Saturday, May 30, 2009


By Stan Beeler, HVL

Being a rebuttal of letters to HVL residents from Dana Hensley, Ron Lask, and Phil Harmeyer regarding their claims of perfidy by Jack Arduin and Stan Beeler against the VRUC.

On the occasion of 2009 VRUC election in June, I am again required to compose long rebuttals of long letters by the board majority or their friends claiming to represent the real truth of the matter with regard to all things VRUC, but which are convenient vehicles for half-truths, character assignation, red herrings, and outright lies. By now, I am tired of it all, as I know everyone else is, and I intend that this will be my last written word on the subject of the VRUC or its personalities.

The two letters, one by Lask and Harmeyer, and the other by Hensley, are essentially identical, so I will treat them as one.

The crux of the matter this year, and the reason for the attacks, is a series of eleven issues proposed by me to be placed on the ballot in conjunction with the election. So that you will know what ruffled their feathers, and because those ballot issues were denied inclusion on the ballot by a vote of the VRUC board, I reprint that submission below.

1. There is a complaint about attendance records. The complaint is uninformed. My attendance record is as good as any on the board. And, the complaint is misdirected in view of the fact that if one of the majority cannot make a meeting, the meeting is cancelled. The majority four were all suddenly indisposed to attend the board meeting before last year’s election at which we had managed to place on the agenda several issues which they did not want to become public (all four sick at the same time; imagine that). They cancelled four consecutive scheduled board meetings this year because one of their number could not be there, knowing they dare not conduct a meeting at which they cannot produce the majority vote.

2. There is some undefined complaint that Jack and I cannot interpret the “actual facts”.
If the majority of the board would ever consent to a debate of the issues, or allow the membership to even hear of the issues, it would become immediately clear as to who is adept at concealing the issues (or facts) from the membership and public.

3. They claim (in the fashion of tyrants who cannot abide disagreement) that we are not loyal to the VRUC. The VRUC is a utility, a service provider, however inept, not demanding nor deserving loyalty. The eleven issues below, and their response, should indicate who shows greater loyalty to the interests of the membership, where loyalty should be directed. Hensley equates the betterment of the VRUC with the betterment of the HVL residents, but the conduct of the board has caused the VRUC to be a detriment to the interests of the residents since its inception.

4. They charge that we have personal agendas. Jack Arduin, Bob Ziegler, and I are the only VRUC board members who do not have ties to the real estate and banking interests in Dearborn County. We are the only current board members who do not have personal agendas. My only agenda has been to try to fix the VRUC (preferably by dissolution) and get the hell out.

5. They claim that we want to sell the VRUC to Greendale and SDRSD. We do, we did…but we cannot. That requires a vote of the VRUC membership (and they know it), but they will not allow the membership to hear the arguments pro and con, nor to address other options, nor even to hear their plans, and the consequences thereof, No one knows what their goals are, other than to keep control of the VRUC in their hands.

Also, they try to deceive their readers by omitting that the sale was to have been of the liabilities as well as of the assets. The liabilities are much greater, and much more meaningful, (given that half the water and sewer delivery systems are already owned by Greendale) than the assets (which in their present condition, are actually liabilities).

6. Their threat of annexation of HVL by Greendale is the most outrageous red herring. They know that Greendale has absolutely no interest in paying the bills for HVL and that it is an impossible idea. Cities are not generally interested in the annexation of residential properties. Commercial properties pay the bills that residential properties create.They use the empty threat to divert attention from the real issues of mismanagement and the certainty of increases in rates, and on the hope that some will actually believe in their charge. Greendale would not annex HVL if 100% of the residents petitioned for it.

7. They insinuate that the costs to repair and maintain the water and sewer infrastructure would be lower under VRUC management than under SDRSD and Greendale ownership. That is absurd on its face. The costs of the mismanagement of the VRUC by the board since its inception will be astounding when it becomes known. The economies of scale must apply everywhere but in HVL.

8. They repeat again the oft repeated lie of the famous lawsuit, claiming that Jack and I joined in a lawsuit against the VRUC. There was no lawsuit against the VRUC. A group of HVL residents, including Jack and myself, petitioned a local judge for a temporary restraining order against individuals to require them to desist from conspiring to commit election fraud in the 2008 election. The judge declined to intervene, having narrowed the list of charges made in the petition to those which could produce the most efficacious decision. The appeal of that decision was returned unopened because it was received late ( due to the problems of a pro se preparation and a miscommunication from the local court with regard to the transcripts). Such was their grand “lawsuit victory”, so reminiscent of the great socialist victories of the cold war (to be exaggerated to the greatest possible advantage, and to be repeated again and again).

