Courses Falling Victim to Political Issues? By Jan Bergemann
The Secretary of the Florida
Division of Land Sales, Condominiums, and Mobile Homes, Kim Binkley-Seyer,
has decided not to renew a contract to produce condo management courses.
A very helpful tool to teach volunteers
willing to learn how to run their condo associations has been scratched
by Secretary Kim Binkley-Seyer. Despite the fact that the legislators already
appropriated the necessary funds to continue these courses, the money actually
paid by condo owners themselves from a special condo tax, the Secretary
didn't renew contracts with Broward Community college and seven other community
colleges affiliated with these courses.
These very helpful courses were created
with the help of the community colleges and the special efforts of Paul
Libert of NE Dade Coalition and Patricia Rogers-Libert and Dr. Bob Wolf
of COFCA . The Liberts set up the Center for Community and Condominium
Living at Broward Community College. Many participants of these courses
have offered strong praise about this great source of education.
Many of the major problems which occur
in condo and home owner associations on a daily basis could be avoided
if the Board members had the knowledge necessary to do their jobs. Many
of them rely on the advice of the so-called professionals, meaning CAM
managers and specialized association attorneys. But this advice is often
enough not necessarily in the interests of the homeowners themselves. The
professionals often gain by the mistakes made by these voluntary boards.
Many law suits could be avoided if Board members would be more familiar
with the rules and regulations.
These courses at the community colleges
certainly provided that knowledge. Many condo association members, eager
to continue their education in the interest of their communities, were
disappointed to find out that the new community college classes had been
As Mike van Dyk, president of advocacy
group SHORN and former member of the Advisory Council on Condominiums,
stated in a letter to Governor Bush: ” We need you to order Ms. Binkley-Seyer
to let out this contract now. Condo directors need education, and this
program does it efficiently using a tax on condos paid by condo owners
As always, political reasons were rumored
to be the reason for the Secretary's decision not to renew the contracts.
Since the South Florida areas are mostly strongholds of the Democrats,
they had been accustomed to lots of pork barrel projects, which dried up
when the Republicans took over in Tallahassee. I guess that's the normal
name of the game in American politics?
We are concerned about the welfare of
Florida citizens. More and more citizens live in condo associations.
Since there is little state enforcement of rules and regulations, these
courses are a significant source of knowledge for homeowners seeking to
prevent common abuses in these communities.
Secretary Binkley-Seyer should immediately
renew the contracts in the interest of Florida condo-owners.
Do not let political reasons stand in the
way of good and necessary education!