GM Hale Emphasizes Personal Responsibility and Compassion
At the Thursday, January 11, 2024, Public Services Committee Meeting, Hot Springs Village General Manager Kelly Hale shared much detailed insight with the committee, including POA synergy, reorganization, personal responsibility, compassion, and POA accomplishments.
Synergy Achieved Between Departments
“We just finished up after almost two years of work, realigning the POA to where I feel it needs to be.” (Hale began his career as HSVPOA GM on February 1, 2022.)
“The biggest thing we need is synergy between the departments. We didn’t have the needed synergy in the past for the corporation to flow properly. We had too many silos* when Ken and I first came. We have been tearing those down as we go along and ensuring we are doing it right. Right now, we feel we have an excellent model.”
Permitting and Inspections go Hand-in-hand with Public Services
“Having Permitting and Inspections under Public Services is really good because they go hand-in-hand. Anything that Permitting and Inspections does will impact Public Services. We felt that aligning those two areas cuts out the middleman.”
Regarding the name change for the Compliance Department, “‘Compliance’ sounds like a dirty word. We wanted to try a different approach, but at the end of the day, Villagers have a responsibility when living in this community. Don’t misinterpret what the term ‘Community Support’ means. Don’t misinterpret kindness for weakness. The governing documents state how things should be. It is not rocket science. Take care of your property to protect the home values. That is the main thing. Everybody has a different view of what they want their yard to look like, but for the most part, we have pretty good compliance [with the rules and regulations].Kelly Hale, Hot Springs Village POA General Manager
Partnering with Organizations Such as Churches
“What we have recognized is that we have folks that become widowed or gotten up in age or maybe have a financial hardship. Because of this, we have developed partnerships with organizations to help folks when these types of issues arise. It is not the POA’s responsibility. We want to operate in a helpful fashion, but we also expect people to help themselves. If you have money or you are able-bodied and you don’t help yourself, that is a concern.”
Hale said, “My church has a group that helps Villagers. It was not my idea and has been done for many years.”
What does “Community Support” Mean?
“We want to be able to help people when they truly need help, and that is what we mean by “Community Support.”
“Other than that, Villagers have an obligation and responsibility to maintain your property to where it needs to be, like any other city,” stated Hale.
Animal Control Granted Citation Authority
Hale said they moved Community Support under the umbrella of the Police Department not because they want the department to have police powers. “It is due to Animal Control. Animal Control was granted the authority to write citations by Garland and Saline Counties and the State of Arkansas. Our Animal Control Officers have had ticket-writing authority for over a year. I wanted to put this group under the Police Department for connectivity.”
To remedy the tailgating, the gates are under the HSV Police Department. We feel we have better synergy with how we have realigned the departments.
Headcount and Getting Things Done
No headcount was added with the departmental reorganization. “We repurposed headcount and reduced even more with the expansion of some of the roles,” shared the GM.
“We feel the POA is in a position to support the community. We are getting things accomplished. As I remind the community all of the time, we are paying cash as we go along. That is a really good feeling; every year, we have more and more work transpiring. We’ve come a long way but had to rebuild the base. I don’t know if many of you are aware, but three years ago, during COVID, the POA was down almost 130 employees. That number represents a third of the entire workforce. It took us two years to rebuild that without going broke. We cut top-level head counts, repurposing this money back to the frontline to make ourselves an attractive employer. We have been able to staff fully, minus a handful of people from where we need to be. That has helped us bring a lot of the work being done in-house. We have also purchased the equipment needed to do more work in-house. These two moves will save us millions and millions of dollars and help answer the question of ‘how in the heck are we going to make all of the necessary deferred infrastructure work.” The deferred infrastructure repairs were not made for the past two decades.
“The wheels on the bus may not go as fast as we want them to, but it beats the bus being parked for the last two decades.”Kelly Hale, Hot Springs Village POA General Manager
Hale sees a lot of positive momentum. He said that using the advice of the Public Service Committee means we are not just throwing money at issues. Hale said he appreciates the help of the entire Public Services Committee.
An example of improvement brought about by Unger and the Public Services Department and Committee is that when there are storms, water drains a lot better in many areas. A lot of culverts and creeks have been unclogged. This helps with erosion issues.
On another note, the GM said,
“This community is a Co-op. Everybody needs to get involved. It takes a Village.”Kelly Hale, Hot Springs Village POA General Manager
*Note: Silos – In business, organizational silos refer to business divisions that operate independently and avoid sharing information. It also refers to businesses whose departments have silo system applications, in which information cannot be shared because of system limitations.
By Cheryl Dowden
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