From The Blog
Message from the Chair: Renewed Focus for 2017
Having been elected last year to a two-year term on the KICA board, I am honored to spend the final year of my term as the chairman. I plan to focus the bulk of my efforts this year assisting our COO and the board in creating a deeper sense of transparency and community engagement, and enhancing our governance practices and board routines.
A sense of transparency is critical for KICA members to feel engaged and view KICA as effective and trustworthy. This can be challenging in an environment with the complexities of Kiawah. We have the “maze of K’s” (KICA, TOKI, Kiawah Partners, Kiawah Island Golf Resort, etc); full and part-time residents; homeowners and condo owners; folks that rent and folks that don’t; Kiawah Island Club members, Governors Club members, and folks with no club affiliation.
We also have financial complexity. KICA’s funds come from a variety of sources, including annual fees, real estate transactions and gate access fees. We have a special reserve for major repairs and replacements, which is funded differently than our operating budget, which primarily covers security, landscaping, maintenance and administration. This financial complexity, combined with members having varying interests and levels of engagement, puts a huge premium on the importance of great communications.
In Jimmy’s note on the following page you will see some of the initial steps we’re taking toward this goal. Governance Practices and Board Routines KICA is a large and complex organization, with nearly $15 million in annual income and expenses. In addition to providing maintenance, security and amenities, KICA is responsible for repairing and replacing roads, bridges and drainage systems. KICA has transitioned from being controlled by the developer to being controlled by homeowners. We have a rotating board made up of community volunteers that serve relatively short terms, and the chairman role is typically rotated in short bursts also, which puts a premium on having an effective governance model.
KICA follows a “Policy Governance” model. Under this model, the board approves the key policies that serve as guidelines for the KICA staff so they can make decisions and execute against longer-term projects. These policies limit the risk that rotating boards and chairmen make unnecessary changes to priorities. Although every board has the right to change any policy, a well-considered policy will likely survive intact unless sufficient change has occurred to justify a new policy. This allows the community to know what to expect, and allows the staff to make decisions and execute against long-term priorities.
Policy Governance was originally adopted in 2006, and the current board recently reaffirmed its commitment to this model. We will work together in 2017 to clarify key policies, share them with the community for input, and then adopt them to guide the decisions and priorities of the KICA staff. Once finalized and published, these policies will support maintaining a strong sense of transparency, as KICA’s priorities and actions should be directly traceable to these policies.
I am confident that the actions listed in Jimmy’s note below will go a long way toward improving transparency and community engagement. Then, by codifying our governance principles and publishing the key policies, we can ensure this sense grows as KICA works to fulfill its mission and keeps Kiawah the great place we all love.
KICA Board Chair