July 4th 2015 Blog is back online

It has been a very long time since I posted anything about the building. One reason was that the comments got very ugly and mean. This time around I will not post any comments or blogs without a known name with their email address attached. That might take care of the “nasties”. Second reason was that the building was supposed to build a website but like all things in the building it did not get done in a timely manner. Maybe it is coming? And lastly why I want to reopen this blog is that owners have no where to go with problems, questions, or to get anything done. The board has internal problems and the office is very hard to motivate.

I am a snow bird and not there for 6 months a year. When people such as myself are gone we never hear anything of the building. We are never called, emailed or sent any mail of meetings, changes or problems going on. My maintenance is 12 months but my service is 6 months and only when I am there.

About a month ago a neighbor told me that the power went off in the building. In the past, my air conditioning , that I leave on , does not go back on by itself. So she is kind enough to go to my apartment and put the air conditioning on again.  My neighbor does this for two other owners that have the same problem. I called the office to see if they knew of the outage and did someone go up to the apartments that the building has a list of that has this problem. I was very unhappy with the answer that they were not responsible. I then wrote a letter hoping that the board or the office would address this problem for some of us but a letter was received back with the same ” we are not responsible”. I then called the office and asked if they could research if there is a solution to this situation by putting in a device to the system. I was told they would get back to me. No one ever called or helped.

This is real hard to fathom when you write out your maintenance check each month and this was the first thing I asked the office to do since I left in the end of April.

Well I researched the issue and there is something that could be installed that would help with this situation. With 50 percent of the building gone during the summer you would think they would have time or interest to help the owners. If anyone wants to know what the solution is please email through the blog and I will tell you.

So this is what this blog is all about. If you have a problem and it is not addressed please lets share and see if we can help eachother.

 

 

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Resignation- My decision!

When Michael Roefaro was elected President of the condo board he asked me to chair a committee. Eventhough the new board was all the same members as before,there was a new person in the position of president. He promised a board that would be open and transparent.

When asked I was willing to take on the task. My committee was to look at the current rules and regulations and see if they needed changing or tweeking and possibly new rules added. We were to recommend to the board only.I tried to invite a good cross section of the building to join the committee. Many people said no and many people said yes but never got to either of the two meetings we had.

I am a very organized and a precise person after being in business and running my own company for many years, so before the first board meeting we had had two meetings and all notes and additions and changes were written up and  emailed to the board for their perusal.

During one of the meetings Deidre McNamara asked me to try to sort out the parking situation. She claimed there were many people using 2 or 3 spots. I went to Sarah and asked and she said she had meant to tackle the parking maze problem but had not had time or help. I offered her help. We sat for two afternoons figuring out what apts were deeded spots , if those people knew and were in their spots and if anyone was not where they were supposed to be. (Just to note: I was very happy with my spot that I was given when I closed on my apt)

I saw Michael Roefaro and told him what Sarah and I were doing and he said he was thrilled and was so happy that I was tackling this “problem” he would even take “credit for it” at the next meeting.

Several days later I went into the office and said to Sarah I had a little time to finish the parking grid and she sheepishly looked at me and said she couldn’t. Frank over hearing the conversation said  ” you are not authorized to do this job and I had been discussed at a closed meeting that he attended with MF and it was discussed that I was not authorized and should stop”. Having an employee tell me that I was not authorized made me quite upset.

Okay, this was my valuable time and effort. I volunteered and spent unpaid time for the good of the building. If I give my time and effort and not thanked or appreciated I am glad to walk away.

I emailed MR about this and waited for an apology….. none came for either the misunderstanding or the forgetfulness.

I then realized this is not, as they say in the business world, a good environment to work in. Or an atmosphere that is open and transparent and the most important civil and polite. So I resigned from my committee officially and it was immediately accepted and now I will live like ” a guest on vacation “.

Really very sincerely,

Vicki Ross

#902

Questions of Budget for 2010 and for 2011

Unfortunately, I cannot put the budget up on the blog but I can mount my questions about it. I sent my questions to Betsy Gori ,the treasurer of the board, and she did take the time to answer . If you are an owner you  have received your copy by mail.

I also question now why it was not officially audited and not given to us in April when it was due. I received my copy in October.

My Questions:

Questions about the Budget from Vicki Ross (line by line)

Income:

408 Owner Legal Fees and Costs what is it?  why did it increase so much?

424 Estoppel letters what is it?

434 Parking Space Rental who do we rent to?

604 wages- office manager $11,000.00 increase in one yr

608 wages-Housekeeper don’t you think this is very high

614 yearly bonus to whom?

Expenses:

638 Bad Dept what is this?

662 Office exp and equipment very very high could you breakdown

Service Contracts:

714 fire alarm please explain discrepancy

725 roof service did we have a major problem

729 waste line cleaning did we have a major problem

730 lobby floor maintainence   did we have a major problem

Bldg Maintainence

756 elevator overtime  did we have a major problem

758 general maintainence why are you tripling this for 2011

766 laundry equipment repairs if we have a contract why don’t they pay for repairs

Utilities:

824 electricity very high can we do anything

834 telephone  we should cut this down to nothing do you need a land line for anything with magic jack and skype other than telephone?

