About CMCA ~ The Essential Credential

CAMICB is a more than 25 year old independent professional certification body responsible for developing and delivering the Certified Manager of Community Associations® (CMCA) examination. CAMICB awards and maintains the CMCA credential, recognized worldwide as a benchmark of professionalism in the field of common interest community management. The CMCA examination tests the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform effectively as a professional community association manager. CMCA credential holders attest to full compliance with the CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, committing to ethical and informed execution of the duties of a professional manager. The CMCA credentialing program carries dual accreditation. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the CMCA program for meeting its U.S.-based standards for credentialing bodies. The ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) accredits the CMCA program for meeting the stringent requirements of the ISO/IEC 17024 Standard, the international standards for certification bodies. The program's dual accreditation represents compliance with rigorous standards for developing, delivering, and maintaining a professional credentialing program. It underscores the strength and integrity of the CMCA credential. Privacy Policy: https://www.camicb.org/privacy-policy

Why Overthinking Costs Us Our Best Decisions?

By Lison Mage who is the author of Act Before You overThink: Make Decisions Easier and Liberate Your Mind.

Imagine playing basketball and every time you pass the ball to one of your teammates, you see him freezing — unable to decide whether to shoot, dribble or pass to another player.

And every time this happens, your team loses momentum, letting go of the opportunity to score. Your opponents have the time to regroup in defence as they now guard each player tightly and the window to secure an advantage has closed.

What would you feel if this kept on happening again and again? If some players keep on “freezing” and the team on losing, would it remain cohesive? Would players keep on practising or even showing up for the matches?

As much as the answer is evident when we look at it through the prism of sport, it comes less naturally when we set ourselves in a corporate setting. But we have all been there. We pass the ball to a colleague and they do nothing with it.

And most often, it’s not that they don’t want to help or do their fair share. Instead, what happens is that they “freeze”, they get overwhelmed or considerably slow down. And the most surprising part is that it happens to brilliant and capable individuals.

Simply put, they overthink.

Jason, a software team leader for a growing tech company, was one of the 365 people I interviewed for my book’s research Act Before You overThink. As a manager leading individuals with strong analytical skills, my basketball analogy hit the mark.

Some of his engineer colleagues could spend days working on requirements, weighing pros and cons, drafting specifications after specifications, without getting much done and missing milestones. When confronted during advancement meetings, people would often argue that this is mandatory to avoid making a costly mistake. Still, when taken separately, a few would admit the size of the project and its ramifications felt daunting.

Jason’s team members suffered from analysis paralysis, which is typical for many overthinkers.

To explain it, I like to use the story of a possum (for non-Australian readers, imagine a giant mouse) that broke into a bakery one night. Then, it binged on cakes until it could not move anymore, defeated to have eaten so much but unable to stop itself.

It is critical for our poor possum to be able to eat without any limit. In its natural habitat (quite different from an Australian bakery), there is no food buffet; hence when food is available, it needs to eat as much as possible to stock it and prepare its body for when food is scarce.

This is an evolutionary trait deeply rooted in the mind of this small animal to ensure it lives and perpetuates its species. And like food, there is one more thing our little friend will consume without limit to maximise its survival chance — information.

And that’s something we have in common with possums.

Indeed as we evolved, we now have more self-control than possums and can refrain from eating to the point it would kill us. However, we cannot say the same for information.

In ancient times, we were always looking for cues indicating where to find water and food, the presence of predators and possible shelters as information would increase our chances of survival. And we kept this habit.

But nowadays, we have access to more information than ever with the internet and our consumption keeps increasing. We are now like our poor possum, stuck in the bakery with an incommensurable number of delicious pastries. It is estimated that from 1990 to 2015, the information load of a manager in day-to-day operations has quadrupled. However, over this span of 25 years, our species’ cognitive abilities remain mostly the same.

We have gained access to an overwhelming amount of information, but our ability to process it didn’t change. Indeed, this can lead to an information overload where we cannot account for every bit of data, inputs and possibilities, which creates this anxious and paralysing feeling of not knowing how or what to do next. In this situation, overthinkers will generally double down on analysis and explain they “just need a bit more time to get on top of it”.

More is not always better. More will not make it perfect.

