In the Wake of the Brian Williams Scandal, Should You Ever Lie to A Customer?

Brian WilliamsThe lightening pace at which NBC anchor Brian Williams lost credibility with the public is a important reminder to business owners, managers, and those in a leadership position that even a tiny fib can breach trust or confidence.  Management professionals should avoid telling clients even so-called white lies, because trust is nearly impossible to regain once broken.

“Trust is a priceless commodity with which we work,” said Lisa Simmons, President of Beacon Management Services, an Atlanta based community association management company that serves condominiums, homeowner associations, mixed use and commercial properties.

Management companies should steer clear of telling even an innocuous lie, such as, “Sorry, I’m busy with a client right now,” when they are actually enjoying their morning coffee and crossword puzzle, said Ms. Simmons.

“Little white lies don’t accomplish anything.   When people start exaggerating and padding,it destroys that credibility, presenting a face to the world that isn’t true.  Once someone knows that a person is deceitful, they will assume he or she has been deceitful multiple times that they don’t know about.  There will always be that doubt.  Better to be honest and forthright.  It always pays off in the end.”

Lisa Simmons can be reached at Beacon Management Services, (404) 908-2112 or lsimmons@beaconmanagementservices.com.

http://www.beaconmanagementservices.com

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Five Tips for Successful Community Projects in Your Homeowners or Condominium Association

 

Negotiating contracts with vendors is rarely an easy process.

Because many people are involved — some who aren’t familiar with your community — misunderstandings are extremely common. But there are some simple steps you can take to ensure negotiations on your next Atlanta HOA or Condo Association community project runs smoothly.

  1. Create a subcommittee. By forming a subcommittee, you ensure there’s a clear understanding of each piece in the proposed project. This single step will save you time because it helps avoid confusion when you begin the bidding process.
  2. Consult a specialist in advance. If you’re not clear on how a specification should be drafted for your project, bring in an expert who can give you precise guidelines. Of course, once the project is complete, you’ll want that same specialist to come back and confirm the work is performed to your specification — before you make a final payment. (For example, you want to be certain the drainage patterns are correct and the substructure is intact on an asphalt replacement project.)
  3. Keep detailed notes of all contract negotiations. To avoid any possible conflicts, the specifications should be attached to the final contract.
  4. Appoint one person to work with your Atlanta Property Manager. Typically, when you hire professional management, you allow the community manager to draft the specifications and get the bids.  If you designate one board member to work with your Atlanta Property Manager during the bid solicitation process, you can then bring the entire bid package (with recommendations) back to the board.
  5. Work with people you like. You’ll often enjoy the process — and avoid disputes — when you get along with the people performing your project.  So bring in bidders for an interview and request references.

Remember, when you receive a contract, you — as a board — have the right to add addendums and counteroffers. Also, always must make certain you’re completely clear about the product or services being offered. That way all parties involved know exactly what is expected.

For more information on how Beacon Management Services can assist your Homeowners Association or Condominium Association in the Atlanta area, please call: (404) 907-2112 or email Lisa Simmons at lsimmons@beaconmanagementservices.com. Our complete list of services is available at: www.beaconmanagementservices.com.

Thank you for your time!

Why Should Your Atlanta Condominium or Homeowners Association Have a Reserve Study?

The purpose of a reserve study is to give the Board Members of the Homeowners Association and the property manager written guidelines for properly maintaining the common elements. The Governing Documents of most Association-governed communities require the Board of Directors to set aside an “appropriate” amount of money on a regular basis to offset the ongoing deterioration of the common areas.

All physical assets deteriorate with time and most of the “major” components which an Association is responsible to maintain will require repair or replacement in a predictable manner. A credible, current Reserve Study makes it possible to prepare well in advance for these inevitable expenses, spreading out the reserve contributions evenly over time, rather than funding reserves through special assessments or loans

An effective reserve study plan must meet the following five key objectives:

  1. To preserve the investment of the owners.

Preventive maintenance can extend the useful life of building components, in turn, maintaining and enhancing the value of the property.

  1. Buildings operating at peak efficiency.

Preventive maintenance ensures that building components are operating as they were designed, which helps to reduce inefficiencies in operations and energy use.

  1. Prevent failures of building systems.

Properly functioning building systems allow occupants to enjoy the property as planned. Preventive maintenance includes periodic inspections and replacement of equipment that are crucial to operations.

  1. Maintain a safe and healthy environment.

Protect the physical integrity of the building; maintain a safe environment for residents.

  1. Provide cost effective

Preventive maintenance can prevent small problems from becoming major failures and costly repairs. Preventive maintenance can be handled relatively inexpensively, efficiently and systematically.

