Trouble in paradise

Lake Tyee’s Board of Directors ousted, electrical upgrade assessment still undecided.
By Jason Miller
posted 3.10.10

On Feb. 6, Lake Tyee lot owners cleaned house, voting by more than 2 to 1 to recall four out of five members of their Board of Directors. The vote, initiated by Friends of Lake Tyee, a group of lot owners led by Richard Zegers, recalled the following board members by the following unofficial counts:

  • Peter Coates: 168 to retain, 353 to recall
  • Janet Walsh: 160 to retain, 360 to recall
  • Paula Ratcliff: 152 to retain, 369 to recall
  • Allen Ward: 172 to retain, 350 to recall

The fifth board member, Janet Legg, kept her position for a short time with 402 votes to retain and 120 to recall. Legg’s interactions with Friends of Lake Tyee soured quickly after the vote, according to Zegers; she resigned at the end of February. New board members will be voted in at a meeting this June; until then, a remaining member, Michael Banzimer, will have the authority to appoint two new members during the week of March 1.

The upheaval comes as the recreational community struggles to reach an agree-ment on how it should proceed with a necessary upgrade to its obsolete electrical system, some parts of which still contain aluminum wire.

The recalled board members brought one approach to lot owners on Dec. 12, 2009: a one-time special assessment of $4,470 per owner. That idea was defeated soundly.

Since then, an electrical committee has been formed to further study the community’s options. Zegers told Concrete Herald that the committee brought its ideas to the board, which then neglected—Zegers would say refused—to bring all of them to a vote. Fed up with the board’s perceived unwillingness to fulfill their duty of community representation, Friends of Lake Tyee circulated a petition for the special meeting to vote on their removal.

The ousted board members have declined to speak with Concrete Herald on the matter.

One strategy for dealing with the electrical upgrade was put to a vote on Feb. 6, prior to the board-recall vote. The measure failed in spectacular fashion, with 95 votes for, and 462 votes against.

The second strategy failed because “they didn’t change much,” said Zegers. “The price per lot owner increased by several hundred dollars. They had options with interest rates that ranged up to 38 percent. And they missed another option that would have made the project half the cost.”

The Friends of Lake Tyee group was created because of the electrical upgrade project and, Zegers said, the actions of the board with regard to it. “Friends” is a powerful group, with a core of 10 people and voting proxy rights given to them by about 300 lot owners. An additional 100 to 150 lot owners have pledged their support without turning in a proxy. Together, they number more than half the total number of voting lot owners, which is 814.

Zegers, a lot owner since 1983, said Friends of Lake Tyee called for the removal vote because board members were perceived to “pick and choose what issues they wanted to listen to.

“I think we all have the same goals in mind, we just had different ways of getting there,” he said.

The community still must address the electrical upgrade issue. Zegers said the electrical committee is calling for new bids and proposals to fix only the primary cable, which comes in from the main road, through the park, and runs along Lake Tyee streets. “That’s where the problem mostly lies,” he said.

According to Petelco, the cost for this portion of this project would be about $2 million, roughly half of the $4.4 million projected to complete the entire upgrade.

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