By Rusty Bradshaw
The faces have not changed but there is new leadership at the Sun City Home Owners Association.
Carole Studdard was named executive director of the organization during a special board meeting April 6. The move displaced Tom Wilson, who had been general manager, but he will remain at SCHOA doing essentially what he has done for years. Mr. Wilson is now the agency’s compliance manager.
The changes became effective immediately after the board’s decision.
The personnel moves came shortly after Ms. Studdard was poised to leave SCHOA for a similar position in Sun City West. She had accepted a position at PORA of Sun City West as executive director after Annie Vangier vacated the position. But the SCHOA board moved quickly to retain Ms. Studdard on the payroll.
“We met the offer PORA was making her and she agreed to stay with SCHOA,” Pam Schwartz, SCHOA board president explained. “She is so valuable to SCHOA we did not want to lose her.”
Ms. Schwartz said the SCHOA board matched the salary and position description offered by PORA, but declined to share the salary amount. However, she said the board budgeted for a fund surplus this year so is able to absorb the higher salary.
In addition to approving the executive director position, the board also gave the OK for an organizational personnel chart, something SCHOA has not had before, according to Ms. Schwartz.
“Nothing else in terms of personnel will change, except we hired a new bookkeeper,” Ms. Schwartz said.
Ms. Studdard’s planned departure came as a surprise to SCHOA officials.
“We had no idea until she turned in her letter of resignation,” Ms. Schwartz said.
She added that Ms. Studdard has expressed some frustrations in the past regarding her job.
“I only regret we did not act faster,” she said.
PORA officials are back to the drawing board to find a new leader for their organization, which provides similar services to Sun City West as SCHOA does to Sun City.
“We are again appointing a search committee,’ said Rob Robbins, PORA board president. “The qualifications needed in the executive director are more clear now that the board has been involved with the staff.”
He stated in an email the board will look for just the right person who will fit in with the staff and fill in some skills that PORA needs.
“Since staff is doing such a good job, we do not need to be in a rush to fill position,” Mr. Robbins stated. “We will look both inside Sun City West and in surrounding communities.”
A report on the search will be presented at each public board meeting, he added.
Ms. Studdard started her eight-year stint at SCHOA in the compliance department. Prior to last week’s changes, she was the agency’s marketing and public relations director.
Ms. Schwartz said Mr. Wilson readily agreed to the change in his position.
“He and Carole have been friends for years, and there was some consternation on both their parts that they would not be working together if she took the PORA job,” Ms. Schwartz explained.
Ms. Studdard believes her experience with SCHOA and prior employment prepares her for the road ahead.
“(I) have enjoyed this time immensely, working with several boards of directors and a dedicated staff,” Ms. Studdard stated by email when it appeared she was headed to PORA.
Her background in marketing includes owning her own event planning business in Virginia and coordinating regional events in the medical and educational field throughout the mid-Atlantic region.
“My management background includes managing several medical offices as well as an information technology department for a large bank in Virginia,” she stated.
Among her accomplishments while at SCHOA, Ms. Studdard highlights the establishment of a monthly newsletter, development of the association’s annual publication and community information guide, and fostering collaboration between service organizations.
“I have been invested in supporting Sun City service organizations, which has resulted in a network that works very closely together supporting Sun City,” she stated.
Editor’s Note: Matt Roy contributed to this story.