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Armless Chairs Nixed at East Rec

Staff Report

A photo of new chairs planned for a remodeled East Recreation Center sparked reaction from members upset because the chairs had no arms. The OVA acted to end what President Steve Spanier called “The Great Chair Controversy of 2019.”

After canceling the first order, OVA is buying chairs with arms. More expensive, but deemed better for a senior community.

The armless chair photo was in an email progress report on the ERC.

Armless Chair

“Observant Oakmont residents recognized the chair had no arms and immediately informed board and staff members of their concerns,” Spanier wrote in an email newsletter. “The board quickly scheduled a meeting with representatives from the Building Construction Committee, the board and the OVA staff. A resident with deeply-felt concerns was also invited, “Spanier said.

Fire code requires that the chairs must be attachable, sturdy and stackable, and not have “splayed legs,” which can cause tripping. “Everyone in the room agreed that chairs in our recreation centers should also have arms,” Spanier said.

Resident George McKinney found an armed chair that met all the requirements. Facilities Manager Rick Aubert reported the armless chair order could be canceled at no cost.

A “community chair viewing/sitting” period will be set up and advertised so residents may see/use the chair and comment before an order for 200 is placed.

Spanier said “The new chairs will be roughly twice as expensive as the old chairs, but all in attendance believe the extra cost is worthwhile given the expected life, usage patterns and extra comfort and safety provided by these chairs. Despite the extra cost, the purchase amount should still be completely covered by the amount listed for these chairs in the reserve study.

“I’m grateful for the contributions made by those who constructively expressed their concerns, those who responded with dedication and timeliness and those who continue to contribute their time, without pay, for the good of our community,” Spanier wrote.

“I believe this series of events points out the benefits of clear, relevant and timely information sharing, community involvement and board responsiveness,” Spanier wrote. “I believe everyone left the room satisfied that The Great Chair Controversy of 2019 had been well and expeditiously solved.” He added, “we’ll look to see how things like this can be avoided in the future.”