Agenda Item 9C
February 3, 2015
Action
MEMORANDUM
January 30, 2015
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
County Council
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
~
Action:
Bill 45-14, Common Ownership Communities - Governing Body ­
Training
Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee recommendation (2-1,
F10reen opposed):
enact the Bill with amendments.
Bill 45-14, Common Ownership Communities - Governing Body - Training, sponsored
by then Council Vice President Leventhal, was introduced on September 23, 2014. A public
hearing was held on October 21 and a Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee
worksession was held on January 26.
Background
Bi1145-l4 would require the Commission on Common Ownership Communities to develop
an educational curriculum to train a member of the governing body of a common ownership
community on the responsibilities of directors.
It
would also require a member of the governing
body of a common ownership community to complete this training or similar training approved by
the CCOC within 90 days of their election or appointment.
Individuals are often appointed or elected to the governing body of a common ownership
community without receiving appropriate training on the responsibilities ofthis volunteer position.
Although it is important to avoid discouraging individuals from volunteering to serve their
community, it is equally important to ensure that those individuals who volunteer to serve are
prepared to carry out their responsibilities as a board member.
Public Hearing
There were 13 speakers at the October 21 public hearing. Elizabeth Molloy, Chair of the
Commission on Common Ownership Communities or CCOC (©1O-12), Ilanya Branda, on behalf
ofthe Montgomery Housing Partnership (©13-14), Jordan Harding (©15-16), Jane Wilder (©17),
Richard Wilder (©18), Lawrence Dorney (©19-21), Eliot Chabot, Janet Schlosser, and Sheryl
Katzman, President of "JustUs" in Leisure World (©22-23) each supported the Bill as introduced.
Ms. Katzman added that the training requirement should be expanded to include alternate board
members. Gordon Klang (©24-26) supported the Bill, but suggested that additional enforcement
tools be added to the Bill.
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John Driscoll, President of the Montgomery Village Foundation Board of Directors (©27)
and Tim Knobloch, testifying for the Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors (©28-29)
supported training for board members, but were concerned that mandatory training would
discourage people from volunteering to serve.
Mr.
Knobloch suggested that only some of the
board members be required to participate in the mandatory training, and
Mr.
Driscoll suggested
adding a sunset provision to the Bill. Both
Mr.
Knobloch and
Mr.
Driscoll were concerned that
mandatory training would result in an increase in the fees common ownership community
associations pay for the CCOC. Finally, Vicki Vergagni, President of the Board of Directors for
Glen Way Gardens Condominium (©30-32) and Ruth Katz, speaking for the Washington
Metropolitan Chapter for the Community Associations Institute (©33-35) opposed the Bill arguing
that mandatory training would discourage people from volunteering to serve on a board.
January 26
PHEn
Worksession
Rand Fishbein, CCOC Chair, represented the CCOC. Peter Drymalski, OCP, represented
the Executive Branch. The Committee discussed the Bill and approved the following amendments:
1.
clarify that failure to complete training does not remove someone from the Board
or invalidate a vote;
2.
add a sentence clarifying that the CCOC "may exercise its authority under Section
10B-19 to ensure compliance;"
3.
add a provision that pennits the CCOC to give weight to the failure to complete
training in deciding a dispute involving an association;
4.
add a grandfather clause for existing board members; and
5.
add a sunset after 3 years.
The Committee directed Council staff to work with the CCOC in drafting the amendments. The
Committee recommended (2-1, Floreen opposing) approval of the Bill as amended.
Issues
1.
What is the fIScal impact ofthe Bill?
OMB estimated a one-time expenditure of $30,000 to develop an online training course for
board members and an annual recurring cost of $47,780 for one additional half-time
Administrative Specialist II to keep records and $3000 for miscellaneous materials. (©5-9) OMB
estimated that an increase in the licensing fee from $3
to
$3.50 per unit would raise $67,000
annually. Finance estimated that the Bill would have no economic impact.
2. Should the Bill be amended to clarify what happens
if
a board member fails to complete
training?
Associate County Attorney Walter Wilson, in his bill review memo (©36-37), pointed out
that
it
was unclear what happens to a board member who fails to complete the required training
within 90 days after being elected or appointed. Does the failure to complete training remove a
board member or invalidate a board member's vote? Several speakers also pointed out that it is
already difficult to get volunteers to serve as board members.
2
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Automatic removal from the board or invalidating votes due to failure to complete training
is likely to create an administrative nightmare for those boards. While the training would be
designed to improve the qualifications of each board member, it does not necessarily follow that a
board member who does not complete a two-hour online training course is unqualified to serve.
Council recommendation: amend the Bill by clarifying that failure to complete training does not
remove a member from the board or invalidate a vote by that member. See lines 42 to 44 at ©3.
3.
How should the training requirement be enforced?
The Bill is silent on enforcement of the training requirement. Code §lOB-19(a) already
authorizes the Commission on Common Ownership Communities to enforce the law by legal
action. This would require the County Attorney's Office to file suit in Court on behalf of the
CCOC to enforce this requirement. Code § IOB-13 authorizes the CCOC to order compliance with
the law as part of an administrative decision on a dispute and enforce the order in Court through
the County Attorney's Office. Finally, Code §lOB-13G) makes a failure to comply with a final
CCOC order a Class A civil violation.
The enforcement provisions of §IOB-13 require a full evidentiary hearing on a dispute.
The Committee rejected a staff amendment to expressly authorize the issuance of a Class C civil
citation with a maximum fine of $50 for the first offense and $75 for a subsequent offense as too
onerous. Instead, the Committee approved restating the Commission's general authority to enforce
this Article by legal action to ensure compliance with this training requirement and, at the
suggestion of the CCOC, pennit a hearing panel to consider a failure to complete training in
deciding a dispute involving an association.
Code § 1-19 states, in relevant part, that:
If
no penalty is specified for taking any action prohibited by County law or failing.
to take any action required by County law, that action or failure to act is a Class
A violation.
The Committee's refusal to add a Class C penalty to this Bill should not be interpreted as an intent
to make a violation ofthe training requirement a Class A violation under
§
1-19 because no penalty
is specified. Instead, the Committee added the penalties expressed in lines 45-49 at ©3 as the
stated penalty for failure to comply with the training requirement. Committee recommendation:
amend the Bill to add lines 45-49.
4. Should current board members be grandfathered?
The Bill would require a board member who was elected or appointed before the law takes
effect to complete the training within 90 days after the law takes effect. This transition would give
current board members the same 90 days to complete training as new members. Although training
would hopefully benefit many current board members, requiring all current board members to
obtain training at the same time might cause some administrative problems for governing bodies.
Council President Leventhal introduced an amendment to the Bill that would require current board
members to obtain training within 90 days after being elected for a new term of office that begins
3
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after the law takes effect. Committee recommendation: approve the grandfather clause. See
lines 53-54 at ©3.
5.
Should the
Bill
have a sunset?
Mandatory training for board members is a new concept for common ownership
communities in the County. Some speakers argued that mandatory training would make it harder
to find volunteers to serve on a board. A sunset provision would make it possible to evaluate the
effect of the law after 3 years before deciding if it should be made permanent. Committee
recommendation: add a 3-year sunset. See lines 55-56 at ©3.
6. Should the training be mandatory?
Several speakers at the public hearing supported additional training for board members,
but opposed the Bill because
it
would make the training mandatory. These speakers cited existing
problems recruiting volunteers to serve on a governing board and argued that mandatory training
would make it more difficult to recruit volunteers. However, the CCOC already has the authority
to offer voluntary training for board members. Bill 45-14 would not be needed to provide
voluntary training. The CCOC staff anticipates creating an online learning module that can be
completed on a computer at any location in approximately two hours. The CCOC Chair, Rand
Fishbein, recently outlined a proposed plan for training. See ©38-40. A governing board would
not be well served by a potential board member who refuses to devote two hours to training in the
first 90 days after being elected. Committee recommendation
(2-1,
Floreen opposed): approve
the Bill with the amendments discussed above, including the grandfather clause.
This packet contains:
Bill 45-14
Legislative Request Report
Fiscal and Economic Impact statement
Testimony
Elizabeth Molloy
Ilanya Branda, Montgomery Housing Partnership
Jordan Harding
Circle
#
1
4a
5
10
13
15
Jane Wilder
Richard Wilder
Lawrence Dorney
Sheryl Katzman
Gordon Klang
John Driscoll
Tim
Knobloch
Vicki Vergagni
Ruth
Katz
County Attorney Bill Review Memo
CCOC Training Proposal
17
18
19
22
24
27
28
30
33
36
38
F:\LAW\BILLS\1445
eeoc -
Training\Action Memo.Docx
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Bill No.
45-14
Conceming: Common
Ownership
Communities - Goveming Body ­
Training
Revised: January 28, 2015 Draft No.
~
Introduced:
September 23, 2014
Expires:
March 23. 2015
Enacted: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Executive: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Effective: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Sunset Date: Januarv 1. 2019
Ch. _ _,
Laws
of Mont. Co. _ __
COUNTY COUNCIL
FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND
By: Vice President Leventhal
AN
ACT to:
(1)
(2)
(3)
require the Commission on Common Ownership Communities to provide training
for a member of the governing body of a common ownership community;
require a member of the governing body of a common ownership community to
complete certain training; and
generally amend the laws governing common ownership communities.
By amending
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 1
DB,
Common Ownership Communities
Sections lOB-6 and lOB- I 7
Boldface
Underlining
[Single boldface brackets]
Double underlining
[[Double boldface bracketsD
* * *
Heading or defined term.
Added to existing law by original bill.
Deletedfrom existing law by original bill.
Added by amendment.
Deletedfrom existing law or the bill by amendment.
Existing law unqffected by bill.
The County Council for Montgomery County, Maryland approves the following Act:
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BILL
No. 45-14
1
Sec. 1. Sections lOB-6 and lOB-17 are amended as follows: .
lOB-6. Duties of the Commission on Common Ownership Communities.
