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January 10, 2007
Draft Open Board Meeting Minutes
Watergate East Inc, Minutes of the Quarterly Public meeting, January 10, 2007.
Board Members present: Cocome, Cohen, Dakin, Hicks, Malkin, Sheehan, Tager, Trines, White, Wolf, approximately forty-five REI member/residents
The meeting was called to order by President Tager at 7:00 pm. The format was largely question and answer, and the meeting was followed by informal discussion among and between board members and attendees. There was one announcement: that five board seats would be filled in the next (April) election, and that nominations were now being considered by the Nominating Committee. It was also noted that the bylaws have a provision for open nominations. Information about these seats and the nomination process is posted in the elevators and at the North Desk.
The following summarizes the major points raised by participants, and responses by Board members, led by President Tager.
ELEVATORS: Are the elevators replacements on schedule. A: yes, as far as we know, Elcon is on schedule.
WEI COMMERCIAL SPACE: (several questions), there are rumors that there will new lessees in the commercial space that is leased to BentleyForbes (BF) now leased to Saks Jandel and others. A: there is no definitive information regarding new tenants, some have talked about restaurants moving in to these spacesincluding a “white table” high end restaurant. While WEI has no legal control over who BF rents to, Mr. Tager agreed with the idea that enquiries be made of BF to see what their plans are, and (later) stated that a committee would be created to serve as an interface with BF. It was noted by Mr. Cocome that new DC regulations prohibit direct exhausting restaurant fumes, they must be release at roof level; this would require WEI cooperation should one or more restaurants move into these spaces. Mr. Cocome also added that it was difficult to get new retail stores to move into this part of Washington, but that he was pleased that a new hardware store will open up in the new Columbia Women’s Hospital development. It was also noted that BF has been in the news recently because of its interest in developing high-end properties.
GARAGE DOOR LAWSUIT: What about the $20,000 owed to WEI by Kramer? (this pertains to the garage door contractor taking WEI money under false pretenses). A (Mr. Dakin): there are no new developments on the case; the Legal Committee of the Board will meet on January 11 and discuss this.
HALLWAY LIGHTING: (from Mr. and Mrs. Kristol): it was noted that the lighting on 11N is inadequate, and suggested that the original plan to have pinpoint (halogen) lighting in front of each door entrance (as in front of the elevators) should be implemented. Also, consideration should be given to having larger-wattage bulbs in the hallways, to help alleviate the dreariness. A: Mr. Tager noted that this feature was dropped when the halls were renovated, largely to save money. He indicated that the Finance Committee would re-examine the issue; he noted that there were other pressing costs, including safety and fire upgrades, but he promised that this would be looked into by the Board and its committees.
COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP: A member asked to be put on the Membership or Finance Committees, and suggested that she could contribute special expertise. A: Mr. Trines (Chair of the Finance Committee) welcomed the member to the committee on the spot. It was noted that it is often difficult to get members to serve on committees, and that pleas for volunteers have often met with little or no response. Drs. Malkin and Weingold asked for volunteers for the new Community Welfare Committee.
COMMERCIAL FIRMS ACCESS TO WEI MEMBERS: the Board was also questioned regarding the distribution of information regarding a new Watergate-wide association. Would this provide a precedent for others to bombard WEI members with information about commercial ventures? A: In response, Mr. Tager stated that he believed that this particular project was exceptional, in that it was non-commercial, and had been developed in the Watergate community. He pledged that this would not be the prelude to opening up WEI for exploitation by commercial or business firms, that this was a rare exception to the policy of now allowing solicitation in WEI.
FLOODING IN THE MAIN LOBBY SPACE: The public space between the two entrances becomes flooded during periods of rain and snow, is there anything that can be done to prevent this? A: This is an engineering question, and the Board will ask the General manager to see what engineering solutions might be feasible.
FIRE, SAFETY, SECURITY: What is the status of the consultancy on fire safety and security? A: (Mr. Cohen and others): The consulting firm that we hired (Schirmer Engineering) has detailed two persons to examine the building and comment on plans that we have developed, and to advise us on upgrading the system. They have provided an interim report, to which we will respond, a final report should be done in the next month or so, but we have no specific dates.
AVAILABILITY OF SHORT-TERM PARKING: Can parking spaces be set aside for short-term employees or visitors to a resident’s apartment? A: WEI owns one parking space (#23), it would be very expensive to purchase others, and few, if any apartments are ever sold without their spaces. There are several possible solutions: a) cheap street parking is available on K Street near the Roosevelt Bridge, b) contact the North Desk to see if anyone has released a vacant space on a temporary basis. It was also suggested that WEI regularly remind residents to inform the north Desk if they do not expect to use their space over a weekend or during the week.
LANDSCAPING: What is the status of landscaping the WEI property? A (Ms. Wolf): Six companies have recently toured the property, and we expect that some of them will bid on a landscaping contract. The original landscaping dates back to 1964 and there are many dead plants; any landscaping must be done in such a way as to conform to Watergate’s Historical status ,but we have photos of the building at that time to guide any new landscaping.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:15 pm.
Stephen P. Cohen, Secretary
December 26, 2006
Draft Regular Board Meeting Minutes
Present: Cocome, Dakin, Hicks, Malkin, Sheehan, Tager, Trines, Weingold, Wolf
Absent: Cohen, White
Guests: Goldberg, Cooper
Meeting called to order at 7:05 PM.
The agenda was approved with the addition of an item to approve the minutes of a December 16, 2006 special board meeting and addition of a discussion item for the Executive Session of the meeting.
The minutes of the November 21 Board meeting were approved unanimously.
The minutes of the December 16 Special Board meeting were approved with one Director abstaining.
A decision on a request to allow extension of rental of Apartment 909-S was postponed pending further clarification by the owner of the expected duration of the extension and the specific reasons. It was stressed that an extension could only be granted under very limited circumstances as described in Rule XIII-5. D.
A proposal made by the Capital Improvements Committee to purchase energy saving light bulbs for residents of the coop was tabled pending further information on costs and expected savings.
The Board unanimously approved a motion proposed by the Neighborhood Issues Committee to send a letter on behalf of the Board to thank the Kennedy center for again maintaining the New Hampshire median strip during 2006.