For overthinkers, this concept can be counterintuitive and they often struggle with it. They fear making mistakes and not being perceived as valuable and knowledgeable contributors. Hence, they rely heavily on their analytical skills to navigate the unknown and tackle uncertainty with pure logic and facts.

Gathering and analysing more information to make the correct decision is a mirage overthinkers are happy to pursue. They can lure themselves into the apparent complexity of their research for “perfection” (or the “best” course of action). They delay, they postpone, wholly entangled in their thoughts, unable to process all the information they have accumulated. And ultimately — like the basketball player — they miss their opportunity to score.

Now, what is the best? Attempting a shot and missing or not shooting and handing over the ball to the adversary after the 24-second shot clock elapsed?

No need to be a sports expert to understand that it is better to shoot. And that’s the same in most situations in life. Like the famous slogan from the French national lottery stated: “100% of the winners did buy a ticket.”

If you don’t try, you have zero chance of succeeding.

Overthinkers will object to this idea, finding counterexamples (which are most often valid), yet they miss a core concept. They focus on the outcome (scoring or not, namely success or failure) to the detriment of the process (shooting or freezing).

Obviously, the basketball example is caricatural since the “best” choice is evident. But when the decision becomes more complex, when there is an enormous amount of information at their disposal, overthinkers focus too much on outcomes to find the “best” answer and disregard the decision process.

Let’s imagine you decide to take some holidays to travel abroad, book your tickets and plan your activities to cancel everything because you broke your leg two days before your departure — was it a “bad” decision? After all, the outcome is not the one expected. But the process was the right one.

I fell prey to this cognitive trap while I began writing my book. I wanted to have a “good” book that could impact one’s life. It led me to consume a lot of content. I read books on similar topics, researched extensively for more than a year, watched countless videos on how to write and publish a book, and the list goes on.

I kept accumulating information, but I hadn’t written a single line.

I was too focused on the outcome — writing a “good” book — and felt paralysed every time I faced my computer by the challenge ahead of me. So, to help me, I adopted a process beautifully explained by Steven Pressfield in his book The War of Art.

It is pretty simple, I needed to get “in the trenches” every day: sit in front of my computer, and write, come hell or high water. How many lines I wrote and the writing quality were only details of the process that I could adjust, but the main point was to write no matter what. Therefore I progressed every day, getting closer to my goal, to my “good” outcome of getting a book written and published.

If you keep shooting at the hoop, you will eventually end up scoring, but more importantly, you will improve your skills. The process of practising is more important over time than the result in itself.

Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, famously said:

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. […]. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.”

But these outcomes never prevented him from trying, from trusting his process — to achieve success.

As I worked with Jason to help him with his team, we went on moving the focus from outcomes to processes by shifting the mindset from destination to progression. At a practical level, we still encouraged his colleagues to leverage their curiosity and think about the problem they were encountering — but we added one key component: audacity.

To counter overthinking and avoid analysis paralysis, they embrace the process of thinking and doing, which can be translated as being curious and audacious. So his colleagues had to ask themselves regularly: “I have been quite curious lately — but was I audacious enough?” — which prompted them to take action.

Or, as I like to say, they realise it was time to act before they overthink.

How Much Liability Insurance Can Co-op and Condo Boards Require?

Most New York City co-op and condo boards typically require shareholders and unit-owners to carry $300,000 to $500,000 in liability insuranceJeffrey Schneider, president of Gotham Brokerage, tells Brick Underground. The cost is about $25 to $50 per year and is purchased as part of a comprehensive homeowners insurance policy. 

At a minimum, co-op boards need to add the insurance requirement to the building’s house rules in order for them to be legally enforceable. “This is something that boards can impose without a shareholder vote, but some boards choose to have a shareholder vote anyway,” says Dean Roberts, a partner at the law firm Norris McLaughlin, noting that house rules are incorporated into the proprietary lease.

There is some disagreement, however, whether putting the requirement in the house rules goes far enough. 

Jeffrey Reich, a partner at the law firm Schwartz Sladkus Reich Greenberg Atlas, says a building’s proprietary lease must also specifically authorize a board to set insurance requirements. “In the same way that a court will not enforce a sublet fee or flip tax imposed through a house rule,” Reich says, “it is our understanding that a court would not enforce a unilaterally imposed requirement that shareholders be obligated to spend a not insignificant amount of money on an insurance policy.”