The Commission must:
(a)
adopt rules and procedures as necessary to carry out the purposes of this
Chapter;
(b)
keep a record of its activities and minutes of all meetings, which must
be kept on file and open to the public at reasonable business hours upon
request;
(c)
cooperate with the County Executive and all government agencIes
concerned with matters within the jurisdiction ofthe Commission;
(d) examine by means of public or private meetings, conferences, and
public hearings, conditions in common ownership communities which
may result in unmet community, resident, or public needs; [and]
(e)
advise the citizens of the County, the County Council, and the County
Executive, and County, state, and federal agencies on matters involving
common ownership communities, and recommend such programs,
procedures, or legislation as it finds necessary; and
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
ill
provide training on the responsibilities of
~
board member for members
of the governing body of
~
common ownership community by:
21
22
ill
ill
developing an educational curriculum for new members; and
approving an alternative educational curriculum for new
members administered
by
other organizations.
23
24
10B-17. Voting proceduresi training.
*
*
*
25
(h)
A member of the governing body of
~
common ownership community
must successfully complete the educational curriculum developed
by
the Commission or
~
26
27
similar educational curriculum administered
by
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BILL
No.
45-14
28
29
another organization that is approved
1:2y
the Commission within 90
days after being elected or appointed to the governing body for the first
time. The governing body must:
30
31
ill
ill
certify that each member has successfully completed this training
to the Commission; [[and)]
retain
~
£QpY
of the certificate of completion for inspection
1:2y
the
members of the association for the duration of the governing
body member's service; and
32
33
34
35
36
37
ill
report to the Commission no later than December 31 of each year
membership data required by the Commission. including
(A)
38
39
the name and address ofeach member ofthe board:
au
(kJ
(D)
the
date each member completed the required training;
the number of vacancies on the board: and
the length of time each vacancy existed.
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
ill
A
failure to satisfy the training requirement in subsection
<b)
does not:
ill
(ZJ
remove the member from the governing body; or
invalidate a vote made by the member.
ill
!kJ
The Commission may exercise its authority under Section 10B-19(a) to
ensure
compliance with the training required by Subsection
Ch).
47
48
49
50
A hearing panel or a hearing examjner may consider a board member's
failure to complete the training required by Subsection
(h),
if relevant
in deciding a dispute under Section 10B-13.
Sec. 2. Transition.
Each member of the governing body of a common ownership community who
was appointed or elected before this law takes effect must successfully complete the
training requirements contained in Section 1 within 90 days after being elected for a
new term of office that begins after this law takes effect.
51
52
53
54
o
t\law\bills\1445 eeoc - training\bill4.doc
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BILL NO. 45-14
55
56
Sec.3. Effective date.
[[This Act takes]] The amendments made in Section 1
of this Act take effect on January 1, 2016 and are not effective after January 1, 2019 .
Approved:
57
58
George Leventhal, President, County Council
59
Approved:
Date
60
Isiah Leggett, County Executive
61
This is a correct copy ofCouncil action.
Date
62
Linda M. Lauer, Clerk ofthe Council
Date
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LEGISLATIVE REQUEST REPORT
Bil145-14
Common Ownership Communities
-
Governing Body
-
Training
DESCRIPTION:
Bill 45-14 would require the Commission on Common Ownership
Communities to develop an educational curriculum to train a member
of the governing body of a common ownership community on the
responsibilities of directors.
It
would also require a member of the
governing body of a common ownership community to complete this
training or similar training approved by the CCOC within 90 days of
their election or appointment.
Individuals are often appointed or elected to the governing body of a
common ownership community without receiving appropriate
training on the responsibilities of this volunteer position.
Provide appropriate training for members of governing boards.
Consumer Protection, CCOC
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be requested.
To be researched.
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney, 240-777-7895
To be researched.
PROBLEM:
GOALS AND
OBJECTIVES:
COORDINATION:
FISCAL IMPACT:
ECONOMIC
IMPACT:
EVALUATION:
EXPERIENCE
ELSEWHERE:
SOURCE OF
INFORMATION:
APPLICATION
WITHIN
MUNICIPALITIES:
PENALTIES:
Not Applicable.
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W\B
ILLS\1 445
eeoc·
Training\LRR.Doc
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ROCKV1U.E,
MARYI.A'\~D
MEMORANDUM
December 18,2014
TO:
FROM:
SUBJECT:
George Leventhal, Preside
t,
County Council
Jennifer
A.
Hughes,
D'
Joseph F. Beach, Diroc.'t r,
l1P.t~1'fim,
FEtS for Bill 45-14, Common Ownershl Communities -
Governing
Body ­
Training
.
.Pleasefind attached the fiScal and economic impact statements for the
above-­
referenced
legislation.
JAfHz
cc: Bonnie Kirkland, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Lisa Austin, Offices ofthe County Executive
Joy Nunni, Special Assistant to
the
County Executive
Patrick Lacefield,
Director,
Public Infonnation Office
Joseph
F.
Beach, [)inx.1;or, Department of Finance
Eric friedman,
Director,
Office
of
Consumer
Protection
David
Platt, Department of Finance
Helen
Vallone,
Office ofManagement and Budget
Alex
Espinosa,.
Office of
Management
and
Budget
Felicia Zhang. Office of
Management
and Budget
Naecm Mia,
Office
of Management and
Budget
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Fiscal Impact Statement,
Council
BiU 45-14
&
Governing
Body -
Training
1. Legislative Summary.
The purpose of this legislation
is to
re.quire the Commission on Common Ownership
Community (COC) to provide training for a member of the governing body of a conunon
ownership community; require
a
member ofthe governing body of
a
common ownership
community to complete certain training; and generally amend the laws governing
common ownership communities.
2.
An estimate of changes in
County
revenues and expenditures regardless of whether the
revenues or expenditures
are
assumed in therecommendcd or approved budget. Includes
source of infonnation, assumptions, and methodologies used.
Proposed expenditures include an appropriation 0[$20,000-$30,000 in the first year for
an outside vendor/university
to
create an online program which may include the
folIo\ving: the visuals, the
f10w,
the monitoring of the answers to the questions, etc. and
the university will host
the
program on its
O\\'Il
servers and maintain it in working
condition.
In
addition, the Office ofConsumerProiection (OCP) requests a part-time
Administrative Specialist
II
(grade
21, 0.5
full time equivalent, 20 hours per
week)
position at an annual cost of $47,780 (additional details provided in answer to question
#7).
The
eae
will develop the te:x."! of the program but does not have the resources to create
the online program itself. The online class
is
estimated to take
at
least
two
hours.
An increase in the annual1icensing fees imposed by
cae
per unit (house or
condominium) from $3.00 to $3.50 per license
is
being considered in order to generate
funds corresponding with the development, maintenance, and administration expenditures
associated
\vith
the application and Siaffmg.
'{be
increase in licensing fees would
generate an additional $67,000 annually (134,000 residential units currently licensed x
.50).
3.
Revenue and expenditure estimates covering at least the next
6
fiscal years.
A
concrete estimate is difficult to project at this stage as this
bill
is a new project which
has no equivalent elsewhere in the
country.
E:x.-penditures may include
the
following:
$20,000-$30,000
to
create the
online class in the first year; material
costs
such as
handouts especially for those who cannot use computers or carmot access the online
training due to
having
older computers etc., costs to modify the existing class ifthe
Legislature makes
significant
changes to
the
law;
a
part-time Administrati,,'c Specialist
II
position, $47,780 annually.
Expenditure estimates
=
$77,780
in
the first year ($30,000 for online program +$47,780
personnel costs) and $50,780 in out years ($3>000 material costs/ongoing costs
+
$47,780
personnel costs)
=
$331,680
Revenue
estimates
=
$67,000 annually for a 6 year total of $402,00Q.
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4.
An
actuarial analysis through the entire amortization period for each bill that would affect
retiree pension
or
group insurance costs.
Not applicable
5.
An estimate ofexpenditures related to County's infonnation technology
(IT)
systems~
including Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
Not applicable
6. Later actions that may
affect future
revenue
and
expenditures ifthe bill authorizes future
spending.
.
Not applicable
7.
An
estimate of the staff time needpd to implement the
bilL
Current
cae
staff~
consisting of 1.0 full-time investigator and .90 administrative support
staff would not be able to absorb the additional duties associated \\1th procuring.,
implementing~
and administering the training program on an on-going basis due to
current duties (see answer to question #8).
A part-time Administrative Specialist II (grade 21, 0.5 fun
time
equivalent, 20 hours per
week) position at an annual cost of$47;780 which·inc1udes
salaries,
fringe benefits, and
group health costs. for the following work: function as a registrar, be the official record­
keeper of approximately 5,000 board members and main.tain board member's credentials,
identify and notify board
membcf\S
of initial training and re-training requirement.
In addition, this position will monitor and manage the vendor contract, monitor and
update the program and processes, update the training module as needed, and provide
program measures and reports to monitor success of the program.
8. An explanation of how the addition of new staff responsibilities would affect other duties.
Without additional human resources, current staff would not be able to process complaint
cases
in
a timely manner; provide" consumer consultations that address issues before a
formal complaint is needed; adequately support the COC and the hearing process; and
plan and coordinate training and education of the boards.
9. An
estimate of costs when an additional appropriation is needed.
Expenditure estimat.es
=
$77.780
in
the first year ($30,000 for online program +$47,780
personnel costs) and $50,780 in out years ($3,000 miscellaneous materials/ongoing costo;
+
$47,780 personnel costs)
==
$331,680
Revenue estimates
=
$67,000 annually for a 6 year total of$402,000.
(j)
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10. A description of
any
variable that could affect revenue and cost estimates.
Number of members trained per year, length of training, teml of training, required
perfomlance measures for members, etc. will be determined when the program
curriculum is developed.
11. Ranges ofrevenue or expenditures that are Wlcertain or difficult to project
Revenues
and
expenditures are diflicult to project as the Office of Consumer Protection
does not have a firm cost quote yet from the outside vendor and the detailed
textidcvelopment for the training is still under development.