The Board unanimously approved the proposed “charge” for the WEI Welfare Committee as follows:
“The WEI Welfare Committee’s mission is to serve as a resource for Residents in need of help in maintaining a safe and healthy existence. The Committee will respect Residents’ right privacy and will act in accordance with the framework for support and intervention set froth in the Bylaws and Rules of the cooperative. The Committee’s focus will reflect the Board’s concern for the wellbeing, safety, and quiet enjoyment of all Residents.”
Board Information and Discussion
General Manager’s Report
Interface Electric is progressing with the inspection of electrical systems in apartments and has moved from the South to the North building. It was noted that not all residents in the South building have allowed access to their apartments. These residents will be advised in writing about the building’s authority to conduct this work as per Rule XXVIII-1.
Directors discussed the continued billing by Waste Management of Maryland, WEI’s previous trash remover. Since there is no legal contract, the matter has been referred to Legal Counsel.
Capital Improvements Committee
The Committee heard from PEPCO regarding window replacement. In view of the costs (an estimated $4.5 million) and the possible continued humidity problems associated with WEI’s HVAC system even after replacement of the windows, this project will be put on hold for now. Advice will be sought on the possibility of replacing convectors.
A proposal for conversion of the pool locker rooms into a meeting space will be presented to the Board once this has been further detailed and costed.
Directors noted that the Committee has not yet presented a final capital improvements budget for 2007 to the Board. This is now expected at the next meeting. Several Directors asked that in future the capital improvements budget be presented to the Board before the end of the year.
Seven landscape firms have been approached to consider preparing a proposal for re-landscaping the planters in the front of the building. A walkthrough for all interested parties is scheduled for early January. Any landscape work will have to be done in phases given the limited resources. At this stage, until specific proposals are received, there is no indication of the overall costs of re-landscaping the grounds.
Mr. Trines reported that PNC has admitted some mistakes in the debt service charged to service the land loan. Appropriate credits will be made. The General Manager was the first to notice something is wrong.
WEI incurred very high charges for repairs and maintenance in November due to various electrical and HVAC repairs and repairs resulting from leaks from one apartment to another. Some of these costs will be covered by insurance. Overall, expenses for the year are slightly higher than budgeted.
In view of current market interest rates (short-term rates still exceed long-term rates), Mr. Trines proposed that the 2006 renovation credit line be converted into a term loan at a fixed rate. The precise rate will only be known on the day of conversion (January 2, 2007). Based on rates last week the interest rate should be a little bit above 6.5 percent.
Ad Hoc Committee on Files
Mrs. White has made considerable progress reorganizing and cleaning up WEI’s files. It was proposed to apply a 7 year retention schedule for committee minutes and reports, board packets, and General Manager’s reports.
The meeting adjourned at 8:05 PM.
Submitted by Harry Trines
November 21, 2006
Draft Regular Board Meeting Minutes
Attendees: Cocome, Dakin, Hicks, Malkin, Sheehan, Tager, Trines, Weingold, Wolf
Also attending; Kioumars Aghazadeh, P.E.
Absent: Cohen, White
Owner/Observer; Jo Ann Goldberg
Meeting called to order at 6:04 pm
The agenda was approved with the addition of discussing/approving the 2007 budget.
Concerning the minutes of the October 25 Board Meeting; Dr. Weingold will craft some wording re the process of addressing community issues and the topic will be discussed at a further Board meeting. The minutes were then approved.
As mentioned above, discussion/approval of the projected 2007 budget was held. The Board agreed to an increase of 3% over the budget of 2006. Much of the increase is necessary due to rising energy costs, salaries and legal costs. The 3% should cover our needs, however, it is a lean budget and it was recommended, and agreed to, that we stop adding to the reserves for the time being both in 2006 and 2007. This could be reassessed in light of developments. As far as the assessment for Renovation Loans, after discussion, it was agreed to raise the assessment to $1.12 to provide adequate funding for all our capital needs although we don’t have a final capital budget at this time.
BOARD INFORMATION AND DISCUSSION
General Manager’s ReportOwing to vacationing by Mr. Aghazadeh, a written report was not available for the meeting but oral input was provided for several items to be discussed below. Plans, costs and a possible contractor’s bid for the redoing of the locker room were provided and Board members were asked to provide comments to him.
LegalA la Mr. Dakin, the committee voted to adopt amendments to Rule 26 which relates to information being provided by new applicants for membership as well as current ones.
MembershipMrs. Wolf requested that the committee needs better financial documentation from applicants which are already members of the coop, particularly for larger and more costly apartments. The Board agreed that failure to send in all requested financial input should lead to non-acceptance for the applicant. A request to increase the 20% requirement in equity to 30% was discussed and tabled; further research into the issue is needed.
Building and Groundsplanning for a landscape proposal is moving along and is ably being assisted by David Beaver, of the Landscape Committee; a preliminary proposal is scheduled for the next annual meeting. Mr. Tager requested a proposal for refurbishing the two B3 lobbies, especially now that the service elevator will be closed for renovation starting December 12. Finally, there was discussion on revising the bylaws about plants on the balconies as there can be overgrowth from the actual plants and the bylaw only stipulates that the planter can’t project over the railings. A formal recommendation will be needed to take to the Bylaws committee.
Audit CommitteeMr. Sheehan related that the next meeting of the committee will be held in mid-December.
Neighborhood IssuesMr. Cocome provided a report from a recent, November 16, meeting. To paraphrase the report, a/ the Juarez Circle plan is essentially off the table, b/the Kennedy Center wanted to remove some trees so that there was a clear image of the Center from New Hampshire Ave-this was rejected by the committee and the NPS, c/the NCPS desires to lessen the number of pedestrian crosswalks by merging several of the islands around the Circle, the committee was against this proposal for several reasons including worsening flow of traffic, d/there still is a request for monies to study the deconstruction of the Whitehurst Freeway although the mayor-elect is against the proposal.
Finance CommitteeIn addition to the above discussion on the 2007 budget, sees above, Mr. Trines reported that we are slightly ($21K) over for the 2006 budget.
Watergate Complex Committee---Messrs. Aghazadeh and Malkin highlighted the recent meeting to wit, the Capital Budget for WGL needs revising as it was very hard for members to distinguish projects from one another if a major one, such as chilled water distribution, is spread over four separate items. Also, the current 10 year budget needs serious overhauling. A discussion of the problem of steam release into our chase and resultant damage on the 14th floor, has not made any progress and more possible solutions were provided at the meeting my Mr. Aghazadeh and others. The RFP for electricity for 2007 will be put “on the street” November 27th and will require overnight agreement by all entities.