Reich notes that most proprietary leases are silent on the matter — a surprising fact to both the boards and shareholders of the buildings he advises. Updates to a proprietary lease usually require a super-majority shareholder vote.

Can boards set specific numbers? “Boards can set limits and deductibles so long as they are ‘reasonable,’ which is a very fuzzy number,” Roberts says. “A Park Avenue co-op can likely set a higher limit than a Bronx HDFC. The standard is driven by the facts in the individual co-op building, especially if there have been a lot of liability issues with individual apartments, such as one shareholder flooding another.”

Adds Schneider of Gotham Brokerage: “While some buildings set minimum limits for coverage on contents and for an apartment’s interior structure, that’s rare.”   

Boards are typically most concerned that each apartment owner has enough liability coverage.

“A co-op or condo wants minimal involvement in water-damage disputes between neighbors,” Schneider says. “If you flood out your downstairs neighbor because of your negligence, your personal liability coverage should take care of the damage. If you are not negligent, everyone [needs to rely] on their own property coverage. The insurance companies” — not the board — “can fight out questions of fault and ultimate responsibility for the damage.”

And boards like to keep it that way.

If You Need CECs — We’ve Got You Covered!

CAMICB offers a number of online continuing education opportunities. Be sure to regularly check out our helpful list of On-Demand webinars available here for managers to view that are free or low-cost, and CAI Headquarters has an entire library dedicated to webinars available for continuing education credit available here. All of CAMICB’s continuing education opportunities can be found here

CAMICB also offers the option for managers to seek out online opportunities that work best for them, and unapproved online options can be e-mailed to info@camicb.org for approval consideration.

For any questions, please reach out to CAMICB at info@camicb.org

What the #@$%! Happened to Our Manners at Work?

Because of pandemic rust, a generational shift or something else, the working world is getting ruder, many say

By Callum Borchers For The Wall Street Journal

Workers, where are your bleeping manners? 

You’re cursing more and handshaking less, quitting on shorter notice and waiting longer to answer emails and texts.

At least, that’s how it feels to the self-appointed etiquette police among your co-workers and business associates. Politeness is tough to measure, and, sure, certain norms are overdue for updates. Still, I keep hearing from business people who swear (as in attest, not cuss) that the working world is getting ruder.

Hiring managers lament that job candidates skip cover letters whenever possible, seldom follow up on interviews with thank-you notes and can’t be counted on to show up once they’ve accepted offers. 

Job seekers, for their part, complain that computers screen those cover letters, anyway, and that too few recruiters are considerate enough to send rejection letters, leaving hopefuls to wonder for weeks about where they stand with potential employers.

Many workers, particularly younger ones, claim they aren’t interested in bonding with colleagues and act accordingly. Happy hour? Hard pass. That’s not so much about being cold or uncivil, these people say, as it is about maintaining a private life away from work.

Others’ interpersonal skills are rusty or underdeveloped, owing to limited opportunities to practice during much of the past couple of years. 

One glimmer of hope, or a sign of self-awareness: LinkedIn reports August enrollment in its two most popular business etiquette courses was up 127% year over year. 

Those mourning the supposed decline of business etiquette blame the pandemic, a tight labor market, Gen Z and the internet. 

“In the last three or four years, it has become much, much worse,” says Steve Landrum, a sales executive who lives near Atlanta.

His No. 1 gripe is “ghosting” from potential clients, which he says is more common now than at any time in his 30-year career. Like a dating-app match who suddenly stops answering messages after flirting, some sales leads show initial interest only to cut off communication without explanation. 

When that happens, Mr. Landrum sends a short “breakup” email—“I’m going to assume that you’ve gone in a different direction,” he writes—if only for his own sense of closure. He tells me those who aren’t courteous harm their own reputations, though he concedes that bad form doesn’t dog people as it once did.

The bigger shift in recent years might be that rudeness has become less costly. 

Left your job abruptly? In this economy, there’s bound to be another one around the corner—for now, anyway—and companies aren’t checking references as often as they used to. 

Underdressed for the big meeting? Let she who is without stretchy Zoom pants cast the first stone.

Ignored that question a co-worker asked you on Slack? In a hybrid workplace, you might never cross paths with the co-worker and have to suffer the awkward consequences. Or if you do, you can claim having turned off notifications accidentally. 

