Archive for July, 2011
Michael G. Waddoups, President Utah State Senate
Senator Waddoups spent an hour with me during a recent busy interim session of the Utah Legislature.
I arrived at the Utah State Capitol on a cool spring morning just before our scheduled 8:00 a.m. appointment, found a convenient parking place (sometimes a rarity during our six-week legislative session in the winter) and walked in the brisk air to the main Capitol building. After climbing two flights of stairs from the main rotunda, I arrived at the offices of the President of the Senate. A receptionist greeted me, showed me to a chair, pointed to where I could get the morning papers and gave me a cup of water, served in an environmentally friendly cup.
Promptly at 8:00 a.m. Senator Waddoups appeared, greeted me warmly, shook my hand and led me into his office with a view of the central outdoor court below and hills beyond. I had gotten to know him over the past four years in my capacity as past chair and ongoing member of the Community Association Institute’s (CAI) Utah Legislative Action Committee (Utah LAC). Thanks largely to Senator Waddoups’ leadership and through the efforts of Senator Wayne Niederhauser and Representative Gage Froerer and others, the Utah LAC had been successful in achieving legislation during the 2011 session that has greatly advanced the protection of Utah residents who own in common interest communities (homeowner associations or HOAs).
Senator Waddoups celebrated his sixty-third birthday the week prior to our interview. He is well over six feet tall, slender, dignified and gracious. Each time we meet I enjoy his sense of humor and ready smile. He has the reputation of packing a firearm. I don’t know if he was packing that morning, but he looked to me like he could hold his own in most any situation. He definitely speaks softly and carries a big stick, probably a prerequisite of his office. He is easy to respect, but not intimidating.
MMB: Tell me about where you grew up, about your education, your wife and family and where you live.
MGW: I grew up in Moore, Idaho. Moore is a small farming community, current population about 250, located just north of Arco. I obtained a BS from Brigham Young University in banking, finance and property management.
I married Anna Kay Waddoups. We met at BYU in an Executive Lectures class. We would sit in the back of class and play games.
We have lived in Taylorsville since before it was an incorporated city and in our current home for ten years. It’s in a planned unit development (PUD) that, thankfully, I don’t manage. We have two daughters and nine grandchildren. Ann has dedicated herself to our family and to service work.
I have two brothers and a sister who still live in Idaho.
MMB: What are your hobbies?
MGW: Politics! I also like to mentor. I mentored Michael Johnson, who owns FCS Community Management.
MMB: Being a Utah legislator is a part-time job. How do you earn your living?
MGW: I own Cooperative Property Management. We started in 1982 and currently manage 25 community associations with about 1100 units, some office buildings and 25 single family homes.
MMB: How did you happen to get into property management, specifically community associations?
MGW: I began working for Commonwealth Management doing conversions of apartments to condominiums in 1979 or 1980. Trolley Village was one of the first. We also managed some strip centers, industrial warehouses, apartments and even a hotel. We were doing partnership syndications to finance the conversions; the economy collapsed, interest rates soared and that opportunity ended.
MMB: I am familiar with issues involved in managing a portfolio of community associations (HOAs) – lots of night meetings and other challenges. How do you do it?
MGW: I have a small staff and attend the meetings myself. Under rare circumstances I have someone else cover for me.
MMB: You have been a good friend of the CAI Utah LAC. CAI is the nationally recognized spokesperson for responsible communities. Why have you not joined?
MGW: There are a couple of reasons: I am not a joiner and am independent in nature. And, being a member might have given the impression of a conflict of interest as we went through the legislative process on behalf of HOAs.
MMB: Tell us about the district you serve, how you got into politics and something about your constituency.
MGW: I represent District 6 which encompasses Taylorsville. I was appointed to fill a vacancy in the house in 1987. I was appointed in 1996 to fill a vacancy in the senate and then elected in 1997. The constituency of my district is made up of a good cross-section of the Utah population – mostly center of the road in their political beliefs. They want limited government service; education is a priority. They believe in the right to carry arms.
MMB: Do you know how many community associations are in your district and how many people in your district live in community associations?
MMB: Do your constituent associations have any issues?
MGW: Yes. Canyon Point is concerned about the Jordan River flooding down into the delta.
MMB: 2011 was a good year for HOA legislation. What did you like about it?
MGW: We got pretty good legislation after a 3-year long effort. The insurance provision is very good; however, we still have work to do.
MMB: What do you mean by that?
MGW: The mandatory registration of associations for lien payoff purposes should have included the recording of the number of units in each association. We need to know how many units are in the state.
We need to see better definitions in the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&R’s).
MMB: I recently read a definition of politics: “Politics is when people choose their words and actions based on how they want others to react, rather than on what they really think.” What is your definition of politics?
MGW: A good legislator listens, serves the public and finds compromise so that the best legislation possible is enacted. A good legislator represents the people and does not follow his own agenda. I failed at that my first year in office.
MMB: Tell us about that.
MGW: I failed to stop the gas tax in 1987. I didn’t understand how to get the job done, how to work within the legislative system. It was a hard lesson.
MMB: What are some of your legislative highlights?
MGW: A Gun bill in 1994 that better enabled citizens to protect themselves, the Community Relations Modes and the Uniform School Zone Bill that mandated traffic lights and speed limits for all school districts in the state.
MMB: You are retiring at the end of 2012. Why?
MGW: I am the second longest currently serving senator. It is time to move on.
MMB: Will you become a lobbyist?
MGW: No! Absolutely not.
MMB: What are your plans after leaving office?
MGW: (No comment)
MMB: What parting words of advice do you have for our organization?
MGW: Give support to those associations who are lacking in leadership, but be careful that they don’t become assisted living centers. Leave them some individuality.
By Marla Mott-Smith