Artículo extractado de la revista Opinión | Álo Doral
Artículo extractado de la revista Opinión | Álo Doral
THIS IS A PROPOSAL FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
All spending by the ASSOCIATION above $15,000 requires first the approval of the BOARD in consultation with the Financial Committee (and any other appropriate committee) with 3 written estimates according with the bidding process specified below.
The BOARD should establish an open, wide and honest bidding process in which the bidders have no relationship with the BOARD or the MANAGER company members. The bidding process is well publicized, by different media such as, the ASSOCIATION’s magazine, entrance boards, social media, blast e-mails, and including at least one BOARD meeting. The Request For Proposal (s) (RFP) are published with plenty of time for consideration and are available to the home owners by simple oral request to the MANAGER.
When the analysis of the written scope of work has been completed, with the participation and report of at least one committee, the BOARD is ready to take bids on the job. There should be three or more different contractors bidding on the job, strictly adhering to the RFP. The process of adjudication begins with a thorough analysis by the financial, architectural and any other committee that has expertise in the field of the bidding; expert opinions of engineers, architect, other experts (to the extent needed) and the lawyer (in all cases) shall be obtained. The BOARD is required to study carefully the reports of the committees and the professionals, and then take an objective decision. Bidders who wish to bid on jobs with Doral Isles Association, must first REGISTER as intending to bid and submit their qualifications, bonding co., licensing, insurers, CV or job experience, qualifier expertise and education, and other documentation demonstrating ability to perform.
The MANAGER shall make a background check of the contractor, such as litigations, that the contractor has the required license, and is in good standing, and the contractor’s reputation. The MANAGER shall call a contractor’s past clients. If at all possible, the MANAGER shall visit the sites of former jobs, to see firsthand what has been done and how. The MANAGER shall inquire if the overall quality of work and materials met the client’s standards, that the work completed according to the specified schedule, the sort of work habits did the contractor or crew display–did they come to the job for a few hours one day, then promise to show up the next day, and not show for the rest of the week? Did they leave a mess behind them, or a clean job site?
The MANAGER shall present a report of its findings to the BOARD in a regular meeting.
The first step in dealing with contractors is knowing exactly what work must be done. The BOARD, the MANAGER and the appropriate committee will put into writing the RFP, a formal job description, on which a contractor can make a bid. The RFP then becomes part of the contract documents, legally tying the contractor to a certain performance standards and to completing the work described.
The bid of the contractor includes a general description of the job, materials to be used, guarantees, permits, and so forth. Specifications may go beyond this, spelling out in great detail the exact materials and method required, leaving nothing to the imagination or discretion of the contractor. While not always necessary, specifications are recommended for complex jobs where very precise instructions are required. Specifications generally require the services of a professional architect or engineer.
a). Develop a comprehensive definition of the goods, services, and/or outcome required.
After at least three bids have been received, in sealed envelopes with the technical description, and all the steps delineated above have been conducted, the sealed envelopes with bids are publicly open; the offers are compared and after a prudent discussion a preliminary decision is made.
The financial, the architectural committee, and any appropriate technical entity, will review the proposals and send their reports to the BOARD. After the BOARD reviews and approves the reports it sends the complete package to the ATTORNEY for drafting the contract. After the process is complete the BOARD awards the job to the selected bidder.
All contracts are approved by the BOARD in regular meeting.
The contract is drafted by the ATTORNEY with the information provided by the approval process. This contract may be the only legal protection in the event that problems arise.
The basic elements to a contract should at least have:
(1) the RFP is part of the contract,
(2) the scope of the work to be performed by the vendor, (3) the timeline with which the work must be performed, (4) the price to be paid for the work, (5) how the contract may be terminated and by whom, (6) the methods of payment, (7) how breaches of the contract will be addressed, (8) any warrantees concerning the work to be performed, (9) the employment status of the vendor, and
(10) in the absence of malice, indemnification of the HOA for any damages brought about by the vendor during the course of work.
After the contract is drafted by the ATTORNEY and approved by the BOARD the President and the Secretary of the BOARD sign the contract.
