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Subject: Unauthorized work by board member.
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JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 8:06 AM  
First let me give you a little background info. The person that heads our Landscape Committee is also a director on the Board. (This is temporary.) I'll call this person Mary. A couple of months ago we had a company doing work trimming some shrubs. The board had approved $3,000 for the project. When they were nearing the end of the project Mary told them to go ahead and do additional work that resulted in another $1,500 bill. She did not seek prior approval. I am the president. When I found out I sat her down and explained that a board vote was needed before she could do something like this. I made myself very clear and explained in detail why.

Fast forward to now. We had another project related to landscaping that was approved for $11,000. The work was going along fine and I left to visit relatives for Christmas. When I came back, I walked the community and noticed that areas that were not part of the project had been worked on. I have called, emailed and texted Mary asking for an explanation. I am awaiting a response. I am 99% percent sure that she has once again spent money that was not approved. (My guess is $5,000) If I am correct, I will be asking for her removal. However, I'm not sure how to document this in the board minutes. My questions are: (Based on the assumption that we approve it after the fact and pay it.)

1.) Should it be noted that the work was not authorized and mention Mary by name?
2.) For my own benefit/protection should I have a short statement added that mentions that I had previously warned her not to do this?

I really don't know the best way to handle this and if we need to follow a certain procedure to address and document the situation. Any advice would be appreciated.
JohnC77
(California)

Posts:560


01/07/2021 8:36 AM  
I am going to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the president and/or the agent/property manager. The landscaper should have been informed, or any vendor, that direction come from the president or the agent.

Sounds like a loose ship is been sailed.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10607


01/07/2021 8:36 AM  
John

You say she is on the BOD temporarily. Please explain.

Basically you want her off the Landscaping Committee. Discuss her actions with the BOD and get them to remove her from the Landscaping Committee.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:740


01/07/2021 8:50 AM  
JohnT,
As John C. states you have limited options for removing her. If she was elected by the Community she can only be removed by the Community. If she is a Director that can be taken away from her but she would still be on your board. The only tool you have is to Censure her for this unauthorized action. As was also stated the Vendor should also be instructed who to take work instructions. My question to you is did the work need to be done and was the job done professionally? In some cases while doing one job another is uncovered. An example of this is they discovered a water main break while working in the area. It would be responsible to fix break and be compensated for it.

It is not clear about the size of your HOA and it also appears like you may be self managed. I can only assume that by visiting relatives for Christmas you still had access to email and phone calls so I am wondering why no one tried to contact you for guidance if that is the normal process.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 8:59 AM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 01/07/2021 8:36 AM
John

You say she is on the BOD temporarily. Please explain.

Basically you want her off the Landscaping Committee. Discuss her actions with the BOD and get them to remove her from the Landscaping Committee.




I meant to say that was temporarily serving as the Landscape committee. In addition, she is an interim director who filled the seat of someone else that moved.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 9:05 AM  
Posted By JohnC77 on 01/07/2021 8:36 AM
I am going to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the president and/or the agent/property manager. The landscaper should have been informed, or any vendor, that direction come from the president or the agent.

Sounds like a loose ship is been sailed.




The landscaper was informed of this and had contact information for me, the VP and the Property Manager. I'm more than willing to take the blame for my screw ups that I own but please don't make assumptions. I will honestly answer any questions you have. Short of having a person patrol our 50 acre community everyday this incident wasn't immediately seen. We pay our property manager for 5 hours per week and doing daily patrols is not an option.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 9:13 AM  
"My question to you is did the work need to be done and was the job done professionally? In some cases while doing one job another is uncovered. An example of this is they discovered a water main break while working in the area. It would be responsible to fix break and be compensated for it.

It is not clear about the size of your HOA and it also appears like you may be self managed. I can only assume that by visiting relatives for Christmas you still had access to email and phone calls so I am wondering why no one tried to contact you for guidance if that is the normal process."

Good questions. We have 144 ground level condos. Our Property Manager is part time and the current contract provides for 5 hours per week. (That's a whole separate subject) All work is 100% cosmetic and not critical. Yes, I did have access to emails and phone calls while I was gone. The work that was done appears to have been done professionally. I currently don't know why I wasn't contacted and can only speculate. I believe that Mary deliberately did not call because she wanted this work done before I got back. This is based on previous conversations with her and her belief that landscaping should get more money. Again, this is not a fact but my perception.
JohnC77
(California)

Posts:560


01/07/2021 9:23 AM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 01/07/2021 9:05 AM
Posted By JohnC77 on 01/07/2021 8:36 AM
I am going to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the president and/or the agent/property manager. The landscaper should have been informed, or any vendor, that direction come from the president or the agent.