Just don’t try that excuse on Phoenix Normand, chief of staff at a tech company in California.

“Waiting all day to return a Slack inquiry is pretty much the most disrespectful thing you can do,” he says.

A close second: mucking up written communications with wayward punctuation, misspellings, abbreviations and emojis. If Mr. Normand sees a “your” that should be “you’re,” he’s gonna be, like, WTF? Amirite?

“The English language is being butchered to the point where it’s almost embarrassing,” he says.

He adds that workers often don’t realize their informality can land poorly, at least if someone like the 53-year-old Mr. Normand is on the receiving end. A recipient might conclude that the writer doesn’t know basic grammar and syntax or take offense. A sloppy email can inadvertently suggest that the person in the “to” field isn’t worth the time it takes to proofread.

Toni Purvis, founder of the School of Disruptive Etiquette in Washington, D.C., recommends erring on the side of formality in writing. It can be safer, she says, to buck traditional notions of “professional” appearance because many companies have come to realize that rules governing attire, hair, tattoos and other aspects of personal style can marginalize certain workers.

Still, it remains important to consider how others perceive the way you present yourself, she adds.

For instance, the red suit that Ms. Purvis wore on her first day as an intern at an investment bank in the aughts sent the wrong message. In an industry with its own dull palette—banker gray—it looked as though she was trying to be the center of attention, she says.  

The outfit was a hand-me-down, and Ms. Purvis was oblivious to the unofficial dress code because she was the first person in her family or circle of friends to enter the corporate world. Her school aims to help others who don’t grow up learning etiquette by osmosis avoid missteps.

Daniel Post Senning, author and spokesman at the Emily Post Institute, notes that many traditional standards can be traced to wealthy, white society in the Northeast. He agrees with Ms. Purvis that contemporary etiquette is evolving to be more inclusive.

“Being true to who you are and where you came from is an important part of being honest,” he says.

That doesn’t mean authenticity always goes over well. 

Cole Wiser, the creative director at a marketing agency in Dallas, says addressing a client as “y’all” once prompted a private scolding by a manager who thought the term was too informal. Ever since, Mr. Wiser says, he’s been self-conscious about a contraction that’s just part of how he talks. 

When he slipped a “y’all” into a video call with a client recently, he asked his LinkedIn network to weigh in. The advice ranged from use it to don’t use it to use it only with fellow Texans. “Read the room” was a popular tip.

The mixed feedback wasn’t especially helpful, but he posted thank-yous, anyway. It seemed like the proper thing to do. 

Maintaining High Ethical Standards

CMCAs’ Commitment to Following Strict Standards of Professional Conduct

An important – yet often overlooked – component of CAMICB’s Credentialing Program requires a Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) to adhere to a high standard of ethical conduct. This means Certificants must comply with the 10 CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, which govern their professional activities.  

These Standards of Professional Conduct, detailed at www.camicb.org/standards, range from understanding laws applicable to community association management, to being knowledgeable on association policies and procedures, to carrying out fiduciary responsibilities, and participating in continuing education coursework. A violation of any of these Standards of Professional Conduct may be grounds for administrative action and possible revocation of the CMCA certification by CAMICB.  Abiding by these Standards of Professional Conduct help protect consumers and associations that hire or contract with community association managers. 

“When a community association manager earns the CMCA, they’re pledging to uphold a strict code of professional conduct which is critical to the profession,” said Ron Perl, Esq., a Partner at Hill Wallack LLP, who leads the firm’s community association practice group. “This is more than understanding the many facets of community association management and troubleshooting challenging situations, it brings about accountability, responsibility and trust to the individuals the profession serves.”

Enforcing the Standards of Professional Conduct

In order to maintain and enhance the credibility of the CMCA Certification Program, the CAMICB Board of Commissioners adopted strict procedures that allow consumers and others to bring complaints concerning CMCAs to the Board. 

The CAMICB Chair of the Board appoints members of the Standards of Professional Conduct Compliance Committee which oversees the process and procedures for enforcing the Standards of Professional Conduct. Once a complaint – received in writing – is deemed valid and actionable by the Committee, it will be brought before a Review Panel for investigation and a determination of whether there has been a violation of the Standards. If the Review Panel determines a violation has occurred, an appropriate sanction will be imposed. This process, including the internal investigation, hearing, and timeline of activities, is clearly detailed in the Procedures for Enforcement of the Standards of Professional Conduct document available on the CAMICB website. 

