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Subject: Management Company & Transfer Fee Compensation
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Author Messages
RobertR1
(South Carolina)

Posts:5164


04/09/2009 5:19 AM  
Joanne,
Your synopsis is well stated and I am sure will help.
I especially liked the: "anything funny with the money." I think I will borrow that, "funny with the money, funny with the money." Wouldn't that make a great song title for an HOA convention.

Also another truism I liked is: "it will get messier the closer you get to the truth."
MicheleD
(Kentucky)

Posts:4491


04/09/2009 6:07 AM  
I agree with you, Joanne, and I don't know of ONE resident in our community who would EVER consider "$5,000" small beans!

I can't tell you how thrilled I am that your team was able to oust the poor management (prior board).

This job is tough enough without having more bad examples for people to point to as to why HOAs are bad business!
JoanneD1
(Arizona)

Posts:447


04/09/2009 6:39 AM  
Michele, You are right and what is really unjust is that there is NOWHERE to go other than consulting your own attorney, which I did because there was no other avenue. As Mary1 knows, there was some kind of lower court that heard these kinds of cases, but one case was overturned by a higher court and they did away with the simpler process. I am probably not explaining this correctly, but you get my drift. My HOA when under the direction of the last BOD went to an attorney to prevent me from getting bank records which are NOT attorney/client privilege. The BOD also refused to communicate with me directly and said I had to contact their legal counsel and that bastard(sorry, no not really)told me to contact him through my attorney. I took GREAT pleasure writing a directive to that jerk telling him that the NEWLY elected BOD requests that he has NO discussions about the business of the HOA with anyone other than the newly elected board. He said he wanted to have a conference call and we ignored him and will NEVER use his firm for anything. We are cleaning house on everything Michele....it just takes a little time. Have a great day. We have also informed the PM that there will be no purchases or dispursements without prior permission from the BOD. The PM ordered business cards for the terminated Security gal and she put her name and her personal cell phone number on the card along with the HOA numbers. $78 in the trash and for what. Just more of no good logic or oversight! This kind of stuff makes me crazy! Joanne
RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 7:13 AM  
I am going to see if the Community Association Institute has something that they won't charge us for or minimal charge. They should be able to come in and show us how a board is supposed to run.

It isn't as bad as some of the things I have been reading here, but then again I don't want it to get there. I am asking the PM for our Financials and YE.... My next thought is the Tax Return so I can have my friend who is a forensic accountant look at it.

The challenge I run into is that the PM has been here for 6 years now and has convinced a few people that it was horrible before she took over. Talking to the old board members it wasn't. In fact they had more say and control before she took over.

RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 7:20 AM  
It is funny that I am now getting the cold treatment from the other board members. When they "voted me off the island" I was told that they wanted me to continue with all the great ideas I had for the community like the Bringing the Sheriff in for a safety meeting, getting together with the realtors to plan a Progressive Opening with one of the BOD giving tours of our place, a Comm Garage Sale etc. I had tons of things I wanted to do to change this community around (one of the excuses they used to take the president position away was so that I could focus on those projects).

After the boot, I went home to lick my wounds and said I am not doing one darn thing... then I realized that by me doing these things the owners would see I am working for the betterment of our community and it strengthens my position.

I am having all the contracts looked over by my lawyer just to confirm anything the PM tells us is true. Lucky for me I have a service that lets me do this for free or a minimal fee until I have to take it to court.... hopefully that won't have to happen.
JoanneD1
(Arizona)

Posts:447


04/09/2009 7:24 AM  
Ruth, our PM hase been here since 1994 and is working off a contract that automatically renews and there is NOTHING in writing that updates his fees. We have to deal with all of that in the coming weeks. According to the 1994 contract he is to be charging $.05 for duplicating fees but now he charges us $.15. I can go to the local guy and get it done for $.10 and know that it will be done right. This company sent out ballots for the last election and missed some of the owners who were alert enough and cared enough about the election to call him and get a ballot. We are now reprinting the BY Laws which were revised in 2004 and the PM NEVER put the revisions into the governing document and one of the revisions has to do with allowing the OWNERS to vote on the proposed budgets. This hit us particularly hard, because the old board gave the guard staff and .03% increase in salary and BONUS and the majority of the owners were opposed to that in this economic climate, but we had no choice. Well, come to find out that the by laws we were using were out of date. How did I make some of these discoveries....? I read the last 5 years of available minutes. I then made a chart and color coded all the topics. Anything referring to landscaping had a highlighted field in green, Architecture was highlighted in blue and security was gray and it has been an amazing little study. I call it Cliff notes of the Minutes. It was a ton of work, but well worth it. If you want, give me your email and I will send you a pdf. Another thing the new b oard is doing is giving a treasurer's report complete with balances. Can you imagine this was NEVER done. They had annual budget meetings and never gave account balances and we, the stupid owners, never asked, so there is plenty of blame to go around. Joanne
JoanneD1
(Arizona)

