San Lorenzo Village Homes Association Board President Kathy Martins has resigned her elected post and accepted an interim role as the association's paid administrator.
The decision was hastened by a sudden and unspecified decline in retiring administrator Nancy Van Huffel's health, the association said.
The change — first announced Thursday and elaborated on today — comes at the tail end of an effort to recruit a successor to Van Huffel, and was set to depart at the end of September.
The news that Van Huffel would leave her post of 23 years came on the heels of the association's contentious in March, although Van Huffel has long suffered deteriorating health and is reportedly heading for her second major surgery in months.
Still, some villagers expressed concern, saying the months-long hiring process had been cast aside in favor of hiring the board president.
Beginning in April, the association emailed websites and newsletters with calls for candidates. It received 50 applications and was nearing the end of a multi-part interview process when Van Huffel announced a new diagnosis requiring "almost immediate surgery," according to a press release by the association.
"The surgery would prevent her from spending the anticipated time teaching and transitioning a selected applicant," the association said in its release. "The Board felt that hiring either of the remaining applicants would put them in a disadvantageous position of having to learn a new job within one week before Nancy Van Huffel would be leaving for surgery. "
Earlier this month, Martins said the board was close to extending an offer of employment to a qualified candidate. The association's statement indicates that an offer was made, but that the applicant declined for "personal reasons."
"At this time one name surfaced as someone who had the specific skill set and knowledge of the workings of the Administration, Davis-Stirling (homeowners association law) and the policies and procedures," the association said in its release. "After a lengthy discussion in which the Board was faced with the gravity of the situation, the remaining four members of the Board unanimously asked if Kathy Martins would accept the position as the interim Administrator."
Martins assumed the administrator position on Thursday and will remain at the job for "no less than one year." Director Art Wydler became board president.
The association said it will begin searching for a new director, but it has not set a timeline for that process.