Q: I wonder if you could tell me if it is legal to have only one signature on the checking account for a homeowners association. Our association is small with a small annual budget. We have little legal strength or authority other than the statutes and our documents. But I was wondering if the one signature is legal. Our treasurer is insisting on this because it makes handling the finances easier for her. We have three officers authorized to sign on the account.
A: Keep in mind that the board has a fiduciary duty to the members to protect the funds. There is no statutory requirement about multiple check signatures; a second signature is one way associations attempt to head off unauthorized use of funds. If you decide you only want one signer, you must have strict monitoring of the funds in place. Never allow one person to act for the association unless the actions are verified. I always recommend that the check signers not reconcile the bank statements. In your case, for example, if only the treasurer signs checks, you could have another officer reconcile the statement.
Control board meeting
Q: I reside in a cooperative park and have a question about the minutes of board meetings. We have a resident who has caused great turmoil over the last two years. He attends the meetings and has an issue with every item, causing the meetings to last well beyond an hour. Should his comments be in the minutes?
A: Simply put, minutes are to record the business of the corporation. They are only used for official business if the association becomes involved in a lawsuit. The judge will not be interested in what a disgruntled member has to say; the judge only needs to know the motions and voting results. The minutes also should reflect who was present and where and when the meeting took place. As for the disruptive owner, the board needs to adopt meeting guidelines that limit member discussion to three minutes on agenda items. In other words, your directors need to take control of the meetings.
Richard White is a licensed community associations manager. Write to him at 6039 Cypress Gardens Blvd., No. 201, Winter Haven, FL 33884-4115 or send an e-mail to him at CAMquestions@cfl.rr.com. Please include your name and city.