Welfare CommitteeA la Dr. Weingold, there will be a meeting November 27 on Rule 27 as to parameters to better define “incapacitation”.
Safety and Security CommitteeA meeting is planned for on November 28 with a consultant selected by the committee as chaired by S. Cohen.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:25 pm with a reminder that the next Board meeting will be held December 20 at 7 pm.
Respectfully submitted by Martin Malkin
October 25, 2006
Draft Regular Board Meeting Minutes
Meeting called to order by Mr. Tager at 7: 02 pm
Present: Cocome, Cohen, Dakin, Hicks, Malkin, Sheehan, Tager, Trines, Weingold, White, Wolf, Mr. Aghazadeh (four WEI members were in attendance).
1. Agenda modified unanimously to include a discussion of the GWU land acquisition policy (item #6).
2. September 27 2006 regular board minutes (as amended) unanimously accepted. Cohen and Cocome abstained as they were not present at that meeting.
3. Second hand smoke. Mr. Massingale addressed the board regarding second hand smoke in the third floor hallway, a problem that has been before the Board for at least two years. He noted that he now has a second child that will be exposed to this smoke. Mr. Aghazadeh noted that the building exhaust system is working normally, and the next-door residents have a state of the art filter system in their apartment. Mr. Massingale noted that the rules stated that residents may not allow odors to escape their apartments; Mr. Aghazadeh noted that the odors may be escaping when doors are opened into the hallway. Dr. Weingold and others stated that this is a safety and health issue. Mr. Tager suggested a letter to the Massingale’s neighbors, apparently the source of most of the smoke, requesting that they keep their doors closed except when entering or leaving the apartment. Mr. Aghazadeh noted that a letter should go to other smokers in the area of the Massingales. Mr. Tager then proposed a three-stage strategy: first, a letter to the residents concerned, second, that the Legal Committee examine the issue in terms of building bylaws, and third, that there be further board discussion about WEI moving to the status of a smoke-free building, as (has was noted) other coops have done. The motion in favor of such a three-step strategy passed unanimously.
4. Work assigned to the VR Corporation. At the quarterly open meeting of the Board the question of VR Corporation’s work in the building was raised. In response, Mr. Aghazadeh drafted a memo on VR and building repairs, including those done under the auspices of the coop, and those done at the behest of individual shareholders. This memo was extensively discussed. Mr. Dakin noted that supervision of work being done for WEI was the responsibility of the Manager, work being done at the behest of the individual apartment owners was a separate matter. It was stated by Mr. Tager, after considerable discussion, that this was not an item action, but that if WEI residents so wished, the board could discuss the matter in the future.
5. General Manager’s report. Mr. Trines raised the question of the status of the legal issues pertaining to the garage doors. Mr. Dakin noted that WEI does not have legal recourse against the manufacturer, Flexon, but only against the Contractor, who had forged a letter purporting to have been signed by Flexon. (The judge ruled that Flexon was not responsible for the use of its name by the contractor). A default judgment against the contractor was issued, what remains is the assessment and collection of damages. The contractor has claimed as offsets some invoices presented to WEI lawyers, for work done. The contractor has accepted $20,500 in responsibility, there has been haggling over legal fees. Mr. Aghazadeh requested that the history of the transfer of parking spaces be added to the minutes. The board unanimously approved the incorporation of Mr. Aghazadeh’s memo into the minutes (attached).
6. The Board agreed to refer the GWU issue to the next meeting, as Dr. Weingold could not stay for the discussion.
7. The restructuring of committee and committee chairs was noted by the Board.
8. The legal committee was to meet on 26 October to discuss welfare issue amendments, information gathering procedures from residents, and an examination of bylaw 17.
9. There was extensive discussion of the bylaw committee report, notably what laws should guide the Membership Committee’s decisions on approving new members; it was suggested that the Legal Committee provide guidance on this question; the language of the acceptance letter was also discussed, particularly the phrase by you and/or a member of your immediate family. It was agreed that the “or” was not necessary in such letters.
10. The landscaping of the building was discussed, as was the completion of the interior re-decorating program.
11. The question of a new meeting room was discussed, and it was suggested that such a room, which would involve conversion of some of the space now taken up by the pool locker rooms, could also be used as an exercise room. Board members noted that costs had to be attached to such projects, and that member preferences, perhaps through a survey, could guide further board discussion and decisions.
12. Mr. Aghazadeh explained that the elevator project will be further delayed, and that this frees up money to begin work sooner on the asbestos removal project. While it was mooted that the next Board meeting discuss this, there was agreement with Mr. Dakin’s suggestion that in fact Mr. Aghazadeh had authority to make the switch, as long as it was within the guidelines of the capital improvement budget.
13. Neighborhood Relations committee. It was decided that a future presentation to the Board about different aspects of GWU’s role would be appropriate.
14. Finance Committee report. The draft 2007 budget was discussed. Because some of the discussion impinged upon personnel decisions the discussion was continued in executive session. The finance committee will meet on 31 October.
15. The meeting was adjourned at 9:02 pm.
Stephen P. Cohen, Secretary
Memo by the Manger regarding parking spaces at WEI
To: The Directors of the Board
From: Kioumars Aghazadeh, P.E.
CC: David Cox, File, Dembo Jones.
Date: October 24, 2006
Re: Transfer of Parking spaces
The recent claim by one of our members has prompted me to memorialize my recollection from 2000 to the present.
The member claimed that when they purchased their new and existing unit in year 2000 and sold their old unit they transferred one parking space from the new unit to the old unit, however, the Coop did not adjust their share to reflect this transfer and thus the Coop owes them a refund for 17 shares from May of 2000 until present time. They made this claim after a preliminary investigation to see if the management could go back that far and retrieve the old documents. When they learned that the attorneys kept the documents and not the management, then they found some one in the law firm to agree with their present share and used that asserting their claim to the law firm. The above episode is what prompted me to write this memo. The claimant made a mistake by copying the claim to my office as well as not knowing that my second name is “Sherlock Holmes”.!!!
Thus, said I have decided to outline all of the exchanges that I am aware of as a record for the Board and our accountants.
