CMC Fired in Lakelands

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"Under New Management" front page Lakelands Leader newspaper. Lakelands hires ComSource Management Inc. See Lakelands Leader newspaper May 2001.

I personally have never been a fan of CMC, but they are better than self-management. Whatís your opinion of CMC?

-- Bill Edens (bedens@dcofficespace.net), May 12, 2001

Answers

Bill, I am curious as to why you feel that CMC is better than self- management. Surely there is someone in our community who would/could take on the responsibility of running this community if they were paid a reasonable. I don't know what CMC pays Tony, but I bet we could match it if we terminated the contract.

This couldn't be a volunteer position. It would require that a reasonable salary be paid. The problem would be one of providing benefits such as retirement, health insurance etc. On the other hand, we might find someone looking for a retirement job where benefits would not be an issue.

-- Jim Hubbard (jim@halseyrains.com), June 05, 2001.


Jim, as far as self-management, I have been part of a self-management HOA of only 132 homes, itís a lot of work when people have the same agendas. Fortunately we have seen in this community many agendas, not all agreeing on what to do and how to do it, much less would I trust them with our money. Hiring one person just to replace Tony is just the tip of the iceberg you need support, support, support, and that takes money. The quality of care is good now and MAYBE could be done for less with a completive process.

-- Bill Edens (bedens@dcofficespace.net), June 07, 2001.

Our home is probably the largest investment that my husband and I will make in our lifetimes. As such, I want the protection of an EXPERIENCED, PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT COMPANY running the community. They will have the infrastructure to provide the services we need. Also, if anything goes wrong (e.g., fraud, gross mismanagement), we will have recourse in the courts.

Where is the recourse with self-management? Do we take ourselves to court, if the individual to whom we entrust the community fails in some way that results in substantial financial losses to us? I can't think of a single reason why I, as a homeowner, would want to take on that kind of personal risk.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), June 07, 2001.


To answer both Mary and Bill: I have some erosion behind my house next to the alley. I e-mailed the CMC office here in Kentlands with the problem, the exact location, and contact information. Two hours later I had a phone call from Tony. He couldn't find the alley behind my house and was calling me for directions. This didn't exactly inspire my confidence in our management, or their experience.

As to any liability problems, if we require our own employee(s), who would work for the board not every member of the community, to post bond, any potential misuse of community funds or property would be covered.

I know the job wouldn't be easy but I think it could be done more cheaply and probably better if we found one of our own.

-- Jim Hubbard (jim@halseyrains.com), June 08, 2001.


Jim, I think a two-hour response time is commendable. I am not sure what the problem is. If you are talking about community property (behind your home), and the erosion does not get fixed, then I would agree there is a problem. But, my question would then be, what is the source of that problem? Is it the management company, or did the board fail to conserve/allocate enough money for proper maintenance of our community property, e.g., if they set other priorities?

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), June 08, 2001.


Mary, I am not finding fault with the response time. Twenty four hours would have been more than adequate. My problem is that our site manager couldn't find my address.

The problem is caused by people and trash trucks turning the corner in the alley too sharply. The rains we have had recently have washed away the clay and the grass to the extent that the gravel substrate which supports the asphalt paving is now washing down the alley also.

Tony said the community would respond and I believe him. It's not a question of budget (or maybe it is) but a question of a citizen pointing out a problem.

We'll see what the response time is and what is done about it.

But none of this gets to the larger issue of how much money our community spends on management fees to some for-profit company vs how much we would spend on hiring one of our own to do the same work.

-- Jim Hubbard (jim@halseyrains.com), June 11, 2001.


Jim, regarding it being "a question of a citizen pointing out a problem": personally, I have no problem with assuming some responsibility for watching out for maintenance problems in the area around my home and reporting them to CMC as soon as I notice them, so that they will be fixed ASAP. Vic and I did this, when a snowplow destroyed several bushes on community property in the alleyway behind our home. Patrick, who was the CMC site manager here at the time, saw to it that this was fixed right away. Similarly, when we noticed that the wrought iron fence (also on community property) had been damaged by the truck we reported that, and it, too, was fixed within days.

I am not sure what kind of a premium we would have to pay to have a staff large enough to pick up on ALL of the maintenance problems that arise in the community AND do it before any residents spot at least some of them. But I do know of one community in Florida that is much smaller (and, admittedly, far more upscale) than Kentlands that pays more than five times what we do in HOA fees, and the residents still call problems in, when they notice them. I have just assumed that this is part of owning a home and have been grateful that, so far, at least, any maintenance problems Vic and I have noticed on common property around where we live have been taken care of promptly and courteously. (I am excluding from this the poor, little orphaned plot of common ground across the street from where I live, but that is more than a maintenance problem, and it is the responsibility of "our own," not CMC.)

So, while I respect your opinion, I still see only headaches, large and small, in moving to self- management and no advantage at all. Perhaps, others will express their views on this matter, and we could all share in a wider range of perspectives.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), June 17, 2001.


Mary, I don't have a problem with our citizenry pointing out problems. That's why I did it. It's our duty as you point out. I am not advocating that Kentlands hire a full time staff to do maintenance etc. either.

CMC does not employ a staff to go around finding problems and fixing things. That is not their function. Instead of a staff, the CMC site manager contracts with vendors to get things repaired. That is as it should be.

What I am suggesting is that instead of paying a management fee to a for profit company, perhaps we could hire one of our own, to be answerable to the board, to manage the community as a city manager does, to do the mailings, to deposit checks etc. I believe that a cost analysis of this alternative vs the management fee to CMC would show some savings, to be passed along to our citizens.

Nobody will know how much is to be saved until an analysis is done.

BTW, this bb subject started with an announcement that Lakelands had fired CMC. Does anyone know why CMC lost the contract?

-- Jim Hubbard (jim@halseyrains.com), June 18, 2001.


Since the matter was posted on this bb, I have the same question you do, Jim. Why did CMC lose its contract with Lakelands? It is impossible to know, without the specifics, what, if any, relevance that fact has for our community, especially given that Lakelands is at such a different stage of development than we are. Conceivably, they have some needs that are very different than ours.

I also feel that the other issue that both you and Bill raised, i.e., Kentlands and self-management, is worthy of broader discussion. So, in case any other residents are willing to share their opinions on that subject, I have posted it on another thread.

-- Mary N. Macdonald (mnmacd@his.com), June 18, 2001.


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