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Subject: Directors doing free work
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Author Messages
MikeA14


Posts:0


10/14/2021 3:53 PM  
Hello,

I've been seeing a board member doing small jobs around the community, like installing lights. Speaking with another board member, they told me that board members have been doing this for over 10 years to help save money. Other directors have no idea it's going on and the property management company claims they don't know the work is being done either.

I suspect some sort of financial gain, but even if the board member is truly doing it for free out of the kindness of their heart, doesn't this still present a problem? Wouldn't this mean that our associations operational budget is inaccurate? What happens if that director moves? Aren't we now operating at a loss since those jobs can't be done for free?

I'm looking for options going forward.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:10584


10/14/2021 4:15 PM  
Hold on to your hat... Board members of your HOA are... VOLUNTEERS! Yes! They do the work for "FREE"! Shocking! The only gain is to make sure their community meets the standards others and themselves want it to be. So I don't know why this person would be suspected of any "financial" gains.

Now yes there are some risks doing some work without permission/knowledge. Those would be like Electrical Work or those that require license to practice. You don't want an unlicensed volunteer electrician replacing your pool lights. It's not that big of a deal if a board member replaced a bulb at the clubhouse.

How else do you think things get done in your HOA if it wasn't because someone was doing it for Free for their community?

Former HOA President
MikeA14


Posts:0


10/14/2021 4:45 PM  
As a director myself on the same board, my concern is that they are not getting permission from the board. Isn't this person acting as a rogue director in that case?

Serving on the board as a director and doing work around the community that should go through our property management company to be spent through our operational funds seems like two different things to me. Is my logic regarding our operational budget not sound?
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:793


10/14/2021 4:54 PM  
It sounds like you went directly to the PM instead of asking the board directly. Don't you think it would be wise to do this so that you hear first hand what is going on instead of speculating?
MikeA14


Posts:0


10/14/2021 5:14 PM  
I actually went to the director directly, and they became defensive and directed me to the PM.

This post is derailing. I'm asking what constitutes a rogue board member, and where the line should be drawn.

Is it okay for volunteer work to be done by a director without board approval?
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


10/14/2021 6:05 PM  
I would say, Mike, that no it is not OK for any owner to be doing work in the common areas without Board approval. And the board might approve certain kinds of work.

But the Board needs to check with your insurance agent as your assn. will be liable if this director is injured. Our agent says it's OK for directors or committee members to do some kinds of physical work but must not climb ladders or work on any mechanical or electrical equipment, or IN meahical or electrical rooms.

Perhaps you can place this on an exective session agenda all in the interests of protecting both the director and assn. so as not to hurt feelings. Your main job is to protect your Assn. As A board, you can approve certain kinds of taks, but forbid others, etc.

If he's being paid, surely you can see this in the financial statements, yes? Doesn't he get reimbursed if he buys things for the Assn.?

What other kinds of things does he do besides "installing lights?" If you mean installing light fixtures, I think your ins. agent would cringe. Light bulbs are different.

Unless he's doing a whole lot, I don't see it affecting your operating budget much.

My sense is you're a newer director, Mike. True?
MikeA14


Posts:0


10/14/2021 6:10 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 10/14/2021 6:05 PM
I would say, Mike, that no it is not OK for any owner to be doing work in the common areas without Board approval. And the board might approve certain kinds of work.

But the Board needs to check with your insurance agent as your assn. will be liable if this director is injured. Our agent says it's OK for directors or committee members to do some kinds of physical work but must not climb ladders or work on any mechanical or electrical equipment, or IN meahical or electrical rooms.

Perhaps you can place this on an exective session agenda all in the interests of protecting both the director and assn. so as not to hurt feelings. Your main job is to protect your Assn. As A board, you can approve certain kinds of taks, but forbid others, etc.

If he's being paid, surely you can see this in the financial statements, yes? Doesn't he get reimbursed if he buys things for the Assn.?

What other kinds of things does he do besides "installing lights?" If you mean installing light fixtures, I think your ins. agent would cringe. Light bulbs are different.

Unless he's doing a whole lot, I don't see it affecting your operating budget much.

My sense is you're a newer director, Mike. True?




I'm new to the board correct with several others, and I definitely want to go about this in the right way. Light fixtures was one of the jobs, as well as a cold patch for a pothole.

I've checked finances and as far as I can tell there is no work order and no payment, so nothing there to be concerned about. They became defensive which is why I'm suspicious, but my main concern is not seeking permission from the board first.

