National Conference of State Legislators

Next week, I will be at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) with the CAI Government and Public Affairs Department.  NBC-CAM and CAI have been teaming up to exhibit at this Summit for years.  NCSL is the nation’s premier meeting of legislators and staff.  Republicans, Democrats and legislative staff from all 50 states come together at NCSL’s Legislative Summit to work on America’s toughest issues.  This is our opportunity to promote the importance of community association manager licensing.  This year, the Summit is being held in Illinois – a state that recently endorsed the CMCA program as their state licensure method.  Our goal this year is to reach out to as many legislators as possible about the importance of community association management legislation.


Annual Service Fee

As you all know, managers must pay an annual service fee of $105 by either April 1 or October 1 each year.  It has come to our attention that many CMCAs are confusing their annual service fee with CAI’s individual manager membership and/or AMS and PCAM fees.  We hope the below clarification will clear up any confusion.

CAI individual manager membership – The annual membership dues are $130. This amount includes the mandatory Advocacy Support Fee of $15 and an optional $10 contribution to CAI’s Foundation for Community Association Research—a tax deductible donation to a 501(c)(3) organization.  This membership is with CAI and does not pertain in any way to your CMCA certification.

CAI designations – CAI has several professional designations including the AMS, PCAM, LSM and RS.  The AMS, PCAM, LSM are due each year in August.  Each designation has member and nonmember annual maintenance fees.  This is not the same as your CMCA annual service fee.

Keep in mind that while NBC-CAM and CAI enjoy a collaborative relationship, NBC-CAM is a separately incorporated, independent entity.  CMCAs are responsible for paying their $105.00 annual service fee on time each year or risk termination.


CAI   Annual Fees                    


Due Date

Member dues

Non-Member dues














NBC-CAM   Annual Fees    


Due Date

Dues Amount


April or  October



HOA obtains CAI designation to improve community relations

Seven men and women volunteer to govern the Sun City Aliante homeowners association. They also hold the distinction as the first and only HOA board in Nevada to complete the Community Associations Institute‘s certification program.

The voluntary certification as a Dedicated Community Association Leader, or DCAL, was developed by the institute’s Nevada chapter.

Through the classes, the volunteer learns all aspects of proper community association governance, as well as ethics and finance, per Nevada Revised Statute 116, said Sun City Aliante HOA president and DCAL graduate Mark Smith.

“This is a tremendous community, and I think our board is unique in the sense that there are seven people all working for the betterment of the community,” Smith said. “Nobody has an individual agenda or is looking to make a name for themselves. We work to make the community better.”

Sun City Aliante has 2,028 homes and roughly 3,500 residents, Smith said, and the board welcomes everyone to engage in open dialogue with the HOA board members as per DCAL training.

“If someone comes in with a problem, through our education process, we try not to butt heads; we try to work it out,” he said. “We don’t want to create the horror stories you hear about.”

Smith alluded to HOA kerfuffles and scandals that have made headlines. Issues range from unscrupulous board members being ousted or homeowners spewing allegations to the Nevada Supreme Court weighing in on HOA collection agency disputes.

Mary Rendina, executive director for the CAI Nevada chapter, said Sun City Aliante’s board conveys a message to its community with the full compliance certification.

“In light of all the negative press about HOAs, these are people who are dedicated to making a difference and committed to following the rules,” she said. “I give them a lot of recognition and congratulations because of it.”

The Sun City Aliante HOA paid for the board members to complete their DCAL certification, Smith said.

The offer is open to any Sun City Aliante resident interested in taking the courses, he added.

Two residents have completed the DCAL courses to date, said Arnie Snow, general manager of Sun City Aliante’s management company, RMI Management LLC.

“I’ve been managing for 30 years, and this has been the most incredible place I’ve ever worked,” he said. “(The residents) appreciate what the board is doing, and they’re happy. They are impressed with the board and their level of commitment.”

