Board Member Training
Do you have a meeting room that will hold 20 or more people? Would you like us to bring a class to you? You provide the space and we’ll provide the program. We have now scheduled class dates and locations. Please contact Chris Majerle at cmajerle@AccessMMI.com if you would like to discuss having MMI bring a class to you.
BMDP 101 – So, You’re on the Board of Directors
A basic course for new board members, this class will explain your legal and moral duties as an elected board member. We’ll explain where to find the law, what laws are of particular interest to you and how you comply through holding open meetings and issuing proper notices. We’ll discuss the hierarchy of governing documents and laws and what you can change through policy and administrative resolutions or rules & regulations. We will study the duties of each officer: President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer and our course manual will have templates for creating agendas and taking minutes. Finally, we’ll talk about your community’s mission statement, vision statement and management plan. You’ll learn how to analyze where you are now financially, physically and administratively and where you want to be 3 months, 12 months, 3 years and 5 years from now. Then, you’ll see how you go about developing a plan to get there. This class is offered as an MMI class or as the approved Montgomery County CCOC version when co-presented with an attorney.
BMDP 102 – Developing a Successful Management Plan
Open only to MMI-Managed Community Boards
There’s a tremendous difference in the success rate of businesses that plan versus those that operate day-to-day. Those that plan anticipate future expenditures, replacement and changes in the economy and they take steps to prepare. The others…. Well, let’s just say some make it and some don’t. Your community is a business with income, expenses, real estate, capital components, contracts and government. You are subject to laws and regulations at the Federal, State and local level; not to mention those created as your governing documents. You operate through an elected board whose first duty is to the community. Like any government or organization, there will be members of the community who disagree with your choices. There will be people within the government (board) who cannot agree. Then, does it not make sense to discuss the big picture–the long-term goals–before working on the nitty-gritty? If the big picture was clearly defined and the board members agreed to always act in a manner consistent with the big picture, would the smaller decisions not be guided by principles already agreed? Thus, they become, more or less, no brainers. End the argument over the small things and the big things will come together on their own. It all starts with a plan; a plan developed and agreed to by a majority of the board. We’ll work with you, not in a class setting with other communities, but in a class consisting only of your planning committee and/or board of directors. (pre-requisite: BMDP 101)
BMDP 103 – Fostering Volunteerism in your Community
Nope. There’s no such thing as apathy! What is perceived as apathy can be complete contentment with the status-quo or a feeling of total helplessness. Like it or not, the board of directors must take responsibility for either condition. If you want volunteers, they need to feel like the board is open to their participation. No one wants to fear rejection of their proposed contribution. Open meetings and a chance to be heard are key–but the board must maintain control. Now that we have attendance and a positive attitude, volunteers need something important to do. Bring your ideas and we’ll bring ours. Let’s approach volunteerism with the spirit that ordinary people can offer valuable insight and labor. They just need guidance, designated objectives, a means to achieve those objectives and an open board to accept the fruits of their labors. All of that is contained in the Committee Charter. We’ll study charters and how to create them. Volunteers can save your community a ton of money and can improve appearance, cleanliness, value and safety. Don’t overlook this resource, but make sure you and your community are protected by the proper documents and insurance.
BMDP 104 – Community Communications
Open only to MMI-Managed Community Boards
If you want dissention in your community, operate in secrecy. Don’t tell anyone what the board is doing or what it has done. Their imaginations will run wild and they’ll assume you’re stealing the money. The fact is, most board members are honest, committed volunteers who do their best to make their communities flourish. Why, then, is it so often the case that they forget to tell anyone? MMI provides, free of cost to all its managed communities, the MMI Portal; an administrative website. This site can be used to display governing documents, calendars, meeting agendas and minutes, tax returns, contracts, audited financials and more. It can deliver electronic newsletters, manage electronic elections, transmit management reports and management financial reports. When letters need to go to owners, MMI Portal will email them automatically and, if there is no email address on file, it will generate mailing labels. This saves postage, mailing costs and paper. In this class, we’ll show you how to manage your community’s administrative matters in the MMI Portal. Your manager will take-on some of the functions, but others are managed by your board and your committees. Most tasks are very easy. This class is designed to show you what the site can do and to give you basic operating instructions and guidelines for secure use.
BMDP 105 – Covenants Enforcement
Enforcing your community’s restrictive covenants is a thankless job, but it is certainly one of the most important functions of the Board of Directors. Covenants are intended to maintain homogeneity of appearance, force owners to maintain their properties and to ensure the rights of all as specified by the Declaration. It is the duty of the board of directors to enforce covenants and to ensure that the enforcement action is consistent and reasonable. Failure to enforce covenants may make them unenforceable in the future and that can have dire consequence for the association as well as for the negligent board. We’ll be reviewing what that means and what may be upheld by the courts and which have not. We will discuss fines, under what authority fines may be levied and what you must do to preserve your right to enforce the fines. In some areas, there are avenues of enforcement that can be pursued through local government, at little or no cost and often with more “teeth” in the enforcement process.