1. In May of 2000 Apartment 1401-S was purchased with 738 shares by Mr. and Mrs. Brylawski who sold their own apartment 1211-S with 390 shares to Mr. and Mrs. Labovitz. Apartment 1401-S now has 721 shares and apartment 1211-S has 407 shares which means 17 shares has been transferred from apartment 1401-S to apartment 1211-S, thus negating the claim which the member has asserted.
2. In April of 2001 apartment 308-S with 172 shares was sold to Mr. Cocome and Mr. Ramsey. Mr. Cocome and Mr. Ramsey sold their parking space #74 to apartment 708-S which is owned by Mr. Lewis and had 346 shares, thus apartment 308-S has 155 Shares and apartment 708-S has 363 Shares, 17 shares have been exchanged between the two apartments. This parking space is away from the building and it was sold for $17,000.00.
3. In August of 2003 Mr. Hunter sold one of his apartments 1106-N with 131 shares to Mr. Binder, however Mr. Hunter who also owns apartment 2B-S kept the parking space #129 and added to his apartment 2B-S, hence his shares on 2B-S is now 170 shares up 17 shares from 153, and apartment 1106-N shares are down from 131 to 114 shares.
4. In September 2003, apartment 403-N Mr. Paolo and Ms. Salvatorina sold one of their parking space #115 to apartment 502-N owned by Mr. and Mrs. Condrell thus, reducing the share on apartment 403-N from 312 to 295 shares and increasing the shares of apartment 502-N from 295 to 312. This parking space is located away from the building and very hard to access and is small; it was sold for $15,000.00 dollars.
5. In March of 2004 Ms. Brown owner of apartment 301-N purchased apartment 902-N which had a parking space, then resold apartment 902-N to Mr. and Mrs. Van Heuven keeping the parking space #98 with apartment 301-N, thus, increasing apartment 301-N shares from 190 to 207 and reducing apartment 902-N shares from 280 to 263. Ms. Brown lost $25,000.00 dollars in this exchange or another way of looking at it she purchased her parking space for $25,000.00. This parking space is closer to the building and it is large.
6. In April of 2004 Mr. and Mrs. Van Heuven owner of apartment 902-N purchased a parking space from Mrs. Evelyn Freyman owner of apartment 504-S reducing the shares of apartment 504-S from 362 to 345, and increasing the shares of apartment 902-N from 263 to 280. Mr. and Mrs. Van Heuven paid $25,000.00 for this parking space #93 which is about 12” narrower that normal space and it is located away from the building.
7. Also in 2001, Dr. Neuberger owner of apartment 602-N purchased a terrace space on the North side from 1104-N Mr. and Mrs. Kristol for $10,000.00. The Coop does not issue Proprietary Lease and Occupancy Agreement for terraces, because they have not been assigned any shares. The WEI’s Governing Documents prohibits the 12th floor members from selling their terraces; however, other floors can sell their terraces if they so desire.
8. 610-N owns a terrace space and this was the condition when I took over the management of the coop, thus I do not know the details of that transaction.
September 27, 2006
Regular Board Meeting
Meeting called to order by Mr. Tager at 7:05 pm
Present: Dakin, Hicks, Malkin, Sheehan, Tager, Trines, Weingold, White, Wolf
Absent: Cocome, Cohen
Also present: Aghazadeh
The agenda was unanimously approved although there will be some additional comments during Committee activity review.
The Board minutes from the August 23 meeting were approved without comment.
In order to attain better compliance for occupant data, including emergency and incapacitation contact information, it was proposed to make such data mandatory (it is now optional) and to revise P&B XXVI accordingly. This will result in a single form to be filled out by new occupants and members on an annual basis. The motion, approved, was to take the revised wording to the Legal Committee and thus to the next Board Meeting.
The Board agreed with the proposal from Ms. White to destroy various classes of files that were more than 7 years old. Exceptions made include mortgage prepayment files, and an environmental study, if the latter is broad in scope. Committee report (1999 and earlier), member files (1997 and earlier), and personnel files (1998 and earlier) will go to the Legal Committee for review before deciding on their destruction. A motion to do so was approved by the Board. Post-meeting; Ms. Wolf recommended we also save, for “posterity” 1. files relating to the exercise of WEI’s land purchase option, and 2. other files relating to ownership and leasing of WEI’s real property. This was agreed to post-meeting by Mr. Tager.
A letter from David Cox on responsibility for balcony repairs was discussed for specific applications and more general ones. In one case, it was agreed that WEI would repair the balcony at no cost to the member. In another, incremental charges would be incurred for repair as far as the costs for removing tiles, put down by the member, in order to repair the balcony beneath the tiles. The same resident wants to transfer her lease to a trust and the Board agreed as long as the member remains liable and is paid up for all charges, including the balcony (motion approved). In a more general sense, a motion was approved for the Legal Committee to draft more comprehensive rules clearly defining the owner’s responsibility v. WEI for balcony repair and maintenance. After Board review, the rules would be incorporated when all the by-laws are re-examined and any new proposals made at the 2007 Members Meeting.
Based on an energy savings study by Pepco, the Board agreed to pursue three of the proposals made by the study; lighting upgrades, high efficiency motors and a variable speed chilled water pump motor. All three proposals would result in approximately $30,000 in annual savings for an initial cost of approximately $29,000. Other recommendations including water conservation and new windows, require further study before the Board can decide on going ahead.
The Board unanimously agreed that Mr. Aghazadeh is officially the Assistant Secretary
As discussed above, water conservation could be another method of saving energy for WEI. This would entail a larger outlay than the above recommendations as it could include newer, more efficient bathroom fixtures for each apartment. In turn, the cost savings would also be larger. As mentioned, more research is needed to determine what range of fixtures/appliances would be amenable to change.
The majority of the Board, 7 for and 2 against, agreed to spend $20,000 for a consultant to review and make recommendations on our fire and safety procedures and equipment. The original proposed fee was $10,000.
Board Information & Discussion
A discussion by Dr. Weingold on GWU’s future development plans and how it would affect the neighborhood was put off due to the absence of Mr. Cocome whose Neighborhood Issues Committee is already involved with studying the plan. It was recommended that Dr. Weingold meet with Mr. Cocome’s committee and then have the issue brought to the Board.
