Published October 2018
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 50 online continuing education classes available or to pursue the Certified Florida Community Association Manager (CFCAM) designation, please visit www.fcapgroup.com/membership/education-training/.
Marcy L. Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM
AKAM ON-SITE Managing Director
FCAP Education and Training Coordinator
A board of directors must act in good faith in fulfilling their duties. As manager, what do you suggest I do to promote ethical conduct and educate my condominium board of directors on their role, responsibilities, and governance?
In 2017, the Florida Senate unanimously approved a bill that imposes criminal penalties on boards for violations on voting fraud, theft, misappropriation of funds, unethical bidding practices, and conflicts of interests. I attended a class conducted by Donna Berger, Esq., and she recommended associations adopt a Board Code of Conduct.
I agree with Donna that it is advantageous for association boards to adopt a Board Code of Conduct, and I recommend that as manager, you establish ethical guidelines and policies to acknowledge their role, responsibilities, and governance to protect the association. It goes without saying that the majority of board members display honesty, integrity, confidentiality, and transparency. These written guidelines can form the framework for your association to work together in harmony. Each director would be required to sign and agree to the terms set forth in the document. In addition, I highly recommend that all boards attend a Board Certification Class.
Please find below a sample of some items you wish to consider and include when drafting a Board Code of Conduct. I have included information from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes’ Condominium Governance Form which can be found at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/lsc/documents/governanceform07142011.pdf.
As a board member in a Florida community association, I have read and agree to uphold the association “Board Of Directors Code Of Conduct” as stated in this document and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes’ Condominium Governance Form.
Are estoppels part of the official records, and do you keep them in the owner file or in a separate file just for estoppels? Thanks!
I keep estoppels in the paper and electronic files of each of the parcels. That way I can track the history of the sales of that parcel. I don’t think they’re actually official records, but I would still keep them in the parcel files.
I received my CAM license in August 2015. I then started a business and have been pretty successful—so much so that I needed to add my wife, Barbara, to the business. She just took your class in Sarasota, and you let me attend with her.
I wanted to say thank you for the refresher. I was amazed at how much I had forgotten and how much I needed to know. I thought I knew a lot about CAMs and the rules, but my eyes were truly opened to how much I forgot.
It was amazing to refresh my knowledge and to learn again what I should have already known, but life and business get in the way. Now, I can say I truly do know the rules. I recommend that everyone sit through your pre-licensing class a second time! Thank you—I feel like a new man.
It was wonderful to see you again, and I’m so happy that attending with Barbara was helpful and refreshing!
Is there a website that you can search to see if the current board completed the necessary certification class to be directors? Unfortunately, they have been on the board for five years now, and we have been trying to get them off the board but never have a quorum at the HOA meeting. Is there another way to remove directors? Can you count ballots secretly?
No, there is not a state website to check for board member certifications. You can find that information by making a specific request to the board or manager for access to association official records. If those board members have not submitted a certification within 90 days of their election, they are automatically removed from the board. There’s no legal action to be taken other than a letter sent to them saying they are removed. Otherwise, the way you get board members off is to vote for new board members to be on the board.
However, in the past in a homeowners association, if you didn’t have a quorum at the annual meeting, you couldn’t elect new board members. That has been changed as of this July 1. A quorum at the HOA annual meeting is no longer required in order to count election ballots. So, you need to rally the owners and get them stirred up enough to be sure to attend the annual meeting or send in their proxies.
The removal that you attempted, was it an official recall? Did you follow the statutory procedures? You might be in a position for an arbitration proceeding. The membership can remove a board member after they have been elected by using a process called recall. You will find part of it described at Section 720.303(10). There are more instructions and direction in the Rules in the Florida Administrative Code, which can be accessed at www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/ 0720/0720.html.
Ballots and tally sheets must be kept for one year and are open to owners’ inspection; counting cannot be done secretly.
…Here are some questions you need to ask yourselves. Then, craft the appropriate email policy with your association attorney’s assistance to ensure it complies with both your documents and applicable law.