9. They claim that Jack and I failed to do something to benefit the residents with regard to the vote by the board to lower the quorum from 30% to 10%. Jack was not able to attend that hastily called “special meeting” which members were specifically prohibited to attend, so they do not know how Jack would have voted. And, it is a lie that I abstained. I refused to vote, arguing that the entire meeting was illegal and that the decision as to what the quorum ought to be should be decided by the membership, not by the board.
One of the eleven issues submitted by me to be placed on the ballot was the lowering of the required quorum. The four horsemen picked up on it only after Jack and I indicated that we would be willing to run again, cynically claiming that they were always for it, while knowing that they could not get us off the board without it. I, and I believe Jack, have no problem with the 10% quorum (it should be a majority of the votes cast, although my proposal was for 25% but as a decision by the membership). The change in quorum is required to be a by-laws revision, but neither the language of the motion nor the 3-0 vote reflected the passed motion to be a by-laws change, i.e., the language was not in the proper form.

10. Mr Hensley claims that there were no other loan options available when the board voted to accept what I believe to be a very bad offer from UCB. That is a lie. Jack had been working to obtain a more favorable loan from 5th/3rd when Bittner suddenly stopped the negotiations by calling off a meeting with the bank. You will understand if Jack, after all of his preparatory work in setting up the meeting, might be unhappy. If you are an HVL resident, you will be unhappy to know the terms of the 2.5 million dollar loan. I voted against the loan because I believe it to be a disaster. A variable rate loan starting at 7%, with a 2% annual cap will be unmanageable within only a few years. It was a very good deal for the bank, not so good for the residents.

11. Mr. Hensley now claims that the “entire board” negotiated the 2006 water and sewer contract with Greendale. The four were never involved in the negotiations with the City, and Mr. Hensley voted against the contract (or abstained, claiming conflict of interest?, I am not certain).It was only through the extraordinary efforts of Jack Arduin and Bob Ziegler, and the relationships they were able to forge with the City of Greendale officials, that the contract was realized. The four had nothing to do with it, fought it all the way, and would have defeated it they had known of anything else to do.

12. Mr. Hensley disparages the City of Greendale and its elected officials at every opportunity. He insinuates, and actually believes, that the City would go out of its way to harm HVL, that the City would charge unreasonable rates (disproven by both the water and sewer contract negotiated in 2006 and the draft contract to assume control of the VRUC infrastructure), that he is more honorable than they. He is delusional. In the interaction that I had with Greendale officials during the negotiations, they displayed more professionalism, reasonableness, understanding, and willingness to work together than Hensley and pals could ever dream of.

This argument is about much more than personalities, than “them” vs. “us”. It is about how we define the success of a utility, of a service provider. It is clear from their letters that their criteria for success of the utility is:
1. That Greendale not annex HVL
2. That the utility be owned by the residents
3. That the opinions of the board members be entirely homogeneous
If there are any corollaries to those propositions, I leave it to Mr. Hensley to explicate them.

My criteria from the start was, as I stated three years ago, the best possible service at the lowest possible cost to the residents. The necessary corollaries to that proposition are:
1. Board accountability to the residents, with specified mechanisms to accomplish it
2. The absence of customer complaints
3. Total transparency of board activities (the Open Door Law)
4. Member involvement in and oversight of the management of the Corporation
5. The requirement for ethical conduct by board members
6. The elimination of the pollution to the environment caused by the poor condition of the infrastructure

When I learned what I could about the history of the VRUC three years ago, I determined immediately that the VRUC itself is inimical to the interests of the residents of HVL, and that the only solution was the dissolution of the VRUC. I originally thought to give it to the POA, but thought it would not help. The concept of a regional sewer district with SDRSD at its core is more appealing to me, and I think is inevitable. The pollution caused by the small operations such as VRUC has got to stop sometime.

I believe, and will be berated for that belief, that the desire to maintain the VRUC with its current organization is all about the desire to control the lives of others. (“The Lives of Others/ Das Leben der Anderen” is an excellent German film on DVD, with English subtitles. One could learn a great deal about HVL from it.).

Here is what I submitted for the ballot.