The General Manager’s Report---Highlights from the report included;
*follow-up with BentleyForbes(BF) needed on rod iron railing repair, Que will handle
*hallway carpet cleaning has begun on two floors and will continue similar to filter changes
*coil cleaning of the convectors has begun and will continue each week until all apartments are serviced
*the B2 pool access door is completed but we still are awaiting an agreement from BF in order to complete the project
*repairs needed in the B3 garage await “education” of a new BF manager before pursuing
*Mr. Radin will prepare a brief note on the Pepco energy survey, see above, for circulation to the membership after approval by Mr. Tager
3. Committee Reports
*Legalnegotiations with Kramer re the garage door continue but seem to be nearing an acceptable agreementa member’s water damage claim is still being negotiated and an offer has been sent to the claimanta claim by Waste Management of WEI owing them money is thought to be without merit by Jackson & Campbell
*MembershipMrs. Wolf discussed some issues with new members that suggest that we need an update on Policies/Procedures on financing to purchase apartments by new members
*Capital Improvements CommitteePepco will provide more information on the potential for energy savings if new thermostats and windows are purchased; Pepco claims that windows should be able to be purchased at much less cost than previous consultants/vendors suggested; it was also agreed, as another energy saving recommendation, to turn off the heat in July and Augustthe need for Landscaping was discussed as well as the issue of eventually needing government approval due to landmark status of the Watergate, a cost estimate is needed first from the Building and Grounds committee, it is planned to present this proposal at the General Meetingother improvements suggested by the Board and others, include cleaning the outside of the building, the service elevator lobbies and the B3 lobbies, this will require a close look at the proposed 2007 Capital Budget
*Neighborhood Issues Committeevoting by our Precinct and Ward were mentioned (somewhat better than the city average)GWU has begun hearings on their new development plan which will result in more than 2.5 million square feet of additional building in our area, the consequences of this are being discussed by the committee, along with other Foggy Bottom groups and, as mentioned above, Dr. Weingold will discuss his views of the development with Mr. Cocome and his committee
*Insurance Committeeit is expected that our premiums for next year will be the same unless there is an adjustment in property values
*Watergate Complex Committeea major issue, for WEI, is a shaft, that the power plant is using to vent steam, which is not constructed to handle this effluent and which has resulted in damage to some of the 14th floor apartments, Watergate West has reneged on contributing monies to remediate the issue, litigation against BF and the power plant is possiblethe committee agreed to purchase natural gas at the current price for winter and the rest of the year usage
*Finance Committeethe 2006 budget is slightly under, helped by the “absent’ water bills for a good part of the yeara draft of the 2007 budget will be available for the next Board meetingit was agreed that the personnel budget should be increased by 4%, and it was also agreed that we should regularly contribute money to our reserve fund.
The lockers near the pool are not being used. A recommendation to turn it into an exercise room may duplicate the plans of the hotel to open (date?) a newer, and better health club. A possible alternate use might be a community room.
The meeting adjourned at 9:50 pm.
Martin Malkin (for Stephen P. Cohen, secretary)
September 20, 2006
Open Board Meeting
Just over twenty members attended the meeting September 20 at the Watergate Hotel. Six directors fielded a wide range of questions. Yet, the questions seemed to have a common theme: a desire for more information. Here is a summary:
What is the relationship of VR to WEI?
VR is one of several contractors that performs tasks which the in-house staff cannot undertake, primarily because staffers are fully occupied with routine or assigned tasks. Also, some work performed by VR is by private contract and at the expense of the resident. VR performs other jobs assigned by WEI are paid through the Capital Improvements Fund or General Funds. The Board may redesign work orders for VR's work in apartments that is normally done by engineering staff. Residents will be asked to sign the work order at the end of the job to verify the time workers put in to complete the job and whether the work performed was satisfactory. This will confirm the work time VR reports and that the task has been satisfactorily completed.
What is the status of the hotel conversion? No change. The case is still in the DC Court of Appeals. Plaintiffs petitioned to nullify the current DC Zoning Commission decision that permitted the conversion of the hotel into residential units. At a hearing, attorneys from each side presented their arguments. But rebuttals have not been scheduled.
What happened with the garage-door contract? This was addressed in a letter from President Tager to all members. Here is background information: The old doors required more frequent repairs as they had reached their full use life. Repair work done after a car accidentally hit one of the doors was satisfactorily performed by the Kramer Overhead Door Service. After WEI sought bids from several companies, Kramer was awarded the contract to obtain and install new doors. The company with 5 locations around the Washington, DC area received a down payment of $20,000. New doors were scheduled for delivery in early Jan 2006. But the doors were not delivered. Things reached the point where WEI petitioned the court for redress; certain claims for damages are still pending. WEI has withheld a $3,000 payment for Kramer's earlier work as well as $10,000 from insurance proceeds related to replacing the door. Current exposure of WEI is low, with possibly more relief to come under a court order. New garage doors have been installed by a different company and work well.
How can we readily learn about major expenses like new elevators? They are shown in the periodic financial statements, with comments by Harry Trines, Treasurer.
The financial statements are not easy to read and the Board Meeting Minutes are not readily accessible. Residents with computers can access Meeting Minutes on our web site WatergateNotes.Net. (Minutes going back to July 2005 are also archived on the site.) The Board will consider leaving multiple copies of the minutes at the front desks. In addition to our web site, our in-house TV Channel 99 may be used. Our newsletter, The Watergate Post is experimenting with presenting the minutes. [The present issue is that experimental sample.]
Isn’t there a committee in charge of major projects? Indeed, you are invited to contact the Capital Improvements Committee for an update on current projects.
We want to be sure that all residents have an opportunity to read the minutes so please do not remove the minutes from the lobby where we have lots of comfortable seating for your reading comfort. Please return the minutes to the desk when you are finished reading.
As of now, members do not have ready information about current committee chairs. This is being addressed in part in this issue (see page 2.) and on watergatenotes.net. Changes in committee membership will be posted when they are received.
When will the B2 level new access to the pool be ready? The tunnel is substantially complete, ready for use by residents next summer, after we finalize the agreement with BentleyForbes.
Have we coordinated disaster plans with Watergate South and West? In an emergency where should we go? We have consulted with Watergate South and West but as of now we do not have a coordinated action plan. The Safety & Security Committee is working on this and the response other emergencies. WatergateNotes.Net has devoted six pages to the American Red Cross guidelines for coping successfully in an emergency.
