Condominium Management 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 cancelled.

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 themselves. 

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!