What should be included in a reserve study?   There is a four-part test, now part of National Reserve Study Standards, to determine if a component is appropriate to designate for reserve funding. To be funded, a component must pass all four of the tests.

  1. The component must be a common area maintenance responsibility, as defined in the Association’s governing documents or a well-established Association precedent
  2. The component must have a limited Useful Life (UL)
  3. The component must have a predictable Remaining Useful Life (RUL)
  4. The component’s Replacement Cost ($) must be above a minimum threshold amount

If consistently followed in conjunction with a proper funding model, the components will enjoy their maximum useful life and repair costs will be held to the minimum. This is how the successful homeowners’ associations operate.

For more information on how Beacon Management Services can assist your Homeowners Association or Condominium Association in the Atlanta area, please call: (404) 907-2112 or email Lisa Simmons at lsimmons@beaconmanagementservices.com. Our complete list of services is available at: www.beaconmanagementservices.com.

Thank you for your time!

Association Meetings…Simplified.

MEETINGS OF THE HOMEOWNERS OR CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION

HOA and Condo Board Meetings

HOA and Condo Board Meetings

A meeting, as defined by Robert’s Rules of Order, is a single official meeting of the members of an organization in a pre-discolsed meeting space. And, with a quorum present , (defined in the Governing Documents) they may transact new business.  This article discusses the a few types of formal meetings.

THE BASICS

All meetings, regardless of size or purpose, will have certain criteria in common:

A quorum must be present. This is determined by the Governing Documents as to how many members in good standing must be present in person or by proxy for the meeting to be valid.

Someone is responsible for conducting the meeting.

Someone is responsible for keeping the minutes.

Business is done according to specific rules that have been established (Covenants, By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation). These include but are not limited to: who can attend, who is allowed to participate in the discussion of business, and who can vote.

All members are notified of the date and time of the meeting and the purpose for which the meeting was called. The term for this procedure is the “call to meeting”.

Most HOA’s and Condominium Associations have one annual meeting per year in addition to meetings held on a monthly or regularly scheduled basis. The Annual meeting is one in which all members meet to hear the Year-End reports of officers, boards and committees, new business and Board candidates, discuss it and vote on it. A monthly meeting is one in which a small group of the Association meets either in committees or boards to help the HOA or Condominium carry out its annual and long-term objectives.

Procedures for these meetings vary by type of meeting. The main difference between Annual and monthly meetings is the role of the chair at the meeting. In formal annual meetings, members often follow strict parliamentary procedure. This means that the chair is selected to preside over the meeting and allow the membership to make motions and vote. He or she does not participate in the debate unless he or she leaves the chair. Members must speak up and be recognized in order to obtain the floor, make motions, and incite debate. Debate is limited to ten minutes each time a member talks unless there is a provision to the contrary, and each member can speak twice to a motion (rebuttal).

In monthly meetings, the person presiding usually sits and takes an active role in making motions, discussion , and voting on all issues. Generally there are no limits in the length of debate, and members can discuss an issue without a formal motion.
MEETINGS

This section defines each type of meeting:

  1. Annual Meetings

    The term Annual meeting refers to the meeting of a Homeowners Association or Condominium Association having the required one meeting per year. Dates and times may be listed in the Governing Documents.

  2. Regular Meetings

    A regular meeting is the regular meeting of an association, which is held weekly, monthly, quarterly, or at similar intervals. The bylaws must set the day of the meeting (for example, “the first Wednesday of each month”), and permanent rules must state the time of the meeting (for example, “7:00”). If an organization meets quarterly or more frequently, the main movements can lead to the next meeting through each of the following:

    The postponement of a main motion for the next meeting

    Referring the motion to a committee

    Placement of the motion on the table

    Reconsidering movement

    In many Community Association’s, guests can attend regular meetings in order to observe the proceedings of the association’s business. However, members may not want the guests present to hear the discussion at times. In these situations, a Board member may make a motion for an executive session. This movement is a privileged motion and is adopted by a majority vote. If the motion is approved, it calls on all Non-Board Members to leave the meeting until members vote to end the executive session.

    3. Executive Sessions

Business conducted in executive session is confidential and known only to its Board members. Members should not disclose the minutes of an executive session and may be punishable under disciplinary provision in the instance that they violate the secret. Minutes of an executive session are read and approved only in executive session.

Most disciplinary action against a member must be held in executive session.

For more information on how Beacon Management Services can assist your Homeowners or Condominium Association in the Atlanta area, please contact: (404) 907-2112 or email me at lsimmons@beaconmanagementservices.com.

Our complete list of services is available at: www.beaconmanagementservices.com.

Lisa Simmons

President

Beacon Management Services