Neighborhood matters: 1. Juarez Circle seems reasonably safe from major modifications; minor changes are likely. 2. Trader Joe’s is open. The store is a welcome business. 3. GWU’s Ten-year campus plan has four more years to go. The university now seeks approval for a new, revised 20-year plan. The Foggy Bottom Association, the ANC, and individual community members oppose changes of the 6 and 20 year plans. Two hearings have been held on Sep 14 and 21; others are scheduled for Mon Sep 25 and Thurs Sep 28 at the Zoning Commission hearing room, 2d floor, Judiciary Square, 441-4th St NW.
Similarly there will be two more “open houses” by the DC Transportation Department on the possible removal of the Whitehurst Freeway. Tuesday Sep 26, 6-9 pm at the Francis Jr High School, 24th and N streets, NW, and Sep 27 at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown.
August 23, 2006
WEI Regular Board Meeting Minutes
Meeting called to order by the president at 7:10 pm
Present: Richard Tager, Ron Cocome, Stephen Cohen, William Dakin (by conference phone, after 7:15 pm), Marty Malkin, Harry Trines, Allen Weingold, Rosalyn White, Daniel Sheehan.
Absent: Nancy Hicks, Audrey Wolf.
Also present: Mr. Kioumars Aghazadeh, PE, General Manager
Meeting called to order by Mr. Tager at 7:00 pm
Additional agenda items proposed by Cocome (Juarez Circle), Cohen (survey of apartment electrical boxes, status of exercise room, consultant for fire/safety), and Tager (minutes of capital improvements committee)
Motion to accept the revised agenda unanimously approved
Revised minutes of May 24, June 28, and July 26 meetings unanimously approved with some amendments made.
Discussion of Cox memo about WEI responsibility for balcony maintenance. A motion to refer the matter to the legal committee was unanimously approved. [Mr. Dakin joined the meeting]
Action on revised committee structures. After discussion the proposed changes were unanimously approved.
Discussion of proposed new automatic door openers for the B-3 level. Board unanimously approved the expenditure from the capital improvement budget.
Ad hoc committee on files report presented by Ms. White. The committee has already removed several shelves of old stored miscellaneous items (parts, used household goods, etc.), and identified a number of cartons already marked for disposal, including old work orders. It will need guidelines when it addresses such items as minutes and records of employees and residents. Mr. Dakin noted that the rule of thumb for retention of documents is seven years, and even in the case of work orders it might be important to know whether work was done by WEI employees or outside contractors, should there be faulty work. It was suggested by Mr. Sheehan that disposed documents be shredded, because they may contain private or confidential information. It was moved, seconded, and unanimously approved that within two weeks from August 23rd the ad hoc committee should dispose of invoices and work orders older than seven years, plus items already marked by the accountant for disposal, after ensuring that the boxes are not mislabeled. It was noted that no personnel files or member’s files would be disposed of at this time.
The Board unanimously approved a motion to have Mr. Aghazadeh expedite the process of hiring a qualified electrician to inspect the electrical systems, particularly the boxes holding circuit breakers, in each apartment as these had not been systematically surveyed in over forty years.
The status of the pool changing room was discussed, and it was proposed that the Housekeeping committee revisit the attempt to convert the pool changing rooms into an exercise room for WEI members.
It was also noted than an RFP for a consultant to assist in WEI’s evaluation of its fire, safety, and security has been issued, and that the matter needs to be pursued so that work can on improving the building’s fire and security arrangements.
Mr. Cocome proposed that Mr. Tager write a letter on behalf of the Board to Robert Morris, Project Manager, Federal Highway Administration, with copies to interested parties, opposing re-configuration of the islands surrounding Juarez Circle and another letter to Councilmember Carol Schwartz, who Chairs the Committee on Public Works, thanking her for her help in preserving Juarez Circle. The proposal was unanimously approved by the Board.
Dr. Weingold provided an update of the activities of the Member Welfare Committee. He noted that there will be a draft modified version of Rule XXVI that will be circulated to committee members for approval; if approved, this will be forwarded to the Board and to the Legal counsel. Mr. Cocome thanked Dr. Weingold for including provisions that the personal information filed by members with the manager be mandatory and reviewed on an annual basis.
General Manager’s report
There was a discussion of the proposed change in air handling units, these have rusted out and the bottoms of the air handlers are gone. Efforts are underway to determine possible costs.
Mr. Aghazadeh reported on continuing difficulties in straightening out our real estate tax problems with District Government. Mr. Cocome suggested that WEI meet with the Director of the Department of Finance and Revenue and his chosen subordinates, with or without counsel present.
The Board also discussed handicapped access through the B-2 Garage to the pool, which would not involve building a ramp. BentleyForbes has asked for certain legal protections and has requested a ten year license agreement for the use of the space that they control; there will be no charge for the lease other than the legal cost for the preparation of the license, and the rental cost of one parking space for five months, however the license agreement allows for BentleyForbes to terminate the license, with or without cause, with 90 days notification. The matter is under discussion between WEI and BentleyForbes. The work has been completed, but will need certification from an architect that the work is ADA compliant and meets DC code.
The Finance Committee did not meet; the July statement indicates that the water utility bill, has come in, creating a large negative adjustment in the financial statement. WEI will not be billed for the first 6 months of 2006 creating substantial savings. On the whole expenses remain under budget; repairs run according to normal, utilities were very expensive in July as expected; would be further under budget were it not for a large overage in legal costs. Mr. Trines noted that energy purchases are done by the Watergate Council, which follows energy, markets closely.
The Board briefly discussed a letter from a member requesting deferral of the coop fee, because the member had not yet sold another unit in the Watergate complex. The unanimous sense of the Board was that the member was obligated to pay the co-op fee on time, and that the member had the option getting the money from other sources (i.e. a bank).
The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 pm.
Stephen P. Cohen (Secretary)
July 26, 2006
WEI Regular Board Meeting
Meeting called to order 7:10 pm
Present: Cocome, Cohen, Malkin, Tager, Trines, Weingold, White, Wolf, Sheehan.
