Published January 2016
Editor’s Note: FLCAJ reached out to several of our partners and asked them to provide wisdom that boards of directors could rely upon in carrying out their responsibilities.
By Brett Lowy
Insurance, License, and Bonding Capability
Ask for proof of insurance, licenses, and bonding capabilities before work begins. This will prevent future lien, defaults, and/or bankruptcy problems from unlicensed and uninsured roofers.
Get several estimates, compare materials, and technology. Always keep in mind that the lowest quote is no substitute for experience and professionalism.
Request in writing that no subcontractor be used on your property. This will prevent homeowners liability, worker injury, and unsupervised quality controlee.
Call and ask for references. Remember, guarantees are only as good as the company behind them.
Take time to visit the contractor’s office and shop. You should not feel safe if the contractor’s mailing address returns to a PO Box or their home.
For more information on Z Roofing & Waterproofing, visit www.zroofing.com.
By Christy R. Borden, LCAM, CMCA, AMS, PCAM
Every director that serves on an association’s board of directors must understand that they are in a position of tremendous responsibility and authority. It is imperative that all directors have a clear understanding of their fiduciary duty to the organization, as well as the consequences of breaching this duty as they could potentially be personally liable to the association for any damages caused due to the breach. Fiduciary duty means that they are required to act reasonably and in the best interests of the association, to always avoid negligence and fraud as well as conflicts of interest. Directors should always exercise reasonable care when making decisions while always exhibiting honesty and good faith by acting in a manner which they believe to be in the best interest of the association. Directors should always demonstrate loyalty to the organization and steer clear from basing decisions on personal interests by always being careful to disclose any information that could be seen as a potential conflict of interest. And like its members, directors must always act in accordance with the association’s governing documents.
With all of these items being considered, as well as understanding the dynamics of the responsibility of making decisions on behalf of this corporation, directors should always utilize professionals that specialize in association matters such as attorneys, CPAs, and licensed managers that can guide and assist with the decision making and operations of the association. Directors can minimize their risk of personal liability by conducting proper research and by utilizing professionals before making decisions, especially if they are unclear and an expert evaluation is needed. They should also attend all board meetings and not be afraid to ask questions in order to have a proper understanding of the circumstances. It’s also important to ensure that all minutes reflect proper vote counts and motions and directors should always have a clear understanding of all policies and activities. Lastly, it is essential that directors attend educational classes, such as the state required board certification class, that will provide the much needed knowledge to be a responsible association leader that makes skilled decisions as well as meets their fiduciary duty, which results in the betterment of the community.
For more information on Don Asher & Associates, Inc., visit www.donasher.com.
By Annie Marks
How can you avoid conflict? After more than 25 years in this business, I can tell you there is no way to avoid conflict. It’s more important to know what to do when you’re faced with conflict.
Don’t be defensive. Relax your mind and your body. This may sound silly, but if you don’t do it, then the next steps will be harder to implement.
Listen. Don’t try to think ahead of the person or the issue. People are usually frustrated; they need to not only be heard but also understood. I have seen two people argue about an issue that they both agree on, but they refused to actually listen to each other.
Be sincere. People know when you are sincere, and they know when they are being brushed off. Make sure the other person is comfortable, ask them to sit down, offer them a glass of water or a cup of coffee, and allow them a minute to regroup. Never try to resolve an issue with an upset homeowner in the lobby.
Always treat people with kindness. I will be old one day; I’ll expect the same from you.
Always thank people for their time—it’s the only thing that they can’t ever get back.
Work hard to find a solution and to fix the problem if you can. But if you can’t, most people will understand and appreciate steps 2–5.
For more information on May Management Services, Inc., visit www.maymgt.com.
By Dennis A. Masch, LCAM
Whether the resident just wants an opportunity to vent their frustration or is looking for an action to be taken, it is important to allow the resident to fully state their issue before contemplating any response.
Re-state the issue
In order to be sure you fully understand what the resident said, you should repeat back to the resident what they just told you. “To be sure I understand, you wanted/stated…” is a good method to ensure the board member and the resident have the same understanding.
Is this an issue for the board to address? Many times residents come to the board member for resolution of a conflict between two residents. This type of issue is very likely the most difficult to resolve and in many instances is not a matter for the board. If it is a board matter, do you have the information from all parties involved? Is additional information needed prior to a decision being made? Where and how long will it take to obtain any additional information?
Each party involved should be informed as to when a decision will be made. Once the decision is made it should be announced, and it should be decisive in order for everyone to understand the board’s position is final unless some critical facts were unknown or not disclosed.
“If it’s not written down, it doesn’t exist.” Documentation of the issue, the process, and the decision helps to avoid future confusion over what was decided and how it was decided. “I thought that,” “I heard,” “Someone told me” are typical statements that will be made later on, especially when the decision may not be the result the resident desires.
For more information on Greystone Management Company, visit www.greystonefl.com.
By Randy Treadwell, BSBA, LCAM, CMCA, AMS, Licensed Real Estate Broker
Most board members have full-time jobs and have limited time for day-to-day operational items in the community, so when it is time for a meeting, it must have a purpose and be productive. Here are a few items to make sure that the meeting is properly prepared and organized so all board members can participate and achieve community goals.
Try to keep the meeting length limited to a maximum of one and a half hours. Announce this at the start
of the meeting. Let everyone know you have an agenda of business items that need to be completed and that members will have an opportunity to ask questions at the end. If you tell people this, most will be willing to help out.
Board meeting packets should be provided to all board members at least three days before the meeting. This allows the agenda to be reviewed, items to be added or removed, and directors to be informed on the items
to be reviewed and decisions to be made.
The board member meeting packets should contain the prior meeting minutes. If the board cannot review the minutes until the meeting, then spend more time looking at the past instead of planning and creating the future.
Managers Report/Board Summary Report. This should be a one page or less executive summary of general items in the community so the board and members in attendance have a snapshot of association information. Board members and managers know what most members ask about, so include a recap to prevent known questions that eat up valuable meeting time.
By Dan Tiernan, COO
Being fully prepared for hurricane season is not a simple task. Though hurricane season has ended for 2015, you should double-check and make sure that your community is fully prepared for the 2016 hurricane season. The following counsel comes from Campbell Property Management’s “Manager’s Wisdom” ongoing series.
What does it mean to be hurricane ready? It is all about thinking through the process from start to finish.
Do you have a written plan? This is where it all starts. Many of us are familiar with the saying “if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.”
Have you prepared for the season? Once you have the plan, you must execute it. Trim all trees, check each generator (fuel included), verify supplies, and inspect each drainage system for any potential blocks. Don’t forget to make sure all key vendors are prepared, too.
Do you know what to do immediately before the storm? What properties need to be secured and who needs to do it? Do hurricane shutters need to be installed? How do you communicate all of this information with residents?
How do you operate during the storm? What are the responsibilities of the board, staff, and owners during the storm? What should people expect? Should owners be advised on what foods and/or supplies they should stock up on?
What do you do after the storm? How do you contact your key vendors in case of issues? Have you established a response/priority level? How, when, and what do you communicate with owners?
For more information on Campbell Property Management, visit www.campbellpropertymanagement.com.