The First 60 Days
(Updated April 4, 2016) On Friday, March 25, the Friends of the Village met at 2 PM in the Village Greens building in rooms 2 and 3 to hear from Brad Hudson, CEO/GM of the newly-established Village Management Services, Inc.
Following is a report of the meeting from Club Secretary Marion Levine:
Forty people attended this meeting held in the Greens.
(President) Catherine Brians opened the meeting at 2 pm with a brief report on the March President’s Council, where Margaret Klein discussed shared costs and Community Access Committee activities. Catherine reported that only 33 rooms can be used by the mutuals and 259 clubs and Clubhouse 2 is currently out of the mix. The demand for room is high and the supply low.
(Vice President/Programs)Mike Straziuso introduced the speaker, Brad Hudson, new CEO of VMSInc., invited to speak on his perceptions of our Village after 60 days on the job. Brad gave a brief overview of his experience. He began his remarks saying how friendly and welcoming Village folks were and briefly commented on the shared cost concept and how use by outsiders could possibly be profitable.
Thus far he has:
- Upgraded software to track phone calls and make the process more efficient by being able to contact technicians both in office and out in the field.
- Found off-the-shelf software, Escrow, to make the realtors’ work more efficient.
- Begun work on making the allocation of the Garden Plots more efficient with the goal of decreasing the waiting list.
- Begun working on clubhouse maintenance.
- Commented on the need for the community to have an upgraded approach to registering guests. He’ll always allow residents to interact with gate staff.
- Is working on upgrading the website to meet the expectations of residents by making it easily searchable and putting all committee reports and financials on the site.
- Didn’t have a broad enough staff so has hired a new staff member to upgrade the website and make all activities transparent, and one to interact with the community.
- Has run into difficulty with GRF because he approved repaving of the tennis courts without going through established procedures.
The Q and A period followed. Here are condensed answers given:
Brad said that, thus far, he was impressed by current staff but will continue to review them as needed.
Our current computer software was built just for us. Because of this, it is difficult to find staff to make changes. He is investigating off-the-shelf software – possibly a Microsoft product – that can be used and maintained by a community of users to make our activities more efficient.
With regard to Clubhouse #2, in his experience, remodeling costs vs. new building costs come in close to each other. Future construction should be evaluated for each site as to whether to remodel or build new. He wouldn’t comment on whether remodeling CH #2 was the best choice because it is almost done and would accomplish nothing to comment on it.
He particularly commented on the need to do something to CH#1 and said that he would like to keep this historic structure thru remodeling vs. new.
He is reviewing the job duties of staff in the garden centers and pool areas and is planning on hiring a general services director and a new head of security.
There is a shortage of analytical staff and he is considering asking experienced residents for their assistance in the future.
When asked about his visual impressions of the community, he said it looks good, the equestrian center is unique, the golf courses are in good shape, the Village Green is dark but tasteful, CH#1 is historic, the library is good, CH#3 needs a makeover and technological improvements, and ended with a statement that “he loves the community.”
His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Has an open door approach to management so feel free to contact or come by and see him.
PCM was good with their accounting.
There will be a place on the website for the community to record their suggestions. The website is to be upgraded.
Regarding Brad‘s responsibilities vs. The VMS Board…Brad tells VMS what is needed and GRF pays the bills. VMS Board watches Brad and serves as employment agency for staff.
Spoke of tennis court repaving project…he looked at the tennis courts, has had experience with repaving courts so he contacted 2-3 (well-established) companies in this business and made the decision.
If you would like to volunteer your time, please contact him.
Hasn’t seen anything yet showing that PCM did anything wrong.
He’s working on exploring new technology, improving customer services, and improving overall efficiency of the staff.
In the past, PCM worked with Lowe’s for basic building supplies, now Brad and staff are working with our local Home Depot. This is a win-win situation – it’s physically closer to us and the City reaps the sales taxes for what the Village spends.
The changeover from PCM to VMS went smoothly and, in some cases, brought enhanced service to our Village.
The AV equipment in the village needs more supervision and a closer look at related details.
One attendee commended the new customer service by commenting that he had gotten a call-back AFTER a project was finished to see if he was satisfied with the work. That was a first in all his years in the Village.
He is willing to work with Third Mutual and restore chargeable services using VMS staff.
Mutual Boards turn over and undo the work of previous boards. This has a negative effect on long range projects; therefore, he’s going to do all the easy work first and build support by being responsive to community needs.
He will encourage managers to have employees work harder and will hold all employees accountable.
Catherine thanked Brad for the interesting and informative talk.
Left, Brad with VP Mike Straziuso.
Catherine announced that next month’s program (Friday, April 22) will feature Shari L. Horne, Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Laguna Woods who will speak to us about the state of the City.
The meeting adjourned at 3:45 pm.