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Subject: Can treasurer get on checking account view only
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TammyP5
(Florida)

Posts:6


05/14/2019 4:30 PM  
I am a new board member 2-1/2 months and am treasurer. I have found mistakes our property management company has made. My concern now is they write, sign checks and move money themselves, and has been for years. We have had many special assessments and and monthly payments increased last 2 years from 645 to now 840. In last 2 years. Another board member who has been a board member for 5 years, President last 3, thinks our management company is great. She has closed meetings which I thought was illegal? I am having a hard time getting on our accounts VIEW only which also makes me more suspicious. Another board member, VP now, asked management company again about me getting on accounts view only he just told me the management company spoke with his partners and they agree it's too much of a risk. The bank said many customers view only. What should I do especially since found serious mistakes they have made since elected? I live in Florida andlooking for advise/Help please! Thank you!!
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3781


05/14/2019 5:11 PM  
If you're the treasurer and can get onto a signature card and/or viewing bank records, you have a serious problem with your Board president and the MC.

Been there, Done that
AugustinD


Posts:1886


05/14/2019 5:52 PM  
Continue to tread softly for awhile longer. Ask the management company staff to explain exactly what the risk is. CC the other board members. I suspect you will get nowhere, because you are dealing with pretty uneducated people. You may have to forego being treasurer, unless you like living in ethical conflict. Right now, I would not trust the competence of this management company further than I could throw its heaviest employee.
SteveM9
(Massachusetts)

Posts:3300


05/14/2019 6:14 PM  
The bank said many customers view only.


Provide documentation from the bank about read only accounts. Provide info from the bank on how to do it.

If all else fails, use the photo copies of the monthly statements from the bank to do your research.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8408


05/14/2019 6:48 PM  
What "mistakes" do you think they made? You are entitled as a member to view documentation. Provided copies not so much even as Treasurer. You may need to pay for them. I am not sure what you need outside of viewership. The PM is a paid contractor that handles the financial matters. So what is your actual responsibility as Treasurer to be?

I thought my PM/Accountant was doing some mistakes when I first took over. However, I didn't quite understand at the time how a HOA budget works. It is NOT the way your home budget works. There are differences. So what you may view as "fishy/mistakes" may be standard practice. Your dealing with a non-profit (NOT charitable) corporation. It's kind of hard to wrap head around it at first. Plus keeping everything in the open.


I always say the budget of a HOA is like setting your checkbook open on the dining room table. You have a spouse and kids. They all want/need a piece of that budget. Can't hide anything and everyone has a say on how it is spent. It's hard to give up that control and restraint keeping it so open. Don't be surprised if there are people who want to keep it under a bushel. It's human nature because I know no one who would be willing to open up their checking account openly.

Former HOA President
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3781


05/14/2019 7:09 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/14/2019 6:48 PM
What "mistakes" do you think they made? You are entitled as a member to view documentation. Provided copies not so much even as Treasurer. You may need to pay for them. I am not sure what you need outside of viewership. The PM is a paid contractor that handles the financial matters. So what is your actual responsibility as Treasurer to be?

I thought my PM/Accountant was doing some mistakes when I first took over. However, I didn't quite understand at the time how a HOA budget works. It is NOT the way your home budget works. There are differences. So what you may view as "fishy/mistakes" may be standard practice. Your dealing with a non-profit (NOT charitable) corporation. It's kind of hard to wrap head around it at first. Plus keeping everything in the open.


I always say the budget of a HOA is like setting your checkbook open on the dining room table. You have a spouse and kids. They all want/need a piece of that budget. Can't hide anything and everyone has a say on how it is spent. It's hard to give up that control and restraint keeping it so open. Don't be surprised if there are people who want to keep it under a bushel. It's human nature because I know no one who would be willing to open up their checking account openly.



ARE YOU SERIOUS?? She is the treasurer for god's sake. What planet have you been living on?

Been there, Done that
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3781


05/14/2019 7:11 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/14/2019 6:48 PM
What "mistakes" do you think they made? You are entitled as a member to view documentation. Provided copies not so much even as Treasurer. You may need to pay for them. I am not sure what you need outside of viewership. The PM is a paid contractor that handles the financial matters. So what is your actual responsibility as Treasurer to be?

I thought my PM/Accountant was doing some mistakes when I first took over. However, I didn't quite understand at the time how a HOA budget works. It is NOT the way your home budget works. There are differences. So what you may view as "fishy/mistakes" may be standard practice. Your dealing with a non-profit (NOT charitable) corporation. It's kind of hard to wrap head around it at first. Plus keeping everything in the open.


I always say the budget of a HOA is like setting your checkbook open on the dining room table. You have a spouse and kids. They all want/need a piece of that budget. Can't hide anything and everyone has a say on how it is spent. It's hard to give up that control and restraint keeping it so open. Don't be surprised if there are people who want to keep it under a bushel. It's human nature because I know no one who would be willing to open up their checking account openly.



