FCAP Community—February 2023

FCAP Community

Published February 2023

     Florida Community Association Professionals’ (FCAP) training is offered on two levels. Level one consists of courses meeting Florida’s continuing education requirements for CAMs, and level two is the Florida Advanced CAM Studies (FACS) course. For further information about the more than 38 online continuing education classes available or to pursue the Certified Florida Community Association Manager (CFCAM) designation, please visit www.fcapgroup.com/membership/education-training/.

Betsy Barbieux

Because You Asked
By Betsy Barbieux, CAM, CFCAM, CMCA

      With regard to Chapter 720.305(2)(b), our board is requiring the fine/hearing committee to post the meeting date, time etc., and requiring either a member of the board or the property manager to attend  when conducting a hearing requested by a member.
     I find this highly inappropriate as I believe the statute’s intent is for it to be a private meeting between the committee and the member or member’s attorney to avoid any possible intimidation.
– Hal

     The statute does not give any information about the posting, notice, attendees, etc., of the fine/appeals committee hearing/meeting. The statute only says the role of the committee is to affirm or reject the fine imposed by the board.
     And just to be clear, the owner does not request the hearing. The decision to fine was previously made at the board meeting, which did have a notice and agenda, and the owner could have attended and made comments regarding his/her fine.
     After the fine is imposed, the board and/or fine/appeals committee sets the date, time, and place of the hearing with a 14-day notice to the owner. The owner may appear (or not) to appeal the fine. It is a one-time opportunity for the owner to appeal the decision of the Board.
     Here is a link to the CAM Matters™ show with the explanation—https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvbIWrICHkA.
– Betsy

     I have volunteered to help a few board members with a possible deadline from Tallahassee for our prospectus. Our cooperative association was incorporated in 1995 so 30 years is coming up in 2025.
     The ROC meeting in October had a speaker from Clayton and McCulloh who advised us to have a look at the prospectus and get advice on how to proceed from there. Any advice?
– Marian

     I am not aware that the MRTA 30-year deadline applies to cooperatives.
     My understanding is that law only applies to HOAs under Chapter 720. I have not seen any reference to condominiums or cooperatives in Chapter 712/MRTA or any cross reference in Chapter 719 or 718.
     Double check with your attorney!
– Betsy

     I have a quick question. One of our board members owns a unit with two other people in the name of an LLC.
     That board member sent a copy of a painting contract to his co-owner who had asked for a copy of the contract.  
     My question is:  The one owner that wanted a copy of the contract should have sent a formal request to the board or management company, correct?  I want to make sure this doesn’t happen again, and I do not want to get the board member into trouble for not following the rules and sharing documents that were sent to the board.
– Marlene 

     If I understand the situation, there is no law as to what board members can and cannot do with copies of documents they have in their possession.
     The law only addresses the official records kept by the secretary or manager/management company, and the requirement to provide access to any owner upon proper request.
– Betsy

     One of the things I would like to do this year is to give any owner who is here now but will not be here for the annual meeting a proxy return envelope, a ballot envelope, and a ballot return envelope. That way all I have to do is email them a limited proxy and voting ballot via email instead of mailing out a giant, thick, annual meeting package. This should make it so much easier and faster to get everything back from owners who will not be here. Is this legal? Any thoughts?
– Matthew 

     I would not mail the envelopes and proxy separate even though that seems like a good idea. I would do it the way the statute says to do it and that way you shouldn’t have any criticism. 
– Betsy

     Can I pick your brain about something? We suffered some losses due to Hurricane Ian at the end of September. We have applied for SBA loans for both the TOA and the HOA in the hopes we can spread the necessary special assessments out over a longer period of time rather than make everything due immediately. However, we have been having trouble with the application process, and it seems to be due to the fact that we are applying as an association and not as a private business.
     Do you have any experience with this or know of anyone who does? Any help you can provide would be so appreciated. Thanks!
– Dennis

     I don’t think the SBA will loan monies to community associations.
     Likely, the thought is that community associations have the ability to special assess—i.e., a bottomless resource pit for money! Owners have contracted with the association to pay however much it takes. The owners just never seem to remember they have signed a “blank check” payable to the association.
     It might be easier to get a loan from the bank, not the SBA.
– Betsy

Castle Group Names Jordan Goldman CEO

     Castle Group, the premier choice for community management, is pleased to announce the promotion of Jordan Goldman to CEO.

     Over the last 30 years Castle has taken pride in the stability that they have been able to provide both their clients and teammates. They have accomplished this through a strategy of slow and steady growth. The appointment of Jordan Goldman, a 10-year Castle veteran, to this role will allow the company to continue its strategy well into the future.

     “This is a monumental event in the company’s history. Jordan will be only the second CEO since the company’s inception over 30 years ago. It gives us great pleasure to be able to promote our next CEO from within our very own ranks. His intellect, strategic vision, and ability to build long-lasting relationships will make him very successful in his new role. The transition will take place smoothly over the first six months of 2023, and I look forward to my new role as chairman of the company,” says James Donnelly, Castle Group’s founder and current CEO.

     Since joining Castle Group in 2012, Jordan has spent his entire Castle career working alongside James. “I could not be more honored to lead the Castle team. We have an incredible group of people committed to delivering Royal ServiceSM to our customers every day. It’s been an amazing 10 years, and I am looking forward to the future ahead,” says Jordan Goldman.

FCAP Congratulates Carlos de la Ossa—The Newest CFCAM

     Congratulations to Carlos de la Ossa, who recently obtained his CFCAM designation! He shares, “I received my CAM license in May 2011. The bulk of the past decade, I have done developer HOA work for multiple national home builders. In July 2021 I decided to jump the fence and went to work for a property management firm. In late October 2022 I took a job as director of CDD/HOA operations for Eisenhower Property Group, a Tampa-based land developer, as it was better suited for me.”