2011 Capital Improvement  Hall light fixtures do away with this at this time use that money for carpet installation which you bought  prematurely- not in budget Security System where is that amount? My maintainence with your proposed budget for 20111 will go up 23%

A Letter of Concern to the Board and Staff

August 31, 2010

To:Frank Lagalante-Building Manager

Sarah Watkins-Office Manager

Eugene Christopherson-President of Board

Dear All,

I am a relatively new owner at Portofino South. Stuart Cohen and I bought unit #902 in January 2010.

We were assured by Ann Leibovit that the building was in very good shape financially and that they did not expect an assessment in the next year. Well, that turned out to be half truths. The financials that we saw looked like there was a healthy reserve fund.

As we live in our apartment only seasonally, we feel at a disadvantage when it comes to learning what is going on in the building. We would like to be made aware in advance of meetings and then receive a timely report of what transpires at those meetings. We do not feel it is fair  to only inform only a part of your condo of meetings and deeds or acts by the board that affects expenditures and ultimately our investment. By just putting a notice of a meeting in the elevator leaves a big segment of owners in the dark. THIS CAN EASILY BE RECTIFIED WITH AN EMAIL BEFOREHAND AND BY ALLOWING OWNERS TO CONFERENCE IN DURING BOARD MEETINGS.

We recently received minutes of the meetings we missed and they do not give any idea of what transpired. They are just categories discussed and a vote. I went to the May meeting and took notes at that meeting and posted them on my blog for the building and they were in a form which I would hope the board secretary could follow for the future meetings. The last meeting in August  I am still waiting for the notes and was told they were waiting for the secretary to sign off on them as she was on vacation. If she is the appointed secretary I feel she could have done this before or during her vacation.

I called Mr Lagalante almost 10 days ago and then again last week and have still never received a call back. I wanted to ask him if we could use a conference call for the owners who are not there for the Sept meeting so we could listen in to the meeting. It is very simple to activate this feature on any phone. I would like an answer to that request hopefully before the meeting.

I also have never received a newsletter which I think I was told is done by the building but since May do not have one. That is another way to inform your owners of what is happening with their investment.

We also need a correct directory of all owners and tenants with email addresses and  local and out of state phone numbers.

Mr Cohen and I have many questions and it did not seem the board meeting in May was the place to ask these questions. I found the board at that meeting very hostile to the apartment owners that took the time to come to the meeting. The questions that I asked at that time were not answered then or ever.

The following are questions we have:

1.How many people are not paying their maintenance? Who are they and how long are they in arrears and what is being done about collection and what stage is the collection process at?

2.The first half of your current assessment  was to be paid by now. How many people did not pay and what is being done to collect?

3. I was told new carpeting was purchased by the board for the building and it was purchased about a month ago with no money for the installation. Is this true? Who were the two board members that signed the check to purchase the carpet. And where is the money going to come from to install  it?

4. The estimates for the repair of the outside of the building, which the assessment is supposed to pay for, were the contracts renegotiated as they were done so long ago and at the May meeting the board was asked to go back to the vendors to renegotiate them lower, because of the economy down turn.

5. I WAS RECENTLY INFORMED THAT WE INCURRED LAWYER FEES IN THE SUM OF $4000 BECAUSE TWO BOARD MEMBERS WERE USING THE BUILDING’S LAYWER FOR personal vendettas against an owner WHO also questions the authority of this board. WHO AUTHORIZES THIS AND WHY ARE WE AS OWNERS NOT INFORMED OF THIS? THIS LEADS TO THE QUESTION WHAT OTHER FEES ARE WE PAYING THAT WE DON’T KNOW ABOUT.

6) ULTIMATELY, WE NEED TO DISCUSS TRANSPARENCY IN ALL THE BOARD’S DEALINGS. IN TOUGH ECONOMIC TIMES, WE NEED TO CONSERVE MONEY NOT SPEND IT WILLY NILLY.

7. When is the term of this board up? I would like to see changes of board members to better represent the different wants of the condo. I also feel a board member should be either a lawyer, accountant, or involved in construction either in building or in architecture in order to qualify to serve on the board. Are there any people on the board that are not current with their maintainence or assessment payments?

8.How much of the people are seasonal owners and if a certain amount of that faction of the building should be represented on the board.

9. I would like to see our bank accounts and how much money we take in and spend out each month. What is our income for the cell towers on the roof?Has there been any radio waves testing from these towers.

10. what is going on with our water leaks?

Conclusion:

I do not feel I am represented by this board. There is no effort to inform or answer questions. I also do not feel that I have to pay the balance of my assessment if I am not informed or represented. I do believe this board is  in “Breach of Contract” and I have no confidence in this board. Maybe it is time for owners that feel that they are not included or represented should retain their own lawyer to see if we could act more like a democracy than a dictatorship. I did not vote for this board and have never had any hint that I would in the future.

Hopefully, the board president or the people paid to manage the building will be able to inform me as an owner in this condo association.

Sincerely,

Vicki Ross