The following proposal ( eleven issues referred to in my resume’) for the VRUC annual business meeting election ballot was rejected by the four members of the Board who constitute the majority (Bittner, Sypniewski, Armbrecht, and Hensley) at a secret, executive session of the Board of Directors on 23 Apr 09, they, refusing to allow, without comment, discussion or debate, the issues to be placed on the ballot. Clearly, that is illegal (cf. VRUC By-laws, Sections 3.06(a), 3.08(a), 3.09 and Indiana Code IC 23-17-10-1(d) & (e), and IC 23-17-8-2), but as a request for a restraining order to require a fair election last year proved, the law is of no help in these matters ( which restraining order request Floyd continually calls a law suit). The eleven issues proposed for the ballot were proposed previously, all more than on one occasion, during the last three years, and all being voted down by that same majority. While being only some of the issues raised during the last three years, the eleven issues provide a fair representation of the differences in management style and philosophy of government of the two Board factions, between those who support open membership discussion and vote on the issues (Jack Arduin, Bob Ziegler and myself) and those who oppose such discussion and vote by the membership (Bittner, Sypniewski, Armbrecht, and Hensley).

Proposals to be balloted in Conjunction with the 2009 VRUC Annual Election

In accordance with VRUC By-laws, Sections 3.08 and 3.09, I, Stanley J. Beeler, 19534 Longview Dr., owner of lots 1490, 1491, and 2866, do hereby attest that I am not in arrears of any rates, charges, or fees owed to the Corporation, and herewith give notice to the Corporation’s principal office on or before 20 Apr 09, as a member of the Corporation and as a member of the Board of Directors, of the following proposals (issues) for ballot to be voted upon by the membership in conjunction with the June 2009 annual meeting and election.

The members/owners of the VRUC herewith direct the Board of Directors to: (Please vote yes or no on each issue, although it is not necessary to cast a vote on all issues in order that a vote on any issue be counted.)

Issue #1: Prior to any increase in fees, rates, or charges by the VRUC to its members, the board shall: enter into negotiations with the South Dearborn Regional Sewer District and the City of Greendale, and any other governmental entity as may be necessary or useful, for a contract or contracts to sell the assets and liabilities of the VRUC to one or more of those entities; provide for a minimum of two (2) public hearings to inform the Corporate membership of the final proposal(s), and of any alternative proposals; and provide to the membership a ballot for a binding vote to sell the assets and liabilities of the VRUC and to simultaneously dissolve the VRUC in accordance with Indiana law (IC 23-17-22).
YES__________ NO___________

Issue #2: Immediately revise the VRUC By-laws to require that no director, group of directors, or VRUC employee may engage any attorney on behalf of the VRUC for any billable work product without prior agreement by the Board of Directors by a majority vote at a regular or special meeting of the board, which meeting is open to the public.
YES___________ NO___________

Issue #3: Immediately revise the VRUC By-laws to adopt the Indiana Open Door Law (IC 5-14.5) as a governing principle for the conduct of Corporate business.
YES___________ NO____________

Issue #4: Revise the VRUC By-laws to adopt Robert’s Rules of Order for the conduct of all meetings of the membership and Board of Directors.
YES ____________ NO____________

Issue #5: Revise the VRUC By-laws to require an Oath of Office by all directors and a Code of Ethics as a standard by which the actions of the directors may be judged.
YES___________ NO____________

Issue #6: Revise the VRUC By-laws (Section 3.07) to reduce the quorum of members required to effect a binding vote in conjunction with annual meetings or other meetings of the membership from 30% to 25% (except where otherwise required by Indiana law).
YES___________ NO____________

Issue #7: Revise the VRUC By-laws to allow members to vote in person or by proxy at any time up to and on the day of the annual meeting/election at the time of the start of the meeting.
YES____________ NO_____________

Issue #8: Revise the VRUC By-laws to delete the requirement for a signature of the voter on any ballots, and that the vote be by lot number vice first name on the deed.
YES___________ NO_____________

Issue #9: Revise the VRUC By-laws to require the Corporate office to provide after the election to any member upon request a list of lot numbers casting ballots in the previous election.
YES___________ NO_____________

Issue # 10: Revise the VRUC By-laws to require that no ballot of a member of the Corporation may be declared invalid or spoiled except by a vote of the Board of Directors.
YES___________ NO_____________

Issue #11: Move the location of the meetings of the Board of Directors from the garage to the POA Community Meeting Room.
YES___________ NO_____________

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