Hiring an architect or engineer (or other professional for specific projects) is necessary to assist with a project of major repairs, renovations or improvements by recommendation of the architectural committee. First, the BOARD might hire an architect or engineer to inspect the facility to determine the scope of the project. Second, the BOARD hires an architect or engineer to prepare a scope of work, specifications, and/or drawings which describe in detail the work to be done. Some jobs require an architect to file drawings with Doral City before work can begin.
The BOARD should have a contract with a CARETAKER that spells out such things as the caretaker’s duties and compensation. The CARETAKER duties shall be: checking the permits, being present during city inspections, supervision and keeping track of the progress of the job, discussing technical details with the contractor. When the job is completed, the CARETAKER should examine the work to make sure it meets the standards specified in the contract and report it to the Administration in writing. If the BOARD has any doubts, they may want to ask another professional to come in and do an inspection before they pay the final 10% retainer on the contractor’s fee. This way, the BOARD can meet problems as they occur, rather than wait until the end of a job when work must be redone or the contractor has already been paid. This will incentivize the contractor to perform.
1st payment, 10% on signature of contract,
2nd payment 20% after 30% of work is performed, and Inspection passed,
3rd payment 20% after 50% of work is performed, and Inspection passed,
4th payment 20% after 70% of work is performed, and Inspection passed.
5th payment 20% after 90% of work is performed, and Inspection passed,
6th payment 10% after final inspection of Doral City is passed, CARETAKER, and any other hired professional approves it.
After the completion of the project a sufficient reserve with the reasonable life expectancy and itemized replacement cost shall be implemented.
Rebid the work of existing vendors every three years. That helps to ensure you’re getting the best value and price. If the Association has a vender with whom is very happy, it should keep that vendor, but also keep it on its toes by asking it to submit a bid as part of a review process every 3 years.
Following these steps will save time, money and aggravations to the ASSOCIATION compared with not doing a good homework.
This is the evidence that I presented to the Department of Business and Professional Regulations (DBPR), evidence that was never considered. The arbitrator ruled only based in formalities. Please read it:
Many says that Homeowners Associations (HOA) are “organizations of contract” because are ruled by internal regulations which are very incomplete and carry little weight in the enforcement, but mostly they have very little protection to the homeowners. And the FS 720 that pertains to HOAs is almost empty of substance, and again, no protection to the homeowners. Condominiums are a little more “organizations of statute” because FS 718 gives a lot more protection to the homeowners, although still insufficient.
Most BOD require that its members sign a “Non Disclosure Agreement” that seems to be designed to cover up for any and all misdeeds within.
Even members find Board of Directors (BOD) in flagrant violations in the governance of condos or HOAs the last resort is a civil suit that can cost many thousands of dollars and last over one year (more than the remainder of the period of the BOD) and if the member loses the case it has to pay, in addition, the HOA legal fees. The issue becomes totally impractical.
In addition the Florida legislature, under pressure by CAMs firms and HOA’s attorneys lobbyist, fails to create specific regulations to protect the community associations members.
The complaints of HOAs and condos are myriads about irregularities and abuses of authority of BOD as we have seen several publications in the press, with very little redress by authorities.
One of the most critical part of those problems in HOA’s are that elections of BOD are with proxies and vote certificates. These documents, that gets into votes, are not supported by any system of verification of signatures or any other identification. Many of those documents are collected in administrations where the members go for, among other things, issues of fines for violations of regulations, and fines are lifted in exchange for a signature in a proxy. There are a large number of owners that rent out their units and others that live in other places and never vote; the administration has a close tab on those homeowners and become the main source of signature fraud.
HOAs have no checks and balances, the decisions of BOD members are final and have no appeals. The least that a HOA community ought to do is to collect signatures of 75% of the membership and change the rules for good.
El vehículo mas común de enriquecimiento ilícito en cualquier HOA es el soborno de contratistas (kickbacks) a miembros del Board of Directors (BOD) o de la administración, para beneficiarse de contratos inflados en precios.
