Board undertakes many functions on owners’ behalf

Posted on Sat, 02/01/2020 - 11:30am

By Neil Warner

Malibu East Condominium is overseen by a 12-person Board of Directors, as specified in its declaration, which defines the scope of its authority. The responsibilities of the Board are also governed by the Illinois Condominium Property Act, the laws of Illinois and the ordinances of Chicago.

The Board is elected to make decisions about the operation of the Association on behalf of the owners, including decisions about management personnel, choosing vendors, the Rules and Regulations, the operation of common areas and amenities, among many other things.

The Board is tasked with making a budget for the following year, which is then sent to owners in October or November for their review and comments, before it is adopted at a subsequent Board meeting. In devising the budget, the directors decide which capital projects should be undertaken, and the time frame for each, before hiring contractors/vendors to perform the work. The Board hires a professional, independent auditing firm to complete an audit of the financial statements each year, and that audit is sent to each owner.

Every year, in September, the terms of six of the directors conclude, and an election is held to fill those positions for two-year terms. Directors are elected to represent the entire ownership and it has become customary for each to sign a conflict-of-interest statement. Any unit owner is eligible to run for the Board.

The Board holds monthly meetings, usually on the fourth Tuesday of the month. In addition, an annual meeting of unit owners is held each September, and occasional special meetings of owners or the Board are held to conduct special business, such as the purchase or sale of units by the Association. Each regular Board meeting begins with an open forum, during which residents can ask questions, voice complaints or simply make comments. A second open forum is held around 9 p.m. during the open session.

Capital projects are assigned to the appropriate committee, which discusses what should be done, and how, and sometimes even interviews potential vendors/contractors. The committee ultimately makes a recommendation to the entire Board, which then decides how and when it will proceed with the project.

Whenever work on the property needs to be done, regardless of whether it is regular maintenance or a capital project, the Board asks management to provide at least three bids for its consideration, and it then chooses what it considers to be the best one. In the case of work that is complex, management will prepare a detailed request for proposal, which is provided to each vendor that will make a proposal.

One of the Board’s goals is to improve communication with residents, as it has achieved with the Dialogue and the open forums at Board meetings. To that end, the Board recently transformed the Floor Representatives Committee into the Community Forum Committee. This committee schedules informal meetings with residents 3-4 times a year, during which the focus is on an agenda of timely topics but attendees are encouraged to ask questions or make comments on any topic of interest. The committee often makes a printed summary of each meeting available to residents in the Management Office.

Besides the Community Forum Committee, other committees that are open to residents include (name of committee chair or co-chairs shown in parentheses):

  • Architecture, Aesthetics, Building Maintenance & Services (Thomas Irvine, Carol Beatty)
  • Communications, Dialogue & Cable (Thomas Vaughan, Sam Bullock)
  • Security & Life Safety (Sandy Chaet)
  • Legal, Rules & Regulations (Arthur Arfa)
  • Pets (Sam Bullock)
  • Public & Community Affairs (Sandy Chaet, Carol Beatty)
  • Social, Cultural & Entertainment (Sandy Chaet, Sam Bullock)
  • Sports, Saunas & Exercise Rooms (Carl Stahlheber)
  • Green (Sam Bullock, Rob Larson)

If you wish to join any of the above committees, please give to management your name, unit number and email address and/or telephone number, along with the name of the committee you wish to join.

The other Board committees, which aren’t open to residents, include:

  • Admissions
  • Plaza (formerly Captain’s Walk)
  • Employees’ Holiday Fund
  • Finance & Insurance
  • Garage
  • Grievance & Appeals
  • Long-Range Planning
  • Units (Association-owned)
  • Landscaping

Malibu East is one of the few condo associations that are authorized to exercise – and actually does exercise – its right of first refusal on a unit sale that it considers to be far below market value. For the 28 units the Association had bought and sold in the 10-plus years preceding the 2019 annual meeting, the recorded sales price increased by 72%, on average, over the purchase price paid by the Association. This strategy helped to maintain the value of all Malibu East units during the recession and, over the long term, has worked to increase the property values.

As an owner, if your investment in your unit is important to you and you wish to see it maximized, you should take an interest in the Board and its decision-making. Read the Board meeting notes each month in the Dialogue, attend meetings, vote in the annual election, volunteer to serve on a committee and even consider running for the Board.