By Jan Bergemann

Published May 10, 2013


We often hear about these “poor volunteers” serving on the board of directors – and what a thankless job it is. That’s normally the overture for some proposal to pay board members for their services – if it’s done in the open.


You wouldn’t believe how often directors “reimburse” themselves for their “service.” There are numerous ways to achieve that – without letting the owners know what is happening behind closed doors.


From agreements of directors not having to pay monthly dues to actual cash payments – we have seen it all! Make no mistake: Florida statutes don’t allow board members to get paid for serving as a board member! But, who cares about Florida statutes when money is at stake?


Greedy directors often overlook the obvious: They may need a CAM license if they get paid -- and they may even lose insurance coverage through the Omissions & Error insurance policy of the community. These policies normally don’t cover “paid volunteers.”


In reality, directors paying themselves often end up with lots of legal problems on their hands – legal problems that can be pretty costly.


Paying board members – I have heard quite a few people advocating for it – may actually send the wrong message – and you might get a board that lacks knowledge, because owners run for the board in order to create some extra income, not to serve the community.


Is it a good idea to create paid board members? I am all in favor of paying professionals. And when you do, never forget: You get what you pay for!


But from a professional you expect competence and knowledge. Professionals should have lengthy training before being allowed to get a license. In my opinion even the 18-hour training for CAMs is not sufficient.
And something like a board certification seminar maybe a great idea for volunteers, but it falls way short of giving owners the necessary knowledge to deserve payment for their services.

What kind of competency should be required to make a board member a paid position? I don’t think we should open this can of worms – it’s outright dangerous!

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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:

Educational Website:

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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