Sounds like a loose ship is been sailed.




The landscaper was informed of this and had contact information for me, the VP and the Property Manager. I'm more than willing to take the blame for my screw ups that I own but please don't make assumptions. I will honestly answer any questions you have. Short of having a person patrol our 50 acre community everyday this incident wasn't immediately seen. We pay our property manager for 5 hours per week and doing daily patrols is not an option.



I am not making assumptions. I do this for a living and have been a president of a rather large HOA that spanned over 100 acres and monthly landscaping cots over $15K per month.

As I mentioned, the question would be, as this as happened in the past, why did the landscaper take direction from Mary?
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 9:30 AM  
Posted By JohnC77 on 01/07/2021 9:23 AM
Posted By JohnT38 on 01/07/2021 9:05 AM
Posted By JohnC77 on 01/07/2021 8:36 AM
I am going to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the president and/or the agent/property manager. The landscaper should have been informed, or any vendor, that direction come from the president or the agent.

Sounds like a loose ship is been sailed.




The landscaper was informed of this and had contact information for me, the VP and the Property Manager. I'm more than willing to take the blame for my screw ups that I own but please don't make assumptions. I will honestly answer any questions you have. Short of having a person patrol our 50 acre community everyday this incident wasn't immediately seen. We pay our property manager for 5 hours per week and doing daily patrols is not an option.



I am not making assumptions. I do this for a living and have been a president of a rather large HOA that spanned over 100 acres and monthly landscaping cots over $15K per month.

As I mentioned, the question would be, as this as happened in the past, why did the landscaper take direction from Mary?




Yes, you did make the assumption that I did not tell the contractor what you stated. I did. As for your question on why the landscaper took direction from Mary I don't know yet. I called and emailed him this morning and I'm waiting for a response. I am always open to constructive advice so if you have feedback on how this could have been avoided I am all ears. So long as our property manager contract remains the way it is I don't see how this could have been avoided.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3805


01/07/2021 9:32 AM  
Considering Mary may have cost the association another $6500 in landscaping bills, I don't know why you're concerned about naming her specifically. That said, this is a board discipline issue, which calls for an executive session. Your documents may state how and when those are called - generally, they should be rare and used to address sensitive issues like board member discipline or litigation by or against the association. Executive sessions are not open meetings, so no homeowners should attend - in my community, we'd also send the property manager home.

You might make a motion to call for an executive session after or before the regular meeting to discuss the landscaping - if it's seconded and voted upon, send everyone home after you complete regular board business and formally adjourn that meeting. When everyone's gone, tell everyone, including Mary, what you found out and have her explain herself. From there, the board can make a decision on what happens next.

Personally, I'd issue a strong censure against her, make her refund the association (which the board should have done the first time) and then remove her from the landscaping committee. Advisory committees usually work at the pleasure of the board, as do their members, so check your documents to see if this is addressed. If nothing's specified, you'll need to establish some rules (which should already be there).

For documentation, you usually don't take minutes for an executive session. If the meeting occurred after the regular board meeting, minutes for that meeting could state something like"after this board meeting was adjourned, the board went into executive session. During the session, the board voted to censure Mary X for unauthorized use of association funds for landscaping. She has also agreed to resign from the landscaping committee and refund the association.

(AugustinD or Cathy may have a better way of writing this - if you're reading, have at it! When I was on the board, we never had to go this far - a stern talking to usually got the job done and fortunately, misuse of association funds wasn't the issue!)

So let's review - have an executive session to deal with Mary's conduct, summarize the proceedings and attach it to the minutes, and then prepare policies for all committees regarding spending association funds (they're not allowed to do that; it's a board decision) and how changes to vendor contracts must be handled. They could be drafted as board resolutions which should be approved during an open board meeting and attached to the minutes as well. Be sure to check your documents to ensure the Board has the authority to enact additional community rules as long as they don't contradict local, state or federal law, or current Bylaws and CCRs of the association.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:740


01/07/2021 9:34 AM  
JohnT,
Thanks for your very quick response to our questions. I can only assume that you are always on top of emails. As John C. states the problem may be two fold. First Mary over stepped her bounds and then the Landscape vendor took direction from the wrong person. Does your Landscape vendor have your Cell number? I know that ours does and as President mine would have called me or our PM before doing this much extra work.

