SPRING CREEK – In a unanimous vote, Spring Creek Association board of directors removed Jim Jefferies as director of Tract 200 following a nearly two-hour special meeting July 9 at the Fairway Community Center.
The directors and some residents of Tract 200 questioned Jefferies’ actions over the past months and years, which included a petition to have his tract withdraw from the association.
Jefferies, who has served for about three years on the board, stood up for the entirety of the meeting behind his chair, facing an audience of about 30 people made up of mostly Tract 200 residents.
Jefferies has “been a voice for the 200 tract” and made suggestions to make Spring Creek a better place during his time on the board, said Chairman Josh Park.
He said Jefferies has brought “a different perspective to the board,” which he and the other board members welcomed, adding that they both agreed on certain issues within the association as they sat on the board together.
However, in recent months, Park, who represents Tract 100, said the relationship had turned contentious and that president and general manager Jessie Bahr and attorney Katie McConnell had made attempts to make Jefferies aware of his behavior.
Citing the code of conduct signed by all members of the board of directors, Park stated each member “has an obligation to represent Spring Creek” and not pursue individual agendas.
“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in this circumstance,” Park said. “This is very serious and something I wish did not have to happen. I like director Jefferies a lot. I think it’s a shame we’ve come to this point. But it’s through his own actions and words that we find ourselves here.”
Park listed a summary inconsistencies and conflicts of interest by Jefferies based off recordings from past board meetings, notes and correspondence. One item was to request the association pay directors $25,000 each, prompting one audience member to call the idea “ludicrous.”
The meeting was broadcast live on Facebook.
During public comment, it was revealed that the recent petition to withdraw Tract 200 from the association was put forth to Jefferies by resident Mike Pappas.
“I thought it was up to him. I didn’t want to do it,” Pappas said.
When asked by Park and Bahr if the petition was contrary to Jefferies’ position on the board and would in effect “tear down” the association, Pappas said he was unsure of how the procedure worked in matters like that.
“How am I supposed to know?” Pappas said.
Jefferies said in June that Tract 200 could become a road improvement district in cooperation with Elko County.
Elko County roads supervisor and former association director Terry Lister explained Monday night that if Tract 200 were to withdraw from the association, the county “has no obligation to pick up the maintenance on the roads” and that they would get snow plowed only Monday through Friday, excluding weekends and holidays unless there was an emergency.
“I can in no way see where this is the better deal than what the association is giving. No way where Elko County can make it better,” Lister said. “This is something for all the people in the 200 Tract to think about.”
Ruth Collins, who lives in Tract 200, questioned Jefferies’ motives for sitting on the board as a director while circulating a petition to have his section withdraw from the association.
“My question to you is, if you don’t want to be part of the Spring Creek Association, if you want to withdraw from the Association … Why do you want to sit on the board?” Collins asked. “How can you represent me on the board at the same time you are trying to withdraw?”
“It’s like trying to be president of the United States, and at the same time trying to secede your state from the country,” Collins continued.
Jefferies defended his actions, stating he was trying to make money through the current amenities to increase revenue and provide more amenities in his section, adding that his idea to pay board members was “an incentive.”
“All I tried to do is try to be a part and come up with ideas,” Jefferies said. “Any idea either be can be acted on or not acted on. But if you don’t do anything to change how it is or try to make money. I think we could do it.”
Paddy Legarza, Tract 400 representative, said she appreciated Jefferies’ efforts over the years, adding that former director Pam Borda brought Jefferies on a strategic planning committee about 10 years ago, explaining that Jefferies has been included and given a voice in the association even before being elected.
“He’s had a forum and an audience,” Legarza said. “He’s had plenty of opportunity to affect the association.”
Tract 300 Director Pat Plaster said being part of a board does not mean everyone gets their way for every single vote, referring to a statement Jefferies once made about having to vote against his feelings.
“If you’re going to be a board member, everything isn’t going to always go your way,” Plaster said. “It’s a consensus board. We plan, have ideas, we take votes and then take action. You’re not always going to like that one vote that goes against what you wanted, but that’s being part of a board.”
Director At-Large Jake Reed stated he also felt Jefferies had good ideas, but saw the board becoming embroiled in controversy and felt it was time for the board to change course.
“I think we’re now at the point where there’s a lot of turmoil happening and I don’t know if we’re going to be able to get much done other than arguing,” Reed said. “I think it might be in the best interest if we moved on.”
Having a director with an agenda opposite to that of the association was a key point for At-Large member Molly Popp, who said while Jefferies first came on the board with the intention of affecting change, the board and Jefferies were going in two different directions.
“I was hoping that was Jim’s intent was that he was coming to the Spring Creek Association board of directors to make a positive change for our entire community,” Popp said. “He came with a lot of good ideas … and fairly harmless, but it’s a nonprofit, and an HOA is just alike a business. When people are not going in the direction of the betterment of the company … it’s time to make a change.”
“Jim now has his own agenda, and when you’re on the board you can’t have your own agenda,” Popp said.
At-Large director Tom Hannum summed up the board members’ thoughts, acknowledging Jefferies had the right to strive for his constituents and find a solution for Tract 200’s problems, but that Jefferies needed to approach his ideas from the position of a resident instead of a board member.
“I don’t think you should spearhead that. I think you should bring the people who want to have that issue to the board, help them get their point across, but not be that person with the message,” Hannum said.
After the vote, Tract 100 property owner Bob Collyer encouraged unity among all the tracts and urged the “competition” between the sections to end, which was met by applause from the audience.
“That’s wrong. That’s out of line,” Collyer said. “We are one community. We are one Spring Creek.”
“These properties and these amenities are to be managed for the benefit of all property owners. I just want this competition between these different tracts to stop,” he said.
According to the Spring Creek bylaws, section 5.9.a, the vacancy for the director of Tract 200 will be advertised for two weeks before a resident of the section in question is appointed through a majority vote of the remaining directors.