12. If a bill is likely to have no fiscal impact,
why
that
is
the case.
Not applicable
13. Other fiscal impacts or comments.
None
14. The following contributed to and concurred
\\~th
this analysis:
Eric Friedman, Director, Office of Consumer Protection
Marsha Carter; Management and Budget Specialist Ill, Office of' Consumer Protection
Peter Drymalski) Investigator, Office of Consumer Protection
Helen P. Vallone, Senior Management and Budget Specialist, Office of Management and
Budget
.
ghes; Director
anagement and Budget
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Economic Impact Statement
Bill
45-14,
Common Ownership Communities - Governing Body - Training
Background:
This legislation would require the Commission on Common Ownership Communities to
provide educational training for a member ofthe governing body of a common ownership
community on the responsibilities of directors and require a member of the governing
body of a common ownership community to complete certain training. Since Bill 45-14
requires training for a member of a governing body, it
will
have no economic
impact.
1.
The sources of information, aS8umptiOIlJ, and methodologies used.
Not applicable
2. A
description of any variable that could affect the economic impact estimates.
Not applicable
3.
The Bill's positive or negative effect,
if
any on employment, spending, saving,
investment, incomes, and property values in the County.
r
Because Bi1l45-14 requires the Commission on Common Ownership Communities
to
provide educational training to a member and requires a member to complete certain
training, there
is
no economic impact on employment, spending, saving, investment, .
incomes, and property values
in
the County.
4.
If
a Bill is likely to have no economic impact, why is that the case?
See paragraph
#3
5. The following contributed to or concurred with this analysis: David Platt and Rob
Hagedoorn, Finance.
Date
Department of Finance
/O/l'ft . _
Page I
ofl
(j)
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Testimony before the Montgomery County Council Regarding Bill 45-14
Common Ownership Communities - Governing Body - Training
October 21,2014
Good evening. My name is Elizabeth Molloy and I am the current chair of the
Commission on Common Ownership Communities. I am also the current president of
Sherbrooke Homeowners Association in Silver Spring.
As
you know, the
ceoc
is made up of 15 volunteer commissioners (eight of
whom are residents of common-owned communities and seven of whom are
professionals in the field). The
eeoc
is pleased that the council is seeking solutions to
the very important matter of educated boards. The
ceoe
believes that education for
members of boards of common ownership colll.1lluruties is an'important aspect of good
governance and we have committed ourselves to making such education available in
many forms.
Since I was appointed to the
ceoe
in 2009, we have fmalized and revised our
Manual and Resource Guide. We have posted all panel decisions on our website and
finalized a topical guide to those decisions to aid homeowners and boards on the types of
issues that have come before the CCOC. We have also produced 15 YouTube video
segments on various topics of importance to living in and governing a common owned
community. We are currently workitig on
15
more: We have held annual forums on
topics of interest to
communities~
including this past fall, a forum on the issue of
Reserves. We have ,sponsored classes in Bethesda and Rockville on the functions of a
board and are 100Idng to have additional classes in other parts of the county. And we
issue a quarterly newsletter that we post on our website and send to those who have
eSubscribed to the
ecoc.
As
you can see, the
eeoe
and the staff and volunteers who assist
it
have
committed a great deal oftime to make information as accessible as we can
in
as many
formats as we can.
However, the Commission is split on whether education of board members should
be mandatory. While several commissioners strongly support a mandatory educational
requirement, several others are concerned that
if
training is made obligatory, it will
discourage members ofthe communities from volunteering to serve on their
communities' boards of directors. We urge you to keep in mind that all associations
require their directors to serve without pay, and that the time required ofthe directors to
manage their associations can be considerable.
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Comments by the CCOC on
Bill
No.
45-14
October
21, 2014
One alternative that we would ask be considered would be that instead of
mandating training, require boards to annually report (with their annD;a1 registration) on
what training the board and individual members have taken in the previous year. This.
would serve to remind boards of the importance of training and inforni the CCOC of both
what training is effective and where gaps exist. Another alternative to consider would be
requiring that a certain number of board members
hav~
training (it could be one director
or a quorum of directors) who could be available as resource to the other board
members.
a
If
education of all board members is mandated, we would ask that
it
be made clear
that decisions made by a board not be invalidated by the fact that a board member did not
. obtain training. Without this provision there is the potential for unnecessary conflict.
In
addition, we would recommend that it be made clear that existing board
members would not.be required to take training until the first time they are elected again
after the effective date of the bill. Further we believe that board members who are
appointed to complete unfinished terms should not be required to take training until after
they are elected to a complete term.
. We also recommend that that you consider adding a provision that any board
member who has already taken the approved training prior to being elected need not take
it again for up to 6 years from the date of the training, and that the certificate of training
be valid for 6 years.
.
To assist the CCOC staff, we ask that the certification to be filed with the CCOC
should be filed with the annual registration information.
We are pleased that there is time to establish a class/curriculum built into the
legislation. We have already begun work on developing an online board basics training
program that can be'available to board members, and homeowners as well; for no charge.
We hope that the County will agree to fund it. The exact cost has yet to be determined,
but should become known before the end of the year once the exact parameters of course
are ironed out. We will let the Council know
as
soon as a cost estimate is worked out.
Regardless of the path chosen, it is import:ai1t the that the CCOC (and the County
Council) be able to monitor the implementation of the law and to determine as quickly as
possible whether or not associations are having trouble filling the board positions. To
that end we ask that you include a provision that makes it mandatory for common owned
communities to respond to surveys that we send out. We are planning on regularly
including a survey on relevant matters with the annual registration notice. Receiving
responses to our surveys will assist the CCOC to better target its efforts to improve the
common ownership community experience.
2
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Comments by the CCOC on
Bill
No.
45-14
October
21,2014
As
a final note, we understand that there are discussions underway about possible
changes to the CCOC. Before any changes are proposed we would urge the council to
wait until a review ofthe CCOC's functions and resources is completed by the Office of
Legislative Oversight. We ask that the CCOC be incluq.ed
in
any process to modify it
~d
that we be kept informed of any such proposals.
Thank you for looking for ways to improve the County's common ownership
communities.
3
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dt.MHP
:12200
Tech Road,.
Suite
250, SilverSpOng, Maryland 20904-.1983
Phone: 301-622-2400
Fax:
301-622-2800
www_MHPartners.org
October 21,2014
The Honorable Craig Rice
President
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, MD 20850
Dear Council President Rice:
On behalf ofMontgomery Housing Partnership
(MHP),
please allow me to take the opportunity to share
some thoughts on the Bills 44-14 and 45-14. MHP fully supports the Council's critically needed focus on the
struggles and issues facing many ofour County's common ownership communities. Bills 44-14 and 45-14
are both important
first
steps to begin to provide additional support and security for our common ownership
communities.
Many of you are familiar with MHP's role within the County as a developer of affordable rental multi-family
communities, but might not be as familiar with some ofneighborhood work. Neighborhood revitalization is a
cornerstone oLMHP's mission. MHP has been working in various communities throughout the County for
over twenty years. These include
the
greater
Glemont
area,
Long Branch, Germantown, and Gaithersburg.
On
behalf ofthe County,
we
have tackled such issues as: vacant and distressed property, small business
development, crime and safety, health and well-being, and environmental stewardship. In 2011, MHP
worked with home owner associations (HOAs) in Germantown dealing with high rates offoreclosures and
the inability to collect dues and assessments. MHP worked closely with Cinnamon Run, a 600 plus unit
association on conducting a capital reserve study and providing technical assistance and support
to
establish
a financial planning
strategy
for the :future. With 25 other HOAs in the area, MHP conducted a best practices
report, including site surveys, neighborhood profiles, and individual meetings with HOA representation. We
worked with the associations and the County to ensure both sides understand their maintenance
responsibilities. Additionally,
in
2004, we worked with the Ken-Gar, Bailey's Court, and Badger Drives
HOAs
to
undertake a similar analysis, which included surveying the residents and analyzing market and
demographic
data.
MHP
is
also an owner ofmany individual units scattered throuihout the County. We purchase most ofthese
units within ownership communities to create the opportunity for affordable rental housing where it
was
previously not available. Recently, we have
begun
to purchase units for very different reasons - to support
sellers who can't find buyers. Buyers can't purchase in those communities. Why? Because too many ofour
communities, at least 250 out of400 who
at
one point
had
FHA certification have allowed their FHA
certification
to
lapse, or
been
rejected. Without FHA certification many:first time homebuyers are unable
to
find alternative :financing to support purchases within these communities, leaving sellers without buyers and
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creating additional problems within the community. There are
three
main
factors
that
contribute to FHA
certification eligibility - delinquency rates, investor rates, and existing concentration of FHA loans.
These bills begin to address two ofthe main reasons why our communities have lost their
FHA
certification
- education
and
delinquency
rates.
Bill
45-14
goes to the heart ofthe education issues. We have very vested,
passionate residents who are
willing
to dedicate their time and energy to support their community .
associations. However, their professional skills don't always
align
with the necessary
skills
to successfully
support and manage their association. We need to ensure all
boards
have the skills to understand
and
craft a
budget, to select and manage their management company, to understand how and "When to apply for
FHA
financing, and to deal with residents who are delinquent, among others areas. Providing such training is the
first
step
in developing resident leaders who
will
serve to mitigate the challenges their community may
encounter.
The second bill, Bill
44-14,
begins to get to the heart ofsome ofthe issues the communities are facing today.
The high
rate
of delinquencies among our common ownership communities are preventing proper upkeep
and maintenance, limiting our communities' ability to put money aware for a rainy day,
and
are preventing
many communities from obtaining FHA financing, as outlined above. We fully support preventing owners
from renting out their units, "When they are not properly supporting their community. We would like to
suggest one tweak --
instead
of allowing owners to self-certify that their payments are up to date we would
recommend
that
rental license applicants furnish a letter from their board or management company certifying
that they
are
up to
date
with all fees and assessments.
