FCAP Community—June 2021

FCAP Community

Published June 2021

     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

     Help! I have a new board president. What can be done with a bully board president who intimidates me, berates me at meetings, and now wants to meet every week to micromanage my time? I have been on site at this community for nine years and have always had good presidents.
– Maureen

     I presented a Zoom class on bullies yesterday, and we talked about some solutions to problems similar to yours with a board president. Some thoughts were as follows:  

  • Have a witness (a former board member or staff person) in the room with you when you meet with the board president. 
  • Tell the president you will record the meeting so you can capture all of the details he is giving you. 
  • Or, you could meet in a room other than your office so if you feel threatened or frustrated you can end the meeting and get up and leave. 
  • Additionally, be sure to solicit the support of your other board members, which I believe you have attempted. 
  • Finally, you can simply tell him you will not meet with him anymore because the meetings are not helpful to you.

– Betsy

     Is it legal to record meeting minutes so they can be written up later?
– John

     Yes, the meetings may be recorded by owners or anyone else.
     If they are being used for minutes, some attorneys say to destroy the recording and do not keep it as an official record. Only the written minutes are the official record. Minutes should never record any dialogue, just motions or directives, names of those present (or attached roster), and time of adjournment. 
– Betsy

     We received an estoppel request from a developer for multiple lots that are being bought by one investment company. Is that one estoppel listing all of the lots or three different estoppels?  The way they sent it over, it looks like we should put it all together, but I’m sure it’s going to be three different closings. I wanted to see what you think. 
– Michelle 

     It should be three different ledgers/accounts/statements, so it is three different estoppels. The statute has the fee schedule for multiple estoppels. Be sure to use the statutory estoppel form (Section 718.116, Section 719. 108, and Section 720.30851, Florida Statutes). I never use the forms the closing agents send to me.
– Betsy

     I was recently elected to the board of directors. I am a notary. After this morning’s certification class, I was told that my being a notary was possibly a conflict of interest as there was to be no business conducted in the park. People have given me $10 to witness their signature and to affix the stamp. Is there a conflict?  Another board member charges residents to do yard work. Is this the same idea or a different one?
– JoAnn

     Many community association documents prohibit owners from operating businesses out of their homes. In today’s times with so many home offices, this seems like an out-of-date regulation. I doubt that notarizing documents or mowing neighbors’ lawns constitutes operating a business out of your home. The original thought for that restriction was likely to prohibit customer/client traffic and parking in and around the community. 
     As far as conflicts of interest of board members, I am not aware of any statutory prohibitions about being a notary public.
– Betsy

     I need help. Can you outline the steps in the fining/suspension procedures in the statutes?
– Matthew

     Here are the steps the way I understand them. This is what we used when I was the chair of the fine/appeals committee where I live.

  1. Board adopts written violation policy (how many letters, warnings, drop dead date for compliance).
  2. Drop dead date passes.
  3. Owner issue is placed on next board meeting agenda (by now it is likely more than 10 days past compliance deadline).
  4. So, the fine per violation is now $100 per day ($1,000 in the aggregate) and/or suspension of common areas use.
  5. At a regularly posted board meeting, the agenda item of the non-compliant owner is discussed and fine and/or suspension imposed.
  6. The owner is given at least a 14-day invitation to appeal the fine/suspension issued by the board.
  7. The fine/appeals committee has to consist of three owners not related to any board member.
  8. The sole role of the fine/appeals committee is to affirm or reject the fine or suspension.
  9. If the fine/appeals committee agrees by majority vote, the fine/suspension is imposed.
  10. If it is a fine, the owner has five days to pay.

     Before you start number one, if you don’t have the number seven fine/appeals committee in place who are willing to meet after the board gives a 14-day invitation to the non-compliant owner, you can’t fine or suspend the use rights of the amenities.
– Betsy

Marcy L. Kravit

Employee Engagement in Community Associations
Marcy L. Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM

     Editor’s Note: This is Part I of a two-part series that addresses employee engagement.

     In 2020, the world changed significantly, and so did the way we manage. How can you be prepared to help your employees thrive, no matter what new challenges may come their way? As managers, we have all learned to adapt to new ways in adjusting to new boards, new company initiatives, new laws and technology, and this past year, the COVID-19 environment in the workplace. 

     Keeping employees’ morale up and keeping them engaged has been difficult during the pandemic, and maintaining company culture has been a challenge. Employee engagement is more than just knowing whether someone likes his or her job or not. For the success of the community, it is critical to measure your employees’ engagement to get a pulse on how committed and motivated they are and how emotionally invested they are in their work. 

