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We All Need Something to Believe In!
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Minnesota Community Living January/February 2010

We All Need Something to Believe In!


By Thomas C. Engblom, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, ARM, CPM, Community Association Banc & Condo Certs

As a child from the time of birth until around age 6, we believe in our parents, grandparents, family members, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, religious activities, toys, the boogie man, Halloween and cartoon characters. Yet, we all need something to believe in!

As a child from the age of 7 until 14, we believe in our parents, grandparents, family members, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, religious activities, the boogie man, Halloween, cartoon characters, sports heroes, sports teams, the Fourth of July, leadership, authority, our teammates, video games, and our best friend. Yet, we all need something to believe in!

As a maturing adolescent from the age of 15 until high school graduation we believe in our parents, grandparents, family members, religious activities, Halloween, cartoon characters, sports heroes, education, sports teams, the Fourth of July, our teammates, video games, our drivers license, leadership, authority, high school teachers, team mascot, first job and our life after high school. Yet, we all need something to believe in!
As a high school graduate, we believe in our family members, leadership, some authority, sports heroes, sports teams, New Year’s Eve, dating, our future as a member of society, college, trade school, America, and our dreams for the future. Yet, we all need something to believe in!

As a young adult, we believe in family members, some leadership, some authority, being a member of society, cars, employment, the economy, the future of America, the military, the Patriot Guard, and our dreams for the future. Yet, we all need something to believe in!

As a maturing adult, we believe in family, friends, being a member of society, employment, the economy, leadership, authority, Harley Davidsons, America, the democratic society, our dreams for the future, our property manager at our first condominium association, and Community Associations Institute. Yet, we all need something to believe in!

As a new board member, we believe in family, our employer, retirement, being a member of society, employment, the economy, leadership, authority, the future of America, shorter board meetings, our seasoned Professional Community Association Manager and their Code of Ethics:

  1. Comply with current bylaws, standards and practices as may be established from time to time by CAI, subject to all federal, state and local laws, ordinances, and regulations in effect where the Manager practices.
  2. Participate in continuing professional education through CAI and other industry related organizations.
  3. Act in the best interests of the client; refrain from making inaccurate or misleading representations or statements; not knowingly misrepresent facts to benefit the Manager.
  4. Undertake only those engagements that they can reasonably expect to perform with professional competence.
  5. Exercise due care and perform planning and supervision as specified in the written management agreement, job description or duly adopted Board policies.
  6. Disclose all relationships in writing to the client regarding any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest between the Manager and other vendors. The Manager shall take all necessary steps to avoid any perception of favoritism or impropriety during the vendor selection process and negotiation of any contracts.
  7. Provide written disclosure of any compensation, gratuity or other form of remuneration from individuals or companies who act or may act on behalf of the client.
  8. Ensure that homeowners receive timely notice as required by state statutes or legal documents and protect their right of appeal.
  9. Disclose to the client the extent of fidelity or other contractually required insurance carried on behalf of the Manager and/or client and any subsequent changes in coverage, which occur during the Manager’s engagement if the amount is lower than the contract amount requires.
  10. See that the funds held for the client by the Manager are in separate accounts, are not misappropriated, and are returned to the client at the end of the Manager’s engagement; Prepare and furnish to the client accurate and timely financial reports in accordance with the terms of the management agreement, job description or duly adopted Board policies.
  11. Recognize the original records, files and books held by the Manager are the property of the client to be returned to the client at the end of the Manager’s engagement; maintain the duty of confidentiality to all current and former clients.
  12. Refrain from criticizing competitors or their business practices; Act in the best interests of their Employers; Maintain a professional relationship with our peers and industry related professionals.
  13. Conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times when acting in the scope of their employment.
  14. Not engage in any form of price fixing, anti-trust, or anti-competition.
  15. Not use the work products of colleagues or competing management firms that are considered proprietary without the express written permission of the author or the management firm. Yet, we all need something to believe in!

Looking back, 2009 was an interesting year for associations, boards of directors, vendors and management. The life cycles of associations have exceeded their life expectancy, while budgets are strapped and foreclosures are at an all-time high! The sky is falling and where do we go from here? The forecast is depressing and overwhelming, but with the proper assistance from an experienced manager or a Professional Community Association Manager, these issues will be addressed in a timely manner.

Nevertheless, I have traveled 202 days in 2009 interacting with 9 Community Association Institute Chapters. I have attended numerous educational events, overwhelming committee meetings, board meetings for associations or chapters, golf outings, chapter trade shows, written articles, lectured at events and taught nine professional development management classes throughout the country for the betterment of the industry because we all need something to believe in!

Why do I keep a hectic schedule to make a difference to the industry I cherish and admire? I hope that I make a difference to the manager, board member or vendor in selecting the correct course of action relative to community associations — because we all need something to believe in!

Regardless of our position in the association, we can all make a difference in Community Association Institute Chapters and lead in 2010 for the association that is our residency. Volunteering for the committee, board, sponsoring an event or managing the property will make a difference. I leave you with the lyrics of Bon Jovi: "We weren’t born to follow, Come on and get up off your knees, When life is a bitter pill to swallow, You gotta hold on to what you believe! Do you have something to believe in?

Tom Engblom has been a licensed instructor in Illinois for Real Estate for the past 22 years and is a National instructor for CAI. Tom began a career in property management in 1984 and earned ARM, CPM, CMCA, AMS, and PCAM designations managing a minimum of 3,500 units within the suburbs and Chicago for 20 years. Tom joined Community Association Banc, A division of Mutual of Omaha Bank, in March 2004 as a Regional Account Representative for the upper Midwest, achieving deposits in excess of $145 million covering Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Ohio. Tom can be reached at TEngblom@cabanc.com

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