I
thank the Council for working to support our common ownership communities. We need to ensure
that
our
communities are on solid financial footings, that they have the tools and knowledge to support themselves,
and are positioned for turnover. We must also recognize that some of these challenges potentially require
changes on a State and/or Federal level. For example, per State legislation when a bank
has
foreclosed on a
unit in a common ownership community the bank is only responsible for
$1,000
or four months offees, even
if
the owner had been delinquent for years.
Thank
you for taking the time to consider these thoughts
and
for
always keeping the needs
of Montgomery
County citizens at
the
forefront of your mind. We look forward to the opportunities to continue to work with
the County ensuring all our residents live in quality communities.
I
welcome the opportunity to discuss
this issue
with you further. Please feel free to reach me at
rgoldman@mhpapners.orgor
301-812-4114.
Sincerely,
~6J)i-
Robert
A.
Goldman, ESQ.
President
Montgomery Housing Partnership
Bills 44-14 and 45-14
2
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Mr. Chairman and Members of the Council:
I am Jordan Harding, an 8 year resident of Leisure World, a unit
owner and member of the HOA. I appear today in strong support
of CB
45-1~
and warmly commend councilmember George
Leventhal for his vision
in
remedying the compelling issues the bill
addresses.
Volunteer leaders have to understand their responsibilities. Too
oft~n
assn. boards forget that the assn. does not belong to them - - it
belongs to the members. A fundamental right of membership is self­
determination.
A Task Force on COCs, created by the General Assembly,
in
its
rmal report stated a prevailing theme in testimony that HOA boards
clearly lack education and training in the conduct of meetings and
in the overall administration and governance ofHOAs. And I am
informed that the governance and operation ofHOAs
will
be
discussed
in
the upcoming session of the General Assembly.
Moreover, three formal complaints filed with the MC CCOC by
two high profile corporate attorneys and a former member of the
MC Human Relations Commission, all residents ofLW, specifically
called for education and training of members of the LWCC b?ard of
directors. Thus the L
wee
BOD is "poster boy" for the need of
BOD certification the bill requires.
The L W BOD controls multi-million dollar budgets and decides on
facility and major public works projects yet many board members
lack business experience and resumes
in
management and finance.
The BOD further suffers from lack of written qualifications for
membership, poor orientation of new members, scanty board
education and development, and confusion over policy-making
responsibilities versus controversial management decisions. Clearly
there is need for formal training and instruction
in
the certification
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process proposed in CB
45-1~.
I urge your support and enactment
of thiS important bill.
Importantly, I further urge the County Council to hold a public
hearing on BOA governance, board of director practices, and
management reforms to determine beneficial amendment to local
laws that
will
enhance and promote more democratic and resident
friendly process in the conduct of BOA business and re-establish
.
confidence of residents in those processes.
1ft,
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1
10/21114
Testimony to support Bill 45-14 Common Ownership Communities- Governing Body­
Training by Jane Ann S. Wilder representing Citizens
to
Save South Valley Park and
Whetstone Run
in
Montgomery Village
Dear County Council:
I have been
trying
for over a year to get my Homeowners Association, South Village,
managed by Montgomery Village to follow the Maryland Homeowners Association Act
and allow me Access
to
Books and Records ofthe HOA under Title 11-116 and/or 11B­
112 Annotated Code of Maryland, for me to evaluate their improper activities,
in
order to
have a requested hearing on such issues as illegal towing of my car and the
virtual
destruction of our iconic cherry tree on private property
(7/15113).
(Exhibit A) I requested
a hearing on the cherry tree shortly after it was badly damaged due to trespassing on my
private property for improper pruning. I filed an Access to Books and Records request on
the South Village
1
Montgomery Village form, which virtually states the \lv-hole la\\'
allowing access
to
books and records. I have 5 items on this document, however only
one information item was provided despite numerous requests. (The law gives them 21
days to respond.)
I timely filed several information requests regarding the illegal towing of my officially
historic car towed on
117/14,
which they falsely stated waS parked too long or so called
"stored"
next to our house. (ExhIoit B) The car
was
properly and regularly moved
in
contradiction to their allegations.
In
addition they did not sticker the car as required.in
their own regulations! They never gave us a requested hearing and out of hand believed
the word ofthe security company who profits from such activity. .,fAlthough we
had
at
least 2 \\ritnesses ready, nor would they provide documents to oppose or support our
position.) None of the information requested was provided and no exceptions
to
the state
law were claimed. They simply ignored the request!
I would therefore like to add this issue of following the Maryland Homeowners
Association Act regarding Access to Books and Records of a HomeoV\rners Association to
the lists ofeducational requirements HOA boards should be cognizant of and followed
under
Mr.
Leventhal's bill 45-14. Only this "Will serve the Substantive Interest of Justice
and help prevent these quasi government
groups
from ignoring State and County Law.
Jane Ann S. Wilder
9969
Lake Landing
Rd.
Montgomery Village, MD 20886
301-208-1828
RWi3206724(a),aoLcom
Exhibits
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10/21/14
Testimony on Montgomery Council
Bill 45-14
Common Ownership Communities - Governing Body­
Training by Richard D. Wilder for Potomac Valley Environmental Group
We support Bill 45-14 for the following reasons:
We as members of the Montgomery Village Foundation South Village Homeowners Association have
experienced many homeowners association problems which could be mitigated or prevented with
proper governance training.
1.
Some Board members had never been to a Board or Committee meeting prior to being elected or
appointed.
2. Because of no term limits or no rotation of Board officers, some Board members had little or no
experience with governing.
3. Board members were often influenced by management staff members who controlled information
made available to Board members. Management staff refused to print letters as submitted by .
residents to the MVF News. These letters were often either censored or not printed in their entirety.
4. Board members were sometimes restricted from hearing resident input by management staff or
Board officers. Some Board meetings were held with no Residents Time. The number of committee
meetings for Environment and Transportation/Development/Public Facilities committees were
reduced from 6 to 4 per year and the Board Executive Committee was eliminated.
5. Board members had little or no knowledge of Maryland Homeowner and Condominium open
meeting requirements and therefore conducted meetings bye-mail or a special Board meeting
retreat not advertised to resident members.
6. Board members were not familiar with the Bylaws and Board member responsibilities. They seldom
asked questions before a vote was taken and often seemed afraid to vote in opposition to the rest
of the Board or management staff. Some Board members were often absent or continually arrived
late for Board meetings.
7. Board members had little or no knowledge of Freedom of Information Laws and how to respond to
them. We submitted requests for information on illegal car towing and destruction of a cherry tree
on private property and received inadequate or no response.
8. Board members were not familiar with Standards of Conduct or Roberts Rules of Order and made
arbitrary decisions not treating resident members fairly. Some resident members were arbitrarily
kicked off committees that they had been on for many years for reasons that were never before
used and those residents were never allowed to respond to false allegations against them.
9. Recently a ground maintenance contractor was told to "bush hog" wetland plants and stream
buffers by senior staff who responded to one complaint by a resident and did not notify authorized
staff, committees or Board members. This activity was in violation of Montgomery County and State
environmental guidelines, and could have been avoided by proper communication to authorized
staff, committees or Board members.
Richard D. Wilder, 9969 Lake Landing Rd., Montgomery Village, MD 20886, 301-208-1828,
RWi3206724@aol.com
@
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COVER LETTER
MY COMMENTS ON PROPOSED BILLS 44-14 and 45-14 SUBMITTED ON
OCTOBER 21,2014 AT THE COUNTY COUNCIL PUBLIC HEARING
FROM: LAWRENCE DORNEY
10204 ROCKVILLE PIKE, UNIT 202
NORTH BETHESDA, MD 20852-3304
TEL: (301) 564-6240
FAX: (301) 564-6240
email: larrydorney@aol.COM
TOTAL PAGES: 7
WIO
ATTACHMENTS
/5'
@
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TESTIMONY: BILL 44-15
THIS IS MY TESTIMONY TO THE COUNTY COUNCIL
REGARDING PROPROSED BILL 45-14
I HAVE BEEN A CONDOMINIUM OWNER SINCE 1990.
Dear Council Members:
Thank you for the opportunity to testify. I support proposed Bill 45-15
I have lived in common owned communities in Montgomery County for 45 years since 1969 to date.
In November 2005, the late Dan Wilson filed CCOC Complaint 839-0 against the GPIV Condominium.
On May 1, 2006 Wilson signed a Consent Agreement with the GPIV Condominium in which GPIV
would purchase Communities Association Institute (CAl) training DVDs and the GPIV Board
Members would view them.
No Board Member has ever viewed these DVDs since the DVDs were never checked out of the Site
Office where the DVDs were stored.
ATIACHMENT: MY email DATED
10/912914
'WHERE ARE THE CAl TRAINING DVDs?"
LAWRENCE DORNEY
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Page 1 of 1
Subj:
Date:
From:
To:
CC:
Where are the CAl training OVO's
10/9/20146:25:41
A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
LARRYDORNEY{a>,aol.com
gp4grosvenoroark@gmaiLcom, enoeht2@yahoo.com, pmechak@comsource.com
inbluewaters@hotmail.com, rp20852@yahoo.com, zbclay@gmail.com, gail.qreentree@amail.com,
ATHANASO@COMCAST.NET
Date: October 9,2014
From: Lawrence Dorney, GPIV Resident Unit Owner 10204-202
To:
Ernest Tremmel, President, Grosvenor Park IV Condominium
Peter Mechak:, CMI Principal
&
President, Property Manager
Roxana Rizzone, Site Manager, Grosvenor Park IV Condominium
Subject: Where are the CAl training DVD's
In Dan Wilson v GPIV Condominium CCOC Complaint #869-0, Wilson charged that the
GPIV Board members did not know their job or their legal requirements. Wilson requested
the CCOC train the Board members so that the members would know their jobs and legal
requirements.