Regarding Mary you mentioned that she is an Interim board member. I must assume that she was appointed by a majority of the board to fill a vacated seat. Not sure when this term is up but this may give your board the opportunity to replace her. I have never personally done this and I am not sure if this is allowed. I just know about Elected board members can't be removed by the board. Are you the only Director who has a problem with her decision? You need to have a majority on your side to proceed.
AugustinD


Posts:0


01/07/2021 9:37 AM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 01/07/2021 8:06 AM
First let me give you a little background info. The person that heads our Landscape Committee is also a director on the Board. (This is temporary.) I'll call this person Mary. A couple of months ago we had a company doing work trimming some shrubs. The board had approved $3,000 for the project. When they were nearing the end of the project Mary told them to go ahead and do additional work that resulted in another $1,500 bill. She did not seek prior approval. I am the president. When I found out I sat her down and explained that a board vote was needed before she could do something like this. I made myself very clear and explained in detail why.
What MarkM19 posted is what I am thinking: It is extremely common for one infrastructure repair to turn up other problems. Often, not fixing these problems on the spot, while xyz is already torn up for work, will lead to a much greater expense.

I think the biggest problem here might be the board's not understanding the nature of repairs on infrastructure.

A discussion needs to happen, but I have doubts about the appropriateness of laying blame on this "Mary" at this point. It's quite possible that this board should be grateful that she is the "boots on the ground" for these repairs, giving up considerable time. I mean, should the entire board be present when certain repairs are being performed, to vote on the spot when additional problems turn up?
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:740


01/07/2021 9:39 AM  
Shelia,
I agree with your Post except a Censure needs to be done in Open Session and the details need to be placed in the minutes for the community to see. It is a Public process.

I am personally doing one next week for a different reason and have done one in the past in my Ca. HOA.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 9:40 AM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 01/07/2021 9:34 AM
JohnT,
Thanks for your very quick response to our questions. I can only assume that you are always on top of emails. As John C. states the problem may be two fold. First Mary over stepped her bounds and then the Landscape vendor took direction from the wrong person. Does your Landscape vendor have your Cell number? I know that ours does and as President mine would have called me or our PM before doing this much extra work.

Regarding Mary you mentioned that she is an Interim board member. I must assume that she was appointed by a majority of the board to fill a vacated seat. Not sure when this term is up but this may give your board the opportunity to replace her. I have never personally done this and I am not sure if this is allowed. I just know about Elected board members can't be removed by the board. Are you the only Director who has a problem with her decision? You need to have a majority on your side to proceed.




Thanks Mark. Both Mary and the vendor had my cell phone and email address and I am always available. Since she is an interim director, I can call to have her removed with a board vote as outlined in our docs. The term she is filling is up in July of 2022. Myself and the VP have had several issues with Mary in the past and the other board members are well aware of this.
JohnC77
(California)

Posts:560


01/07/2021 9:49 AM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 01/07/2021 9:30 AM
Posted By JohnC77 on 01/07/2021 9:23 AM
Posted By JohnT38 on 01/07/2021 9:05 AM
Posted By JohnC77 on 01/07/2021 8:36 AM
I am going to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the president and/or the agent/property manager. The landscaper should have been informed, or any vendor, that direction come from the president or the agent.

Sounds like a loose ship is been sailed.




The landscaper was informed of this and had contact information for me, the VP and the Property Manager. I'm more than willing to take the blame for my screw ups that I own but please don't make assumptions. I will honestly answer any questions you have. Short of having a person patrol our 50 acre community everyday this incident wasn't immediately seen. We pay our property manager for 5 hours per week and doing daily patrols is not an option.



I am not making assumptions. I do this for a living and have been a president of a rather large HOA that spanned over 100 acres and monthly landscaping cots over $15K per month.

As I mentioned, the question would be, as this as happened in the past, why did the landscaper take direction from Mary?




Yes, you did make the assumption that I did not tell the contractor what you stated. I did. As for your question on why the landscaper took direction from Mary I don't know yet. I called and emailed him this morning and I'm waiting for a response. I am always open to constructive advice so if you have feedback on how this could have been avoided I am all ears. So long as our property manager contract remains the way it is I don't see how this could have been avoided.



Okay Dokey
GregM14
(South Carolina)

Posts:62


01/07/2021 10:08 AM  
Wow.

