Untapped Potential...

Discussion in 'Sun City General Discussions' started by BPearson, May 12, 2022.

  1. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    I'm confused. Back in 2021 when there was an effort for the RCSC to approve a recall on board member(s), we were told there were 32,500 members. That mattered because the recall petition needed 10% of the membership, 3250. I just accepted the totals the RCSC had thrown out as gospel. Was it right?

    Here's why i question it: The statistic regarding rooftops has always been 27,500. We know the population number most often cited is around 40k and we know a past board president has used the number 39,000. We also know there's a whole bunch of rental properties in Sun City. We just don't know how many.

    The problem gets stickier because we have variations on how people pay their RCSC fees. We know couples pay $496 yearly. We know singles buying after 2003 pay $496. We know singles living in the same home owned before 2003 are grandfathered pay $248. We know those same grandfathered residents who sold their home and downsized are paying $496 even though they weren't supposed to. Thanks Jan.

    We also have no idea how many of each of those members fall into which category. The RCSC never shares any of that. I doubt board members even know. We do know from the Sun City West 5 year plan posted years back, better than 40% of their population paid only the single rate (roughly the same as our full rate). I suspect it's safe to assume the Sun City population of singles would be something less, but i don't know that either way.

    Simply put, there's so much we don't know that it is hard to extract any real idea just how many members Sun City has. I assumed their 32,500 number was correct; but then again, if they pulled it from their barely functioning computer system, who knows?

    But alas, this thread isn't even about all of the above. Nope, when i come back, i want to do a deep dive into the header; untapped potential. All will be revealed soon grasshopper.
     
  2. Linda McIntyre

    Linda McIntyre New Member

    Keep writing and keep digging, Bill. There is SO much untapped potential, and so much we don't know. With today's technology capabilities we should not been just throwing darts to come up with numbers. Between SCHOA, RCSC and the Condo Associations, one would think we could get really "close." Then again, maybe not?
     
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  3. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    I was being somewhat facetious Linda, i'm sure they know. If there are 27,500 rooftops and every one of them were single owners it would be simple, 27,500 members. Just for ease of numbers, let's say 20,000 homes had actual members living in them and the other 7500 were rentals (way high i am sure). Of the 20,000 homes, if half were couples, that would mean 20,000 members (10,000 x 2). If the other half were single family, that would equate to 10,000 (10,000 x 1). Making the adjustment to 15,000 with couples we come up with 30,000 and another 5000 singles. In that we don't know how many are rentals it all an exercise in futility. My best guess, if the 32,500 figure is correct, is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-35 % are single owners.

    But that was never the point. Since members started coming to meetings (last September), i have been impressed by the intelligent comments and questions from the audience. It shouldn't have surprised me, that's how people who moved to Sun City in those early years built the remarkable community we all enjoy. With 30,000 plus members there's an enormous pool of talent. People retiring and moving here with skill and abilities far superior to the people the RCSC has been hiring. Nope, not being critical of the employees, just recognizing that for profit businesses pay more and ultimately the best of the best go where the money is.

    The Del E Webb Corporation was filled with brilliant employees. The smartest of them understand to be successful, they needed to tap into the amazing pool of residents who could and would give of their time and expertise. Meeker knew that was the only way Sun City would survive and flourish. The community documents were written so as to encourage members to get involved. They provided checks and balances to insure the community not go astray.

    All of that changed in 2006. Committees were dismantled, documents were re-written so as to eliminate the safeguards. The community's identity was changed to discourage involvement and tell new buyers to stay home and just enjoy their retirement. Big brother would just take care of everything (and that's from a flaming liberal). Odd isn't it.

    The problem that ensued was captured in the board turnover. Every election they ran the risk of an odd duck coming in and causing upheaval. To get around that, they started "grooming" board members to stay for a second term. 6 years on the board was a rarity, today it's become the norm. Apparently they think the community just won't survive without them there to get the job done. Hell, we've had several that served their 6 years and they brought them back to fill vacated positions.

    I guess they can argue continuity, but at what cost? New ideas? Different opinions? Growing the number of the community participating? Committees being watered down to the point where their service was questioned whether it was even of value? Members staying away in droves because they knew what they said didn't matter?

    My answer is simply all of the above. I would also argue the departed general manager knew exactly what she was doing and where she wanted to go. Worse yet, with the change in leadership it appears to be even more of the same, only worse. As i have watched the new one, i have little faith that he has any idea of where he wants to go. He certainly doesn't seem to care what the people that show up are saying. Hell, i wonder if cares what the board members who are willing to speak up are saying?

    Pushing the massive talent pool of members away was simply untapped potential. Not everybody wants to run for the board. However, most people that buy here, live here and love it enough to be willing to contribute something aren't even asked. Of course if you've spent the past 15 years telling them not to bother, why would they?
     
