FCAP Community—October 2022

FCAP Community

Published October 2022

     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


     I am asking for guidance again at your convenience. 
1. It has been my understanding the financial reports are not part of the handout in a monthly BOD meeting. The treasurer handed out a budget vs actual report to the unit owners at the last meeting. I thought this was allowed only at year end after the BOD has approved the audit from the CPA. Please advise.
2. Is there any rule on the CAM participating in the BOD meeting? Two board members took it upon themselves to change the setup (table, chairs, microphones, etc.), and it was not good. This occurred just when the officers were accepting my changes to set the room up so board members are facing each other, not the owners.
– Sandra

     There’s not a law as to what kind of financial information you hand out at a board meeting or that owners receive. It’s just whatever the board wants to give them. The only requirement is the year-end financials that are due to the owners within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year.
     There is no law on how much the CAM participates in board meetings. I would love to see CAMs take more of the leadership role and direct the conversation at the meetings. Boards would be wise to let CAMs advise and follow their advice, especially with regard to the room setup. 
     Be sure to have them watch my YouTube videos on CAM Matters™ that deal with meetings and room setup, and always remember I’m available for consulting and training on board meetings! 
– Betsy

     I thought part of the statute change was that all BOD meetings went to a 14-day notice, but when I was reviewing the statutes last night, that does not look like the case. We have been sending out notices and agendas to owners 14 days in advance for all our board meetings. Can you clarify if this changed, or can we just continue the 48-hour notice?  Is this for committee meetings, too?
– Michelle

     There were no statute changes for meeting notices. All board meetings are 48-hour posted notice and agenda unless (1) it’s a final budget meeting, (2) they’re imposing a non-emergency special assessment, (3) they’re changing rules and regulations that affect the use of the owner’s unit or lot, or (4) they are setting their insurance deductible. Then those board meeting notices and agendas are sent out 14 days in advance to the owners.
     Committees such as the ARC or budget that have final authority for decision making follow the same meeting notice and agenda requirements as the board.
– Betsy

     I understand from our legal counsel that board members will be required to have training to be on a Florida HOA board. If this sounds correct to you or any other new legislation passed this year, do you offer training for new or old members? I believe I’ve asked something similar of you before, but if this is required now, it takes on a new stance. 
– George

     Board members have been required to “certify” for 10-plus years. They can either (1) sign a statement that they have read their documents and know it all (we call it the “perjury statement”) OR (2) take a class and submit a certificate of completion. Changing this requirement was discussed by the legislature this year but it was not changed.
     The statutes are Section 718.112(2)(d) for condominiums, Section 719.106(d) for cooperatives, and Section 720.3033(1)(a) for homeowners associations.
     Yes, I am approved by the Division to provide the board certification class. Currently we offer in-person classrooms in Leesburg and St. Augustine, or self-study. The self-study may be purchased at our website STORE. Our YouTube channel, CAM Matters™, and its various shows will provide support information for the self-study.
– Betsy

     Is there anything that can be done about owners and several current board members bashing the CAM on Facebook and other social media? The association lost a court case, which will result in a special assessment to the owners to pay for the legal fees. They are blaming me on social media. They don’t seem to realize I work for the board and have no “control” over their decisions, much less over the course of a court case. Is there any recourse for me on social media?
– Myron

     I think this is a situation where you must be silent and do your job. Anything you say will make it worse. If you try to defend yourself, it may give the appearance of guilt.
     People are going to believe what they’re going to believe. Unless they want to come to you and have an honest discussion and be willing to learn and possibly change their minds, there’s no point in wasting your breath. 
     It’s a very frustrating and frightening thing to be falsely and unjustly accused. However, people who know you know you always look out for the community, are ethical, and are approachable.
– Betsy

Marcy L. Kravit


An Overview of the Board’s Responsibilities and Fiduciary Duty

By Marcy L. Kravit, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, CFCAM, CSM

     The Florida legislature has incorporated the “fiduciary duty” rule in both the HOA Act and the Condominium Act, both of which expressly state, “the officers and directors of an association have a fiduciary relationship to the members who are served by the association.”

     Directors are the decision makers for the community association and vote on issues at duly called meetings. They serve at the discretion of the membership and may be recalled at any time without cause. Education is considered compulsory for the association’s directors, i.e., joining Community Associations Institute (CAI), Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB), Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP), and other professional industry organizations. They should obtain industry-appropriate publications and state division information; attend board certification courses, webinars, and professional CEUs; and utilize those professional organizations.

     Fiduciary obligation represents the highest level of responsibility under the law. The agent and the board will be held to the same standards that apply to a guardian or person who has custodial care of someone else or someone else’s money. 

     Webster’s Dictionary defines fiduciary as “holding something in trust for another,” which translates to acting in good faith for the benefit of the membership. If you could have known, you should have known. Accept and seek advice from experts in their respective fields. Don’t assume; take it one step further to seek counsel. Better to spend the money to obtain the information you need now than to potentially set yourself up for spending more money on litigation down the road. Board members must exercise due care and fiduciary care in all dealings with the association and its interests. This includes a careful review of financial matters; preparation, reading, and review of the minutes; and attention to issues that are of concern to the association. 