MikeA14


Posts:0


10/14/2021 6:11 PM  
Honestly, I'm okay with saving money as I have my own set of skills and expertise and see things that need to get done but no one knows how to do (but I do!). I would most certainly approach the board though.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1804


10/14/2021 6:49 PM  
You are the rogue board member, unfortunately, as you may be in misalignment with your board colleagues.

If your board is experienced, there may a very high trust factor between directors and the community where this volunteer is trusted to represent small projects and is competent. You're wise to pay attention to activities but if this has been happening for ten years, your community supports this person's volunteerism and should be appreciated for it.

And no, you don't adjust the HOA budget to reflect cash savings from volunteers contributing their time.

I've painted, trimmed low limbs, cleared our pond's drainage of Fall leaves, cleaned up dead animals, dug small rainwater drainage trenches, trimmed the roses....among other small tasks our landscaper could be paid to do. It's the best way to learn your property and appreciate the prices of good vendors (and bad ones, too).




MikeA14


Posts:0


10/14/2021 7:26 PM  
I respect your opinion, but I don't see how you logically got there. I'm simply asking questions to gain understanding and as I've stated, I'm serving with other new directors as well. We can't possibly be aligned if a director is acting without the new member's approval. Trust goes both ways, and shutting me out when asked about the work doesn't show a willingness to establish trust. Additionally I would caution anyone to assume that just because something has been going on for 10 years, doesn't mean they have the community's support (as indicated by our recent election).

" I've painted, trimmed low limbs, cleared our pond's drainage of Fall leaves, cleaned up dead animals, dug small rainwater drainage trenches, trimmed the roses....among other small tasks our landscaper could be paid to do. It's the best way to learn your property and appreciate the prices of good vendors (and bad ones, too). "

I'm assuming though that you received board approval to perform these tasks? My follow-up question to you is, what happens if the job wasn't done properly or there is a problem? Doesn't this place you liable for that work?
MikeA14


Posts:0


10/14/2021 7:42 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 10/14/2021 6:05 PM
I would say, Mike, that no it is not OK for any owner to be doing work in the common areas without Board approval. And the board might approve certain kinds of work.

But the Board needs to check with your insurance agent as your assn. will be liable if this director is injured. Our agent says it's OK for directors or committee members to do some kinds of physical work but must not climb ladders or work on any mechanical or electrical equipment, or IN meahical or electrical rooms.

Perhaps you can place this on an exective session agenda all in the interests of protecting both the director and assn. so as not to hurt feelings. Your main job is to protect your Assn. As A board, you can approve certain kinds of taks, but forbid others, etc.

If he's being paid, surely you can see this in the financial statements, yes? Doesn't he get reimbursed if he buys things for the Assn.?

What other kinds of things does he do besides "installing lights?" If you mean installing light fixtures, I think your ins. agent would cringe. Light bulbs are different.

Unless he's doing a whole lot, I don't see it affecting your operating budget much.

My sense is you're a newer director, Mike. True?




I wanted to say thanks, this is very helpful. Insurance wasn't something I thought of and a great point.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/15/2021 1:53 AM  
I see no problem, and as a manager I have done work on the premises for free.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:290


10/15/2021 4:21 AM  
The budget shouldn't reflect work that might be done for free.

We don't call anyone to spray a wasps nest if I'm available to stop by with my $2.00 can of wasp spray. If I'm not here and no one will do it, then we will call it into maintenance and the HOA will have a $100+ service call for a vendor.

We carry worker's compensation on our volunteers. Cost is $540.00 a year. You might not be around when a 75 year old resident climbs a ladder on community property to trim a shrub. Been there. Best to be safe.

We have the pleasure of having an ex board member who is a licensed electrician and will handle small requests. If he changes out a fixture, the HOA pays for the fixture out of a budgeted line item. Most of the time our MC doesn't even know about it. He has a pole to change light bulbs in the entrances. Saves us $150.00 a bulb.

HOA's are set up to be run by volunteers. Some HOA's are affluent. Many struggle financially and keep costs down wherever they can. Our board handles all maintenance requests unless too complicated. Saves us a ton of money in MC fees.

Appreciate the work that all the volunteers do from the board down.



Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:1104


10/15/2021 12:29 PM  
I see absolutely nothing wrong with this. Many HOAs have tight budgets so simple tasks are handled by board members and other volunteers. Whether or not board approval is needed would depend on if there is an expense that is not budgeted. If something needs to be replaced or repaired and a board member is able to do it at minimal expense, why not. Obviously, every HOA is different so people should work within what are accepted norms so you are not stepping on someone's toes or duplicating work.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


10/15/2021 12:41 PM  
I can see that there are tasks that volunteer owners ARE able do. I can see that this eliminates some expenses. I still would want the insurance agent's opinion on what's OK and what isn't for owner volunteers to do. As a new Board you might want to meet with her/him anyway to talk about your HOA's insurance needs and to plan your '22 budget if you haven't already. Our agent, for instance, expects our premiums to go up 15% (though we had no claims this year) for '22.

I'm also now thinking, Michael, that given you've suggested your Board is mainly new directors and hinted portions of the old board were voted out, that you and your board have more in important things to attend to than the director who does some common area work. I'd leave the topic alone for awhile.
AnnaJ1
(Maryland)

Posts:81


10/15/2021 1:09 PM  
I think that the complete Board needs to vet & approve the decision for another member to do the work, even if it is free.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/15/2021 1:22 PM  
Posted By MikeA14 on 10/14/2021 5:14 PM
I actually went to the director directly, and they became defensive and directed me to the PM.

This post is derailing. I'm asking what constitutes a rogue board member, and where the line should be drawn.

Is it okay for volunteer work to be done by a director without board approval?



If it's been done for over years, as you have stated, maybe they originally got permission from the Board. Maybe, you could offer to help?
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


10/15/2021 1:22 PM  
ten years.
TimB4
(Tennessee)

Posts:17841


10/15/2021 1:57 PM  
With the post count at zero, it appears that the OP has left the forum.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:300


10/30/2021 12:05 PM  
The Board of Directors needs to discuss this as it pertains to insurance coverage of a volunteer. If the volunteer gets hurt while doing Association work who pays the medical bills?
TV
(Washington)

Posts:91


11/07/2021 10:29 AM  
doing free work is rogue

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!
MichelleC8
(California)

Posts:63


11/11/2021 12:28 PM  
A number of years ago we have a director who wanted to do things like this too. It was done few times but after being volunteered to remove our clubhouse carpeting on a Saturday I stopped doing it. It became the norm and people will see you as the one who will fix it.


Also if an accident occurs such as a fall from a ladder while doing lights and you are a board member doing so insurance company may not cover accidents since all venders must be licensed and have basic insurance coverage.
Our atty advised not doing any work that could cause a liability claim for the property. Doing so rogue one is taking his chances, but what happens if the guy or girl falls and breaks a leg, can’t work and is severely injured? Not worth it. Pay the fees and get a professional vendor involved.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8720


11/11/2021 4:22 PM  
We got the same advice from our insurance agent, Michelle.
MaxB4
(California)

Posts:1594


11/11/2021 7:34 PM  
Wife enjoyed Eddie V.
MikeB23
(Louisiana)

Posts:57


11/17/2021 9:33 AM  
I'm a little confused by talk of Directors and Management Companies. We have a BOD and no management company. Our 6 member board has members that do work around the complex all the time. We even have owners who do maintenance type work as far a cleaning up and such. Our only rule is that monies cannot be spent without Board approval.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11659


11/17/2021 11:48 AM  
Mike

Volunteers doing work is a controversial subject:

One side says all well and good. Saves us money.

The other side says if not licensed and bonded, we could be sued.

Both sides are right. As a BOD Member, you decide which side to choose and have at it.
HenryS7
(Arizona)

Posts:73


11/17/2021 1:59 PM  
In our association, I really try to look at the cost savings in terms of dollars per hour that I bring the association, and choose to spend my time volunteering for those tasks that are the highest value.

For us, we have a lot of need for project management type work. Project managers cost $100/hour or more, so there is huge cost savings if I can take on the project management role for a project.

Touch-labor, like restaining a fence, is relatively cheap. It is way down on my priority list and when I run out of hours that I have available for HOA stuff, I don't do it.

So I really try to rank the work and spend my volunteer hours on the most valuable task.
MarshallT
(New York)

Posts:179


11/19/2021 5:38 AM  
Hi Mike,

Yes you're right there needs to be more transparency between this person and the board. To call them a rouge member though does seem excessive.

The person should have the property credentials for any electrical/trades work. The board is encouraged to talk about this and figure out what the member can and cannot do without proper credentials.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:290


11/19/2021 5:41 AM  
OP has left the forum.

Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
MichaelH34
(North Carolina)

Posts:64


11/19/2021 7:39 AM  
Yeah, but there's still value to others in discussing the topic.

"rouge member" Is that the coloring that Vocational Dissidents use to tell each other from the normals?
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