Dear Radburn Residents,
Within the past two weeks there has been some incredibly accurate information circulating within our community regarding legislation before the NJ State Senate (not Assembly) under Bill A469. I am writing to explain why the Board thought it was in the best interest of our community to be represented in Trenton without disclosing or acknowledging the fact that we are spending Association money on a lobbyist. If passed, this legislation would directly impact our community.
Bill A469 was brought to our attention in September of 2015. The bill had been in the works for many months under the sponsorship of two members of the NJ Assembly and was pre-filed in February 2014. It is our responsibility, as Trustees, to inform all residents about any legislation that will affect Radburn. However, we failed to do that. Rather than conduct an open meeting and invite residents to attend while we discussed and voted on whether or not a lobbyist should be hired to represent our interests, we decided that it would be in the Board's best interest to not bring unwanted attention to this matter. In hind sight, we messed up. We not only violated the Radburn Association By-Laws, but we also violated NJ State law by not conducting a public vote related to entering into a contract with a professional services firm. This was our mistake and we are asking the community to forgive us.
Our By-Laws are available to you in the "Residents area" of our website, Radburn.org. If you would like to see the full text of the bill that passed the Assembly in June 2015, please visit http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2014/Bills/A0500/469_I1.PDF. You can also find additional information on www.radburnresident.info, a website that was created and is currently managed by a resident and former Trustee, which contains information germane to the way our community is governed. We really should have this information on our official site, but we simply just haven't done a good job with that.
Please know that we sincerely regret our failings in communicating more effectively with the community. Our leadership has been lacking, but I intend to make sure we do a better job of it this year. While we, as a Board, have had many achievements that we scarcely communicated to anyone this year, it is also true that we have had many misses as well. Below is a list of our hits and misses that we would like to acknowledge and share.
- Establishment of an investment policy ensuring the financial security of The Radburn Association into the future.
- Allocation of $200,000 from the sale of Daly Field to reduce the 2016 Annual Fund charge to all Radburn residents.
- Resurfacing the tennis courts and installing new nets.
- Installation of 13 new park benches across A and B parks (sorry R park).
- Expansion of Playgroup to accommodate over 180 children of our residents.
- Sent a Cease and Desist letter to a former Trustee and resident who built a website to help keep our community better informed. We couldn't get it done in 18 months and he did it over a weekend. We should have just called him up to talk with him about it, but we were embarrassed and pissed off so we did something regretful - and spent about $8,000 in attorney fees to boot.
- Engaged in deceptive tactics to keep the community from knowing about NJ Bill A469 and, even after being asked a direct question about whether or not a lobbyist was hired, chose to not answer the question by hiding behind a documents policy that didn't even apply in this situation.
- While it's true that the tennis courts were resurfaced, we failed to hold the manager accountable for making them unavailable to residents, and Playgroup, for the entire summer before a contractor was even hired.
- Communication with residents has been shamefully bad. Even though we have a functional website, we just can't seem to figure out a way to make it useful by updating it on a regular basis. We're going to make that happen this year.
We hope you forgive us for the poor job we've done of keeping the best interests of all residents in mind throughout our decision making process. Our goal for 2016 is to bring our community together by listening to, respecting, and communicating with all residents. Your feedback is important to us. Please email the office about any and all concerns you have so we can be sure to address them during our monthly work sessions.
The President of the Radburn Board of Trustees