(Editor’s Note: This is a follow up question to an answer that appeared on February 11, 2014. You can read the original question and answer here: http://askmistercondo.com/problems-mounting-up-for-new-condo-owner/)
D.S. from Fairfield County writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
Thank you so much for taking time to reply. I wish I could be as positive as you but unfortunately it is not possible at this point. The board has still not produced all requested documents. I understand that the members/officers are busy with their jobs and life but if they volunteered for their positions, they should be stepping up. And, by the way, they are getting paid. In fact, not long ago, they voted on the increase of their compensation.
From the view of frustrated new condo owner I see incompetence that is inexcusable. You pointed out that they are trying their best but it is very hard to believe when you see things happening around here. I am not upset that my friend’s bid wasn’t accepted, I am livid because it didn’t even get a chance to be presented on the grounds of an already accepted and signed deal. But there was no loan secured as it went in effect – and if they really paid out the deposit then they must have depleted all the money from savings – is that even legal?
Mister Condo replies:
D.S., you are welcome for my earlier answer and I hope you will find some solace in this reply as well. As I mentioned earlier, the bid process usually has dates assigned for the Request for Proposal (RFP) which had likely come and gone when your friend tried to submit a bid. The Board acted correctly in not taking any more bids at that point. If the bid were rejected while that process was still under way, I would agree with your lividness. My advice is to let this one go and get ready for what lies ahead, which may be a more significant challenge.
I am not an attorney so I cannot answer as to the legality of the steps your Board took with regards to the awarding of the bid for this repair. The Board is elected by all unit owners of your association to conduct the business of the association. Now that you are a unit owner, you not only have the ability to vote for Board members that will represent you but you also have the ability to run for the Board which I highly recommend. You sound like a concerned unit owner who wants to look out for the best interests of all unit owners. That is exactly the right mentality for anyone who volunteers to serve.
Volunteering is my next point. Compensation is not part of volunteering. Reimbursement for expenses (postage, for example) is perfectly fine but I cannot think of any circumstance under which a Board member in the state of Connecticut should be paid for their service to their association. It is a volunteer position and needs to be due to the nature of the relationship of the Board to the unit owners and their common fee contributions. I have heard of associations that reward their volunteer Board members with things like gift cards, holiday parties, and such but I am not aware of Board members being paid money for their service. It is most likely against the condo’s by-laws which may have a clause that reads something like “No Director shall receive compensation for any service rendered to the association. If approved by the Board, a director may be reimbursed for actual expenses or costs incurred in the performance of his/her duties as a director.” It is a clear conflict of interest and the practice should be terminated immediately. Check your by-laws and demand that this practice be halted at once.
From what you have told me, D.S., it looks like you need some fresh blood running your association. You need caring volunteers, like yourself to come forward and run for the Board. New Board members need training and commitment to guide your community back to fiscal health and proper governance. Your friends at the local chapter of the Community Associations Institute are here to help. Visit the website at http://caict.org/. In fact, I strongly encourage you to attend the upcoming CAI-CT Conference and Expo at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, CT on Saturday, March 8, 2014. I’ll be there and so will all of the experts you can count on to help you and your community thrive. You can register at http://www.caict.org/events/event_list.asp?show=&group=&start=7%2F17%2F2014&end=&view=&cid=12105. Hope to see you there!