Absent: Hicks, Dakin
Also present: Mr. Aghazadeh, Mr. Tim Karp (Manager, Elevator Control Services)
1. The agenda was approved unanimously.
2. The minutes of May 24 were discussed and deferred to the next meeting, some suggested changes had not been included in the final draft;
3. The minutes of June 28 were discussed, and approval deferred.
4. Action items:
Elevator design action, committee report by Ms. Wolf, assisted by Mr. Karp The Board evaluated and discussed the design, raising such questions as the aesthetics of the design, heat generated by the halogen lights, and maintenance of the elevator cabs. The freight elevators will have stainless steel interiors and doors, obviating the need for pads; stainless steel is regarded as the most substantial material available; the freight elevators’ floors will be aluminum plate. The Board voted on the paneling, and approved the darker paneling; the elevator installation is scheduled to begin in mid-November 2006, and will finish approximately July 1, 2007. The new elevators will be up to DC code. The Board congratulated Ms. Wolf and the committee for its thorough work on the design of the elevator cabs.
Record-keeping. The Board discussed several proposals for improved record-keeping at WEI as presented by the Legal Committee. In the discussion it was suggested that any purging the WEI files should be carried out with clear legal guidelines as to which files must be retained, and which can be discarded. Mr. Aghazadeh noted that all sensitive files are kept by the WEI attorneys; he noted that there was primarily old accounting records stored in the records office. Mr. Aghazadeh added that he keeps a list of where key files are kept and that he had previously submitted such list to Mr. Sheehan then the president and Mr. Ehrenhaft then the chair of legal committee as well as David Cox our out side counsel. Mr. Aghazadeh stated that he will circulate the memo to the Board members indicating the location of the files. It was suggested, after discussion, that WEI itself may be able to do an initial screening of stored materials, and could at that time decide whether or not to go to an outside firm to advise us as to how to keep appropriate records. This would be especially important if quick access to a file was required. It was suggested that the Board Secretary should know where critical files are located; privacy issues were also discussed, as there is some sensitive materials regarding shareholders and owners in the files. A motion was proposed, and passed unanimously, to appoint an ad hoc committee on records management to survey the filing system, and report back to the Board, to be chaired by Ms. White, with Mr. Cohen (ex-officio, as Board Secretary), Mr. Cocome, and Mr. Trines also serving as members.
Fire, Safety ande Security report, submitted by Mr. Cohen, requesting $10,000 to hire a consultant to help WEI develop a master building plan to cope with fire, safety and security-related issues. Because of a communications problem the text of the report had only been distributed to a few Board members. Mr. Cohen explained the substance of the report. The request was unanimously approved, and the FSSC was directed to prepare a Request for Proposal for potential engineering consultant firms.
Revised Committee structure, submitted by Mr. Tager. After some discussion the proposal to revise the standing committee structure was unanimously approved.
5. General Manager’s report presented by Mr. Aghazadeh. Discussion of BentleyForbes work on making the public areas of WEI more presentable;
Structural repairs in the B-2 garage have already begun.
A motion was made, seconded, and approved to accept the new insurance policy for employees.
Also, there was a brief discussion of the draft Energy Report submitted by PEPCO, to be referred to the Capital Improvements Committee. It was suggested that Mr. Aghazadeh go back to PEPCO and request that PEPCO takes into account data on operating costs, examines the possibility of adding modern thermostats, and reevaluates their figures for window replacement costs.
The Board also discussed cases of harassment and abusive language directed to staff by two residents. Mr. Tager will write them letters reminding them of bylaws regarding such matters.
6. The Board also discussed reports by the Neighborhood Committee (Mr. Cocome), and the Treasurer’s report. (Mr. Trines).
Mr. Trines noted that WEI is, on balance, in acceptable financial shape, this will depend in part on cooling expenses for June and July. One area where expenses are greater than budgeted is legal costs; much of this stems from the lawsuit regarding the garage doors. These costs should be recovered.
Interest rates are higher than projected on floating loans, but some budgeted expenditures have not been made yet because borrowing has not yet begun for the new elevators. Mr. Trines also informed the Board that WEI loan rates are now capped at 7.25%.
7. Mr. Trines presented the Finance Committee report on behalf of Mr. Dakin. The Committee does not believe that procurement guidelines have to be changed, but an inventory system should be introduced to the building, especially for large and costly items.
A second issue discussed was the determination of what items should be treated as capital expenses, and which are part of the operating and maintenance budget. This has to be in line with generally accepted guidelines and in parallel with the auditors. It was suggested that items should be vetted by the Finance committee before coming to the Board; the definition of a capital expenses is an expense, or an upgrade, associated with physical assets that have an expected life of more than one year. Capital expenses are also regarded as improvements that add to the value of the building. The history of the capital improvement program was discussed, and the way in which costs, such as staff help, were allocated to this program.
Mr. Trines also discussed the temporary use of operating expenses to pay for capital expenses; this had been approved by the Board in the past on a contingency basis.
8. Mr. Aghazadeh informed the Board that the carpet cleaning machine had been repaired, and that there would be a regular schedule for thorough carpet cleaning, and that minor cleaning will also be done on a scheduled basis.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 pm.
Stephen P. Cohen, Secretary
28 June 2006
Draft Minutes of the Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors
Watergate East, Inc.
Meeting called to order by Mr. Tager at 7:00 pm. Present: Cocome, Dakin, Malkin, Sheehan, Tager, Trines, Wolf
Absent: Cohen, Weingold
Also present: Mr. Aghazadeh
*The agenda was approved as was a Supplemental package for discussion. Approved; Mr. Cocome, Seconded; Mr. Dakin.
*Rosalyn White was recommended as a new Director to replace Mr. Gabriel who resigned owing to health issues. Her appointment was approved and she joined the meeting. Approved; Mrs. Wolf, Seconded; Mr. Cocome
*The Minutes of the May 24 meeting were not approved until comments from Mr. Malkin and Mr. Trines were incorporated into the minutes. The recommended changes will be forwarded to Mr. Aghazadeh. As to the body of the draft minutes, item #7 was reworded.
