CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN QUARTERLY REPORT
JULY THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2005
Posted October 19, 2005
The Office of the Condominium Ombudsman has been operational for nine months and continues to be successful in carrying out its legislative mandate. The Office continued to provide education and assistance to condominium owners, act as a liaison, resolve complaints and oversee elections and meetings.
The Statutory powers and duties
of the Condominium Ombudsman that allow it to be effective in informally
resolving issues arising out of all aspects of condominium operation was
recently delineated by the Attorney General.
2005-53, Date: September 22, 2005, Condominium Ombudsman's powers.
The Office of the Condominium Ombudsman acts in an advisory capacity by
assisting in the preparation and adoption of educational and reference material.
He is to provide resources to assist members of boards of directors and officers
of associations to carry out their powers and duties. The ombudsman is also
authorized to prepare and issue reports and recommendations and to act as a
The Office continues to work on establishing internal memoranda,
procedures and policies to function efficiently and effectively to carry out its
statutorily prescribed duties. New staff members are continually undergoing
During the recent legislative
session $440,029.00 of the Division of
Florida Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes Trust Fund and six
full time employees for the Ombudsman Office were authorized for the office
effective July 1, 2005. The appropriation required that the Ombudsman provide a
detailed report of the quarterly expenditures. That report is attached hereto
and incorporated by reference.
During this quarter a satellite Office was established in southeast
Florida as authorized by Governor Jeb Bush. It is located in Broward County at
the North Broward Regional Center housed within the Bureau of Compliance at 1400
West Commercial Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309. The telephone number is
(954) 202-3234, (SUNCOM 423-3234). The Office provides a presence in the
community and a venue for condominium owners to meet with the Ombudsman to
handle the inquiries that come from Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade
The Ombudsmanís Office received about 3500 complaints and requests during this quarter. Many of the requests were for information about all aspects of condominium operation. The majority of the complaints were about abuse and mismanagement by the board of directors. About thirty eight percent (38%) of the complaints related to Officer and Director Abuse and harassment. Twenty five percent (25%) were regarding fiscal and general mismanagement of the association.
The Election Monitoring
section of the Ombudsmanís Office saw less activity this quarter since most of
the condominium elections occur during the winter months. The requests received
for election monitors were mostly because unit owners were apprehensive about
their associationís ability to properly conduct their elections in a fair and
impartial manner. The procedures instituted by the Ombudsman have been very
effective in preventing election misconduct.
The Education Section of
the Ombudsmanís Office is negotiating a contract with Broward Community
College to create a statewide education program for unit owners. An E-learning
course and an onsite class moderated by the Ombudsman are part of the package.
This contract will be submitted to the Department of Business and Professional
Regulation for approval.
The Office of the Ombudsman continues to be a successful resource for the condominium owners of the State of Florida.
OMBUDSMANíS DETAILED REPORT OF QUARTERLY EXPENDITURES FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF
positions and the sum of $444,029 were appropriated to the Office of the
Condominium Ombudsman for fiscal year 2005-06. The appropriation contained the
proviso that the Condominium Ombudsman provide a detailed report of quarterly
expenditures of the office to the Executive Office of the Governor, the
President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives on or
before the 15th day following the end of the quarter. This serves as
the Condominium Ombudsmanís required report for July through September
covering the first quarter of fiscal year 2005-06.
Attached hereto, made a part hereof and incorporated herein by reference
is a three (3) page schedule provided to the Ombudsman by the Department of
Business and Professional Regulation which details the expenditures of the
Ombudsmanís Office for the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2005-06 entitled Schedule
of Allotment Balances by Fund and Budget Entity Level 5 Summary Cash Basis
September 30, 2005.
The Office of the Condominium Ombudsman takes instructions on state purchasing guidelines from the Division of Florida Land Sales, Condominiums and Mobile Homes according to established policies and procedures of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The Division assigns its personnel to assist in filling the Ombudsmanís needs and arranges for payment of all invoices and other financial obligations of the office.
The Condominium Ombudsman cannot vouch for the accuracy of the Schedule since the orders for purchases with vendors and account balances were not prepared or maintained by him or his staff. Consequently there may be additional items requested by the Ombudsmanís Office that are not reflected in the attached schedule.
OFFICE STAFFING, SALARIES AND BENEFITS
Office of the Condominium Ombudsman is currently staffed by personnel occupying
the following SES positions:
Two (2) Paralegal Specialists
Administrative Assistant I
There is currently a vacant position in the office, for one (1) clerk typist SES. A qualified candidate has been selected to fill this position and the hiring process is currently in progress.
A total of $45,908.70 was expended by the Condominium Ombudsman for staff salary and benefits during the quarter ending September 30, 2005. A detailed breakdown of how those funds were applied is contained in the attached schedule.
EXPENDITURES FOR OFFICE FURNITURE, EQUIPMENT, SUPPLIES, RENT
During the first quarter of fiscal year 2005-06 the Condominium Ombudsman, upon the concurrence of Governor Jeb Bush, opened a satellite office in Broward County, Florida located at 1400 West Commercial Boulevard, Suite 115, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309. As a new enterprise, the office required computers, monitors, printers, cables, a fax machine, telephones installation of lines for the phones, fax, computers and printer, as well as all furniture and supplies necessary to operate and conduct the business of the office. Additionally, the Tallahassee office required a printer and some office supplies. The expenditures and payments were made for necessary business related expenses such as professional dues, books, postage, travel reimbursement, equipment service contracts and office rent as described and detailed in the attached schedule.
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