A Message From the Board of Directors

 In Uncategorized

Dear Members,


The Board has become aware of numerous inaccurate rumors being spread throughout the community on social media. Please allow us to set the record straight.


At the outset, it is important to understand that the Association’s Bylaws are extremely important. They explain, among other things, how our organization is governed. Pursuant to state law, all members, irrespective of whether they are in good standing, are entitled to a copy of the Bylaws. To be sure, the Bylaws are easily accessible as they are posted on the Association’s website and hardcopies are available at the administration office.


The Bylaws detail the election process, including its numerous safeguards. They allow us to easily dispel the recent claims on social media which falsely attack the integrity of this year’s annual election.


Article IV, Section A(4), of the Bylaws clearly explains when the candidate nominating forms are available and when the completed forms must be returned to the administration office. For the members’ convenience, these deadlines are also included on the Association calendar which is posted on our website.


In accordance with the Bylaws, on February 2 of each year, management verifies that each candidate who has submitted a candidate nominating form is a deeded owner, over 21 years of age, a member in good standing, and completes the required forms to send to the Monroe County Office of Elections and Registration for verification the candidate is eligible to vote in the local municipal election.


The Bylaws, at Article III, Section F, assign to the Board the power to determine the “manner of voting” in the election, which “may include one or more of the following methods: mail ballots, electronic voting, use of directed proxies and/or in person voting at a member meeting.”


Please see that the manner of voting for the 2024 election will be by directed proxies only. This decision was made so as to remove the Association’s Directors, staff, management, and volunteers from the process and, consequently, prevent any claims of tampering. It should also be noted that only 26 members voted in person during last year’s election, so there should be minimal inconvenience to the members.


Article IV, Section A(4)(f) of the Bylaws sets the “record date” for determining when members must be in good standing so as to receive a directed proxy and voting information. The “record date” is plainly stated as “forty-five (45) prior to the annual meeting.” This means only members who are in good standing on the 45th day prior to the annual meeting will be provided with directed proxies so as to cast their votes in the election.


The list of eligible voting members is then sent to a third-party vendor who is tasked with (1) printing the information and directed proxies, (2) addressing and stuffing the envelopes and (3) mailing the stuffed envelopes to the members. None of this work is performed by the Association’s staff.


To further protect the integrity of the election, the Bylaws call for the appointment of a Judge of Elections who decides any candidacy challenge, as well as any other election challenge. The Judge of Election’s decision in these matters shall be final. This year the Association has contracted with William Owens & Company, Certified Public Accountants, to act as the Judge of Elections.


The list of eligible voting members is provided to the Judge of Elections to ensure that only eligible members cast votes in the election. The Judge of Elections, alone, is responsible for receiving and tallying the directed proxies and announcing the results at the annual meeting. Again, the Association’s Directors, staff, management and volunteers are completely removed from these tasks. Anything that you hear or read to contrary is simply false.


The Bylaw provisions that speak to the election are provided below for your convenience:


Art., III, Section F


Voting. A member in Good Standing shall have one (1) vote for each owned lot. A lot with multiple owners shall only vote one (1) vote. The manner of voting on any topic, including but not limited to elections, shall be determined by the Board and may include one or more of the following methods: mail ballots, electronic voting, use of directed proxies and/or in person voting at a member meeting. If directed proxies or mail ballots are used, they must be received no later than forty-eight (48) hours prior to the Annual or Special meeting, at the address designated by the Board of Directors. Cumulative voting shall not be permitted.



Art. IV, Section A(4)


Election of Directors. Each year, an annual election to fill vacancies on the Board shall be conducted as follows:


(a) By January 2, the Association shall make available candidate packets containing information pertinent to members who decide to run for the Board, including but not limited to Board approved candidate (i) nominating forms and (ii) disclosure forms containing a common set of questions.


(b) Each candidate must submit a fully completed nominating form to the administrative office no later than close of business on February 1. If this deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline for submission will be the close of business on the first business day following February 1. Each nominating form shall be verified for accuracy of information by Community Management with the assistance of the Judge of Elections, as needed.