The grounds for sanctions under these Procedures range from conviction of a felony, to gross negligence or willful misconduct in the performance of professional services, to fraud or misrepresentation and, where applicable, loss of state license required to practice community association management.

“These Standards of Professional Conduct are the foundation of the CMCA credentialing program,” added Marilyn Brainard, a public interest member of the CAMICB Board of Commissioners.  “We take them very seriously and are proud of the work our colleagues and managers do to uphold them.”

More information, including a set of Frequently Asked Questions, a list of the 10 clearly outlined Standards of Professional Conduct, complaint form and other pertinent documents can be found at https://www.camicb.org/for-cmcas/standards-of-professional-conduct.

What’s the best way for our condo board to collect unpaid common charges?


How a condo board can handle common charge arrears will be governed by the bylaws.

Q: Several owners in our condo building are in arrears on their common charges. What’s the best way to collect the money they owe?

A: Common charges are important revenue for condos and are necessary in order for the condo to meet operating expenses, maintain common areas, and pay employees.

“If apartment owners fail to pay common charges, it can deplete the building’s reserve fund and could result in higher common charges or assessments for owners who are paying their obligations,” says James Woods, Esq., a partner at Woods Lonergan PLLC, who is a litigation attorney with a concentration in representing condo and co-op boards, as well as other corporate and business entities.  

Woods recommends boards be proactive when a condo owner defaults on their common charges.

 “A responsive board signals to residents that the board will remain diligent and vigorously pursue payment when there is this type of delinquency,” he says.

If owners don’t keep up with their payments, there are substantial penalties and the default could ultimately result in unit owners losing their home, says Lauren Tobin, Esq., an associate attorney at Woods Lonergan PLLC, who specializes in representing condo and co-op boards, as well as buyers and sellers.

The specific steps the board takes will be determined by the building’s bylaws. Boards should refer to them for information on notices of arrears, debt collection, late fees, and interest.

 “Actions by the condo board are governed by the bylaws, so any actions taken to collect arrears must be consistent with the governing documents,” Tobin says. 

Impose late fees and issue a notice of collection

Usually the first step is to issue a notice of arrears or notice of debt collection to the defaulting owner and advise them that late fees will be imposed for non-payment of common charges. 

Late fees typically range from $50 to $100. The notice of debt collection should provide the amount owed including a breakdown of any late fees, assessments, parking fees, common charges and other fees. Tobin says this is important because it can help a unit owner understand the statement and that they are in arrears.  

“We’ve seen situations where the autopay for common charges wasn’t working—payments were bouncing on the bank’s end or the management company changed—and the unit owner thinks they are paying but in fact they are not,” Tobin says. Advising the unit owner could rectify a simple mistake and solve this problem.

A notice might provide an amicable solution, she says. The notice should also advise them they have 30 days before the board imposes a common charge lien—the next step which would put a claim on the title to their apartment. 

File a common charge lien

If the notice of collection is ignored, the next step is to file a common charge lien against the condo unit. 

A publicly filed lien serves two important functions. It is an avenue that allows the board to later foreclose on the unit if the lien is not paid in a timely manner and it prevents the owner from selling or refinancing the apartment without first paying the debt owed to the condo. 

Banks will not approve a buyer’s loan if there is a lien on the apartment. 

“If the unit owner understands the implications of the lien—that it’s the first step to starting a foreclosure action—they are often incentivized to pay what is owed,” Tobin says. 

If the bylaws provide for it you can also include late fees, interest and other costs as part of the lien. This means you can add the expenses incurred by the board to the total sum owed by the condo owner. 

This might include attorneys fees incurred in the process of collecting the debt—which will include any work involved in issuing notices as well as the process of filing the lien. This could amount to several thousand dollars. There are also recording costs which the bylaws may entitle the board to include in the lien. 

“This means these additional amounts will be paid back to the board whether from the condo owner directly or in a foreclosure action,” Woods says. 

Take the rent from a tenant in the condo

In a situation where the condo is being rented out to tenants, the board has the statutory right to take rent payments directly from the residents of the apartment if the condo owner is in default. 