Carlos was born in Panama City, Panama, and grew up in Boca Raton, FL. He attended the University of Central Florida in Orlando, FL. When asked why he decided to become a CAM, de la Ossa states, “I believe a lot of people don’t realize the positivity one can bring to a community and homeowners. One of the words in our title is “Community.” Community is where someone has a home, and they share that home with their loved ones, spouses, partners, and pets. This gives us a unique ability to make a meaningful impact in someone’s life. That’s why I became a CAM.”

He shares about the decision to pursue his CFCAM designation: “It has been something that I have wanted to pursue for a long time. With all the changes in the industry over the past few years, I felt it was important to further my education and credibility among my peers and within the community.”

A couple of major issues he sees CAMs facing in 2023 are as follows:

  1. Society—“Recently, it has become more difficult to deal with adversarial homeowners. There is a growing lack of civility in HOAs, condominiums, and among neighbors. Outside influences play a large role in how homeowners treat each other, boards, managers, and vendors. New managers to the industry or even seasoned managers are having a hard time dealing with this trend, and sometimes management companies do not have the resources to help managers.”
  2. Lack of on-the-job training—“There should be a strong focus moving forward on teaching managers the importance of education and communication within communities and also developing managers to learn the art of being political and diplomatic.”

     De la Ossa comments that the professional achievement of which he is proudest was “being recognized for my hard work and dedication to Esplanade Artisan Lakes by the resident board member in front of Sheryl Palmer, CEO of Taylor Morrison Homes.”

     “All the hard-working individuals in this industry have been my biggest influence. This industry is not for the faint of heart, and the drive my colleagues and peers have to pursue success in this industry only pushes me to do and be better,” observes de la Ossa.

     He also says, “In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my partner and family, traveling, and taking long bike rides in beautiful Tampa Bay!” 

Marcy L. Kravit

Suggestions on How to Write a Request for Proposal (RFP), Part I

By Marcy Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM, CSM
Director of Community Association Management Hotwire Communications
FCAP Program Coordinator

     Editor’s Note: This is part one in a multi-part series. Much of this information has been reprinted with permission from Laura Shiff at BMC.

     Issuing an RFP (Request for Proposal) is a process that your association must go through to properly communicate a need for services. The RFP is an invitation for service providers to submit a proposal to meet the desired need and specifications. More specifically, the RFP is a business document that outlines the project needs and solicits bids from qualified service providers for a proposed scope of work and a solution to carry out the project or service.

     Issuing an RFP is a multi-step process that can be time consuming and complex. It is important that it is thorough. 

  1. Establish the project scope, develop a realistic timeline, and include an estimated budget.
  2. Obtain the required knowledge to draft a detailed RFP and to adequately evaluate the proposals submitted.
  3. Determine the project description and requirements.
  4. Draft and issue the RFP enabling prospective vendors to understand the scope and more comprehensively while offering solutions.
  5. Be specific in offering a clear description of the project or service goals and results by including brand names of equipment and materials so that the bid is apples to apples.
  6. A timeline for the project, specific timeframe, and deadline should be included. An evaluation window, a selection date, a date to notify vendors that were not selected, and a completion date for the project should be established.
  7. Develop a scoring criteria or matrix. An easy way to do this is using a number range 1 through 10 to help you quantify the process.
  8. Establish a negotiation deadline. Negotiations may take some time, and you may want to ask for the best and final offer. Set a deadline.
  9. Set a deadline for notifying unselected bidders to avoid being bombarded with phone calls and emails asking for your final decision.
  10. Check references.
  11. Select the winner and send the contract. Do not use an AIA document for construction projects. Have your association attorney review the proposal and draft a contract to protect the association.

Summary of what you should include in the RFP*

  1. Background information
  2. Detailed description of the project
  3. Specific requirements about preferred systems, tools, materials, or products
  4. Project deadline along with explicit dates and milestones
  5. Any questions you would like the potential vendors to answer or materials to submit
  6. Evaluation criteria
  7. Possible roadblocks
  8. Guidelines for submitting the proposal

     *Always check with your insurance agent and attorney for the necessary requirements and consider hiring an engineer to write the proper specifications for construction projects. 

Vendors Submitting RFPs

     According to Laura Shiff, technical writer and researcher at  www.bmc.com/blogs/rfp-process/#ref1, she advises vendors should follow best practices when submitting an RFP—

  • Identify a team leader to own the RFP submission process.
  • Follow the directions as closely as possible.
  • Use your lessons learned from past RFP submissions—both those that were successful and those that didn’t win.
  • Include examples of your previous work, like a resume or CV for your company.
  • Put your competitive knowledge to work, predicting what other vendors might bid in terms of cost, timeline, potential challenges, and more.
  • Highlight your past successes through stories and customer testimonials.
  • Develop an in-house RFP standard, especially if you answer RFP frequently.
  • Don’t wait till the last minute as submitting RFPs has a way of becoming more complicated as you work on them.

      Sourcing a template for your RFP doesn’t have to be complicated—and neither does your actual RFP. This will certainly depend on what type of product or services you need. The following image is a good basis for a general RFP template:

  • Evaluate and review the proposals.
  • Set up a meeting with the board or a committee to evaluate and review the proposals.
  • Use a sample template.
  • The least expensive option is not always the best option.
  • Review the level of service and management of the account.
  • Make sure you consider the business model of each company to compare apples to apples.
  • Set up interviews for the finalists via in person or by Zoom.
  • Have a list of questions for the interview prepared in advance.