Sorry, but this has to be said, Former Board President, but clueless.

Been there, Done that
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8408


05/14/2019 9:37 PM  
A Treasurer can be just a "figurehead" in a HOA. Sorry to say it. If a HOA pays a service to do the bills, then what is a Treasurer position do? Just fulfill an officer position for the HOA. Same with a Vice-President. Their job is to fill in when the President can't make it to a meeting. They don't even become President if the President quits.

Don't assume the title matches the responsibility. If the HOA is self-run, then yes the Treasurer does that job. If the HOA pays someone (PM) the Treasurer position doesn't have much to do. (IMO). Unless the HOA identifies the scope of the Treasurer responsibility. That may be to provide the report of the PM to the board. It may not involve them actually doing the books.

Former HOA President
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3781


05/14/2019 9:47 PM  
WOW, much worst than I suspected.

Been there, Done that
ND
(PA)

Posts:330


05/15/2019 8:31 AM  
SMH . . . simply paying for a service to be provided does not guarantee that the service is provided properly and/or error-free.

In the situation where the PM does the books and pays the bills, the Treasurer should most definitely be a check-and-balances w/in the process . . . at minimum going line-by-line through reports, reconciling checks to invoices, looking at account balances/transactions, ensuring nothing is "off", etc. That alone should be a fairly decent and regular effort even though they are not the one doing the books or writing checks.

While the Treasurer could, in theory, be just a warm body filling a seat . . . they and the rest of the Board would be idiots to just stand by and blindly accept what is given to them by the PM simply because the PM is being paid to provide the service.

To the OP . . . I suggest following AugustinD's advise and continue seeking access to things that you need to accomplish what I mentioned above. If that provides no results, that should be even more reason to start being more forceful and necessitate a deeper dig into the HOA's financials. I wouldn't give up being Treasurer or a Board Member since doing so will ensure you have even less access than you currently do.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3781


05/15/2019 8:51 AM  
The issue from what the OP posted is with the Board, not the management company. It is the responsibility of all directors to insure that the financial affairs of their community are in order, but legally, that job description, per most corporation codes, lies with the treasurer. No board member should just be filling a warm seat.

Been there, Done that
ND
(PA)

Posts:330


05/15/2019 9:14 AM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 05/15/2019 8:51 AM
The issue from what the OP posted is with the Board, not the management company. It is the responsibility of all directors to insure that the financial affairs of their community are in order, but legally, that job description, per most corporation codes, lies with the treasurer. No board member should just be filling a warm seat.



Well the first issue is "Florida" . . . but I agree the next issue is with the Board.

However, since the OP is a new Board Member, in my opinion it's best to tread lightly, be meticulous, develop factual evidence, and work up to things . . . not go at it like a bull in a china shop discovering that there may be potential issues and screaming "waste, fraud, and abuse". (I'm not saying that's the case here, just providing an extreme example of what I've seen before.) You'll quickly find yourself on the outside of most things if your initial few months on the Board is calling into question the current/prior Board Members activities, decisions, and processes.

Take time to learn how things are done; discover why they are being done that way; research how they really should be done (come to this site for lots of good previous advice on things); educate fellow Board Members on why things need to change; and work to incorporate new/changed processes into your HOA.

If things have been operating in a certain manner for a period of time (whether good or bad), it will take time to change those processes.
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3781


05/15/2019 9:28 AM  
So pretty much, get in, sit down and shut up.

Works for me.

Been there, Done that
AugustinD


Posts:1886


05/15/2019 9:36 AM  
I agree with just about all of Richard and ND's statements. I especially concur with their comments regarding the necessity of a Treasurer being a check and balance on the HOA's finances and books. I do not write "necessity" casually. Accounting professionals expect such checks and balances. E. g. a lower level CPA-performed audit at my condo homed in on having such checks and balances, including multiple parties reviewing the books. For example, manager, treasurer and bookkeeper. As ND wrote, going through the financial statements line-by-line is essential. And so on.
ND
(PA)

Posts:330


05/15/2019 10:16 AM  
Posted By RichardP13 on 05/15/2019 9:28 AM
So pretty much, get in, sit down and shut up.

Works for me.



Not sure I follow . . . if that's you're takeaway from my posts, maybe try re-reading . . . that's not at all what I suggested.
TammyP5
(Florida)

Posts:6


05/15/2019 2:23 PM  
The mistakes are with boat slips transferring ownership with condo sales. I know 2 that were paid for and PM said zero dollars to state. I asked about our slip closing 6/1/17 and he sent an amended report in with the money that was paid at closing $2245. After asking 3/12/19. I know when I called a board meeting he sent another slip with money in for sales 8/2016 hopefully this month 5/2019?? Now I know 3 other slips had not been reported that are owed but not sure if PM collected tax like the 2 he refiled. The president says he embarrassed he made mistakes and will make good?? I called state and they said to ask new owners to check closing statements to see if tax for submerge land lease collected and if so where’s the money and if not we are still responsible. In Florida when a slip changes ownership with a condo that is not homesteader tax is to be paid by seller and reported and sent in.

