California Alarm Association voters demand recount

The ballots are in, but some say the election is still not over
Tuesday, March 1, 2005

MARINA DEL REY­ Calif. - California Alarm Association’s winter conventions of the past have typically been without controversy. Not true for the convention held in December. Some CAA members say an election slated to be finished last year is still not over.

Representatives of four Northern California companies, who belong to the East Bay Alarm Association, formed a grievance committee to challenge the election process after a dispute surrounding ballot casting for a vice president seat in a run-off election. Allegedly, a member was not permitted to vote.

“They are questioning if the executive committee has the authority to decide on the election,” said Mike Salk, vice president of East Bay Alarm Association.

The committee planned to present its findings at the winter CAA board of directors meeting scheduled for February, after deadline for Security Systems News.

Nick Lawrence, who attended the convention as a representative of SAS Engineering, contends that he also possessed CAA voting rights for his own company, 911 Inc.

Although Lawrence represents both companies, he intended to vote as a representative of SAS Engineering as he has done for the past three years. However, before casting his ballot, the election committee stopped him, he said.

Lawrence said he was told his vote would not be counted because he attempted a proxy vote, which is not permitted by CAA bylaws.

Without SAS Engineering’s vote, the vice president race came down to a tie and the election committee decided to cast a run-off process that same day.

“At the time, when they decided to have the run off, five out of the 10 regional presidents said we shouldn’t do this because a lot of people left,” said Bill Vencill, East Bay Alarm Association president. Vencill was one of the six company representatives that left after voting, he said.

The bylaws govern the decision for the second vote and only members still in attendance would be eligible to vote. The main concern is that some who voted in the original election were not accounted for in the run-off election.

“The run-off in some folk’s opinion was done inappropriately,” said Vencill.

The CAA did look into the matter to address concerns, but found no reason to take further action.

“The CAA board of directors feels the issue has been resolved,” said Jerry Lenander, executive director of the CAA. The election of officers was conducted in a manner in accordance with the bylaws. If members feel the bylaws should be reviewed, they can attend the next meeting.”

Even though the CAA said it resolved the election quandary, some members still want answers and have lodged complaints to investigate the process.

Lawrence said he felt disenfranchised in the first election, but was allowed to vote as a representative for 911 Inc.

He said this is more than about an election gone wrong.

“In the big picture, the problem here is the political folks don’t want some companies to vote,” said Lawrence.

But, the grievance committee hope the findings will have a positive impact.

“I’m sorry for the individuals running in the election. It’s not an issue of one being better than another,” said Salk. “They are caught in an issue about process.”