Posts:447


04/09/2009 7:34 AM  
Ruth, We are alot alike. I too have lots of good ideas and so do many others here. This old board would take the credit for any good ideas and we didn't care as long as it was for the betterment of the community. We too had a garage sale type of event and it was a major success for two years in a row. Get this, when Ralph and I sold our larger home and downsized here, we sold over $5000 at the sale as I had lots of furniture and stuff I didn't need. I go to my friends' houses and see my old stuff. It is a riot and everyone got a great deal. The next year we all waited for the sale, but the BOD decided not to do it and for no reason. They had some BOD member who thought she was in college again and was having ice cream socials just about once a month. After low turn outs which diminished to no turn out, they got the idea, that no one cared to pariticipate. Now the new BOD has taken what was called the Social Committee and calls it Special Events and hopefully, two functions a year, well done, will replace the petty stuff they were doing. This is small potatoes compared to what we are dealing with, but just goes to show that if you don't get involved and STAY involved you can never bring the positive change. They win and that is not the objective. Joanne
MaryA1


Posts:0


04/09/2009 7:43 AM  
Kudos to Joanne for all her hard work. I can't say it was an uphill battle, but she was persistent and in the end everything has worked out to the good. Once the PM is gone and they get a good mgmt co and PM on board, Joanne's hard work and dedication will have come full circle and she can start to relax a bit.
RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 7:43 AM  
Joanne, my email is [email protected]

One thing I have been asking is if I am allowed to ask for a copy of the PM's contract. I think as an owner I am allowed to see all docs right? I figure if I ask for anything that an owner can request they can't deny me. I am being very careful and just matter of factly asking the PM.

I have recieved the finance report that we didn't get at our first meeting, but I want a copy of the P&L that tells me exactly where the money went.

An example of why I want these, is she hired the landscaper and we have had nothing but complaints about how the property looks. There must be 30 big dead bushes that the landscaper insists are alive just hit hard by our winter. Now I am not a landscaper but when you can break off branches all the way to the bottom with a resounding crack it is dead. In the contract it states that dead plants will be removed as part of his bid. So when the PM said she will get a bid on it I just asked nicely if that wasn't part of the contract and cited where it was.

I know I am going to be a pain but if I have done nothing else but started the dialog and will make people around here wake up.

MaryA1


Posts:0


04/09/2009 7:48 AM  
Ruth,

As a board members you are entitled to get copies -- or see copies -- of anything you wish. At the next board meeting I would bring up the topic of the landscaper. Let the board know that you've been getting complaints from some of the h/o's and want to get to the bottom of everything. It's your duty as a board member to check out those complaints. If the landscaper isn't fulfilling his contract, perhaps it should be terminated and a new landscaper hired. Or maybe he just needs a wake-up call.
RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 7:49 AM  
I am seeing the light. Thank goodness I didn't get mad and just quit. I have more power inside the board even as the Member at large, plus I am privy to what they are trying to do. I take a page out of Sun Tzu Art of War. If I know what my enemy (not that that is what they are) is doing in advance I can counter successfully.

One of the things I told them is that I in no way want to be the clog in the sink. This is why when the bruhaha started with the older man nominating himself for pres. I didn't really push it. With the PM there pleading her case and using the maniplative techiques that I am famous for I saw this was not the time to fight it. If I had stayed president with this BOD I would have been thwarted at every avenue.

I keep likening this to the TV show Survivor... but I swear that is what it is.... My problem was I was too transparent of what action I wanted to see. This time around keeping my cards close to the vest and educating myself so I am sure I am in the right before making any move.

It is sooooo nice to have someone who has been there and can empathize with what I am trying to do.
RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 7:56 AM  
Thanks Mary, I appreciate your input. I thought I was entitled to see anything as I am an owner first BOD second. I hope with guidance that I can pull this off with as little conflict as possible.

The PM already has the complaints from several HO's but I sent pictures yesterday of just some of the plants the landscaper was saying were still alive. And just asked the question about her wanting to get a bid... on page six of his contract it says "All dead plants will be removed promtly and reported to management" so I said "we won't be charged for the removal of the dead trees.

If we are going to be charged, several of the HO's said they would be willing to attend a clean up day (another idea shot down by the BOD as they would rather send out letters and fine people) and help remove the dead plants. I will wait to see the bid befoe I suggest that again.

Again, thank you all for your help. I know I keep saying this but as Joanne said there is no where out there to get help without paying an arm and a leg.



