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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : the villager : the villager May 24, 2016

11/26/2013 9:46:00 AM
Changing of the guard for VOCA

By: Gwen Hanna
VOCA Board President

It is a privilege to write my first article for the Villager as the newly appointed President of the Village of Oak Creek Association.

My recent and unexpected appointment comes as a result of the resignation of former President and board member, Duane DePaepe.

I'll start with a few observations based on my six months of tenure. When I first decided to run for one of the open seats, my neighbors and friends used phrases like: "Why would you want to do that?" "What you're doing takes great courage." "I admire your resolve." And the most honest reaction, "Are you crazy?"

I knew to a certain extent that serving on the VOCA board would prove to be challenging. There is a history and a continuing controversy about our restaurant, and a suspicion of some of our VOCA citizens that the board is made up of crooks and incompetents.

This is the legacy and the perception that the current six board members face, even though four of us are completely new to our jobs.

I now understand the full extent of the reactions of my friends and neighbors. Our congenial community has some very passionate and vocal citizens. Many of their concerns and points are well taken. The present board is working to address these issues.

By doing so, we are taking into account historical context, and we are considering the strategic and long-term impact of any decisions we make. We continue to behave ethically as we look at alternatives that best serve the interests of the overall community.

The board has recently been called everything from the back-end of a horse, to being an "ethically challenged, desperate board that has come completely unglued," by these passionate and vocal citizens.

They often speak in public, or put into print, information that is not true. Worse, they have twisted or taken liberties with the truth to suit their agenda, and they malign a group of well-meaning people who volunteer time and expertise, hoping to add value to the community by serving on the VOCA board.

As with any change, there will be a period of adjustment, but I can speak for the current board of six members by saying that we are working with renewed focus.

However, a legacy of perceptions formed, and decisions made, over several years cannot be undone in six months. So I am asking for time, patience, respect, and volunteerism.

I strongly encourage these vocal citizens to step up and become part of the solution, instead of part of the problem, or worse, being the cause of the problem.

One opportunity to volunteer will soon be forthcoming as we seek two board members in the upcoming election.

As for this inherited legacy? That was THEN. This is all of US-HERE-NOW. Please help US to make this VOCA community one that people will talk about with pride

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