BMDP 201 – Passive Security & Beautification
What a combination! Well, believe it or not, through the use of decorative fences, retaining walls, shrubbery, lighting and other landscape materials, you can enhance safety and security. While beautification should do what its name suggests, there are ways to route foot traffic, to use lighting and enhance visibility of doors and windows through the use of landscaping materials. At the first sign of crime, community members begin asking for uniformed security. When they discover the cost, they reject the idea, but still want something done. Passive security is a set of lighting and landscape design efforts that combine to improve the appearance while, at the same time, improving visibility for greater safety for your residents.
BMDP 202 – Managing Major Improvements & Fire/Disaster Recovery
There’s been a fire. 30 families are displaced. It’s cold outside and they have nowhere to go. They don’t know what to do or who to call. Unfortunately, MMI has some significant experience in managing these types of disasters and we really step-up to take charge before the smoke clears. Sometimes, it takes many months to correct the damage from a fire or major flood. Displaced residents need information, so we establish a disaster website for their use. Whether it’s a fire, flood or major systems replacement (heating plants, balconies,) there are disruptions to property use, quiet enjoyment and life itself. Information management, insurance company response and contractor performance are the elements to the project that make it successful–or not. Some of this can be streamlined by knowing what insurance coverage is available, what facilities could be affected and who you might have respond to an emergency–before the emergency happens.
BMDP 203 – Risk Management & Disaster Planning
9/11 brought Disaster Planning to the forefront in city government. Yet, most homes and most communities have failed to develop a plan. Surely there is some level of false security, “It won’t happen to me.” Well, maybe a jet airliner won’t fly into your townhouse or garden condo, but a private plane could fall from the sky. Did you know that Maryland is subject to every kind of man-made and natural disaster known to the planet except volcanoes? We have earthquakes, floods, blizzards, fires, building collapses, tornadoes, hurricanes… need we say more? Each type of disaster can have a plan to help cope. More importantly, there may be members of your community who would have special needs far greater than other residents and you don’t even know who they are! No way will we come out of this class with a disaster plan, but we will have food for thought. We will know what goes into a disaster plan. We will have tools to help develop a plan for blizzards, fires and other tragedies. We will know what potential obstacles face our physically and mentally handicapped residents and we will have a plan to gather information.
BMDP 301 – Budgeting and Financial Reports
By popular demand, MMI created this class to assist board members in understanding the sometimes complex financial reports. Actually, they’re pretty simple once you understand. Primarily, we’ll discuss the Balance Sheet (a compilation of assets, including bank accounts, accumulated over the life of the community and liabilities & reserves) and the Income Statement (a statement of revenue and expenses for the current fiscal year.) There, they already make a bit more sense! There may be several variations of the Income Statement; a 12-Month Spreadsheet and a Budget Comparison–they’re still Income Statements. What complicates the reports is when think about Cash Basis to Accrual Basis (or modified.) There are reasons for each basis and they seem to change the entire report. Everyone will understand by the end of the class–even non-accountant types. The second phase will be the development of a budget. Guess what? A budget is simply a projected Income Statement! All we need to do is learn how to make educated guesses at the numbers for the coming year.
BMDP 302 – Community Collections
How did we get in this mess in the first place? When will we recover—or, has it already happened? We’ll begin addressing our options in the context of setting a policy—a flow chart—for when a case goes into collection, what will be done prior to turning the case over to the attorney, how often a lien should be filed and why, how often we should seek a judgment and why. We will look at how debtors avoid service and what can be done about that. We’ll examine Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy and how we deal with those protected debts. We’ll look at post-judgment collections, including garnishments and oral exams. We’ll discuss our options to foreclose or conduct a sheriff’s sale. And, finally, we will address the need to budget for the inevitable and the impact non-payers have on our budgets. This class is always co-presented with a local attorney who specializes in community association collections.
BMDP 303 – Reserves, Investing & Long-term Planning
The downfall of most failing communities can be traced back to their failure to reserve for the future from day one. How many times have you seen the analysis of the cost of your own retirement–save from the time you’re 20 at the rate of $100 per month at 4% and by age 70 you’ll have over $190,000. Wait until you’re 25 to begin saving and you’ll have only $151,000. Start at 45 and your total is only $51,500. It’s no different with your community. There are components that will wear out--roofs, elevators, concrete, asphalt, plumbing, etc. When you fail to analyze your reserves and you don’t begin saving until deterioration is evident, it’s too late. The only answers are loans and special assessments, neither of which looks good to potential homebuyers or lenders. So, we will learn in this class the importance of a reserve study, how to read and interpret the report, how to determine annual reserve contributions and what investments are permitted, safe and render the highest yields.