policy to make our community healthier—including financially, lake health, and LMOA communications. My more than four years as a LMOA employee afforded me a front row seat to how LMOA operates, how the departments interact and how the Board conducts itself. In my former role as Communications Director, I saw where LMOA is successful and where we need improvement. As a homeowner, I care deeply about our community and want to make it shine even brighter.

Sellick: Our home at Lake Monticello is the first one my family has ever owned. It is crucial to me that the community is run in a fiscally responsible way that guarantees its financial security, not just in the present but into the future. I am the secretary of the Audit Committee and have seen both the efficiencies and improvements that could help the LMOA run better. Also, I truly believe that governing bodies are at their most effective when they are representative of the communities they govern. This has not been true of the board since my family’s arrival here and is something that needs to change if every member of this community is to feel valued and represented.


If elected what are the two primary goals you would like to accomplish on the board?
Vogan: I believe that recent improvements to LMOA’s amenities and facilities have put them in good condition.  The Board’s fiduciary duty to maintain these assets in an efficient manner for the benefit of the members is the primary goal (even while contending with the extraordinary health and financial challenge of Covid). The second goal that I have is to increase the understanding of our finances and the participation of informed Members in LMOA decision processes.  While we have always had a tremendous amount of data available for members, it can be quite difficult for the average member to access and organize that data into understandable information.

 First, I believe we need to improve the community wide relationship between the board, the staff, and the members. I propose implementing regular town halls where members can voice concerns and give opinions and the board could give status updates on large ticket items and other projects.  It is important for the board to be visible in the community.  I have attended events over the years and wondered where the board representation was. We need to invest in improving our ADA accommodations in all buildings, parking lots, amenities, and playgrounds.  Secondly, we need to ensure LMOA future financial success. I would propose transparent justification for all large expenses, ensuring those expenses benefit all members in some capacity. Members would need to understand why money is being spent and we do that by easy to understand explanations. We need to seriously start to develop a plan to utilize the unused campground. We should continue to work with responsible parties and Billy Caspar Golf to ensure financial success in food and beverage and golf. We need to generate revenue by determining the best way to promote and market our amenities and facilities.


Fish: I would like to improve accessibility of our amenities so that more of our residents can not only enjoy them, but appreciate the value that amenities bring to our community. By providing ways for people without boats or waterfront lots to enjoy the Lake or non-golfers additional ways to use the golf course, we create value to our dues-paying members. Accessibility includes better handicap access—at least one of our playgrounds and at least one beach should have improved handicapped accessibility. On my campaign Listening Tour, I heard from members, including a mom who uses a wheelchair and wants to enjoy a playground with her toddler. She suggested adding a smooth, safe surface (not wood chips framed in timber) and a short fence. Accessibility includes resident access to the board members and staff too—which rolls into another goal of mine: improved TWO- WAY communication between members and LMOA at all levels.


On my “Listening Tour,” I have heard what residents love about our community, as well as what they want to see changed. The info shared is valuable. The board should continue “Listening” through quarterly town halls where residents have an opportunity to share their ideas and concerns with the board and staff. Unless LMOA hears clearly from members what members want, the association cannot serve effectively. Conversely, if residents don’t hear clearly from LMOA—ideally long before a decision is made—what is being considered, why, how and what the cost could be, residents cannot provide LMOA with the good ideas and feedback necessary to best meet the needs of our community.


Sellick: I want to see Lake Monticello become a more inclusive community for all of its residents. While great strides have been made to create organizations and clubs to benefit older residents, the same is not true for the younger people and families who represent the fastest growing demographic at the lake. I would therefore want to see greater outreach to this group to ensure that they feel valued members of this community. As well as this, I want to ensure that the finances of the LMOA are healthy to ensure that Lake Monticello can thrive as a community going forward.


Amenities are an important part of the lake. Based on the changing demographics, some have suggested that the Ashlawn Clubhouse, which they believe is underutilized would better serve the community if it became a recreations center, offering activities for seniors, children, teens, and singles. Would you support this idea and why?

Vogan:  I would support using the Ashlawn facility we have just renovated, for a purpose that the community determines is both sustainable and worthwhile.  Each of the groups you cite would most likely see the need for this space from their own perspective.  Evaluating potential new services fairly to determine which should be done (if any) will involve using a commonly understood system to measure the relative worth of each.  In my career as a hospital Chief Financial Officer, we ranked competitive proposals using several value scales to determine an initial (albeit imperfect) prioritization.  The points awarded for “Quality of Care” “Patient Satisfaction”, Financial “net cost”, “Alignment with the Mission and Strategic Plan”, and “Community Need” were accumulated.  After ranking all capital proposals using their relative scores across all of these criteria, the executives would consider what resources we could afford for new services that year and choose to spend them on the highest-ranking potential uses (always after hearing some appeals).  A similar system might be useful at LMOA to help determine how to use the Clubhouse or our available assets more generally.