  4. Cheri Marchio

    Cheri Marchio Member

    It is past time to demand a true Long Range and Master Plan for Sun City. Without these documents, individual agendas are overrepresented and acted upon. This has a great potential to lead to financial disasters, tax implications and penalties, and loss of community trust, forever.
     
  5. Linda McIntyre

    Linda McIntyre New Member

     
  6. Linda McIntyre

    Linda McIntyre New Member

    Thanks, Bill! I didn't have my "read between the lines" glasses on today! Great job - this isn't your first rodeo. I should have known you had a handle on things. I look forward to each new entry. Keep on keepin' on as they say. You are a master of the written word!
     
  7. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    I came out of "organized labor" an oxymoron if there ever was one. The first test for every job application for both the local and the international was loyalty. I would argue one of the reasons they've been crushed. The funny thing was, the really smart ones were buried in the backrooms doing the heavy lifting. Most often, the guys on the stage making the really big money were terrified of the smart ones running against them. I was an oddity, i wanted the smartest, the best and brightest working next to me. If they were good enough to beat in an election, so be it.

    When we bought in Sun City, i was enamored by the structure. Loyalty wasn't an issue. The general managers were never around long enough to care about the loyalty test. The community was filled with volunteers who served because they loved Sun City. The board and committees were jammed with dedicated and intelligent members who just wanted to give back; keep Sun City a great place to retire and live in.

    I watched in horror as that all changed in 2006. The new general manager was hired and quickly fired most of the long time staff. She surrounded herself with loyal employees. She rebranded the community and along the way, convinced the board members the importance of loyalty to the corporation. In time, that became loyalty to her. I was so frustrated by it i ran in 2011 and served 3 years (2012-2014). It was three of my most miserable years of my retirement. I quickly came to understand she had recreated the exact same thing i found in organized labor. Little criteria was met by ability, most everything was structured around being loyal. In fact what i saw were people who did a decent job but spoke out were let go and those that shut up and just did what they were told managed just fine. It appears to be getting worse.

    Let's shift gears a little and start with a premise; employees working for the RCSC aren't over paid. Unless of course if they aren't doing their job, making huge mistakes and costing us a boatload of money. In my humble opinion, there's some of them out there. That's where the general manager's role is so important. The problem is if loyalty is the test rather than ability, then we lose any sense of judgement. Everyone makes mistakes. What's the saying, "to error is human..." well you get the picture. The real issue comes when those mistakes are repeated over and over again; and nothing is done.

    Therein is the reason the board's role in overseeing the general manager is so important, dare i say, critical. But, and it's a very big butt, if they think that being critical of the general manager is being disloyal, then nothing ever gets said. Worse yet, nothing ever gets done. If we are to believe what the GM says is true, "it's no ones fault," then how in the world do we ever stop the roller coaster from running down hill? The board's job, plain and simple is holding the GM accountable.

    Not for profit's are notorious in being far more tolerant than for profit companies. That said, the culture of the non-profits should never be allowed to become a place where no one is held accountable. If the only measuring stick is living up to the loyalty oath, then we end up where we are today. The question becomes; how do we fix it and why does it matter? We'll explore that next. Stay tuned.
     
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  8. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    There's three organizations in Sun City that are financially stable. The first is obviously the RCSC with an absolute income stream that is all but guaranteed. Every home buyer signs a facilities agreement and any time they need money they just raise the yearly rates. The good news is, they haven't lately. They also have the PIF that is collected on every home sale. With an average of 2000 sales per year, it nets them roughly 8 million dollars yearly ($4000 per sale)..

    The other two organizations are; Sunshine Service and the Sun City Home Owners Association (SCHOA). Sunshine Service has never charged anyone and has simply built their treasury and their massive amount of equipment from donations. Truly amazing. SCHOA has evolved over the years. It has voluntary membership and is a ridiculously low membership fee of $25 per year. Sadly, only about 5% of the home owners elect to join. They always struggled with budgets until they started collecting a fee at the point of sale on homes from mortgage companies checking to see if there were any deficiencies on the property. That helped them become financially stable which is a good thing for all of us.

    With that out of the way, the rest of the organizations struggle. The POSSE, PRIDE, CAN, COA, the museum, churches, thrift stores tied to charities all rely on volunteers and monetary donations to survive. The hospital, until Banner bought it; the Sun City Visitor Center, until the RCSC took it over; the Library, until the County took them over; SCAT, until they went under; the information referral center, until they closed their doors were all tied directly to volunteers. The hospital used to have more than 1100 volunteers, now there's a fraction of that.

