Four years ago, I wrote a column about how difficult it is to be a community association manager. The amount of hats that a community association manager often has to wear is amazing. Simultaneously, he or she needs to serve as the number cruncher, interior designer, police man, collection agency, master of ceremonies, complaint department, tech expert and unit owner liason. They have to be friendly and professional, even when they don’t get the same treatment in return. They also have to walk that delicate balance of trying to appease the board members, while being tough enough to say “NO I WON’T DO THAT” when asked to do something that they know isn’t quite right or legal. It isn’t easy.
One job that your manager cannot have however is selecting the vendors that service your community. That’s the job of the directors. I see this problem arise all the time when I teach our seminar. Some board members actually have no idea what I’m even talking about when I tell them that the management company works for the board and that while a Board may seek a recommendation as to which vendor to hire, the manager or management company has no say whatsoever in who actually gets selected. Their recommendation can be accepted or completely ignored.
Time after time after time board members approach me and tell me, “We tried to change our accounting firm but our management company said we can’t.” Or, we want to go with a new law firm but our manager said “No” you’re stuck with this one.” And the terrible thing is……. The board believes it. Worse yet, it is more prevalent as the average age of the board members go up.
I’m looking forward to Darlys’ blog on Wednesday which follows up to this one. I’m guessing though that she will also agree that if your manager or management company mandates who to hire, it’s time to ask them to recommend other community association managers or management firms.