Henson: I absolutely support this idea one hundred percent! There has been so much positive communication about this topic.  I have heard so many great ideas from members as I have been meeting people during my campaign.  Ashlawn is a beautiful facility and in a great location (just ask those that live on the Main Gate side of the lake!).  I do agree with others that the facility is underutilized.  Ashlawn would be a wonderful service for our community as a recreation center for all and It could become the hub of the community, a place to socialize, meet new friends, enjoy activities.  The list of opportunities is endless. I look forward to hearing more ideas from our members and would offer my support to make this a reality.

Fish: I support brainstorming creative solutions to problems (a vacant clubhouse) and welcome ideas on how to bring even more fun to our community—especially when it involves providing more access to amenities for all. This idea is a perfect example of the benefit of getting community buy-in through a Town Hall. We would want to make sure that we have considered potential issues and other possible ideas before jumping in with both feet. I do think the idea has merit.
Sellick: Absolutely. Ashlawn is an excellent facility and should be the focal point of our community but is currently underutilized in that role. As a former teacher, I appreciate the ways in which the LMOA could provide a hub for youth activities for our young people and families at little cost to residents. The same is true for the other demographic groups at the lake. Movie nights, social clubs and community events are just some of the ideas that I have discussed with others, and would give the lake the true communal hub needed to help interaction and create greater community cohesion among residents.


With the new subdivision being built up the road, a roundabout, and Twin Oaks expanding across from the main gate, the county is growing. How do you think this will effect the lake?


Vogan: Clearly this will create traffic issues, but also it will likely bring new businesses to the area and a greater need for public services.  It may also pose some additional load on LMOA infrastructure and amenities.  Coordinating planning with Fluvanna County may help us to estimate more clearly the overall growth impacts and coordinate our respective responses.
Henson: I believe this growth will indeed affect both the lake and the county.  Some of the effects could possibly range from greater volume of traffic to safety and security concerns. Increased littering, pollution of the lake from additional runoff, loss of habitat for our wildlife, and decreasing the rural setting are just a few more concerns the board will need to watch and address.  New construction in the rural areas can also result in infrastructure improvement requirements such as roads, power, communication, water, and sewer.  Business owners and the county government could realize a boost in revenues thus leading to economic growth and opportunity for our community and county.  It is imperative that the county, the LMOA staff, and the board form a partnership to address the issues as well as the opportunities with respect to this growth.

Fish: Certainly, the additional developments will provide more traffic on the roads around our community and make backups at our gates potentially more dangerous. We should consider ways to mitigate gate congestion. At some of my Listening Tour stops, Lakers were concerned with unauthorized use of our beaches. Our Safety and Security Committee and Lake Police might want to assess the situation and make any recommendations to the Board for possible action, if deemed necessary.

Sellick: The new developments will materially affect the lake in a number of ways. The most pressing is the sheer volume of traffic on Lake Monticello Road, a major route for many lakers. In order to combat this, it is important that we adjust policies at the Main Gate, and look seriously into the creation of the Lafayette Gate in the near future. Any new gate policies need to be efficient to stop backlogs on the busy road, and also to ensure admission is restricted to those allowed on LMOA property. The developments will also provide housing competition for the lake, which is a major reason we need to remain financially competitive with them.

After serving three years on the board, what do you want to be remembered for? 

Vogan: I would hope that if I am remembered it will be as a caring and effective part of a Board that; cared for its community, communicated well with its Members, organized information for decisions effectively, expended funds wisely, increased Member Satisfaction and succeeded in making our community a better place for all of us (and our Children) to live.  After all – I believe that passing something on in as good a condition as We found it (and better if possible) is the ultimate measurement of a Board’s success – and all I can hope to be is an effective part of that Board’s success.

Henson: I want to be remembered for my strong work ethic, excellent listening and communication skills, and my ability to provide the best possible service to all members.  I want to be remembered as a professional person who worked above and beyond the required duties of a board member.  I want to be remembered as a team player and someone who treats everyone fairly, equally, and with respect.  I want to be remembered for making sound financial and common-sense decisions.  Most importantly, I want to be remembered as the person on the board who had a sense of humor, who never said no to an idea but said “let’s figure out a way to get this done” to benefit all members.

Fish: If I should be fortunate enough to be elected to serve three years, I hope to be remembered as a Board Member who listened to our residents and LMOA staff and helped make our community an even better place to work and live. I am an action person. It would be great to be remembered as someone involved in finally doing something with the Campground. If we (the board) can provide more fun for all ages, while being good stewards of the LMOA purse strings and ensuring LMOA employees feel valued and have HR available to them, I will feel like I have made a difference in our community.

Sellick: I have no greater agenda for my time on the board than being an accessible member who increases community engagement and representation for those groups who feel marginalized by the LMOA presently. I also look forward to working as a team with the board to ensure the financial stability of this wonderful community.  If I can achieve these goals while on the board, I will be happy.

LMOA residents can vote by mail or online at www.lmoavoice.org. Voting deadline is September 18.



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