Five vie for three POA seats
A candidates forum is set for March 21 in Riordan Hall.
When ballots go out in early April for the next POA Board of Directors election, members will choose among five candidates to fill three seats on the board.
Each member of the nine-member board serves a three-year term, so three seats turn over each year. The election ends with the annual Property Owners Association membership meeting on May 16.
A candidate forum is at 6 p.m. March 21 in Riordan Hall. Former Weekly Vista managing editor Tom Throne will serve as moderator. The forum is sponsored by the POA Election Committee. The committe plans to ask those attending to submit questions in writing, which will then be compiled and possibly posed to the candidates — if time allows.
Two of the candidates now serving on the board are running for re-election. Board Chairman Bob Brooks will give up his seat in May: He is not running for another term.
Ruth Hatcher was appointed to the board in May 2013, when only two candidates ran for the three open seats. In 2014, she ran and won a three-year term.
The other incumbent is Jim Abrahamson, who was appointed to the board in December to fill the seat vacated when Brad Morris resigned and moved out of state. According to the bylaws, appointed board members can only serve until the next election.
One candidate, William Barr, has been serving on the Joint Advisory Committee on Golf.
The remaining two candidates, David Brandenburg and Hank Ott De Vries, have not been involved with the POA.
Abrahamson came to Bella Vista in 1974 to work for Cooper Communities as a land planner.
During his career, he worked as a POA general manager in Branson, vice president of planning and engineering for Cooper, and was the chairman of the Benton County Planning Board. He was a certified community manager and a licensed real estate agent. Although he worked in other communities and for other employers, he lived most of the time in Bella Vista and retired here in 2007.
When he realized he had some extra time he gave some thought to where he might volunteer. He considered becoming a hospital volunteer, but he doesn’t know much about hospitals.
“I decided to do what I know,” he said. So far, he has enjoyed his time on the board.
Barr is a disabled vet with a degree in fisheries biology and lake management. After serving in the Army for eight years, he was a small business owner and later worked for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. He moved to Bella Vista from Minnesota in 2010.
“I believe in what’s happening now,” Barr said. “Bella Vista is going forward and I want to be a part of that.”
As a volunteer committee member, he’s also heard some negativity, but he doesn’t let it bother him. There will always be someone who complains, he said, no matter what.
Brandenburg has lived in Bella Vista since 1985, when he helped start Reliable Home and Lawn Care. As a small-business owner, he’s worked with both residents and nonresident property owners in Bella Vista. He has a degree from Iowa State University in agricultural business.
After watching the POA board for 30 years, Brandenburg now has time to be a part of it. He retired recently.
“I’m an avid golfer so I’m very interested in the golf courses and maintaining them and their playability,” he said, “Golf is a big thing in Bella Vista so we need to pay attention to it.”
But he’s also watched the POA board make several false starts over the years — going in one direction and then changing their minds. He would like to prevent that from happening again.
“Bella Vista has changed. The management needs to change with it,” he said. “But the POA is here and it’s not going to go away.”
De Vries was born in the Netherlands but has been
working in hotel and club management in several locations since coming to the United States in 1970. He managed country clubs in California, North Dakota, Texas, and Illinois. He served on several boards. Although he’s only lived in Bella Vista for two and a half years, he believes his background will be an asset to the board.
“I want to contribute to the community,” he said. “I have no agenda. I’ve been on boards when people get on with their own agenda and that’s all they’re pushing for. They’re not very productive.”
“I want to make a livable community for everyone — not just for a few.”
Hatcher moved to Bella Vista from Iowa in 2001 after a career in education. She taught and coached at the middle school level and chaired the Social Studies Department. She also managed a country club in Anamosa, Iowa.
She said she wants to remain on the board because the POA is finally moving in the right direction.
“I’m excited about the future,” she said. “We’re going in the right direction and everyone can be proud of that.”
She has seen some negativity over her four years on the board, but she believes the negative comments came from a small, but vocal group.
“I’m willing to listen to anyone,” she said.