    The point here is simple, the number of locations residents can volunteer is down, the number of volunteers needed is up. The decision to rebrand the community didn't matter much to the RCSC, but to all the other organizations it had an impact. It was one of the things that drove me crazy with the rebranding. Sun City is way more than just the RCSC. I've always written and said we were/are a sum total of all of our parts. If you fail to realize that, you fail to understand the beauty, the simplicity of how Sun City was built and why it was successful.

    Sadly, somewhere along the way, we've lost sight of that. It's become way too easy for the RCSC board and management to just look within and say,"we've got ours, nothing else matters." It is one of the reasons i have been harping on this topic; why i believe it is imperative for the RCSC to wholly embrace the phrase "Sun City, the City of Volunteers." Unless and until they understand that, we'll continue to sink down the rabbit hole of becoming just like all the others.

    Hopefully you noticed the number of organizations that have gone under or been swallowed up by a bigger fish with less interest in volunteers. Is that the fate awaiting those other organizations? Are we better off as a community without volunteers? Does any of it matter to you personally? All questions that should be asked and answered as the RCSC decides what our branding slogan should be.
     
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  9. OneDayAtATime

    OneDayAtATime Active Member

    As usual, Bill, you have provided us - newer residents - the fodder we need to better understand the importance behind the "Volunteer" moniker. I thought I did until I just read what you wrote. Instead of encouraging volunteerism - which, as you state - was the way of life years ago, RCSC has discouraged it. Enough information is NOT given to new homeowners about each and every one of the opportunities that they have to volunteer. That's why I've been pushing a Communication committee. Removing the Communication part of the Communication Committee and turning it into a slick video that simply shows off some of SC's features, doesn't tell the WHOLE story. I think rather than blame the new homeowners lack of volunteering on "oh, that's the way this generation lives" to instead simply not getting all the details when they arrive, is the fault of RCSC. And by limiting the amount of members allowed to participate in the standing committees, further discourages participation. Why are some people on 5 - 6 of the committees while others ask to have a seat and are either ignored or told to submit a resume?? This community has at its fingertips a plethora of educated, talented, well-versed individuals who are never encourage to participate.
     
  10. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Hey ODAAT, that was the general manager's plan. Over the 15 years she was here, nearly 75% of the community turned over. It's simply a mathematical equation, 2000 homes a year, 30,000 home sales. I know, there's only 27,500 rooftops, but many of those sales are the same house; either flippers or resales several times over. Doing the math, she came to understand the further down the road we went, the less new owners would know.

    I knew it as well and it was why i ran for the board on the premise we should be teaching history. I hated the thought we would lose the values that were built into the community. I made a mistake, i articulated the importance of educating the new buyers to her, i explained the numbers to her: I saw one side, she saw the other. I had misjudged her, i thought she wanted to maintain the quality of life grounded in volunteering. Clearly she didn't.

    Her views were steeped in controlling the direction, controlling the message, the branding and the board insured she could take Sun City where she thought we should be going. My argument wasn't that i had the answer, it was always the community should make that decision. Neither the GM nor the board were willing to trust the community to make those choices. It's why i tried to quit half way through the second year.

    It's also why i keep writing these same threads over and over again. There's always a new buyer, a new reader who knows virtually nothing about Sun City. It's why i went back to the museum, why i still help out and why i post photos on Facebook Sun City Chat Arizona and have now become administrator. Sharing our history, teaching our history is our last, best hope.

    It's an uphill, perhaps hopeless struggle, but one i think is critical.
     
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  11. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    Oddly enough i started this thread after a Sun City resident and RCSC member gave each of the board members a lengthy well laid out presentation regarding the Mountain View Rec Center proposed remodel. The comments about the rebuild have run the gamut from the most democratic effort in Sun City's history to the opposite extreme of near lunacy by the powers that be. My best guess is they will push the proposal through, at least until they get the architects drawings and they can go out to bid.

    The RCSC had projected costs for Phase 1 (theater and gym) to be in the 25 million dollar range, an additional 2.5 million dollars for the swimming pools (phase 2) and another 9 million dollars for phase 3 (2 story pickleball, lawn bowling green and ADA min-golf). They claimed these numbers were realistic. I would argue no more so than the Phase 3 ever seeing the light of day, but i could be wrong (i doubt it).

    The problem is, to get the architects blue prints they are telling us it's 1.2 or 1.5 million dollars. Without them, bids are impossible to secure. The reality is, every number thrown out there is just someone's best guess. Well not all of it, the money paid to the architects will be the real deal. The scary thing is, once we have the blueprints, what happens if the price tags explode to 30 or 40 or 50 million dollars on just the first phase?

    We know the tiny (in comparison) golf maintenance building at Lakes East/Lakes West is costing us 4 million dollars so why should we expect this project not to blow up in our faces?

    Back to the point, the presentation John Fast gave to the board at the last member exchange was brilliant. He asked all the right questions, he got absolutely no answers. Hopefully they will address all of his comments and proposals at the next member/board exchange in June. We'll see.