In the Consent Degree resolving Complaint #869-0, the GPIV Association agreed to
purchase the CAl training DVD's so that the GPIV Directors could train themselves.
CMI purchased the CAl training DVD's for GPIV using their CAl membership discount. Also,
Jeanne Krause, a long time resident owner, asked CMI to purchase a set for herself.
The Consent Agreement was signed by Dan Wilson, representing the Complainant, and
GPIV President Patricia Wigginton, representing the Respondent, on May 1, 2006.
Providing the current GPIV Directors are not using these CAl training DVD's, when can I
borrow these DVD's from the GPIV Site Office. After all, these CAl training DVD's are the
property of the GPIV Condominium Association - the GPIV Council of Unit Owners.
They are in the Site Office, aren't they?
GPIV President Tremmel, would you please poll the six members of the GPIV Board to
determine how many Directors have viewed these DVD's.
None?
Yours Respectfully,
Lawrence Dorney
Tuesday, October 21, 2014 AOL: LARRYDORNEY
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\
\
As President of the Leisure World of Maryland resident advocacy organization "JustUs'"
I want to thank Councilman Leventhal and his staff for honoring my request and
introducing this most significant legislation. The origins of this landmark legislation are
addressed within the attached article:
"Grade "A" Certified: R-E-S-P-E-C-T,
Truthfulness and Advocacy".
Fiduciary responsibility demands representatives have prior knowledge of all legally
defining documents before voting to expend resident funds.
Only the State of Florida has had the foresight
to
mandate HOA member
certification. This instant legislation further protects Montgomery County HOA
residents, by requiring HOA board members complete a prescribed and mandatory
training curriculum. However, the training should also include the State of Maryland
Homeowners Association Act, as well as each HOA's Bylaws!Articles of
Incorporation/Master Deed/Amendments! Policies, Rules and Regulations.
Additionally, Bill 45-14 need be amended to include HOA'BOD alternates. In Leisure
World by example, each BOD representative has one or more designated alternates, who
"take their place at the table" when the assigned representative is unable to attend. The
Leisure World Board of Directors votes on a $25 Million
+
budget. Alternates could be
voting to spend resident funds without any assurance of their knowledge or background
on requisite legalities and/or the subject matter about which they vote upon.
The sole negative voice against this proposal cites the "red herring" argument that if
volunteers are required to be educated, no one will be willing
to
run for a seat. On the
other hand, those without a vested interest have said with requisite training, they would
be inclined to serve knowing they were in the midst of others who have been equally
informed and educated.
Assuredly, by setting this educational standard, those who have for so long merely waded
through will recognize their educational responsibility or step aside and let the cream rise
to the top.
"Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get
understanding. "
-Proverbs
4: 7
Sheryl Katzman
President,
"JustUs"
(Justice: giving voice to all residents)
"JustUs" advocates to enhance the quality of life for all Leisure World
residents
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....JustUs'" (Justice:
giving
voice
to
aD residents)
_______________________________________
The "JustUs" mission
is
to improve the quality oflife for
all
Leisure World residellts
~~.J~,~.nnmu
1"---------
-----,
"JustUs"
Grad."AffC<rli6ed, R-E-S-P-E-C-T,Truthf.l.....
WebDYCfDa!,hricmailsend had
manycoo,,"t.'t'A~
",I~
'" .ppointcd
board
""'mber
i.
'''''luired ••
IiOltSwitbresidc:"""pr-mglholrdWnay.ftuoltlition
take""~"".c.tlo,,.lcurrirulw:n=<I_d
....dAd.-'"
wbon
10
qwWIy for
boon!
scrvkc."
Any
di=tor
(ailing
It>
A.
mort
and
Olano
tosido:.l$
sod:
to
.ndcn1alld
m>d
fcar '" the ....,
it!
wbleb
they .,.
Ibcir 1<pI rights
Ilmkr "'"
J='-.ilins
.We
of!&ry­
""""ming
tbcir "",.low; II.!Id
~
bet"",
tbcir
du '"
is ....
,p<odcd
fmm
,...,ice
on "'"
I-.!
""til
IMd Homc:o..
'!ICR
As~A<I
••
Rood of
lOW""
mUluai
1100. Many
I1:jI!lrt
""""pic<
of di"""l'C"l,
b:<lI:
<he
""",plio."
In
hi>
2012 pn:scnl.olion .,
,he
Mon'""m<:r)'
,.,..;.
"'~
within "'"
~
World of M"'l'liUld
Allo1npU
by ...Iun'"",,-bo;ud
""""ben
10
ba,,,
Iheat
l"'Pollllion.
Simply bs
virtue
01'
being.
"","",unity
.ilo:no:d whil••
pcukln,
thel,,,,,,,,,,,,,",1I.!Id..
County Cummtaionas
.pt
tbe
Co..":ltniuian
CoJ.D-o
metnbor.ench
dewv",,"ASe.t@
The
Tabl•."
Each
ar ",f"sol
10 .......'"
IheIt
<:oIIC<:rn5.
S""", roside.nts
mob
OwnmlUp Cummuoili..
(CeOC)
Mmlll.!ld
u
"n"ded
to
_~ ,~
""thf.I",,,",
ct.hic:s.
'"'prcD
f«lin!: ..
oir of
jnlimidWOll.
""""tng
sbem
1Jom,:o..,.....
A.uooililiun
f'ml
VlCC-l'n:side:11
Rand
m>d
ad""",,:y
by """"
n:p",,,,,,"ing
UnI... """"
to "'back
orr,"
hctk::e
hem!
u.nabk:
to ubtain .. sutiJfBC­
II.
Flsbbein.Pb.O",""", "The 1Jd"""li"" Impauti''''
i..
if
V'.did.
and
~\'t n:aSOl1~
the
VlS\\'a'
by
lonly
","",Iulion.
.
At
\he
heart
of
the
problem
Is
the
IICllha.
mIIIly.
if
no!.
"vol.nIce'"
govtm:mo;,
II.!Id
pnid m>:>agc:ll1Olll
....rr•
Oot-t.IJllCnkdon
Y!)U~..oomis"nc:tlraordinary
_ _ "';dcnts
,I"""",
to ••",,,"",,,,,
boort!s
<om::
10
",,=pie 01'
cm~y
unpror"";anal
condu<l.
the
jab
,,-ilheuI ..
y
fun&m.:ttW lI.!Idcr>lIIodins
~fb
...
"",,,ldbe
"ret."
The
Problem:
displayedlasty_b)·the!11elllbcrsoflhclci>ol'1:Wurld pra.:u.:.:.or""""then:q1lircmcotscltbcir«>manu:lity',
n:oognlz¢d
10
speak,
own governing doc.-umeuu...
While:
Ammcwu CAp:d
Many
limes "'"
the_,ir.l "tl\lII'.the
"",do
I-.!
of din:ct<n. Upon
il..
bc.::l\lumdbyrrn:mbc:r$ofl.bc.rnuhI~rilC(:{l!dlc\·c:b
G
"",ideo.
mmIc
hi.
pica
th;d .'"
of l.thaI_un!! for
~ll!vel')"OOe
fro."nUo...""tIJrS.
k)
ldtDme)'.and C'lgll1C:C'11
of
lci>un:
World
m.lurlcally
dUplaying;
populllliontontrol of
d<ctonour~
be f"""",
to
phnnben
v.till
unUc:tb'O
exknSivc tnlming
mrJ
c.c::­
Ibe ..
iii"""
that by ",ool1ingthe "!iu!c old lmll'."
she
strld:n
from
Ldwn:
\\bcld
of
M"'l'liUId.
Whon sug·
lificat.iou
before being
mrtkb:d
il'1tu
Ihdt
n:specth'C
who
""",1<1
vOle
to
allow
such ..mege
prol"',"""" or
tnIlI<s.lI=: "'"
no
>UdJ r"'llli",,,,,,,,'"
will
just
gu
Z\\-'Y
7Qd
!Ult
be
heW
Iro", ag.b. Ill..., g<>!ing _
ofrnid
to
JlW"uc Iholr InqWy or compl";•••
lend
ere·
shouldbrla8!holrchildrenll.!ld~hildn:nlo
..ilncu when
it
comes
to
zU."!Ilnh.1erin1
CQ."'!l.mOD
ov.wrship
dence
to
tIwI
method
of
opcrztiOD.
Many
bo.ro
of
\he
leg,.:),
th!.-y would
impose
upon
~
World
of communities"
\\ilmC
Jttscls
rrut,}'
run
into
the
lr:ts
ur
d!rectot
Acicctcd \'OIuntc:::n- zm
of
!.he
opinion
IM1
M.rylaad,the
I"C!Iident
was
loudly
_tod
with
loud
milliorui.
of
dolton.."
I'i>h.bein said.
"th.f
<hoIlWcr "
rtduciary mpoMibiUty
(0
r:w:n.nge
their cmnmunitie>
the
oven:/I"",lden1.""",,;bility
i>:"""
long ""L'>oligb... boos.U>Ually
bemd
ooly
i.
the
Ilntish
II_e
of
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Comments On Bill 45·14 before the Montgomery County Council on October21, 2014
Gordon Klang
14000 Broomall Lane
SHYer Spring, Maryland 20906
My name is Gordon Klang. I have lived in the Strathmore Bel-Pre Community since moving from New York
in 1970. I retired from the Federal Civil Service in 1997. My last quarter century with the Civil Service
Commission and the Office of Personnel Management were as a senior policy advisor. (Some have referred
to me as a policy wonk especially with regard to the Foreign Service and advisory work with foreign
governments establishing new civil service systems.)
First, I must clearly state that I fully support the idea that directors or trustees as they are also known, of
homeowner associations receive training and that such training be mandatory. CCOC has provided training
up to now that has not been considered mandatory. I attended one such all day session about a year ago
and found it very worthwhile. The materials used were excellent and speakers were first rate. We even got
the treat of a visit by the County Executive during the session. Perhaps such special appearances could
serve as an additional incentive to get people to take CCOC training. I took that training on my own
initiative and expense. Although I've served on our Board twice, I was not a member of our Board at the
time I took the class.
