Candidates

Marge Garneau attends a candidate meet and greet at Desert Meadows Park on Thursday. Green Valley Recreation opened voting for the Board of Directors on Friday.

It's that time of year again. Ten candidates for the GVR Board of Directors are campaigning for four seats as voting began Friday.

This year's candidates split into three camps — four backed by GVR4us, three backed by Friends of GVR and two running together as independents. David Valdez is running as a lone-independent candidate.

Ted Boyett is on the Friends' slate of candidates, but he said grouping together doesn't mean there aren't differences of opinions among the three. And he said the Friends are aware he doesn't intend to vote in a bloc if he wins a seat.

"I think all three of the Friends will vote their conscience,” he said. “And we all have differences of opinion. And we've had some lively discussions, always civil, and then on certain things, we agree to disagree. And I think that's important."

The Friends are also backing Nina Campfield and Connie Griffin.

GVR4us endorse and promote Marge Garneau, Carol Crothers, Bart Hillyer and Gary Austin.

Garneau, who has served on the board in the past, doesn't intend to vote in a bloc, either.

"I tend to do my own research, and I listen," she said. "I will vote what I feel is right for the members."

Independents

Among Green Valley Recreation's independent candidates are two running together — Chuck Soukup and Eric Sullwold.

They were Friends members and worked with the group during last year's election. But Soukup said the two parted ways with the Friends after a falling out over what they said was the group's leadership trying to exert too much influence over the directors.

Soukup said both the Friends and GVR4us have perspectives he likes and dislikes. He found that even he and his runningmate differ on topics at times, leaving a potential vote from him separate from any group cause.

But running without a group's backing isn't going to be easy.

Soukup found those backed by GVR4us and the Friends have ready-made audiences to hear them out. But he said he's still trying to get the word out that he's even running.

"I think we're at a big disadvantage, I really do," Soukup said. "I think we kind of proved that last year when Friends and 4us basically had blocs, and the Friends won all four of the seats. That was a big deal at that point."

But Soukup said he is starting to see a little traction with people asking them how they're different from the two group-back slates.

"I think that's basically saying that we want to draw both sides together and get everybody to have some sort of consensus," he said. "I think that's something that people like to hear."

Member participation

GVR's board has seen its share of contention over the last few years with tie votes, heated debates and tension among members over its policies and decisions. And both factions have taken their lumps during this time.

Boyett said the bickering among the board's directors could turn some members off to following the organization's governance. And he isn't immune either.

"I'm tired, I'm tired, I'm tired of hearing people basically becoming selfish and not looking out for the good of the total community," he said. "That's why we moved to Green Valley. That's what I love about Green Valley. Most people are really gracious in Green Valley. You know, we say at times they'll give you the shirt off their back if they think it was going to help you."

But Boyett said there are a few who have to get their own way.

Garneau agreed that director and interest group squabbles could be off-putting for members.

"It probably is for some," she said. "And I think for others, they just ignore it. But I do think that it's a situation that's just not good. And most people that I've talked to are aware of it, and most feel like it needs to be taken care of or stopped."

Green Valley residents tend to turn out for local, state and national elections in large numbers. But GVR members – about 80 percent of Green Valley's population – trend the opposite way of voting in organizational elections.

Garneau found the low turnout confusing since HOAs she has encountered tended to have more electoral participation.

However, Soukup thinks this year could be different for GVR's election, given the attention a recent dues increase and amenity and service impacts from the pandemic have drawn.

"I think most (members) are happy with the way things are," he said. "When people are happy, they don't care to vote. This has been a weird year. I think we're going to see more people vote this year. Because a lot of people aren't happy with COVID."

Soukup said members are upset about shutdowns at GVR, but he did think the organization had any choice in the matter.

GVR’s voting ends on March 26, with results announced during the annual meeting on March 31.

Jorge Encinas | 520-547-9732