The fact he, PM, won’t let me on account view only makes me more suspicious and President always protecting him the PM company. She has been on board 5 years. Also she, the President, doesn’t want me checking into things and to go through her first. I have caught her in lies and want to protect our money especially since HOA increases last two years and 2 special assessments over 3000 summer 2017 and 3600. Again now 4/2019 in addition to HOA monthly payment increases.

Trying to account for all the money we pay in and these slips that taxes were paid at closing and not reported to the state. And the other slips not reported and not sure if their taxes were paid for at closing too?? Just got home from teaching and printed everyone’s responses so I can see what advise you have given me. Thank you all very much!!

Tammy
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8408


05/15/2019 4:48 PM  
I am a bit confused how all that works. Where would you expect this money to be reported? Not sure how the HOA plays into the closing of a house and a sale of a slip? This doesn't seem like an actual budget item of a HOA unless that is how one pays their dues or membership fees.

If you were to look at the "books" where would this information be posted and how?

Former HOA President
RichardP13
(California)

Posts:3781


05/15/2019 4:59 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 05/15/2019 4:48 PM
I am a bit confused how all that works.


Not at all surprised that you're confused.

Been there, Done that
TammyP5
(Florida)

Posts:6


05/15/2019 5:28 PM  
The PM collects at closing slips that transfer ownership from sellers that are not homestead exempt under what is called submerge land lease tax (boat slips). The PM report the money to state how many slip transferred ownership and he collects the tax at closing. We/he (PM) is suppose to file the reports by May 30th each year for prior year April to March. The fact he filed zero when tax was collected is the concerning issue. Each slip is about $2,240.+- for each slip. I know it's confusing and learned a lot from talking with the state and if I wasn't treasurer I would not have know he didn't submit our tax money and many other slips in the last 3 to 4 years.

However, not being on the checking account in VIEW only is my issue now after being treasurer for almost 3 months. I just finished reading the by-laws, declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions and from what I can tell the Treasurer is allowed to know what is going on with our accounts at the bank. If I get an attorney I have to put up a 1500. retainer and not sure what I should do.??

I am a teacher and am not rich but want to make sure our money is being spent properly. ??

Tammy
TammyP5
(Florida)

Posts:6


05/15/2019 5:41 PM  
In his (PM) balance sheet it is listed as the Department of Environmental Protection and has said the same for 4 years 4494. and should have said zero now (year ending 2018) since nothing has sold since ours, 6/1/17. and should have been 4494. for yr. ending 2017 and 6700.+- for 2016 and 2245.+- for 2015. So balance sheets incorrect and reports to state no filed correctly either.

Hope this is a little clearer.

Tammy
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8408


05/15/2019 5:42 PM  
Another question... The relationship between the PM and the HOA. It's a bit unclear. The PM is typically a sub-contractor to the HOA. They have their own business. So can see where they may own the slips and also be responsible for taxes/closing etc. What is unclear is how this relates to the HOA's budget?

Most HOA's I know collect dues not slip fees. They don't even deal with house closings except for a PUD form that may need filled out for some loans. So I wondered if the money is collected by the PM as their company owns the slips or does the HOA own the slips?

Former HOA President
TammyP5
(Florida)

Posts:6


05/15/2019 6:29 PM  
Our HOA has a submerge land lease with state for 24 slips. We, the HOA is responsible for collecting and sending reports to state with tax collected for slips that transfer ownership without homestead exemption from seller.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1418


05/17/2019 11:39 AM  
Posted By TammyP5 on 05/14/2019 4:30 PM
I am a new board member 2-1/2 months and am treasurer. I have found mistakes our property management company has made. My concern now is they write, sign checks and move money themselves, and has been for years. We have had many special assessments and and monthly payments increased last 2 years from 645 to now 840. In last 2 years. Another board member who has been a board member for 5 years, President last 3, thinks our management company is great. She has closed meetings which I thought was illegal? I am having a hard time getting on our accounts VIEW only which also makes me more suspicious. Another board member, VP now, asked management company again about me getting on accounts view only he just told me the management company spoke with his partners and they agree it's too much of a risk. The bank said many customers view only. What should I do especially since found serious mistakes they have made since elected? I live in Florida andlooking for advise/Help please! Thank you!!




As a new board director, they don't trust you. After 2.5 months of tenure and your personal assumptions about operations, you've created your brand with them and are viewed as a future headache until you understand "how things work."

It's mutually frustrating on both sides. Slow down and soak in the experience before being suspicious or assuming conspiracy. We've all been there.
RoyalP


Posts:0


05/17/2019 3:13 PM  
..... after being treasurer for almost 3 months. I just finished reading the by-laws, declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions .....


?! This is a joke, right !?


..... Honest...but destructive...incompetence. .....
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