The Recreation Centers of Sun City board has probably passed the revised bylaws by the time this is published, as well as the 2023 budget.
Both have been met with serious questions and objections to passage. Some suggest the passage of bylaws failed their own rules for a second reading or even allowing members with appropriate opportunities to review final revisions and comments. I made my objections to the budget process clear at the last member/board exchange (the video is available on the RCSC YouTube channel if interested). Our budget process and financial oversight also need our attention.
The 2023 proposed RCSC budget is roughly $28 million; a major portion comes from our annual assessments. Management proposed a $29 increase, which was a surprise to everyone. Even after weeks of positive management reports about our financial position an increase was hidden in this budget!
It’s not necessarily the amount of the increase, it’s about the process and how they got there. There were no work sessions with directors or the Finance and Budget Committee, just a budget presentation by the general manager and director of finance at the regular October Finance and Budget Committee meeting where it passed. It was presented at the next board meeting, where it failed. We are assuming it will have been on the agenda for the Nov. 17 meeting based on the need to get a budget adopted before year end and there are no other committee meetings scheduled.
The entire budget process has caused concern because members were not entitled to have a copy of the budget and no budget information was available on the RCSC website. When a question was asked by a member at the conclusion of the Budget and Finance third quarter review meeting, she was told by the GM, “You can see it after it’s adopted.” Members have no detailed knowledge of how our budget dollars are being allocated. Plus, keep in mind there is no adopted long range plan, or no adopted community master plan, which is also critical for our PIF dollars.
RCSC is a tax-exempt organization and our dollars are in many respects “tax dollars” — we have no choice. What happens if we don’t pay them? These aren’t gym fees, we pay for these facilities whether we use them or not. We, the community members, own these buildings. Plus, many clubs buy equipment or make improvements and then those become assets of RCSC — we are the owners of RCSC.
Until there is an open, clearly transparent budget process, we will never know the facts. And that won’t happen unless there is a change in leadership, increased due diligence and management is required to operate under industry standards and in the light of day. Part of a tax exempt organization’s “paid staff’s leadership” role is also ensuring that there is appropriate board training, accomplished in part by providing the resources needed to do their jobs legally and according to best practices. That happens by using his or her professional background, the in-house senior staff and the organization’s professional resources (auditors, legal counsel, insurers) and the vast resources of national or state professional organizations. The RCSC budget process receives a failing grade.
Please vote for Jean Totten and John Fast and to re-elect Steve Collins. These three candidates are member focused, understand the organizational leadership structure, board oversight/fiduciary responsibilities and will work hard to make sure that Sun City is managed according to its governing documents and the best practices of tax exempt organizations.