In a surprise Friday, Feb. 21 announcement, POA President Jay Goldman informed property owners that the board had hired Bobby Jones Links to manage Big Canoe’s operations.
“We have an interim agreement that includes board oversight over the Bobby Jones organization structure that will be managing Big Canoe’s operations,” said Goldman. “The POA board has a great deal of flexibility under this agreement.” Senior staff will be unaffected by this decision, he said.
In an interview with Smoke Signals Saturday morning Feb. 22, Jill Philmon, who had served as Big Canoe’s general manager for almost two years, said “I didn’t know anything about this decision until I was informed 10:30 a.m. Friday that I was being replaced. It wasn't until the email was sent that afternoon out that I learned I was being replaced by Bobby Jones Links."
The public announcement appears well planned. Goldman and Bobby Jones management had statements, videos and emails distributed to the community by Friday afternoon.
“As a Big Canoe homeowner,” said Philmon, “I am concerned about the timing of the announcement as three new directors will take office in six days.”
Why not leave this very significant decision to the new board whose term begins next week? Smoke Signals asked Goldman.
“The board believed it was important to leave the new board with a clean slate,” Goldman responded, in a Saturday, Feb. 22 telephone interview. “The new board will be able to move forward more easily and directly” with this decision already made.
The fact that a vote on the proposed Capital Contribution Fee was deferred until after the new board is seated and the Bobby Jones decision wasn’t is generating “why this/why now?” concerns among property owners, including some former POA board members—and former board presidents. A few Big Canoe property owners are already circulating petitions to recall the current board and possibly reverse the board’s decision.
Property owner Roger Hacker, who is circulating a recall petition spoke to Smoke Signals Saturday morning.
“The process is the problem,” he said. “There’s been no transparency on this decision to bring in Bobby Jones Links to oversee operations.
And, why the rush when a new board will be seated in six days.”
Bobby Jones role in Big Canoe—then and now
According to Steve Willy, founding partner of Bobby Jones Links, under the new agreement Bobby Jones Links will manage Big Canoe and its amenities as of Monday, February 24. Gautam Patankar, senior operations partner, will serve as interim general manager while candidates for Big Canoe’s general manager position are being interviewed. The POA has a one-year contract with Bobby Jones with the option to extend, according to Goldman.
In the previous arrangement—from October 2019 until February 21—the
POA board retained Bobby Jones Links to help Big Canoe’s food and beverage management with areas that have profitability issues. Bobby Jones Links had a one-year contract to work with/assist clubhouse management to improve profitability. This arrangement with Big Canoe was limited to food and beverage only and the firm’s success was to be measured by a reduction in the annual loss for 2020 compared to 2018 and 2019. (See “POA in talks with Bobby Jones Links to improve clubhouse profitability,” Smoke Signals October 2019).