While the three month rule provided in the legislative proposal is a good thing and the bill contains a
certification requirement,
if
people know there is no penalty for failure to conform to the rule you cannot
expect adherence at the level you would wish for. You may want to consider a rule that would deny to any
trustee who does not receive the required training the right to vote on issues before the Board. Further, it
would not be wholly inappropriate to require adherence to the three month rule in order to be counted for
a quorum. You do need some way to offset the fact that you will not provide a real enforcement
mechanism for the training required under this bill. If this sounds harsh, it is because I take very seriously
the trust responsibility required of such positions. The bonding requirement for directors provides a
cushion of comfort for bad decisions. We need to assure that bad decisions are kept to a minimum by using
whatever devices we can. In my case, I became a member of our board and brought about changes that
stopped practices that had continued for decades but did not conform to the governing documents. Later in
this document I mention a proposal to make it mandatory that association directors read the governing
documents. I would add this requirement to this bill.
last year I raised a question with the Montgomery County Ethics Commission, asking how it could be ok to
have attorneys working for the CCOC who were permitted to represent clients before the Commission. I
had tried two other places before the Ethics Commission and found little interest in either defending the
practice or condemning it. Posing the question to the Ethics Commission, I found that it was not ok. In fact,
it was clearly prohibited under Montgomery County's ethics rules. It had also been made clear in an
advisory opinion to a Commissioner two decades earlier and the same restriction applied to the panel chair
situation. In the end, the final decision communicated to CCOC was that they had to discontinue use of
attorneys who represented clients before CCOC. This is pretty basic stuff and I had assumed that any
attorney would have known that such a conflict of interest would be problematic. Yet, after the decision by
1
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the Ethics Commission, which not only interpreted the current law but made it clear that it would oppose
any amendment to the law to allow this use of attorneys, the Commissioners voted a couple of months ago
to send a proposal up to change the law. It is truly distressing to find that the Commission does not
understand the negative impact on credibility that comes with certain practices.
I have, in my years with the
esc
and OPM, been deeply involved in adverse action cases. Although conflict
of interest cases are rare because the restrictions are pretty straight forward, I did know one professional
working for the State Department, who crossed the line by teaching a course in how to get a better score
on the Foreign Service entrance exam. He was State's representative to the company that produces the
exam. That was a line that when crossed resulted in an unfortunate decision to separate someone from the
service. This man was not a lawyer and probably saw nothing wrong with what he was doing. I get much
more upset when lawyers don't know where the lines are drawn.
I have attached to this document a copy of the minutes of the August 6 monthly CCOC meeting. I've
reproduced copies for your use with highlighting to show the passages that concern me and I believe
should concern the Council. I should note that as of yesterday these minutes were not posted on the CCOC
web site.
You will note on the second page that the Associate County Attorney assigned responsibility for CCOC
drafted an amendment to Chapter lOB that would allow the practice to continue that the Ethics
Commission had ruled illegal. The nine CCOC commissioners present on that day voted unanimously to
recommend the amendment to the County Executive. While unanimous votes may be seen as a strong
show of support, I see, in this case, a sign of a complete lack of understanding of the importance of keeping
a judicial system clean. I can't imagine a more misguided unanimity. And why didn't this attorney from the
County Counsel's office guide the Commission through the shark infested waters rather than show them an
impossible path. When you've been told that the Ethics Commission opposes what you've been doing do
you really think it is appropriate
to
ignore their poSition? Not only are the optics very bad but the very
important question of credibility is compromised.
Some may say that the conflict of interest prohibition represents a fix to only a theoretical problem. I
suggest that there is no such thing as a theoretical problem when trying to protect the credibility of a
justice system. This Pandora's Box should remain closed and any attempt to pick away at the substance of
restrictions found in the current ethics codes should be rejected. I should note here that the Commission
has refused to allow the public to witness discussions concerning the Ethics Commission letters. The State
Attorney General's office has ruled that it can only lock out the public while receiving advice from their
attorney and not when formulating policy that would result in a legislative initiative.
On the third page you will find a decision by the Commissioners that is in conflict with the overall need to
assure that people who are directors (trustees) of their community homeowners associations be educated
in what is required of them. But here we see that a staff proposal that board members certify that they
have read their governing documents met with a cold reception. I can tell you that as strange as this
sounds, it is an attempt to deal with a real problem. Our association continues to deal with questions
related to how it can and can't spend funds collected via mandatory annual assessments. It is using
governing documents that were written over four decades ago and there are ongoing disagreements about
2
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how to interpret spending restrictions. Some of those who vote on the issue have never actually read the
restrictions. The consensus among the commissioners was that encouragement to know governing
documents should suffice; but requiring reading the documents "would discourage members from serving
on their boards." I cannot imagine why anyone would see such a requirement as unimportant. That is
certainly the signal given by the Commission when it is viewed against the backdrop of a requirement to
receive CCOC training.
I have seen a great expansion of information on CCOC's web site over the last few years. It truly is a
professional job in putting useful information out there for all who are interested. If there is any problem in
this area it is that most people who should know about this information source don't know about it or don't
care. Everything that can be done to put the word out should be done and incentivizing board members to
increase their knowledge of this important governing function should be done. Efforts in this respect should
include putting together a database of email addresses of all board members for those associations paying
dues to CCOC and using that database to supplement any names that are already on the Commission's
email distribution list. I have seen references to Mr. Friedman's initiatives to help the board function more
in line with the original intention for CCOC. His heart is in the right place and he should be given the
authority necessary to have an impact on the operations of the Commission. Its operations have become
overly legalistic and the vision of a place to go where you could bring a complaint without having to deal
with lawyers has been lost. Even the Ethics Commission noted the inappropriate use of previous panel
decisions as if they were precedents binding on subsequent decisions. Another MC commission has noted
that the playing field is not even at CCOC because of the use of lawyers common only for the association
and not for community members who generally are not represented by attorneys. Proper training of Board
members may be the real value of CCOC rather than its adjudicatory function, especially if confidence in the
process is compromised.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you on the bill before the Council and matters related to it. I
would be happy to answer any questions that the Council members may have.
3
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\
Testimony before the Montgomery County Council
By John Driscoll, President, Montgomery Village Foundation Board of Directors
October 21,2014
Bill 45-14
Common Ownership Communities - Governing Body - Training
Good evening, I am John Driscoll, President of the Montgomery Village Foundation
Board of Directors. I am here to provide quali'fied support for Bill 45-14, which would
require the Commission on Common Ownership Communities to develop an
educational curriculum to train members of governing boards of common ownership
communities on the responsibilities of directors.
MVF believes that educating Board members is a noble and worthy idea, but we have
two big concerns about the bill's implementation and its effects.
Our biggest concern is that the bill will discourage volunteers from serving on boards at
a time when it is already difficult to get enough residents to participate. MVF informally
surveyed our HOA and COA presidents (21 associations in addition to our own Board),
and the comments we received voiced real concern that community members will not
volunteer for a position that requires mandatory training.
After learning from CCOC of its plan to implement a two-hour online course, our Board
has somewhat less concern, but the question still remains, and we would like the
Council to consider the possibility of building a "sunset" date into the legislation so that
the requirement will end if it does not achieve the benefits intended.
Our second concern is whether implementing mandatory training will increase costs for
associations. To put it succinctly, we do not want to see our
eeoc
annual fee raised as
a result of this legislation. We trust that the CCOC, as an option to CCOC's having to
monitor the training, would authorize an association's attorney or manager-or another
organization-to train board members using an approved curriculum. In fact, if the
curriculum was well prepared and course materials were provided, a Board member
could lead the training. With other mounting government fees, our associations simply
cannot be expected to fund another unfunded mandate.
In summary, we all want better education to serve our associations. However, there are
real questions about the practicality of doing so in a mandatory fashion. Many practical
details still remain to be worked out.
Thank you again for the opportunity to testify.
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TESTIMONY OF
THE GREATER CAPITAL AREA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
BEFORE THE MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCn. ON
Bill45~14,
"Common Ownership Communities- Governing Body
-
Training"
Position: Support,
with
certain Modifications and Suggestions
October 21, 2014
Council President Rice and members of the-County Council, my name is Tim Knobloch and I am
the 2014 Treasurer for the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® ("GCAAR") - the
voice of Montgomery County and the District of Columbia's more than 9,000 REALTORS®,
property managers, title attorneys and other real estate professionals. GCAAR is also a voice for
many homeowners throughout the entire DC metro region on important property rights and land
use issues.
On
behalf of GCAAR, I would like to voice our support for Bill 45-14,
"Common
Ownership Communities- Governing Body- Training,"
with certain modifications and
suggestions to improve the legislation.
As a large percentage of GCAAR's membership is involved with common ownership
communities ("COCs"), either for personal or business purposes, we recognize the important role
those accountable for their governance can have. Their actions directly impact thousands of
County residents and can affect the livelihood of entire communities. A well-trained board of
directors can have extremely positive effects on the residents they represent.
GCAAR agrees with the Council's concern that individuals often serve on governing bodies of
COCs without appropriate training and a strong understanding of the responsibilities. We
understand Bill 45-14 strives to remedy this potentially serious problem by requiring the
Commission on Common Ownership Communities to develop an educational curriculum, or
approve a similar curriculum, to provide training on the responsibilities of directors within 90
days of their election or appointment. Overall, GCAAR supports Bill 45-14 and its intended
purposes.
GCAAR nevertheless maintains certain changes are necessary to make Bill 45-14 more effective
and easier to administer. First, it is important to consider that members of the governing bodies
of COCs are volunteers with very busy schedules and are giving their own personal time without
compensation. Any additional educational curriculum mandated by the County should not have
significant costs associated, and, ideally, would be free.
