By Jan Bergemann   

Published November 21, 2014


When the Office of the Condo Ombudsman was created in 2004 it was a great addition to the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, helping condo owners dealing with the daily problems of their associations.


Especially the creation of ELECTION MONITORS was a big success, considering the many complaints the Division got over the years accusing boards and management companies of running unfair elections.
The program was quickly initiated by then Ombudsman Dr. Virgil Rizzo and his election specialist Valmore Lucier, who created a handbook for election monitors and trained the volunteers until they knew all the ins and outs of condominium elections. The volunteers were not let loose on the public until they were sufficiently trained and attended quite a few elections as apprentice.


Nowadays we get more and more complaints from owners about election monitors who are not really sure what they are doing and take forever to figure out how to count the votes.


In former times condo owners requesting election monitors were allowed to request specific monitors who already conducted elections in their community before and were familiar with the situation in these condos. Now the Ombudsmanís office even appoints an election monitor owners didnít want.


I guess itís time for owners and associations to talk directly to election monitors to hire them Ė circumventing the Ombudsmanís office Ė in order to get knowledgeable election monitors able to run fair elections.


It seems that with Bruce Campbell the Ombudsmanís Office is run with the same attitude as the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes: Avoid any work and discourage owners from contacting the office by telling them that the Ombudsmanís Office doesnít deal with their issue. Make no mistake: Bruce Campbell learned his trade in the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes.


So, what else should we expect?

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Jan Bergemann Jan Bergemann is president of Cyber Citizens For Justice, Florida 's largest state-wide property owners' advocacy group. CCFJ works on legislation to help owners living in community  

associations. He moved to Florida in 1995 - hoping to retire. He moved into a HOA, where the developer cheated the homeowners and used the association dues for his own purposes. End of retirement!


CCFJ was born in the year 2000, when some owners met in Tallahassee - finding out that power is only in numbers. Bergemann was a member of Governor Jeb Bush's HOA Task force in 2003/2004.


The organization has two websites to inform interested Florida homeowners and condo owners:

News Website: http://www.ccfj.net/.

Educational Website: http://www.ccfjfoundation.net/.

We think that only owners can really represent owners, since all service providers surely have a different interest! We are trying to create owner-friendly laws, but the best laws are useless without enforcement. And enforcement is totally lacking in Florida !

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