(c) Each candidate must also submit a fully completed disclosure form to the administrative office no later than close of business on February 1. If this deadline falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline for submission will be close of business on the first business day following February 1. Completed disclosure forms, shall be published prior to the election in all available Association media outlets.


(d) All candidates shall be, and remain, members in Good Standing of the Association and Qualified Residents.


(e) Order of placement on the election ballots shall be by lottery at the regular March Board Meeting.


(f) Ballots and/or voting information shall be sent to each member in Good Standing as determined on the record date forty-five (45) prior to the annual meeting.


(g) Any member in Good Standing may challenge a candidacy and such challenges shall be sent directly to the Judge of Elections. Notwithstanding any other provision in these Bylaws, the Judge of Election’s decision on any candidacy challenge, as well as any other election challenge, shall be final.


(h) The counted ballots will stay in the possession of the Judge of Election for a period of one (1) year.


(i) Members in Good Standing shall elect the Directors. The results of the election shall be announced at the Annual Meeting.


(j) In the event that the number of qualified candidates is less than or equal to the number of Director seats up for election, ballots and/or directed proxies for the election shall not be mailed to the membership and the presiding officer shall declare the candidates elected by acclamation at the Annual Meeting. The Annual Meeting will be conducted regardless of whether an election is required or not.


We are also aware of a recent internet post claiming that the Board is prevented from speaking to the Association’s legal counsel. This claim is simply false. It is important to understand that the Board makes decisions as a body. If the Board, as a body, decides that it would like a legal opinion on a matter, it will resolve to have the President contact legal counsel about the issue. This process allows the Board to seek advice on vital issues while also safeguarding the Association from incurring unnecessary billable hours. If each of the nine Directors was allowed to contact legal counsel on any issue, no matter how minor or well settled, the resulting legal fees could be overwhelming. To be sure, many questions arise at Board meetings which are easily answered based upon experience and institutional knowledge, eliminating the need to contact the lawyer.


This policy is contained in the Board Member Code of Conduct which was adopted in 2019 upon a motion by Bettyanne Nevil and Maryann Rodriguez. The policy also allows for the Association’s staff members, including the Community Manager, to contact the lawyer “as needed to fulfill their work responsibilities.” This is necessary since the staff is responsible for handling the Association’s day-to-day operations and, as such, encounter situations which require immediate assistance.


We hope that the above information clarifies matters for the community. Before concluding, we caution that posts on social media networks may be made in mere seconds but may also then permanently exist on the internet. As a result, an inconsistent, incomplete, or simply incorrect post can have a long-lasting effect on the Association. We have encountered people trying to use false and misleading social media posts/responses as evidence in litigation and collection matters. This creates more work for the Association and can be harmful to the unwitting members.


Some people say things like “we are a closed group” or ”no one can see what we have on our private page.” Those comments are naive and shortsighted. Screenshots of private group posts can easily be texted, emailed, posted, and reposted elsewhere.


Further, consider your property values. Prospective buyers who are considering buying a home in the Poconos will almost certainly scour the internet for information about the various communities. If they encounter vicious exchanges, insults, and criticism between Penn Estates members or directed at our Board and management, they are likely to pass on the drama and look for a more serene and tranquil place to call home. This can result in a decreased property value for your most important investment.


This is not to say that you shouldn’t be able to voice genuine concerns to the Board and/or management. To the contrary, your dues fund the Association and the Directors, staff and management must remain accountable. If members have a real concern related to Board matters, we encourage you to contact the Board at board@pepoa.org. This also applies to questions related to day-to-day operations, including but not limited to roads, account information, and enforcement of regulations. You may also contact the Community Manager at phyllishaase@pepoa.org.


In conclusion, seeking information from people on Facebook who may have hidden agendas and/or axes to grind against the Association will likely lead to misinformation. Instead, please email us to obtain the correct answer.



Board of Directors

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