From The Blog

A Letter from Outgoing Director Sue Schaffer

Dear Fellow KICA Members,

As I leave the KICA Board of Directors nine years after I began my first of two terms with a three year break between, I would like to thank some of the people who have made this a special experience.

The six board chairs under whom I have served have worked tirelessly to keep Kiawah special and make it even better, skillfully juggling a wide array of wants, needs, demands and opinions by over 9,000 successful and intelligent members, and often receiving little praise and thanks but much criticism. Thanks to all of you for your dedication and your service.

With the exception of this year, the roughly 20 directors with whom I have served have been thoughtful, courteous, friendly people with an endless variety of opinions and no hesitancy to express them, and a strong commitment to Kiawah and to KICA. I have loved serving with you and feel lucky to have done so. Some of you have become good friends.

I joined the board at the same time our COO Jimmy Bailey came to KICA. Under his stewardship, I have seen vast improvements to the island. While I can name many more than this list, here are a few of his important accomplishments:

  1. Stabilization of KICA’s financial position, which was shaky in 2012 and has earned nine 9 clean audits;
  2. Rebuilding and expansion of our crumbling drainage infrastructure;
  3. Enhancement of staff leadership, providing depth with astute hiring decisions, and he has the approbation of his staff;
  4. Renovation of the Sandcastle, including adding a pool, bar, and ocean-view fitness center, and also acquisition of a permanent home and additional meeting space for KICA at Beachwalker Center;
  5. Exemplary disaster management, including major weather events and the COVID epidemic.

In these and other endeavors, until the past year, Jimmy has been guided both by a board that focused on policy development and trusted him to execute its plans, and by his own creative thinking in suggesting improvements and projects that various boards have embraced. He has also been supported by a committed and dedicated staff and a strong senior leadership team. I have had important interactions with most of that team and I am invariably impressed by their knowledge and skill. We are all lucky to have KICA run by these employees.

Finally I want to thank Roger Warren, President of the Kiawah Island Resort, who joined the board this year as a non-voting member. His astute suggestions, observations, questions and perspective have been welcome interjections in often heated and acrimonious disagreements. The resort is KICA’s largest and highest-paying member, and I urge the next board to seek a covenant change to grant the resort a permanent voting seat.

While many members have questioned the split decision of the outgoing board to increase the board size, I sincerely hope that an infusion of new people and fresh approaches will mitigate the hostility and incivility of the past year, that factionalism will be minimized by having more directors, and that the board will be better able to return to developing policy and monitoring KICA, leaving implementation to the highly able staff.

Best to all,

Susan Schaffer
Board Director (2012-2015 & 2018-2021)