“The board management must provide notice to the tenant and the condo owner that due to the default in common chargers future rent payments must be made directly to the condo. Payment to the condo will satisfy the tenant’s obligation to pay rent under the lease,” Tobin says. 

This can continue until the owner is current with common charges. If the unit owner is living there and it is not rented out, this avenue is not open to the board. 

Foreclose on the common charge lien

The next step would be to start a foreclosure action in court to sell the condo owner’s apartment and recoup the funds. Getting the advice of an attorney with expertise in this area is helpful when commencing this type of litigation. 

In most circumstances, the first mortgage, if there is one, will take priority and must be satisfied before a lien for common charges can be paid to the condo. Additionally, “more often than not, a default in paying common charges constitutes a default in the mortgage agreement with the bank,” Tobin says. 

So in some situations it will be a case of which entity—the bank or the board—begins the foreclosure action. If the amount of the debt owed to the lender is substantial then it may be advantageous for the board to monitor the bank’s foreclosure, as the condo’s lien will be subordinate to the bank’s mortgage. 

Pursue a money judgment 

Another option is to direct your condo attorney to bring a lawsuit for a money judgment. 

“Depending on the amount of the common charge arrears, it can be in civil court or even in a small claims court in lieu of a foreclosure action,” Woods says. 

This is a less common route, because if the condo owner doesn’t have the money to pay the common charges, the money judgment won’t carry much weight and the condo board will therefore not receive the money owed. 

“The cost to pursue the money judgment will depend on whether the condo owner challenges it in court. “Even in a scenario when it is not contested, the board may expend $5,000 or more in filing action and obtaining the judgment,” Woods says. 

James F. Woods is a partner at Woods Lonergan PLLC and Lauren K. Tobin is an associate attorney at Woods Lonergan PLLC. Woods Lonergan PLLC  represents New York City cooperative corporations, condominium boards, management companies, buyers, sellers, commercial landlords and tenants. To submit a question for this column, click here. For a free, 15 minute legal consultation, call 212-684-2500 or send an email.

HOA Homefront – Which type of management Is best for your HOA?

BY KELLY G. RICHARDSON For the San Diego Union Tribune

Determining which type of management services is best for the HOA is a very important HOA board decision. Even the smallest associations need some form of professional management.

What is a “manager”? Managers oversee the association’s day to day operations, advising and informing the board and following its policies and instructions regarding association property and funds. A manager may be an unpaid volunteer or may be paid. The paid manager may be an association employee, a consultant, or an employee of an outside company. California requires no license to manage HOAs.

Volunteer management. Many associations use volunteers for their management functions. The motivation for volunteer management is primarily to save cost. In volunteer management, volunteers place themselves in the role of an unpaid manager, with all of the risks and no reward. Volunteer-managed associations often find it difficult to find board candidates, since directors work so much harder when they are also managers.

Financial management. This involves collecting assessments, paying bills, and preparing monthly and annual financial reports, disclosures, and budgets. A financial manager typically does not visit the property. Management companies often prefer financial management because it is more predictable and less prone to the extra work of managing the property. Some accountants also offer financial management services. Associations struggling with the cost of full association management may wish to consider at least financial management.

Property management. Property management involves responsibility for keeping up the condition of the buildings and grounds and may include routine inspections for architectural violations, maintenance items, and repair needs. The plumbing leak on a Sunday afternoon and the broken window on Tuesday evening are all part of the routine for a property manager. Property management, when coupled with financial management, is called “full management.” Some associations choose to hire one company for financial management and another for property management services. Full management services normally cost significantly more than “financial-only” management.

Off-site/On-site. Most associations are managed by persons working at a location at a management firm office. Some companies provide managers working at the association property, at a greater cost. However, on-site managers typically a higher level of service, which can offset the greater cost.

Portfolio vs. General Manager. Portfolio managers simultaneously work for multiple associations, while general managers work for just one. Most associations cannot afford general managers. An important question to the portfolio manager is “how many other associations will you handle along with ours?” A lower management fee can result from a company overloading its managers. For some HOAs, cost is the only concern, but level of service, experience, and management credentials should also be considered. Ask questions and make sure your association understands what it is receiving. HOAs normally get what they pay for.

