Crooked River Ranch volunteers active

Historically, there has not been a lot of media coverage at Crooked River Ranch committee meetings. Those meetings tend to deal with a plethora of arcane housekeeping details that don’t make for particularly interesting reading for many, unless they are CRR Club and Maintenance Association members who closely follow the details of Ranch governance.

Nevertheless, attendance at the last Ranch Publicity Committee’s meeting, as reported in the Aug. 7 column, was informative in that it provided some insights as to how the Ranch homeowners association governs a community of approximately 2,700 home sites, which house close to 5,000 residents.

Currently, the Ranch has nine committees operating under the HOA board and reporting to it. Ranch HOA President Ben Johnson provided an excerpt from the CRR Policies and Procedures manual recently that describes the function and mission of the nine Ranch committees:

The role of the Architectural Review committee is to review all property improvement applications for compliance with the established covenants, conditions and restrictions.

The Budget/Audit Committee provides both an operation and a capital expenditure budget to the board for its review and adoption.

The CC&R Review Committee investigates code violations submitted on the approved form; adjudicates whether claims are valid; seeks voluntary abatement of valid claims; and recommends actions to the board when voluntary abatement efforts fail.

The Golf Advisory Committee provides an opportunity for dialogue with the Golf Operations Department.

The role of the Maintenance Committee is to provide technical advisory input to the board concerning issues relating to the maintenance of association facilities, properties and roads.

The Neighborhood Phase Communication Committee is charged with improving the quality and quantity of information between the board and Ranch members and renters.

The role of the Nominating Committee is to secure candidates for the annual election of members of the board and Architectural Review Committee.

The Parks and Recreation Committee provides advisory input to the board concerning issues related to park improvement and use, and provides summer recreation programs for approval by the board.

The role of Publicity Committee is to improve the marketing and promotion of CRR in order to increase revenues for the RV park and golf course, and to present the Ranch as a great place to live, potentially increasings sales of homes there.

A board member is assigned as liaison to each committee and assists the committee to meet its objectives. Although they are not stated in the handbook, there are several factors operating in the background which influence how the members of Ranch committees interpret their committee’s charter and act upon it.

First, all the committee members are volunteers. As such, they intuitively feel that they have wider performance options open to them than do paid employees of a business, especially as it relates to the exercise of objectives outlined by management, i.e. the HOA board.

Likewise, the HOA board members also are virtually all volunteers and do not assume the same degree of control over committee volunteers as business managers would exercise over their paid employees in the discharge of their duties.

These realities result in a fair amount of give and take by committee members and the HOA board as they work together toward stated objectives. Progress toward objectives is more problematic and less predictable than it would typically be in a business organization.

Another factor having impact on measuring progress toward committee objectives of the Ranch HOA is lack of competition. Competition between businesses helps drive them to excel over their competition.

How well they are doing is readily apparent from a number of sources, e.g. profit and loss, as well as return on investment reports, plus the comparative visible well-being of competing units. Neither report is regularly available for frequent comparison by Ranch committees, because they aren’t published more than once a year.

Secondly, although the Ranch competes with other communities and HOAs like Three Rivers, Black Butte Ranch and Sunriver, it would be very difficult to compare how well each is doing compared to the others by visual measures of the community.

The data is available, but it’s time consuming and expensive to gather and report frequently enough to give committees a feel for how they are doing. Instead they measure success by seat-of-the-pants or dead reckoning, which is subject to highly personal measurements.

During her comments made to the Publicity Committee last week, former HOA director Gail Day observed that Ranch Golf Course members received discounts on annual golf memberships that offset the cost of the $350 HOA annual membership dues. Upon further investigation that turned out to be an understatement. A single annual Ranch golf membership costs HOA members $545. Nonmembers pay $1,195 for the same membership privileges — $650 more. HOA member couples pay $800 for annual golf memberships as opposed to $1,475 paid by nonmembers, a $675 discount.

As Day observed in a follow-up telephone interview; “Property ownership at Crooked River Ranch is a good deal for prospective owners who play a lot of golf.”

The Ranch’s volunteer committees work hard and diligently to meet the objectives of the various committees. By and large, they achieve commendable results for their hard work if measured by appropriate standards. Those aren’t as stringent as most regular businesses or government bodies, which are staffed by employees who receive monetary compensation for their time and efforts, making them more prone to motivation and control by management.

The system of Ranch governance and management in place at CRR apparently works and regularly returns a surplus of income over expenses every year. Add to that a community of property owners and residents that does not send vocal crowds of complaining residents to monthly HOA meetings. The available evidence suggests satisfaction with the way the community is being governed and managed.

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