MaryA1


Posts:0


04/09/2009 7:57 AM  
Ruth,

Educating yourself is the best move! Know your gov docs and state law inside out. In fact you might want to suggest that be your resp -- to keep the other board members on top of state laws and ensure they don't do anything to violate the gov docs. That's one of the roles I play as a member of my BOD's advisory committee. If you find a majority of the board members are not too clear on the gov docs (which is the case more often than not!) you may want to organize a little workshop to discuss the CCRs & bylaws -- explain what authority the board does and does not have, etc. Do this after you have thoroughly researched everything and feel you have a good command of it all.
JoanneD1
(Arizona)

Posts:447


04/09/2009 8:01 AM  
Ruth, I had to quote the state statute to get a copy of the PM contract. Work with the facts and no one can deny what is in print. Another thing I have heard is keep your friends close and your enemies closer! Always act on behalf of the ownership.....you are ALL STOCKHOLDERS!!!! Joanne
RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 8:02 AM  
Mary, I have a question on the meeting minutes. We had two meetings... the first one was a 3 hour discussion about why I shouldn't be president and the motion to change my psoition to Memember at Large 2 nay, 2 ya, 1 abstain. So nothing changed and I thought we were done with it.

Because the PM couldn't make it to that meeting we had a second one the next week where the same motion came up with the person making the motion nominating himself for president. This time it passed with 3 ya 2 nay

My question is doesn't both meetings need meeting minutes and what transpired. The reason I am asking is everyone at the annual meeting thought we had chosen (not elected) the BOD then and now everything has changed. For 2 mos they thought I was the President (as did I) now someone else is.
MaryA1


Posts:0


04/09/2009 8:04 AM  
Ruth,

Definitely, there should be meeting minutes for both meeting. Anytime a BOD meeting is held minutes should be taken even if nothing is voted on.
JoanneD1
(Arizona)

Posts:447


04/09/2009 8:05 AM  
Mary is the pro at this kind of thing, but logic would say ABSOLUTELY. NO SECRET MEETINGS EITHER and any meetings of the board with a quorum of directors present needs to be noticed I believe. Mary will heop you out with that. I will put the cliff notes into a PDF and you will see what I am talking about. It is very cool. Joanne
RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 8:08 AM  
Joanne, is how to find the statues in the PDF you are sending. I definately need to educate myself on those.

The PM was the one telling the secretary that she didn't need to include the previous weeks meeting minutes. Thank you so much for that clarification.

r

RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 8:14 AM  
That is the one that I am concerned about. After the meeting where I was "kicked to the curb" so to speak... Can you tell I am bitter they all met at the secretary's home. They were there for quite awhile and I was not asked to attend.

Makes me wonder what is coming next LOL
RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 8:17 AM  
Yes I found that out Joanne. One of the BOD that I thought was on my side was actually repeating everything I said to the other two BOD. Not that it wasn't anything I wouldn't say to them, but I was wanting radical change.... I should have known better.... This time I will keep it to myself until ready to implement.

I am going start with a get together of the owners where the Sheriff talks about safety. We had a Sex Offender try to move in to the complex. This is a hot button now LOL
JoanneD1
(Arizona)

Posts:447


04/09/2009 8:23 AM  
Ruth, I don't know what state you are in but go to the government site. In Arizona the statutes will come up under Azgov or something like that. Mary is problably telling you how as I write this! Joanne Secret meeting are a BIG NO NO! Yikes, I thought we had it bad! Joanne
JoanneD1
(Arizona)

Posts:447


04/09/2009 8:32 AM  
Ruth, You need a band of brothers. We started with 3. Just read those documents as Mary suggested KNOWLEDGE IS POWER and the printed word will be your accomplise. You need other voices to raise the concerns or the board becomes deaf to you. This happened to me and we now arrange who will bring up what topics so that it is not always coming from the same person. Just have to get others involved. Joanne
MaryA1


Posts:0


04/09/2009 9:21 AM  
Posted By RuthF1 on 04/09/2009 8:14 AM
That is the one that I am concerned about. After the meeting where I was "kicked to the curb" so to speak... Can you tell I am bitter they all met at the secretary's home. They were there for quite awhile and I was not asked to attend.

Makes me wonder what is coming next LOL




Ruth,

Out of curiosity, I did a little research. WA has a condo act and a homeowner's assn act. The condo act does not address board meetings but the h/o act does. I've pasted below RCW 64.38.035 which outlines the procedure for board meetings. As you will note they must be open to all members and minutes of all actions taken by the board must be kept. You can view these statutes at:

homeowner's assn act: www.apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cites=64.38
condo act: same url except after "cites" put =64.34

I would let the board Pres know that you do not appreciate the fact that you were not informed of a meeting that took place. As a member of the board you are certainly entitled to attend all meetings. Just because you are a member-at-large does not mean you don't have the same privileges as the other board members who are also officers.