It
is quite likely that members of such
boards will already be paying dues and fees for various other aspects of their lives, and any
added costs associated with Bill 45-14 may discourage well-qualified candidates from
volunteering entirely. Particularly for smaller boards that do not have the resources to develop
their own curriculum, the financial aspect of the legislation is an important consideration.
Next, GCAAR believes that it is unnecessary for every member of a volunteer board to complete
the
type
of training Bill 45-14 would instate. Instead we feel it would be more prudent and
®
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efficient that only the executive members, such as President and Treasurer, to
be
the ones
required to actually go through the training.
In
tum, they could bring back this knowledge and
instill it upon the other members of their respective boards. Requiring every new member to
undergo training is too onerous of a commitment for those not involved with the leadership
aspects of the position.
Finally, GCAAR would like to
be
directly involved with developing the educational curriculum.
Our members could bring a great deal of institutional knowledge
to
such a process and help
create a course that is truly beneficial for those required to take it. REALTORS® are able to see
the how many units are turning over in the
C~C's
and can help the County better understand the
buy and sell process, the renting process, and more importantly some of the financing problems
with many of these properties as well. We also believe this collaborative approach between
government and practitioners ensures the practical difficulties
CDC
board members may
encounter throughout their tenure would
be
addressed.
In
conclusion, GCAAR commends the Council for proactively seeking to instill a greater level of
professionalism to those charged with leading common ownership communities. We see Bill 45­
14 as a great opportunity to work together towards more effective and efficient boards. GCAAR
sincerely
thWks
the members of the County Council for consideration of our Association's
perspective on this very important issue.
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Testimony for the Montgomery County Council
Tuesday, October 21,2014
Bill 44-14
-
Common Ownership Community Unpaid Fees by Landlords - FOR
Bill 45-14
-
Common Ownership Community Governing Body Training - AGAINST
Vicki Vergagni
President, Board of Directors and
On-Site Community Manager
Glen Waye Gardens Condominium
My name is Vicki Vergagni. I represent 214 condominium units in Glen Waye Gardens.
My comments are based on 39 years of owning and living in a condo:ninium, 14 years ofleading
the community as the Board president and serving as its on-site manager, and five years of
serving as a Commissioner on the -County's CCOC - with two years as Vice Chair.
First I must thank the Council for looking at two issues of some import to our
communities - a collections tool related to landlords who collect rent but do not pay their
community fees, and the lack of knowledge of elected members of these communities' governing
bodies.
I am here on behalf of a condominium and trust that the Council understands that,
although most condominiums come in the form of apartments, the Apartment and Office
Building Association does not speak for condominium owners who are charged with all of the
responsibilities of homeoW!lership, but who under this County government reap very little in
return for the taxes and fees that they pay. Not only are condominiums required to provide free
data collection services for County agencies
(e.g.,
recycling, leased units), they also are required
to purchase more pennits than single-family homes, and to pay higher fees than those paid by
single-family homes for the same service - all while being shut out of nearly every well-intended
County rebate program. This occurs because most legislation assumeS that all residences are
single-family in nature. But when condominiums are included, County folk do not understand
them operationally so the condominiums cannot apply for and receive the rebates to which they
are entitled
(e.g.,
rain tax, energy efficiency by both unit owners and
'JY
the association). You
will continue to hear from me as our communities
try
to survive
in
spite of poor public policy in
more than twenty areas for which the County is responsible.
First I will address Bill 44-14 related to rental licenses. I must speak in favor of this bill
with the modifications suggested by the Washington Metropolitan Chapter of the Community
Associations Institute. However, based on my experience with the County, I am very concerned
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about implementation. Will DHCA be reviewing a landlord's judgments via the Maryland
Judiciary C8;Se Search prior to issuing a license just to keep him/her honest?
If
the rental unit is
occupied but is not licensed, who will check to see that it is no longer rented - the County, or
will the County require the property managers to contact them re occupancy as they currently do
for "condemned" units? And what will the procedure be to remove the occupants of an
unlicensed rental property? Hopefully there will not
be
an endless time line for a delinquent
owner to pay up and there will not be yet additional burden on our communities.
Now I will address Bill 45-14 related to mandatory training fer members of our
governing boards. I surveyed both current and former members of my boards, and they strongly
advised against this bilL
I learned a long time ago that I should "not expect from others what I do not expect from
myself. How many Federal, state and local governments require that elected officials be trained
on the subject matter on which they will be making decisions? Montgomery County certainly
does not. Vet, elected officials are considering mandatory training for us whose decisions are far
less compreliensive
than
theirs?
While theoretically a great concept, this bill will have a chilling impact on recruiting
volunteers for our governing bodies. We already have difficulty fmding volunteers to serve on
the Board. And finding volunteers is a repetitive task, as Boards have staggered terms of office
with one or more positions expiring annually. To pass this bill without having
firm
training
requirements and options is putting the
cart
before the horse. And how would the law be
enforced? Would the one staff person at the CCOC have to review monthly a list of thousands of
board members that constantly changes- and to then send out reminder notices and/or report
those uneducated folks to a County official? Is the County going to fine
the
uneducated
individual or the Board that
has
an uneducated member or two? Would such a law put boards
out of business because the volunteers have nc;:> need for additional mandatory requirements when
they already serve in a politically difficult and thankless environment?
In
the alternative, I yvould suggest that the County encourage companies
that
provide
officer and director liability insurance to give discounts to "educated" boards. CCOC also could
develop an itemized list of issues about which a Board member should be knowledgeable which
will vary considerably since HOAs are not the same as condominiums which are not the same as
cooperatives. And even each condominium is unlike the next. This list could highlight issues
JI
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for which each community couid provide information to its incoming Board members, such as
for what portions ofthe property is the association responsible for maintenance, repair and
replacemerit. The CCOC also could provide a reference list of education courses and
publications from which Board members could select as they felt the need. And it might be
fairly easy for the CCOC
staff
person to e-blast all board members with relevant information as it
becomes available.
I look forward to exploring later with each of you Maryland's priority lien bill for
condominiums that requires a lender to foreclose on a property before a community can collect
up to $1,200 in delinquent fees - when that delinquency may be $600 monthly with master­
metered utilities included
~th
delinquent accounts frequently exceeding $20,000 and some up
to
$40,000+. Lenders don't foreclose because they will have to pay condominium fees as the
property owner. With the lenders leaving virtually hundreds ofvacant, non-paying
condominium units in the County, paying community members picking up all the bills for the
non-paying members. And many communities are nearly insolvent. Property values in these
communities have plummeted and are not recovering -- $60,000 for a spacious two-bedroom in
Gaithersburg in Montgomery County -- and with one unpaid water/sewer bill, virtually hundreds
of families .will be homeless since their homes will be condemned.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak on these issues of concern.
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\'Y
October 2, 2014
Montgomery County Council
c/o Mr. Craig Rice, President
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, Maryland 20850
Re:
Bill 45-14, Common Ownership Communities - Governing Body -Training
(Hearing: October 14, 2014, 1:30 p.m.)
Dear Council members:
I serve as co-chair of the Maryland Legislative Committee of the Washington
Metropolitan Chapter Community Associations Institute ("WMCCAI"). WMCCAI is a
50l(c)(6) organization that serves the educational, business and networking needs of the
community associations industry in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Members
include professional managers and community association volunteer leaders from condominium,
cooperative and homeowners associations, as well as those who provide products and services to
associations. I am writing to provide the Chapter's comments on the above-referenced Bill.
For reasons further articulated below, WMCCAI supports Board member training,
however, requiring mandatory Board member training without knowing the impact it may have
on members' willingness to serve on their Board of Directors appears to be premature. As such,
it may be beneficial to table this matter for now and develop a task force to study these issues
more thoroughly.
In
doing so, the task force could have participation or seek input from existing
community board members, managers, the Commission on Common Ownership Communities
("CCOC") and attorneys that practice in this area who could provide input on the proposal or
possible alternatives that achieve the desired goal.
There is no question that Board member education is beneficial and desirable to support
effective community governance. A better understanding of community associations, not just by
Board members but by all community members, would help members gain a better
understanding of assessments, the budget process, the need for reserves and meeting procedures
among other community association issues. Furthermore, having resources available, especially
ones that are available free of charge, would be helpful as a tool that Board members or
association managers can refer to those members who have questions or issues with their
associations. Providing such education would also hopefully limit controversy among
associations and members.
7600 Leesburg Pike
Suite 100 West
Falls
Church,
VA 22043
703.750.3644 MAIN
703.941.1740 FAX
www.caidc.org
Building
Better Communities
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Montgomery County Council
c/o Mr. Craig Rice, President
October 3, 2014
Page 2
There are, however, practical concerns with making Board member training mandatory.
Requiring Board member training, and further, attaching a fine or other sanctions to that training
if not completed, may detract from those limited members willing to serve on their Boards.
Based on discussions with community managers, Board members and other industry leaders,
many communities currently have difficulty in finding members willing to serve on their Board
of Directors. As such, many Board seats remain vacant and/or Board elections are uncontested.
There is already difficulty getting people to volunteer for a position that requires the dedication
of a lot of time and energy, with no pay, and many times little to no reward.
It
should therefore
be our goal to retain these volunteers and offer them as many resources as possible, but at the
same time, not create additional hurdles in members' willingness to serve.
Furthermore, the way the Bill is currently written, if Board member training becomes
mandatory and Board members fail to take such training, the validity of any Board action may
become subject to challenge. Therefore, the effect of this Bill may create additional controversy
and litigation.
Proposed Alternatives for the Task Force to Review
Making the training optional yet accessible will likely be more desirable to Board
members and achieve the Council's goal of providing education to Board members without
penalizing or disincentivizing members from running for their Boards. For example, offering
Board members lower rates on Director and Officer insurance policies or other CCOC or
WMCCAI discounts for training completion, may incentivize Boards to participate in training.
WMCCAI currently offers Board member training and furthering a relationship between the
CCOC and WMCCAI may help facilitate and make training available for all community
members. Additionally, offering Board members certificates for those who complete the training
may also be used by Board members, and potential Board members, for leverage in their Board
member election campaign.