Just wow. I am dumbfounded at the concern and many of the responses, especially that Mary might need to pay back the overage cost to the association.

I am not familiar with the makeup of your board, your annual budget, or the culture of your board. I can speak to mine, which is a community that is 95% parents of 2 or 3 young children ages 5 to 18. We are a very busy community that is seriously short on volunteers.

I can say that taking a $3,000 project and turning it into a $4,500 project would be fine with me if the finished product looked fine. And the homeowners, who ultimately are the dues payers, care far more about how the finished product looks than the cost.

A $11,000 project that turns into a $16,000 project is a little bigger deal, but again, in our community if the overall project looks nice that is more important than the cost.

The biggest thing, in my opinion, is that Mary is a volunteer who is working hard to make the community better. Don't drive her away.

GregM14
(South Carolina)

Posts:62


01/07/2021 10:12 AM  
I am going to go out on a limb and say that I hope I am never censured for going over budget on projects. Almost everyone of my board projects that I have been in charge of us has gone overbudget. It's not intentional, it's that it is really hard to figure out every expense that goes into a association project up front and guarantee no overruns.

Of course, I communicate this with the other board members and go to great lengths to ensure that we can be transparent with one another regarding costs, but it's really hard to manage them as effectively as I would like.
AugustinD


Posts:0


01/07/2021 10:29 AM  
Posted By GregM14 on 01/07/2021 10:08 AM
Wow. Just wow. I am dumbfounded at the concern and many of the responses, especially that Mary might need to pay back the overage cost to the association.
Ditto. If JohnT38's Board demands Mary pay back the money, then it must compute this thusly:

Amount Mary okayed on the spot = MO1

Benefit HOA received from Mary's on the spot decision = HOAB1

Amount Mary must pay back = MO1 - HOAB1

Good luck computing HOAB1. I think one thing is for sure: HOAB1 does not equal zero.

I am thinking continuing to blame Mary is not appropriate.

Good communications are key to resolving the situation and going forward so the everyone is on the same page with regard to infrastructure repairs and how to make on-the-spot decisions.

So far to me, the venom towards Mary expressed here (censures and spankings, both of a fifth grade nature IMO) underwhelms.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3792


01/07/2021 10:32 AM  
Hmmmm ....

Mary willfully exceeded the amount authorized by a vote of the Board on Project A.
Mary willfully exceeded the amount authorized by a vote of the Board on Project B. (she had been previously cautioned by the president)
Mary attended those Board meetings where the amounts were moved on?
Those approved amounts are in the minutes of both meetings?
Contractors took direction from Mary in her role as head of the Landscape Committee.

Mary should be blamed, censured and if possible removed for exceeding the budget and for being untrustworthy.
The contractor should be told that in the future they will take direction only from the President.

Are there more facts?
AugustinD


Posts:0


01/07/2021 10:34 AM  
Posted By SheliaH on 01/07/2021 9:32 AM
For documentation, you usually don't take minutes for an executive session.
SheliaH, by any chance is this a post-o? You're a veteran who's obviously spent a lot of time on a HOA Board, including in the critical and labor-intensive position of treasurer. Why is it you think that exec session Minutes are not necessary at least some of the time?
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1612


01/07/2021 10:49 AM  
Perhaps, moving forward, all HOA contracts should contain a clause stating that no work beyond when is contained in the contracr may be performed, and that any unauthorized work will not be paid for. (Assuming an attorney gives his/her blessing to such language.) Then it would fall to the contractor to try to collect the additional money from the person who gave the verbal authorization.

I realize this is kind of hardball, but I also think this is pretty standard business practice. Vendors that provide services for HOAs learn that they need to take guidance from the person who has the authority to give such guidance. And reputable businesses also know not to provide anything that a customer doesn't explicitly ask for, otherwise the customer is under no obligation to pay.

In similar situations, my association always requires a second bid to be provided to cover any additional work, as well as another signed contract. Our vendors were always told this ahead of time in case they uncovered something beyond what they originally bid on. This protects all parties.

In John's situation, I agree with censure being done in open session, with details included in the minutes. "Mary" can't pretend she didn't understand the second time, the amount spent was not trivial, and it was likely budgeted for something else. And I wouldn't feel too upset if she were forced to reimburse the association, although that horse has probably left the barn. Since this was also a second "offense' for the vendor, I'd also remove them from consideration for future work. (If the dollars involved were greater, I'd start to wonder about kickbacks or something. Probably not happening here, but whenever people go around established procedures you should at least ask yourself why.)