Homeowners assn act
RCW 64.38.035
Association meetings — Notice — Board of directors.

(1) A meeting of the association must be held at least once each year. Special meetings of the association may be called by the president, a majority of the board of directors, or by owners having ten percent of the votes in the association. Not less than fourteen nor more than sixty days in advance of any meeting, the secretary or other officers specified in the bylaws shall cause notice to be hand-delivered or sent prepaid by first-class United States mail to the mailing address of each owner or to any other mailing address designated in writing by the owner. The notice of any meeting shall state the time and place of the meeting and the business to be placed on the agenda by the board of directors for a vote by the owners, including the general nature of any proposed amendment to the articles of incorporation, bylaws, any budget or changes in the previously approved budget that result in a change in assessment obligation, and any proposal to remove a director.

(2) Except as provided in this subsection, all meetings of the board of directors shall be open for observation by all owners of record and their authorized agents. The board of directors shall keep minutes of all actions taken by the board, which shall be available to all owners. Upon the affirmative vote in open meeting to assemble in closed session, the board of directors may convene in closed executive session to consider personnel matters; consult with legal counsel or consider communications with legal counsel; and discuss likely or pending litigation, matters involving possible violations of the governing documents of the association, and matters involving the possible liability of an owner to the association. The motion shall state specifically the purpose for the closed session. Reference to the motion and the stated purpose for the closed session shall be included in the minutes. The board of directors shall restrict the consideration of matters during the closed portions of meetings only to those purposes specifically exempted and stated in the motion. No motion, or other action adopted, passed, or agreed to in closed session may become effective unless the board of directors, following the closed session, reconvenes in open meeting and votes in the open meeting on such motion, or other action which is reasonably identified. The requirements of this subsection shall not require the disclosure of information in violation of law or which is otherwise exempt from disclosure.


RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 9:35 AM  
Mary, You are wonderful. Thank you for this. I wasn't sure where to find it.
MaryA1


Posts:0


04/09/2009 9:40 AM  
Ruth,

I just searched under "Washington State Homeowner association statutes"!

Sometimes it's difficult to find something and sometimes it's a snap.
RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 10:10 AM  
You are so right. My plan is to make "friends". Many of the owners think I am still the president. I am going to just get to know them better and if it comes up I will let them know that the BOD decided that would be a better president at this time. I am in no way going to talk negatively about the BOD but figure if I am the one they are seeing helping my neighbor clean their area because they got a letter, or bringing in a speaker from the Sheriffs office to talk about safety. Then I become a person to be trusted and one that gets things done.

I will prevail.
r
RuthF1
(Washington)

Posts:117


04/09/2009 6:20 PM  
And my plan seems to be working. I have had 3 owners at my door today asking why the board changed. I let them know it would be in the meeting minutes. They also said they wrote a letter to the management company asking what was going on as at the annual meeting they thought the officers had been seated.

The new president told one of the owners he didn't want to be president and he hoped that I would stay on the board (oh I ain't going nowhere LOL) and run for president next year.

It makes me feel better that there are people who see things like I do. I am just going to keep on making friends and getting the community involved in new ways.

Thanks to everyone who helped me through the last few rough days. I do see the light at the end of the tunnel.

JoanneD1
(Arizona)

Posts:447


04/09/2009 8:15 PM  
Ruth, Are these not the BEST people you could ever meet? They are HOA angels and I mean that. Without their help, I would have given up a couple of times and Mary, oh my God, she is THE BEST. Like I told you, she was getting the information for you as I was writing that she would. This is what makes the world such a fabulous place. Just keep doing what you are doing. When you get a hiccup, write the group and let us talk you through it. Robert is also a great help. If anyone ever needs a great place to vacation, open invite to my home. I guess we are off the subject.Joanne
MaryA1


Posts:0


04/10/2009 7:20 AM  
Ruth,

Good show!!! You are doing exactly what you should be doing. :-) A board member bad-mouthing other board members or a board action, are, in my book, a no-no. If you disagree with the board let your feelings be known in the meeting not in an over-the-fence conversation with your neighbor. The h/o's aren't dumb, they can see who on the board does the most work and who is most interested in the community. Keep up the good work. :-)
MaryA1


Posts:0


04/10/2009 7:27 AM  
Joanne,

You are too kind and I love ya for it! :-)

Actually, I think we have a great bunch of people here on HOA talk with lots of good advice/opinions given in a helpful, good-natured way. I've been on quite a few HOA newsgroups over the years and this one, by far, is the best. I love this sight!!
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