Story by Maggie Lillis at the Las Vegas Review Journal

What I Wish I Would Have Known

The learning curve for new CMCAs is steep.  Still wet behind the years, you’re managing meetings and delving into budgets – often amidst contentious homeowners.

It gets easier.  Looking back, here’s what three experienced PCAMs wish they’d known when they started their careers.


Mellow with age

Gwen Rohrer, CMCA, AMS, PCAM managed a townhome community early in her career. That’s where a homeowner, in violation of the covenants, planted flowers in the common area.

Gwen confronted the issue head-on, issuing warning letters and alerting the board. But her zeal was rewarded with an escalation that ended up in small claims court, and cost the association thousands of dollars. Ultimately, the judge sided with the homeowner, ruling that while the flowers were not a detriment to the community. They violated the community’s rules, but not its spirit.

“Now I’m a lot more mellow,” said Gwen, now with Hammersmith Management in Colorado.  People don’t live in covenant protected communities because of the HOA’s list of 20 rules, she says, they live there because they love their homes, their neighbors and their yards.

“What’s more,” she said. “We’re not a judge or jury, and we should admit our mistakes.”

Make meetings fun

In his first year as a manager, Terry Jarrett, CMCA, AMS, PCAM attended 180 meetings.  The president of the Best Management Team, Inc., at first thought meetings were:

  • Too much talk
  • Too many
  • Too long
  • Too late in the day
  • Too little decision-making
  • Too poorly attended

But now he says, “meetings are my favorite thing about being in this industry.” He changed his perception by:

–  Working closely with board presidents. Terry invests 45 minutes before every meeting (but not immediately before) to meet with the board chair and create a unified agenda.

Setting boundaries on conduct. He explains to both homeowners and board members the proper and polite rules of conduct.

–  Being all business. Too often, board meetings get social, he says.  It’s your job to “establish the perception that this is a business meeting.” That includes dressing the part, putting the words on the agenda ‘business meeting,’ and allocating time for socializing after the meeting.

–  Using parliamentary procedure.  Your marching orders are to:

  • Protect the voice of the minority.
  • Preserve the rule of the majority.
  • Get business done.

Prepare, prepare, prepare.  Always read the board packet and ask yourself:

  • Do I have everything I need?
  • What am I going to talk about?
  • What questions should I anticipate?

Put it in writing

As executive director of the Ken-Caryl Ranch Master Association for 25 years, Chris Pacetti, CMCA, PCAM is now in the role of knowing the more about this community than anyone on his board.

“If you stay in one place for a long time, you become the face of that association,” he said.  “People tend to blame – or credit you – with past decisions. So, it’s important to document why the association made a decision.”

Sometimes that includes initiatives that were been tried years ago, and failed.

For instance, Ken Caryl Ranch runs a successful holiday tree chipping operation, and uses the resulting mulch in its open space.

One year, residents suggested running the chipper year-round, feeding it tree trimmings from their properties.  But the chipper was left unmanaged. So landscaping contractors dropped off branches from other communities, trash, and grass clippings. The result was a big mess.

The idea recently re-emerged. “It’s important not to pooh-pooh it,” Pasetti says, but rather tell the story of what happened the last time.

Your turn: what do you wish you had known when you started your career?

In the News

Possible FHA loan changes could allow condo mortgages
Changes to Federal Housing Administration loans could allow buyers to use the low-down-payment insured mortgages to purchase condos, something that has been prohibited. Real estate agents, lenders and builders have long criticized the FHA rules, saying they impede the nation’s housing recovery. Read the full story in the Los Angeles Times.

In the News

Connecticut passes 2 bills aimed at protecting condo owners
Two bills presented by the Connecticut Condo Owners Coalition passed in the state Legislature and are awaiting a signature from the governor to put the new policies into effect. The bills, which focus on community budgets, certification of property managers and the right to display religious symbols on homes, were deemed necessary to protect condo owners after several instances of mistreatment of residents were reported over the past several years.  Read the full story.