Florida has a similar law which requires Board members to either attend and certify that
they attended a training session, or alternatively, certify that they have read the association's
governing documents and will work to uphold those documents. A Board member who certifies
that they have fulfilled either one of the above criteria has fulfilled the certification requirement.
While Florida's law is also not ideal and may lower Board member involvement, it does provide
Board members with several options and therefore may potentially lower the impact of
detracting from Board member participation. WMCCAI has already developed a Model Code of
Ethics for Community Association Board Members, which is enclosed for reference, which can
be incorporated into a certification process.
In
essence, each Board member can achieve their
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Montgomery County Council
c/o
Mr.
Craig Rice, President
October 3, 2014
Page 3
certification requirements if they take a training course, or alternatively. certify that they will
abide by the Model Code of Ethics for Community Association Board Members.
While WMCCAI does not support mandatory Board member training at this juncture,
another alternative is only requiring one Board member to have mandatory training. Doing so,
may have the desired effect of educating Boards, but at the same time make the training less
burdensome and potentially have a lower impact on decreasing Board member involvement.
Accordingly, WMCCAI supports Board member education, but believes that this
legislation is premature and that a task force should be created to further review the alternatives
mentioned above as well as other options for furthering the goal of Board education without
decreasing Board member involvement.
Thank
you for your consideration.
Sincerely.
Enclosure
cc: Matt
Rankin,
Executive Director, WMCCAI (via email)
Ronald M. Bolt, Esq., Co-Chair, Maryland Legislative Committee (via email)
Peter Drymalski. Esq., Staff, CCOC (via email)
Councilmember George Leventhal (via e-mail)
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Isiah Leggett
County Executive
Marc
P.
Hansen
OFFICE OF TIlE COUNTY AITORNEY
.
.
County Attorney
MEMORANDUM
October 2, 2014
To:
Eric Friedman, Director
Office of Consumer
Protectio~
From: Walter Wilson
Associate County Attorney
Via: Marc Hansen
I'h;l}:j­
County Attorney
R.e:
Bill
4S-14
(Common Ovmership
Communities-Goveming
Body-Training)
The
Co-qnty
Executive's
Office has
requested
that
this office forward
you
our 'Comments
concerning Bil14S-14. The proposed legislation would amend County law
by
requiring
the
Montgomery
County Commission on
Common Ownership
Communities (the "CCOC'')
to
develop
a training curriculum
to
educate the persons elected or
appointed
to
serve
on
the
governing
boards of common ownership communities about their responsibilities as
board
members. Within 90 days after
being
elected or appointed. a
new
board
member would
be
required
to
complete
either
the
educational curriculum developed
by
the
ecoe
or a comparable
eeoc-approved
course oftraioing. Once the law takes
effect,
anyone
already
serving
on a
community association's board
would
have
90 days
to
complete
the
training
requirements,
Finally,
every
community association's board would have to
certify
to
the
eeoc
that each
board
member
has
successfully completed
the 1nrining
requirements
and, for the duration oia
board
member's service, maintam a copy of a certificate documenting that completion
among
the
association's
records.
Having reviewed Bill
45-14,
I make the
following observations:
• It
is
not clear
what
happens where an individual serves
on
the
governing-board of
a
community
ownership
community
for
at
least 90
days
without completing
the
training
that this legislation would
-mandate.
Could that member
continue
to serve
and
risk.
being
subject
to a code enforcement action
by
the County or would a new
board
)01 Monroe
Street,
Rockville. Maryland
2OIISO-2S80
(240)
771-6700·
'ITO
(240) 777-234' • FAX (240) 771-6705
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Eric Friedman
October 2, 2014
Page 2
member need to be appointed
to
replace a noncompliant board
member?
Also, how
feasible
is
it
for the County to enforce this requirement against potentially hundreds
of community association bOard members
throughout
,the
County
that
might
be
noncompliant at any given
time? How
would
compliance be
monitored
effectively;
particularly in
light
of the fact
that
County
Code
Section lOB-17 (g)
(2)
calls
for
staggered
terms among
the
board
members?
• Although
the
proposed law would
require a community's
governing
board
to certify
to
the
eeoc
that all of
its
members have completed the
training
requiiements
(see
lines 31-32), the legislation fails
to
specify
any
particular means ofproviding
that
certification. Nor
is
there any specific guidance
to
indicate
what
type
of certifi.cation
would
be
considered acceptable. Would an association need, for instance,
to
provide
a
copy of
each
board member's certificate ofcompliance to the
County
to
be
kept on
me
with Office of Consumer Protection for the duration of each member's service on
the board? Also, since
the
legislation is silent on
the
question of
when an
association
would
have
to
certify
the completion of training by all of
its
board
members,
the
timeframe for compliance with Section 1OB·l7
(h)
(l) is unclear.
AlsO,
ifa
homeowner's inspection ofthe association's
books
and records reveals
that
the
associatkm does not
have a certificate of
completion
for some ofthe
board
members
currently
serving
what happens
then?
While the bill addresses
matters
that
fall
~ithin
the scope ofthe County's authority
to
regulate,
its
mandates
raise some issues
that
need
to
be
resolved before the legislation becomes
:final.
If
you
have any questions or concems regarding this
memorandum,
please call me at (240)
.777-6759.
cc: Bonnie Kirkland, Office of the County Executive
.
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MONTGOMERY COUNTY COMMISSION ON
COMMON OWNERSHIP COMMUNITIES
Office of Consumer Protection
100 Maryland Avenue, Room 330
Rockville, Maryland 20854
To:
Hon. George Leventhal, Chair
Montgomery County Council
From: Commissioner Rand H. Fishbein, Ph.D., Chair
Commission on Common Ownership Communities
Date: January 28, 2015
Re:
Cost Estimate
&
Activity Projection for Online Training Courses
The purpose of this memorandum is to provide a phased plan for the production
and follow-on sustainment of three
basic
online courses, followed by three
advanced
courses, for the training and certification of board members of common ownership
communities (HOA's, condominiums and cooperatives). Each course would be designed
to a high production value to maximize consumer interest and the transfer of information
in as user-friendly and professional manner as possible. A refined cost estimate of each
project phase is in the process of being developed.
OMS has estimated that an additional 0.5 FTE would be required to support CCOC
staff in the implementation of this program. It should be noted, however, that CCOC office
operations are not, at present, fully automated and that there are no plans or funding yet
in place to do so. This could have an impact on how efficiently and effectively staff can
manage the increased data traffic and compliance tracking expected with the program
even with the addition of another 0.5 FTE.
The variations among
C~C's
and the complexities of COC law are such that it is
all but impossible to cover many of the essentials of good governance and best practices
within the span of a two or three hour training course. The Commission anticipates that
there will be a need to follow-up on the core training, especially for smaller, self-managed
associations. This would be the purpose of an advance set of courses (Phase 3),
contained in this draft proposal.
The Commission expects to partner with the University of Maryland's Institute for
Governmental Service and Research (lGSR) in the preparation of these courses.
1
The
IGSR is a recognized leader in the field of online training, with thirty years of experience
in developing courses and programs to improve the operational efficiency of state
agencies. Working in partnership with the Office of the Maryland Attorney General, the
Institute recently completed a successful online training course covering the requirements
of the Open Meetings Act.
No draft contract or work order exists at present. The OMS estimated that the cost of a basic online
training course would be $67,000. This is a very tentative estimate and will need to
be
further refined.
1
@
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2
Phase One
would cover the development of a basic interactive cOlJrse for each of
the three statutorily recognized classes of common ownership communities
(condominiums, homeowners' associations and cooperatives). Each would be structured
to fulfill the requirements of Montgomery County Council BiII4S-11.2 The Commission and its
staff will have to create the systems and procedures necessary to publicize the availability of
online training, monitor compliance with the law, and carry out any enforcement action that might
be necessary.
PHASE ONE:
Creation of Basic Online Courses,
Initial Activities & Cost Projection
Activity
Cost est
Develop three Basic online courses
HOA's
Condominiums
Cooperatives
Publicize the training requirement to all association directors
Create a procedure for monitoring voluntary compliance
Create enforcement guidelines
Conduct focus groups and beta test each course
Total
Phase Two
would cover the sustainment of the Phase One Basic course beyond year
one and would include:
PHASE TWO:
Implementation and Sustainment of Basic Courses,
Out-Year Activities and Cost Projection
Activity
Cost est.
Monitor compliance and the impact of the law on board
vacancies
Enforce the law when other alternatives fail to obtain compliance
Continue to publicize the program
Update the training when laws, regulations, policies change
The Honorable George Leventhal, Council Vice-President, sponsor, Montgomery County Council Bill 45­
11,
Common Ownership Communities - Governing Body - Training, Introduced on September
23, 2014.
"Bill
45-11
would require the
Commission
on Common Ownership Communities to develop an educational
curriculum
to
train
a
member of the governing body of
a
common ownership community on the
2
responsibilities of directors. It would
also
require
a
member of the governing body of
a
common ownership
community to complete this training or similar training approved by the CCOC within 90 days oftheir election
or appOintment.
"
(Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney)
.
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3
Investigate the costs and feasibility of translating the training into
other languages
Conduct the annual surveys required by the law and recommend
changes as they might be needed
Develop metrics to evaluate the success of the training program
against key perimeters
Improve the existing online course according to the results of the
annual surveys
Total
Phase Three
would be predicated upon the success of Phases One and Two. It would
include:
PHASE THREE:
Development of Advanced Online Courses,
Initial Activities
&
Cost Projection
Activity
De,velop three Advanced online courses for:
HOA's
Condominiums
Cooperatives
Continue monitoring compliance and enforcing the law
Continue to publicize the program
Continue to improve the online class
Produce online training in other languages if possible, beginning
with Spanish
Perform surveys and evaluate results
Gather data to be used as part of sunset provision review
Cost est.
Total