Since we’ve just recently observed Labor Day and President Obama’s "Jobs Plan" continues to make headlines, I thought I’d discuss three situations involving ROC employees that are all too common and can create some major problems for resident owned communities:

  • Quite often,one or more of the association’s employees is performing work "on the side" for residents in the community.   Even if the employee is truly doing this private work "after hours," what happens if the employee injures himself or others, or is accused of stealing from one of those residents, or does a lousy job and causes damage to the resident’s home. What if the employee has used the association’s tools or equipment (or one of the association’s vehicles) while doing this "off the clock" work?  Allowing an employee to perform work "on the side" for residents in the community creates an absolute "no win" situation for the association–the association receives no benefit whatsoever from allowing its employees to perform "after hours" work for residents in the community and at the same time subjects itself to all types of potential liability that may or may not be covered by the association’s insurer.  A resident who suffers property damage or injury because of the actions of the association’s employee will be looking for a "deep pocket"–and I can almost guarantee my blog readers that the employee’s pocket is not nearly as "deep" as the association’s.
  • It’s never easy to discipline or terminate an employee.   When that employee is a resident in the community, what is already difficult becomes much more so–and runs the risk of dividing the community.   In many of these situations, the terminated employee (as well as his family, friends and neighbors) will spend a good deal of time and energy attempting to discredit the board of directors and the manager in an attempt to regain his job.   The fact that the employee was unable or unwilling to fulfill his job responsibilities is almost always overlooked in the emotional frenzy that infects the community.
  • Do I even need to explain why allowing a member of the association’s board of directors to be employed by the community is a prescription for potential turmoil and additional levels of association liability?   I doubt that any ROC board member would feel comfortable voting to terminate the person in charge of (for example) maintenance for the community– and who also happened to be the association’s President or another board member.

Just a few things to keep in mind as we’ll be in our busy season before we know it!

Enjoy these first few weeks of college football.  As a Michigan alum, I sure am!