In-house management. Larger associations may choose to hire their manager and staff as direct employees. This gives the association more control of its management at less cost than the rates charged by a management firm for the staff it provides. The drawback is the opposite side of the coin – the association takes on the responsibility of finding, screening, and supervising the manager and dealing with personnel issues.

Choose the management style best serving the community’s interests and needs, rather than automatically selecting the cheapest.

Kelly G. Richardson is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and Partner of Richardson Ober DeNichilo LLP, a California law firm known for community association advice. Send questions to Kelly@RODllp.com. Past columns – http://www.HOAHomefront.com.

HOA safety concerns arise after deadly Midtown Atlanta shooting

Two people were killed and one is still fighting for his life after an HOA dispute at a popular midtown condo.

By Kaitlyn Ross for Atlanta 11 local News

ATLANTA — People in Midtown are asking serious questions about safety in homeowners associations after a deadly shooting this week. Two people were killed and one person is still fighting for his life after a HOA dispute at a popular Midtown condo.

George Nowack’s law firm was representing the condo association at the center of the dispute in Midtown –  and he said they were all really scared. 

They evacuated their offices Monday and he said now the industry as a whole must focus on how to keep people safe. 

“From our perspective, our name is all over that lawsuit as defending these people that she said wronged her,” Nowack said. “We got a call basically right after it happened. And we reacted. We did what we needed and wanted to do to protect everyone in our firm. And we did it. And so it’s still very emotional.” 

Nowack said his entire firm is still reeling from the deadly shooting in Midtown Monday that killed two other people named in a lawsuit and left another in critical condition. He said he’s always feared this would happen. 

“It certainly raised with me the thought, the concern that I’ve had for many years that there would be at some time: a manager, a lawyer, a groundskeeper, someone who is involved with the association, being hurt or killed,” Nowack said.

He said those fears are compounded by a recent Georgia Court Decision that found homeowners associations must go on the properties, regardless of who owns them to fix any violations they see themselves, before coming to the court to collect on fines. 

“The court is ordering a confrontation. Between the owner and the association over a failure to maintain,” Nowack said. 

The Georgia Supreme Court just affirmed the decision this month–  meaning board members may have to confront homeowners on their own property. 

“What can we do about it? And the answer is we can’t do anything about it. But, what is going to be the reaction on dealing with people who are upset with you,” he said. 

He believes the court ruling has created more opportunities for dangerous situations.  

Novak said he knows a number of on-site managers who have refused to go back on their properties right now until some of these safety issues are addressed. He said it’s horrifying it took this tragedy to bring those concerns into sharp focus.

Your Zoom Party Isn’t Easing Remote Work Anxiety

Creating a work culture centered on overall well-being will enable companies to attract and retain top talent.

By Kathleen Quinn Votaw for Training Magazine

At first, Zoom was fun, kind of like a party. You could see how people lived, and it was cute when the dog wandered into the meeting with a ball in its mouth or the toddler said, “Hi.”

But it didn’t take long for those interruptions to become distractions, and instead of laughing, people on both sides of the screen started getting anxious. What will people think if I can’t control the background noise? How can we get the job done with all these disruptions?

Other issues started to arise. Bosses were sending e-mails at 9 p.m.; workers were responding at midnight. No one seemed to know when to stop, and workdays became endless.

Additional confusion resulted when goalposts were moved numerous times over the pandemic as returns to the office were announced, then delayed; when masks were required, then not; when social distancing mattered, then it didn’t; when some businesses were open, and others were not; and then came the vaccine issues. People with school-age children or caregiving responsibilities struggled with figuring out what to do and when.

The “Great Resignation”

Along with anxiety, employees increasingly felt stressed, worried, frustrated, and angry—all harbingers of our current burnout and the “Great Resignation.” And Zoom? It will be with us for a long time as we make the massive transition to a future of remote and hybrid work. Business leaders have the power to figure it out and are obligated to do it now.

Over the last nearly two years of the pandemic, we’ve learned that employers need to see their people holistically and recognize that experiences outside of work affect the work itself. For businesses to thrive, employees must thrive, which requires leaders to focus on employee well-being during and outside of it. Leaders can do many things, large and small, to foster well-being.

Broadly, leaders need to dare to care about their employees, making well-being a cultural priority. That’s the only way employees will know they are trusted. Leaders need to give up the authoritative and hierarchical styles of the past and lead with empathy. This means being transparent, fair, authentic, and respectful—becoming less of a boss and more of a coach.