     For an employee to be engaged, it starts from the top. As manager leaders, it is important that we set goals and outline the objectives and expectations that are in line with the board of directors’ and company’s vision. Engaged employees will have a clear view and understanding of the objectives of their roles. 

     As a manager, creating a team approach and engaging and motivating employees to produce will create a clear path to success in providing services to the community. 

     Employees need to feel they are getting the proper direction regarding the workload and that they are getting feedback regarding their performance. Employees will have a mutual feeling of respect with you as the manager, which also lends to the sense of being a valued and integral part of the team! 

What Do Employees Need to Feel Engaged?

     Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are your community’s goals and visions clear and concise?
  • Do the employees understand the goals and objectives?
  • Is there a clear link between the employee’s work and the community’s goals?
  • Can the employees see and understand how their work ultimately contributes to the success of the community?
  • Are you up for the challenge to provide leadership of the organization, and are you able to motivate the workforce?
  • As the manager are you equipped with the skills needed to lead a team to success?

     When all these factors are in place, you can begin the process of looking closer at how well engaged your employees are. Taking a closer look at the operations and its level of services can also help you further develop employee engagement strategies and practices.

     The benefits of engaged employees have a trickle-down effect throughout the entire organization. Those who show up with feelings of pride and motivation to work provide a higher level of quality service to your community. When resident satisfaction is high, residents share their experiences with others, and property values are impacted in a positive way. 

As a Manager, How Can You Foster a Positive Work Environment?

     Fostering a workplace environment where the employees feel supported and conduct their responsibilities within a team-focused atmosphere is good for the entire community. A community that has employee engagement strategies tends to have fewer sick days to account for. Organizations with engaged employees can expect to see a reduction in the number of days of work missed by an average of four days per employee per year.

      Those who come to work every day do so because they believe in what they are doing. They know they have the backing of the manager and want to show up and work hard. They do not arrive every day just to collect a paycheck. They have an emotional commitment to the work, which drives them to help the community reach its goals.

  1. Get to know your employees. Sounds simple, and it is! Spending time with your employees and getting to know them is an easy and effective way to engage employees. Learning about their families, backgrounds, and personal goals enables you as a manager to develop a stronger rapport with them. Find time in the day to say hello, ask them how their families are doing, or inquire about their hobbies. This is a quick and straightforward practice that can make your employees feel like their presence is known and that you care about them as an individual. Research shows that employees who feel valued tend to be much more engaged in their work and performance.
  2. Provide employees with the tools for success. As a manager, you not only have to oversee different facets of the operations, but you also should be sure your employees understand what they are doing and have the proper tools to carry out their roles. Training within their specific job descriptions can offer them more confidence in what they are doing. When one of your team members is unsure of what to do or how to handle a situation, productivity can come to a grinding halt while the team member tries to troubleshoot the situation. If it becomes too overwhelming, there is a possibility of a small snag becoming a much larger problem. Even if additional coaching or training is needed, providing your employees with a strong foundation for the tasks ahead is a good step toward raising their level of engagement.
  3. Let them know how the community is doing. They are the backbone of the operation, and many times its success or failure will depend on them. For them to have a vested interest in whether the community does well, they should be made aware of its successes, concerns, and struggles. Provide employees with a briefing of not only the community’s fruitful ventures but also the ones that did not work out so well. Allowing your team to know what works and what does not gives them the opportunity to develop new ideas for the weaker areas and continue to be proactive in the sectors that are working. I like to use the SWOT analysis. This analysis is a strategic planning technique used to help a person or organization identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to the operations or project planning.
  4. Allow them to grow. You sat down with them for an interview and saw potential in their abilities to help your operations. The team you have built was chosen for a reason. Now, as their manager, you need to give them the opportunity to show off their skills and ability to do their assigned tasks. Give them the room to branch out to do their jobs the best way they know how. Hovering and micromanaging is only going to result in added unnecessary stress, and this is a condition that no one can work well under. If an employee comes to you with an idea that may not be what you are looking for, choose to respond in a way that will not discourage the employee from continuing to try and develop other concepts or ideas. Offering encouragement and appreciation for her work is important, even more so when you may reject her ideas.
  5. Support them. One of the important employee engagement practices to remember is supporting employees when they face a tough situation. Employees will face adversity from your residents as well as other employees. As the manager, you may be required to step in to rectify a situation and to help the employee feel supported in the work she is trying to accomplish.