The Chautauqua Property Owners Association, board of trustees meetings conclude on a note of continued dedication and potential change

As Chautauqua Institution prepares to adopt a new strategic plan, the Chautauqua Property Owners Association and the board of trustees are leaning into the change by making developments of their own.

During the second 9 a.m. CPOA general meeting of the season Saturday, Aug. 12, current leadership — including President Barbara Brady, Vice President James Vance, Treasurer Jeff Lutz and Secretary Paul Perry — announced the new CPOA board of directors for the 2019 season and the organization’s newly revised mission and vision statement.

Brady opened with a brief statement and introduced Lutz to discuss the current financial state of the organization, and then Vance to announce the 2019 board. Perry will assume the role of president, John Ford as vice president and Erica Higbie as secretary. Lutz will continue as treasurer.

Afterward, Lutz took the stage again to discuss the revised mission and vision statements. The CPOA sent an online poll to its members last year and received 650 completed surveys, Lutz said, as well as 9,000 written responses.

“One of the things the survey told us was that Chautauqua homeowners are a little confused about our exact relevance and purpose within the Institution,” Lutz said. “So we have really been focused on what we are going to do.”

The condensed CPOA mission statement, that the organization’s mission is to “enhance the Chautauqua experience, quality of life and sense of community of Chautauqua property owners,” remains the same. The explanation of the statement, however, has been revised to more clearly lay out the CPOA’s purpose and goals.

The statement reads that the CPOA “will achieve our mission and vision through three primary courses of action” — building community, facilitating better communication and advocating on behalf of homeowners.

The revised statement also states the organization’s operating philosophy, which is that it will “have a bias toward identifying issues of concern to property owners and then leveraging relationships and resources of other organizations to resolve those issues.”

Lutz said the CPOA’s advocacy for homeowners begins by creating strong relationships with those homeowners and by communicating problems and discussing potential solutions.

“For us to be a good voice for (homeowners), we must be credible,” Lutz said. “As property owners, we have a dedication toward the sustainability of the Institution, and so does, of course, the Institution administration.”

After a brief events report, Perry discussed the most recent CPOA communications, branding and marketing developments.

“One of the things we have been working on is from other responses to the survey,” Perry said. “It seems that some owners feel that we haven’t been communicating enough with them.”

Perry and his constituents have been working to remedy that situation with an online platform at, which they use to track community and home problems, as well as generate thoughts and concerns from the homeowners.

Richard Parlato, director of Property Owners Who Rent (POWR), then recapped the season’s meetings and spoke about upcoming speakers.

The meeting was followed by a brief Q-and-A. Questions and suggestions ranged from requiring grounds maintenance, to leaving one day of the week free of noise, to creating a system of communication between homeowners on the grounds during the winter.

Following the CPOA meeting was the annual meeting of the Chautauqua Corporation. Hugh Butler was elected to a second term as Class B trustee, and Sebby Baggiano, the Institution’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, provided an update on the Institution’s finances.

Chair of the board James Pardo Jr. also discussed the financial state of the Institution before. He said that, on average, the Institution spends about $37 million during a fiscal year and receives about $30 million in revenue. The difference, he said, is made up by philanthropy.

“These numbers exist because of your willingness and the willingness of your colleagues to contribute to the Institution,” Pardo said.

The meeting concluded with a strategic planning open forum, similar to the listening sessions held throughout the season in the Hall of Christ. President Michael E. Hill, Pardo, and Laura Currie, chair of the Strategic Planning Working Group, listened to Chautauquans’ concerns and ideas about campus planning, potential expansion and programming.

Tags : ChautauquaChautauqua Property Owners Association

The author Lexie Erdos

Lexie Erdos is a rising senior at Wagner College, where she is pursuing a degree in English literature. Erdos will be covering the dance programs, the CPOA, the board of trustees and arts administration for the Daily. She is the current editor-in-chief of her college newspaper, The Wagnerian. She is an avid lover of animals, yoga and gardening. Upon graduation, she intends to continue her education in veterinary medicine.