Thursday, January 8, 2015
THOUGHTS AFTER A VISIT TO UCO
Two people, commenting recently on the state of affairs here, told me that they thought perhaps UCO should be run by professionals rather than by our volunteers. One of them opined that this would end up costing all owners an awful lot more in dues, and I have to think he's right. The money to pay professionals for what is done now by our volunteers certainly wouldn't come out of thin air. I expect our dues would go up astronomically. I suspect too that we would find we need to drop some benefits we now enjoy. This might cut deeply: Perhaps Investigations, the AMR emergency service, the buses and the shows would have to go.
With a huge increase in condo dues and a cutback on services, the poorer among us (how many, maybe 20 percent?) would be left high and dry. If the number of owners who simply stopped paying their dues worked a hardship on our condo associations a few years ago at the height of the recession, think of the effect if we switched to an all-professional UCO.
I visited UCO on Wednesday to interview Bob Marshall for an article coming out in the February UCO Reporter and couldn't help noticing what a busy place UCO was. People were coming in left and right seeking help with this or that thing. Ron and Natalie were very busy at the front desk. Mildred was busy as usual helping someone at her desk outside Investigations, and inside, the Investigations personnel were assisting people. Bob Marshall helped two residents while I waited for him to get free. Joy Vestal, Ed Black, Pat Sealander and Dom Guarnagia were going back and forth, attending to one thing after another. I saw Phyllis Siegelman briefly to say hello; the same with Dave Israel, who was on his way to a meeting in the conference room. Residents in droves were having barcode stickers put on their cars.
The place was humming, and I couldn't help thinking: What would we do without these wonderful volunteers? The Village wouldn't be the same for any of us.
I hope we take a long, good hard look at where we are now, appreciating what we now enjoy, and not throw it all over because of the troubles some among our number have stirred up. UCO hasn't been a perfect vehicle, and its "board of directors" (the delegates to the monthly meetings), because of its size, has always been an unwieldy thing, but some very good things have come about through our imperfect system. "The perfect can be the enemy of the good," Voltaire said.
I have also heard it suggested that it might help to have a paid, certified parliamentarian sit alongside Dave Israel as he presides at the delegate meetings. For one thing, I'm sure he would not allow "points of order" that are not points of order at all to interrupt the proceedings.