Naturalmente que este tipo de transacciones conlleva sobreprecios y muy frecuentemente trabajos deficientes.
Esta lacra es muy difícil de erradicar porque los participantes no dejan rastros. Es necesario hacer auditorias forenses en las que se investigue las condiciones en que se hacen las licitaciones y el otorgamiento de los contratos.
A un BOD corrupto no le importa lucir torpe cuando se analiza un proyecto sucio y esta con el soporte firme del abogado de la asociación, pagado con el dinero de la membrecía y están siempre listos a enjuiciar a cualquier miembro que critique al BOD corrupto. Si uno o mas miembros quisieran seguir una demanda en una corte legal, tendrían que pagar de sus recursos varios decenas de miles de dólares y se arriesgan a que si pierden tienen que pagar los costos del corrupto BOD (asociación).
Los organismos gubernamentales no crean leyes que protejan a la membrecía, todo el sistema judicial está organizado para proteger al BOD, aun a sabiendas que la trayectoria y el historial de las asociaciones es bien turbio.
Un BOD corrupto sabe bien que pisa en terreno seguro y camina sin temor.
La solución a este problema endémico es elegir a candidatos a BOD que se comprometan a crear regulaciones anticorrupción, con empoderamiento de comités y de la membrecía como son: un plan de contratación estricto, abierto y transparente, un plan de sistema financiero con salvaguardias en los gastos y una cultura de protección de los recursos, un plan de elecciones con observadores imparciales con componentes electrónicos, restructuración de los convenios básicos de la asociación (ByLaws, Declaration and Articles of Incorporation) que protejan a la membrecía.
Un BOD honesto va a realizar auditorías forenses de los contratos mas notorios y luego va a proseguir a los responsables en la corte hasta las últimas consecuencias. Con reglas firmes y un precedente legal así, los BOD subsiguientes van a pensar 2-3 veces antes de cometer delitos contra la asociación.
La parte mas importante, y donde se producen la mayor parte de las irregularidades en una Asociación de condueños (HOA) es en los contratos.
De acuerdo a lo expresado por nuestro administrador, nuestra Asociación carece de regulación detallada de cómo conducir los contratos, especialmente para licitaciones y otorgamiento de contratos. Una regulación de esta naturaleza eliminaría o reduciría la posibilidad de la existencia de actos de corrupción, como pudiera suceder a través de soborno a miembros de la Junta Directiva o a la administración por parte de contratistas.
La Junta Directiva ha rechazado repetidas veces nuestras sugerencias de implementación de un Plan Regulatorio de Contratos, o acciones similares, durante reuniones regulares. Va a ser un año en que le propuse al Presidente de la Junta, Sr. B. Park, un programa especifico de conducción de los contratos, su respuesta fue que lo consultaría con el abogado de la Asociación, pero nunca lo hizo y a pesar de mis insistencias aun no tenemos una respuesta o un Plan Regulatorio de Contratos.
En los 20 años de existencia que tiene nuestra hermosa comunidad, ninguna directiva de nuestra Asociación ha propuesto, mucho menos implantado, ningún Plan Regulatorio de Contratos, ni siquiera algo parecido.
La carencia de una regulación estricta de contratación ha originado retrasos, defectos, sobreprecios y pérdidas cuantiosas de dinero y defectos serios en la realización de obras. Queda la incógnita de que si funcionarios, en diferentes directivas, hayan actuado con honestidad en su trato con contratistas.
Nuestra Asociación carece también de otras regulaciones, altamente necesarias para una administración transparente y digna, tales como un código de ética para la Directiva, el Abogado (que funcione en defensa de la membrecía y no de la Junta Directiva) y la Administración. Lo mas critico de estas carencias es lo que se refiere a elecciones; no existe un plan específico y detallado para elecciones a la Junta Directiva que garanticen que sean limpias (no solamente con palabras vacías), que cuenten con monitores, verificación de firmas, prohibición de interferencia en los electores por parte de la directiva y de la administración, y finalmente implementación del voto electrónico.