Another significant leadership change is to model the behavior you want to see, which requires you are thriving and prioritizing your well-being so employees can follow your example. Make sure managers are the first to follow your lead. Your culture is only as broad as each manager’s style and influence.

Tips to Reduce Employee Burnout

There are also many specific things leaders can do to nurture well-being and eliminate, or at least reduce, burnout as we increase our commitment to remote and hybrid work modes:

  • Delay delivery of those late-night and weekend e-mails and texts, a great model of how to not work 24/7.
  • Be generous with time off and be flexible in terms of where, when, and how people get the work done. Each one of us is struggling and adapting in our own way.
  • Consider offering paid time off (PTO) and flexible benefits targeted to individual need.
  • Communicate often and clearly to reduce confusion about changes in your policies and expectations and let people know what’s coming next, at least as far as you know.
  • Ask employees frequently how they’re thinking and feeling, what they need, and how they’d like to work. Don’t ignore the input; act on it.
  • Provide all the necessary support and technology employees need to work productively from remote locations with ease and confidence.
  • Make sure everyone feels included in hybrid situations when some people work in the office and some from home. This could mean leveling the playing field by asking everyone to attend meetings on Zoom, even if some are sitting next to each other in the conference room.
  • People want to be together in person. Be creative about how you can safely organize periodic events.
  • Insert fun: Send cards, celebrate small things, have contests…use your imagination.
  • Sometimes people get tired of endless Zoom. Try a phone call here and there instead so they can dress in comfort clothes or walk in the park while they talk.

People are choosing where they want to work in the days to come based on the decisions leadership makes today. Decide to create a culture centered on overall well-being and you’ll be the organization that attracts and retains top talent. It’s clear that remote and hybrid must both be part of the equation in this moment and into the foreseeable future. And so must Zoom. Change is hard, but there is much you can do to reduce the anxiety it causes.

Hinsdale To ‘Play It Loose’ With Condo Park

The developer would keep the park as open space for the public, but it would not be dedicated to the village.

David Giuliani, For The Patch

HINSDALE, IL – One of the parks for a proposed condo development in Hinsdale was the focus of a Village Board debate this week, with one official saying the village should “play it loose.”

The board ultimately approved the plan for a dozen condos in the old Zion Lutheran School at 125 S. Vine St.

As part of village requirements, South Bend, Indiana-based Holladay Properties is proposing three pieces of open space for the complex.

One would be dedicated as a public park, while another would be private for the condo residents. The third, though, was a question mark.

The developer hoped for the third park to be open space, but not officially a place that would be advertised as a park.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, Trustee Luke Stifflear said his recollection was that the third park would be dedicated to the village, but not be advertised as an open space for everyone.

Village President Tom Cauley recalled differently.

“I thought we were going to play it loose,” Village President Tom Cauley said. “If it was dedicated to the village, it would then be a public park.”

Drew Mitchell, a Holladay partner, agreed. He said the idea was for the third park to be quasi-public. While residents could access it, he said, no sign would be posted to indicate it was a public park.

At some time in the future, the homeowners association may change the use of that particular open space, Mitchell said.

Cauley said the thought was to keep it open, but not for intensive uses.

“If they had rugby matches there, you may decide that’s not an appropriate use,” he said.

Trustee Laurel Haarlow said she had trouble with making the open space quasi-public.

“I think that it would be difficult to enforce if it’s not more clear-cut,” she said. “What kind of precedent does that set for future property for (planned unit developments)?”

She questioned whether the homeowners association would privatize the space within a year.

Cauley said he did not want to “scare off” the development, to which Haarlow responded she, too, supported it.

He said the village should “leave it loose” on the third park.

“If it becomes a problem, let’s talk about it,” Cauley said. “We won’t advertise it as a park.”

The board unanimously approved the concept for the development. Now, the developer must present a more detailed plan to the village’s Plan Commission, which Mitchell said would happen in a couple of months. The Village Board would have the final say.

At a meeting last month, trustees said they preferred the development be age-restricted – in other words, for those 55 and older.

The developer originally wanted it to be age-targeted. That means the company would make the complex appealing to senior citizens without an age rule.

Holladay agreed to go with age-restricted, which was part of the board-approved concept.