Setting Expectations

The OVA will be hosting an important event tomorrow night. This highly anticipated town hall meeting will explore issues surrounding the Oakmont Golf Club (OGC) request for OVA financial consideration.

The format we’re using was suggested by resident Bruce Bon. I also suggested a format, but frankly, I liked Bruce’s better!

Bruce has been openly skeptical of OVA aid to the OGC, but is a thoughtful, open-minded person and the OVA is very grateful to him for the considerable time and energy he’s dedicated to helping the community understand the issues at hand.

Bruce’s format calls for an independent third party moderator – who will also run the event Tuesday evening – to review and curate all input received by the OVA office and present that output to the OGC. The OGC has been creating a presentation based upon these questions and suggested alternatives. You’ll hear that presentation tomorrow night. There will also be an Open Forum at the end where you can comment and ask further questions.

The OVA board is not much involved in Bruce’s format. I imagine most or all OVA Board members will be there, but aside from me making a brief statement about how the evening will go at the beginning and Tom Kendrick joining the OGC panel on the stage (he’s leading the OVA side of the effort to work with the OGC), we’ll be in the audience just like other Oakmont residents. This event is all about the OGC addressing questions and suggested alternatives from you, our Oakmont residents.

Of course, the OGC can choose to answer whichever questions and address whichever suggested alternatives they wish to address, but they’ve been strongly encouraged to avoid the approach of past meetings. The questions and suggestions will no doubt lead them down both previously explored and previously unexplored roads. I think we’ll hear a lot of new ideas and I hope we’ll hear at least some financial generalities about which portions of the business are doing well and what the elements of success might look like.

Separately, the OVA board has signed an OGC non-disclosure agreement and has been given detailed OGC financials and contracts. We’ve been reviewing these carefully.

The purpose of Tuesday’s event is really to help residents understand how the OGC’s situation affects Oakmont. Personally, I hope the OGC will walk the community down the “what will happen if the OGC fails” road. There are, as I see it, several possibilities and I hope these are explored in some detail.

Now for the elephant in the room.

Some want the OGC to reveal detailed financials to all OVA residents. These people believe that, if we’re being asked to help with a dues contribution, all residents should be given whatever financial information they want from the OGC, which is a private corporation competing in a marketplace with other local golf courses.

We understand and appreciate this perspective. However, providing detailed OGC financial information to all OVA residents is simply not ever going to happen. Here’s why.

The OGC relies in part on regular replenishment of memberships to take the place of members who die, move, or otherwise stop paying member dues. If financial details were widely distributed, they could be picked up by OGC’s competitors, who might try to exploit the situation. It could also become that much harder to sell memberships. The OGC’s ability to sell memberships and compete in the local golf market is in our community’s best interests.

Some would say: “well, the OVA should refuse to help the OGC if it won’t provide detailed financial data to everyone in the community.”

That would be like cutting off our nose to spite our face. Why would the OVA board, which has a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of the community, refuse aid to the OGC if we believe it’s in the community’s best interest? This question is key and I hope all who think we shouldn’t provide aid if the OGC doesn’t reveal everything to everyone consider it carefully.

All OVA Boards are democratically elected bodies, “hired” to make these calls for the community. It’s not always an easy job, so that’s why we get the “big bucks” (ha, ha).

I’d like to leave you with three important points: 1) we cannot force the OGC to reveal details it doesn’t want to reveal, 2) it’s not in their, and therefore Oakmont’s, best interests anyway, and

3) we don’t need them to reveal all financial details to the entire community in order to judge how best to serve the community.

In today’s world, trust seems more scarce than ever. Our Board knows we need to earn your trust every day. We’re doing our best to provide you with as much information as we can as we fulfill our fiduciary responsibility.

The OVA board plans to review all available options and alternatives, including but not limited to the proposed $5/person/month option. We will do this based on all the information we’re collecting from the OGC, this event and others in the future and will not make a decision without being transparent and discussing these options thoroughly with the community.

Tuesday’s event will be packed, from all I can tell. Show up early if you want a seat!