BOARD INFORMATION AND DISCUSSION
*General Manager’s ReportThe rod iron railing on the concourse is being fabricated and the $6000 cost will be shared with Bentley-Forbes(B-F). Offers to replace the garage doors from Flexon and Kramer have been received but are less than hoped. Counsel thought we should ask for more. There is a hearing on July 14 to pursue our case and we hope for a favorable judgment. In the meantime, a new contractor (Rolling Doors) has been retained and they expect 4-5 weeks for fabrication and 4 days for installation. A survey of the B-3 garage drain pipes is underway and show the almost complete deterioration of the pipes (the cost for the survey is being shared by B-F). Monies will be needed for replacement and the Board agreed that the item should have priority in 2007’s budget. This will be discussed at the next Capital Improvement Committee meeting. In a similar vein, waste pipes in the ceilings of several apartments have started to break and may need replacement in all apartments. A consultant has been hired by Mr. Aghazadeh to look into the matter. A new contract for waste removal has been negotiated with BFI and will provide a savings of $4080.00 for the balance of the year versus what we were paying for the now cancelled policy with Waste Management. The issue of improper use of balcony drains and resultant damage to the apartment below is nearing settlement, i.e., repair and payment for the apartment that suffered water damage, and hopefully, prevention of the cause of the damage. A letter initially prepared by Mr. Sheehan as a guideline about damages from one apartment to another, will be reissued to all residents. An explanatory letter will be issued to the relevant party concerning the accidental opening of a piece of personal mail by the Manager’s office. The schedule for replacement of the elevators is behind owing to approval of the design for the elevator cab (see below under Capital Improvements Committee). Two elevators are scheduled for initial work, a service elevator on the North side and a passenger elevator on the South side. This will be followed by a passenger elevator on the North side and the service elevator on the South side. Finally, passenger elevators on both sides will be done. It should take about 12 weeks after initiation for each set of elevators. Among the changes to be made to the service elevator will be adding 10” to the current height and an electronic “Move is On” sign.
*Meeting with B-F Chairman and WEIMessr. Tager and Aghazadeh met with the chairman of B-F to discuss the “demand” letter sent by David Cox to B-F concerning the lack of maintenance and need for repair to the mall and other areas that are part of the mandate of B-F. Mr. Tager reported that the meeting was agreeable and that B-F has started to make progress with their responsibilities. Mr. Cox recommended a “wait and see” time extension to measure B-F’s good faith efforts after the meeting.
*Committee Reports Discussionbefore discussion of individual committees, some generalities were discussed by the Board;
1-Future agendas should have one Tab that would be inclusive for all the committees
2-Redo the important Operations Committee into one for Interior and one for Exterior issues and terminate all subcommittees and integrate them into the proper Interior or Exterior committees. This will require redefining the scope of each committee. Mrs. Wolf will undertake this with the help of her committee members.
3-The Community Programs subcommittee should be integrated into the Exterior House Operations committee.
4-The Decorating Committee should also be integrated into the House Operations Committee.
Mr. Dakin recommended that each committee submit a report for each Board meeting. If there haven’t been any meetings since the last report, then an Update should be submitted instead. Mr. Tager will prepare and distribute a template as to what the Update should contain and its format.
An agenda item for the next Board meeting will be a restructuring of committees and appointment of new chairs from the Board membership.
*Individual Committee Reports
1-Committee on Security and Fire Safetythere haven’t been any recent reports although there has been apparent activity. Mr. Cohen should provide an update at the next Board meeting.
2-Capital Improvements CommitteeSome items were discussed above in the General Manager’s Report. Concerning the Elevator replacement, the Cab Decorating Committee is awaiting samples of the selected woods. It was recommended by the Board that a display be placed in the lobbies, as a FYI display. It is expected that the display may be available as early as July 4.
3-Watergate Complex CommitteeMr. Aghazadeh summarized the handout. The increase in energy costs are almost exclusively due to increases in the cost of natural gas. A number of costs that affect WEI are being looked into in order to make the division of costs to the Watergate complex more equitable to WEI, e.g., increased use of chilled water by the hotel and maintenance of the sump pump used by all entities but being paid for by WEI.
4-Membership CommitteeMrs. Wolf reported on the approval of a new resident, Dr. Lener, who is purchasing apartment 509-N from Estelle Dabrow.
5-Insurance CommitteeMr. Cocome stated that the insurance is in force and the committee meeting will be held January, 2007, barring any unusual events.
6-Neighborhood Issues CommitteeMr. Cocome reported that former senator Dole supports maintaining the Juarez Circle.
7-Finance CommitteeMr. Trines stated that a recent real estate tax payment was made on time. Variations on the budget include; in-line on Energy (maybe lower on water usage), under budget for Repairs, over for Legal services, and that the Renovation Debt Service is running above the cap of 7.25%, the budget assumed 6.85%. This will be watched but no actions are currently planned although we may have to increase the assessment by a percent level below that which would require member approval.
*Supplemental Agenda Items
1-A number of requests found in Mrs. McAuliffe’s letter of June 19, were discussed. Actions to be taken are as follows;
*Concerning plants growing above the railing level, the by-laws only refer to planters having to be below or even to this level and a new regulation may be required to prevent overhang of plants and falling of leaves to the balcony below. This will be considered when the by-laws in general are reviewed at a subsequent meeting.
*New signs are needed, in English and Spanish, about what should be placed into the recycling bins.
*The issue of dogs on the lobby desk has been resolved.
*Biking between the North and South buildings via above the fountains will be monitored by the doormen.
*Returning mail envelopes from WEI mail was agreed to be a good idea and where applicable, members should do so.
2-The letter(s) from Mr. Brylawski re maintenance of the balcony will be referred to the Legal Committee for interpretation of the current by-laws.
3-Proposals for Records Management Systems and their need will be discussed at the next Board meeting.
4-The issue of payment to WEI for work done on balconies to correct water leaks to the balcony below was discussed. The two residents that had the repairs done are refusing to pay for their share of the repairs. It was moved that the issue be turned over to Jackson & Campbell for remanding. The motion was made by Mr. Dakin and seconded by Mr. Cocome.
5-A letter concerning asbestos in the ceiling on the 12th floor will be answered, when researched, by Mr. Dakin. It is known that asbestos does cover the air ducts, but is harmless if not disturbed.
6-Messrs. Dakin/Trines will present for discussion the recent letter from the auditors at the next Board meeting.
7-The Board instructed Mr. Aghazadeh to prepare a letter for distribution thanking the staff for their efforts in cleaning up after last week’s flooding.
8-Responses to queries in the Open Board Meeting were not discussed in detail but will be followed up.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 pm.
Martin F. Malkin (for Stephen P. Cohen-Secretary)