    Until then, you can click on the link and see his 20 slide presentation by clicking on this sentence. It is breath taking and one has to wonder why anyone would go to so much work for a board that most likely won't care.
     
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  12. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    I feel the need to say this. I try and stay away from using names, most of the time. I mentioned John Fast's name above because he took the time to craft the amazing slide show for the board and was gracious enough to share a copy for us at the Sun City Advocates. He asked the board president to put it on the screen, she declined. Hence our request to him for a copy.

    I want to make this clear to anyone reading this: John is not nor has he ever been a member of the Sun City Advocates. We've already have been told members who apply for committees won't be accepted because it would be a "conflict of interest." I won't argue the foolishness of the comment, because it really isn't the point here. We've also been told too many times to count we are "haters." More nonsense.

    John did say he took the time to propose this to the board so "they would take the time to get it right." Pretty simple when you think about it. We'll see eh?
     
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  13. IndependentCynic

    IndependentCynic Active Member

    I often have flashbacks to the Fairway project -- a veritable groundhog day of cost over runs, lies, scope changes, and sweeping problems under the rug. Déjà vu anyone?
     
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  14. OneDayAtATime

    OneDayAtATime Active Member

    A new resident here - 2019 - !! Knew nothing about the above. You mean to say that there were hiccups then? I guess those in "control" don't learn their lessons.
     
  15. IndependentCynic

    IndependentCynic Active Member

    Those in "control" back then had no idea how to project manage something the size of Fairway. It's not surprising things didn't go as they hoped. My recollection is the PIF was increased twice during the saga. Those responsible are gone now. I don't know the details of the backgrounds of Management & the BODs of today, but I'd suspect none have ever been associated with a $20-50M+ construction project. I hope they know what they don't know and get responsible help.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2022 at 9:27 AM
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  16. BPearson

    BPearson Well-Known Member

    The Fairway project took a very long time, in part because they had to have the money in the PIF to be able to pay as they went. Without it, they ran the risk of being in violation of their documents (not exceeding 750K indebtedness without a vote of the membership). They did do some things right, before they ever started anything at Fairway, they met with every club and made a commitment to replace their space in the new buildings. That was done primarily by the board members who back then felt a commitment to the membership, not this loyalty to the general manager crap we see today.

    By the way, back when i was writing the text for the special issues of the RCSC magazines, i was given the total dollar cost for Fairway, it was 16.2 million dollars. That surprised me because they budgeted 18 million. There were issues with a project that size, especially given the asst. general manager had no back ground in construction. At least now they have a building guy on staff.

    That said, there is little doubt in my mind this Mountainview project will become a fiasco of unimaginable proportion. Once the bids start coming in, they will find themselves buried in the muck of a million plus dollars in architect fees and a board who won't know whether to shit of go blind. They are setting themselves up for an epic failure of biblical proportion. The sad thing is, we need a theater that as a stand alone could be built in a more central location at a fraction of the cost and done in a year or so.
     
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  17. aggie

    aggie Well-Known Member

    Yup, totally agree. Another thing the Fairway accomplished is that half the amenities remained usable while construction took place on the other half. Flipping the site is the cause of so many problems and renders the whole facility unusable for years. Constructing a stand alone theater first would give this whole project more room to accommodate all the features projected to be at Mountainview. I'm not sure that an indoor gymnasium or even indoor pickle ball should be top priorities but that's just me.

    Is the old maintenance building behind Lakeview Lanes that the Vintage Vehicle Club occupied while waiting for prime real estate being used? Could this be reasonably outfitted for use as an indoor training facility for the Dog Club? Worth checking out. The RCSC seemed to find no problem revamping it for the VVClub.
     
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  18. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    Just a thought here but.... Both of the Quilting Clubs already have their own space. How about giving the proposed space that's available at the Vintage Vehicle building to the Dog Club and let the Quilters stay where they are?

    It's kinda, why give somebody who already has space new space and not give it to somebody who needs space?

    Just say'n!
     
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  19. aggie

    aggie Well-Known Member

    I think the quilting train has already left the station. Management has been making plans for months to make this space usable for the two quilting clubs. It appeared to be a huge open area which would have been perfect for many other uses.

    Just an aside that the Quilting Clubs never came up as an option for space usage when the Grand Center Ad Hoc Committee was meeting.
     
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  20. FYI

    FYI Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure that that space still has a dirt floor because they don't know what they're going to do? Seems to me there's still time to make a change.

    The Long Range Planning Committee is wondering what type of facilities would attract the next generation of retirees. I think more would be interested in the Dog clubs training sessions than the Quilters? Just like bowling, golf, shuffle-board, etc. which are declining sports, I think the Quilters are probably on the downswing as well? Just guessing!
     
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