An aside: we always kept minutes for our executive sessions - otherwise future boards won't have documentation they may need. Of course these minutes were not made available to the membership.

SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:3805


01/07/2021 12:06 PM  
Had to re-read that (it's been a LONG week!) and you're right - We did keep a summary, but they weren't available to homeowners.

I think I was thinking of executive meeting details being spilled to unauthorized people, violation of attorney/client privilege and all that. Another reason we did our best not to have them unless it was absolutely necessary.
AugustinD


Posts:0


01/07/2021 12:14 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 01/07/2021 10:32 AM

Are there more facts?
Undoubtedly, afaic.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 12:23 PM  
I'm happy to provide whatever facts you are looking for.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:3792


01/07/2021 12:26 PM  
You saw my summary ... anything inaccurate, and are there additional facts that relate?
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10607


01/07/2021 12:32 PM  
Posted By JohnT38 on 01/07/2021 8:59 AM
Posted By JohnC46 on 01/07/2021 8:36 AM
John

You say she is on the BOD temporarily. Please explain.

Basically you want her off the Landscaping Committee. Discuss her actions with the BOD and get them to remove her from the Landscaping Committee.




I meant to say that was temporarily serving as the Landscape committee. In addition, she is an interim director who filled the seat of someone else that moved.




So you are saying she was selected by he BOD to fill an empty BOD seat? If so, the BOD can remove her.
AugustinD


Posts:0


01/07/2021 12:52 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 01/07/2021 12:26 PM
You saw my summary ... anything inaccurate, and are there additional facts that relate?
A sit-down is needed so she can explain why she did what she did. If you are not an infrastructure guy, then until you go through the experience of being on the spot when a crew has all the right equipment there and finds more wrong than anticipated, then I am not sure you know what to ask. You might. But I am saying: I want to hear her side of things.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 12:54 PM  
Posted By JohnC46 on 01/07/2021 12:32 PM
Posted By JohnT38 on 01/07/2021 8:59 AM
Posted By JohnC46 on 01/07/2021 8:36 AM
John

You say she is on the BOD temporarily. Please explain.

Basically you want her off the Landscaping Committee. Discuss her actions with the BOD and get them to remove her from the Landscaping Committee.




I meant to say that was temporarily serving as the Landscape committee. In addition, she is an interim director who filled the seat of someone else that moved.




So you are saying she was selected by he BOD to fill an empty BOD seat? If so, the BOD can remove her.




You are correct on both statements.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10607


01/07/2021 12:56 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 01/07/2021 12:52 PM
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 01/07/2021 12:26 PM
You saw my summary ... anything inaccurate, and are there additional facts that relate?
A sit-down is needed so she can explain why she did what she did. If you are not an infrastructure guy, then until you go through the experience of being on the spot when a crew has all the right equipment there and finds more wrong than anticipated, then I am not sure you know what to ask. You might. But I am saying: I want to hear her side of things.



I agree. A BOD discussion is required. I would opt for an Executive Session. We are only hearing one side of the story and I am not sure Mary did or did not exceeded her authority.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 12:58 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 01/07/2021 12:26 PM
You saw my summary ... anything inaccurate, and are there additional facts that relate?




Your summary was 100% accurate. There are no other facts that I am leaving out.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 1:05 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 01/07/2021 12:52 PM
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 01/07/2021 12:26 PM
You saw my summary ... anything inaccurate, and are there additional facts that relate?
A sit-down is needed so she can explain why she did what she did. If you are not an infrastructure guy, then until you go through the experience of being on the spot when a crew has all the right equipment there and finds more wrong than anticipated, then I am not sure you know what to ask. You might. But I am saying: I want to hear her side of things.




I agree and will get a meeting scheduled today. Once again, all work done was simply cosmetic and it was understood upfront that the entire community would need to be done in phases because of cost constraints. There was no urgent work performed. To me this boils down to understanding that budgets exist for a reason and as board members we cannot arbitrarily decide to spend funds by ourselves. As someone else hinted there are always exceptions such as safety situations, burst pipes, etc. Trimming shrubs does not rise to this occasion.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:740


01/07/2021 1:10 PM  
JohnT,
I think we have beat this one to death. My only recommendation is when approving future bids like this to state in the approval a "Not to Exceed price" Typically you may want to add a little extra to the price to save time so the vendor does not have to stop work but this way you are giving the PM and the Committee chair direct action not to exceed the bid.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/07/2021 1:14 PM  
Posted By MarkM19 on 01/07/2021 1:10 PM
JohnT,
I think we have beat this one to death. My only recommendation is when approving future bids like this to state in the approval a "Not to Exceed price" Typically you may want to add a little extra to the price to save time so the vendor does not have to stop work but this way you are giving the PM and the Committee chair direct action not to exceed the bid.




