Board can decide how to put out repair bids
Q: Please tell me how to go about putting a bid out for a repair. Does the association have to abide by the management company advice, or can the board do whatever it wants to do. Also, can they use a nonlicensed contractor and if so, are there consequences? If they use a nonlicensed contractor can they be terminated from the board?
A: The board makes its own decisions and does not need to follow any advice of the manager or the attorney or other professionals. However, there will be situations that may occur because of such decisions and it would be unwise not to study professional advice. There can be consequences if events happen such as an accident, or substandard or incomplete work.
A bid is a document that explains what work is to be completed. It can be as simple as one page to define the job or a multipage engineer's report that defines material to be used, time progress, end test reports and a host of other requirements. The type of work to be done would define the type of bid specification sheet. Some specifications can be completed by the manager with the board's approval, or vendors such as paint manufactures may help with the form.
Sometimes you will want to use engineers or inspection companies to prepare a completed specification form. I have seen the specification sheet that spells out all details and can be used as the contract for the work. One major requirement is that the contractor has proper insurance and licenses; this should be in the bid as a requirement.
There is a lot of information on the Internet and in association study material. It is wise and in the best interest of the members, the board and the association to use bid and specification forms for all vendor contracts. It is good business practice.
Petition is simply stated desire to address meeting
Q: I know this sounds silly but what does the phrase in FS 720 mean when addressing meetings? Members have the right to attend all meetings of the board and to speak on any matter placed on the agenda by petition of the voting interests for at least three minutes.
Does the word "petition" mean things like giving the board a letter saying they wish to talk about, say, an expenditure the board is going to make that is coming up for a motion; or does it mean they must get the signatures of two-thirds of the members in order to speak?
A: The standard answer to a petition is that you need others to sign the document. No, a petition can be signed by only one person. I recommend that all boards establish a policy to comply with the statute allowing members to talk on agenda items. Such a policy would require that the agenda be published and posted before the meeting.
Most likely the agenda should be posted a minimum of 48 hours with the meeting notice. The policy should require that anyone who would like to talk for up to three minutes should be required to post with the secretary a letter (petition) before the start of the meeting. That letter would include the agenda item to be discussed.
During the meeting, the directors will proceed by following the agenda items. When the agenda item is called for discussion, a motion must be on the floor and then the directors first have the discussions.
Before the vote, the secretary would then call any members who posted notice to talk. Each would be allowed three minutes to talk. During this discussion, no director should answer any question or make any statement.
Once all members have had their three-minute talk, the directors should have a period to continue their discussion, answer any questions or make any closing remarks. Once the discussion is completed, the vote on the motion is taken. If an agenda item does not have a motion on the floor, then only the directors can talk briefly.
Members who have comments would be required to put their concerns or question in writing after the meeting.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115. Please include your name and city.