     A board member’s fiduciary duties involve the following three components:

  • Care
  • Loyalty
  • Appropriate action within the scope of its authority

     The following actions are required:

  • Set uniform guidelines and policies for rules enforcement. There should be no favoritism, and board members must allow management to carry out the enforcement uniformly without micromanaging. As board members, appoint committee members to make suggestions and recommendations. The committees, if properly formed, can contribute and help expedite the association’s business.
  • Do not request management to perform duties outside their scope of work that could jeopardize their license.
  • Do not give direction to the staff; this is management’s role. Do not micromanage. Act as an advisor to management. Allow management to manage. It is unnecessary to spend countless hours in the management office. If you have a good manager, you should only need to attend board meetings and vote on the issues at hand.
  • Understand the financials, budget, and reserves. Two signatures are required from board members only! Board members monitor the overall financial health of their association by reviewing annual and monthly financial reports. As part of their fiduciary responsibility, board members are actively involved in making sure that the community has the money it needs to operate. The board ensures that budgets are planned, proposed, and followed so that adequate financial resources exist to operate and properly maintain the property and provide the necessary services to the association.
  • Be alert to possible conflicts of interest—
    • Do not waive late fees of friends.
    • Disclose any personal affiliations and abstain from voting to prevent a conflict of interest. This would include family members in bidding for financial gain.
    • Conflicts arise when a director with knowledge acquired from serving on the board takes a business opportunity that is available to the association, (for example, bidding on a foreclosure without disclosing it to the board of directors).
    • All board members vote, including the president, unless it is a financial conflict of interest.
  • Maintain a positive and professional attitude and demeanor. Refrain from harassment, name calling, intimidation, derogatory remarks and comments, personal attacks, etc. about fellow board members, association members, guests, employees, developers, or the manager.
  • Consider and adopt rules that will govern membership and board of directors in conducting meetings using Robert’s Rules of Order.
  • Listen to the wants and needs of the residents, not personal agendas. Think about what is in the best interest of the association.
  • Think and be objective about the issues, needs, and wants of most of the community—i.e., don’t decide just because you don’t use the pool that you do not want the pool to be resurfaced.
  • Each board member needs to provide leadership, and each officer needs to serve in his or her position. The association acts through its officers and agents. All positions are equally important; however, each position is unique, and each has specific responsibilities. For optimum performance in accomplishing the association’s goals, each board member must work as an individual player on the team, knowing his or her duties, which in turn can make the team win and succeed.
    • President—presides over meetings, orchestrates and coordinates activities, and develops the team. Works with the manager in drafting the agenda.
    • Vice President—substitutes for the president in the event the president is not available. Stays informed of the president’s agenda, duties, and tasks.
    • Secretary/Treasurer—sometimes combined in one position; ensures minutes and meeting notices are drafted and records of the association are well kept. A good secretary is invaluable and must have good organizational skills. Treasurer—reviews financial records, ensures timely payment of invoices, makes the necessary investment of funds, takes a lead role in coordinating the development of the budget with the manager, manages reserve funds, and monitors accounts.
    • All board members—shall exhibit professional courtesy to all community association management professionals. Such professional courtesy shall include not interfering with the community management professionals, contractors, vendors, suppliers, and employees. A board member engaged in the practice of another profession shall not perform such other services for the association while serving as a board member if the performance of such services is likely to result in a conflict of interest, real or perceived.
  • Maintain a positive attitude toward fellow members and toward employees so as to maintain morale and promote efficient employee performance.
  • Represent the total community and not any special interest group and use the influence to enhance the reputation of the association and maintain mutual respect between members of the association, management, and the board of directors. Provide questionnaires and surveys.
  • Attend all board meetings and actively participate in them. Be prepared for meetings. Accept the responsibilities, commitment, dedication, loyalty, and time involved as an individual serving on a board of directors.
  • Support the manager in doing the best job possible.
  • Praise and recognize the positive efforts of staff, contractors, committee members, and management.
  • Always be aware of the safety and well-being of all owners.

     Board members must act in a manner that represents the best interests of the community and supports the CAM. Respect, recognition, consideration, and appreciation can go a long way toward a professional, well-run community. With the right approach, all parties will display enthusiasm, respect, and professionalism in satisfying their need to serve. The ideal board is one that can work together in allowing the CAM to do what he or she was hired to do, which is to attain the common goal of protecting and enhancing the association.

     Marcy Kravit has 20-plus years’ experience managing community associations in South Florida. She has established a reputation as being passionate about service, driven by challenges, and undeterred by obstacles. Marcy is committed to providing five-star service and educating others in raising the level of professionalism in the industry. She works for Hotwire as director of community association relations. Marcy has earned every higher education credential offered by CAI and is recognized by Florida Community Association Professionals (FCAP) as a CFCAM. Marcy is a contributing writer to the Florida Community Association Journal (FLCAJ) and serves FCAP as their education program director.