Excellent advice and I agree the horse is dead. Once we meet and talk with Mary and the vendor I will provide I summary of what was said and the end result.
GregM14
(South Carolina)

Posts:62


01/07/2021 2:02 PM  
I really don't know the best way to handle this and if we need to follow a certain procedure to address and document the situation. Any advice would be appreciated.




If it was true that Mary intentionally spent HOA money that was not approved, and doesn't appear to care to understand the consequences, the most logical way to handle it is to not have Mary work with vendors in the future. The board can choose to have someone else handle vendor relationships if there is another volunteer.
GregM14
(South Carolina)

Posts:62


01/07/2021 3:34 PM  
The other thing that you can do, and perhaps this was alluded to by others above, is to ensure that your vendors worked only to signed contracts. Include some verbiage in them that prohibits verbal contract changes, and require that any change orders be signed by a board member. This actually is good project management to control costs during a project.

I would like to think that Mary isn't intentionally misusing her role in the HOA board but rather maybe is not experienced in how to go about working with a board and a vendor. You might be in a good position to help her be more successful in her board projects.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:740


01/07/2021 3:50 PM  
Greg,
The Devil is in the details. If only one board member needs to approve she is currently a board member. I would suggest that 2 board member sign with the President being the other member.
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:103


01/07/2021 4:16 PM  
Wow, so much advice. In each of our contracts the vendor/contractor cannot go beyond the contract specs without Board approval, unless a dire emergency. An individual Board cannot tell a contractor to go beyond the contract.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1634


01/09/2021 7:45 AM  
1. I'd report out that landscape budget was exceeded the budgeted amount, which is the technical action.

2. I would not name "Mary" as the person who authorized the exceptional charges to the landscape project.

3. 50% increases in cost, due to change order, should trigger, board notification and further debate if the change order reflects a change in aesthetics versus a needed repair that's uncovered by the natural fulfillment of the project (think underground water leak, for instance).

Vendors need to know the people who will observe the finished product and exactly who signs off on change orders. Many board directors, especially new ones, take an egalitarian approach to decision-making and will issue change orders. Slight communication gaps will be exploited and inexperienced directors can easily be "sold" into making spot decisions onsite.

I bet this extra work, while unnecessary, is not to the detriment of the project or overall community landscape plan. It may be extravagant, expensive and ill-timed and certainly isn't appropriate in the political sense.

John nor the board should be blamed, either. This is a protocol gap that's easily closed with discretion between the board president and/or property manager and the vendors. Our community vendors - especially our long-running partnerships - know exactly who may attempt to approach them and who authorizes change and that board process.

What occurred is stereotypical HOA "behavior."
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:477


01/09/2021 7:52 AM  
Posted By KellyM3 on 01/09/2021 7:45 AM
1. I'd report out that landscape budget was exceeded the budgeted amount, which is the technical action.

2. I would not name "Mary" as the person who authorized the exceptional charges to the landscape project.

3. 50% increases in cost, due to change order, should trigger, board notification and further debate if the change order reflects a change in aesthetics versus a needed repair that's uncovered by the natural fulfillment of the project (think underground water leak, for instance).

Vendors need to know the people who will observe the finished product and exactly who signs off on change orders. Many board directors, especially new ones, take an egalitarian approach to decision-making and will issue change orders. Slight communication gaps will be exploited and inexperienced directors can easily be "sold" into making spot decisions onsite.

I bet this extra work, while unnecessary, is not to the detriment of the project or overall community landscape plan. It may be extravagant, expensive and ill-timed and certainly isn't appropriate in the political sense.

John nor the board should be blamed, either. This is a protocol gap that's easily closed with discretion between the board president and/or property manager and the vendors. Our community vendors - especially our long-running partnerships - know exactly who may attempt to approach them and who authorizes change and that board process.

What occurred is stereotypical HOA "behavior."




Thank you for the excellent feedback and advice.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:810


01/09/2021 12:00 PM  
Relieve poor Mary from her position of landscape chair person or liaison to the vendor. Clearly her judgment level is very low.
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