Vision Magazine Summer 2024

Page 1

• Financing for building repairs and capital improvements1

• Competitive long-term fixed rates




| Thomas Freeley | 949.916.2226, ext. 315

Chief Editor

| Lynette Bertrand | 949.916.2226, ext. 323


| Melissa Hurtado | 949.916.2226, ext. 318


| Dee Rowe, CCAM

Communications Manager

| Celeste Huecias | 949.916.2226, ext. 320

Editorial Advisory Committee

Jeff Farnsworth, CAMEx, CCAM-PM.ND Steward Property Services, Inc.

Andrew Hay, CAMEx, CCAM-PM.ND The Helsing Group, Inc., ACMC

Justin Sacoolas, CCAM Compass Management Group, Inc.

Lorena Sterling, CAFM Community Association Financial Services

Scott Swinton, CCIP Unlimited Property Services, Inc.

Hamlet Vazquez, MCAM-HR Wilshire Terrace Co-Op

Kelly Zibell, CCAM Communitas

Vision Magazine is released digitally by CACM four times annually to members, industry partners and supporters of the California Association of Community Managers.

Magazine content copyrighted 2024. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission from CACM.

Opinions expressed by authors do not necessarily reflect the policies of CACM. Mention of any product or service does not constitute an endorsement by CACM. CACM assumes no responsibility for return of photos or art and reserved the right to reject any editorial or advertising materials. CACM does not assume responsibility for the accuracy of articles, events or announcements listed.

Please address comments and suggestions to: California Association of Community Managers, Inc. 23461 South Pointe Drive, Ste. 200, Laguna Hills, CA 92653 949.916.2226 |

• Access to multi-million-dollar FDIC deposit insurance coverage with ICS and CDARS.2 Contact a Relationship Manager today! Grant Shetron, VP, CMCA, AMS, PCAM Northern California 510.406.3198 Larry Hooper, VP Southern California 949.842.6161 1. Subject to credit approval. 2. Terms and conditions apply. CDARS and ICS are registered service marks of IntraFi Network LLC. © 2024 Popular Bank. Member FDIC.

Attention CACM members: Have you changed jobs or moved to a new location? Reach out to us at to update your profile so you don’t miss your next Vision magazine or any other important CACM communications.














NEW RESERVE STUDY STANDARDS By Scott Clements and Les Weinberg

CEO’s message

Where TH did Q1 & Q2 go? Staying busy makes time fly! As I sit down to write this, we’re only a few short days away from the July 4th holiday, and like you, I can’t wait for a little break in the action to celebrate and watch fireworks. Keep an eye on your fur babies during the fireworks. They’re usually not fans. Look, I know you’re busy, so here’s a few project updates I’m excited about.

A New Podcast: You should have received an email about our upcoming Podcast, asking you for ideas on topics and to share any funny stories for consideration (names redacted to protect the innocent, as well as the guilty). We are going through all your feedback as we craft the content for future episodes. Our goal is for the podcast to be another resource for you: to show the world there’s a lot of good and fun in our industry. We will keep it short, timely and relevant.

Community College Courses: Super excited to announce that Santiago Canyon College in Orange will be offering our CCAM certification courses through their public community college. The school plans to offer the courses as soon as this fall. Other community colleges have reached out to them for information and to show interest. To support this journey, we are developing a paid and non-paid intern program for the students taking our courses, followed by a job placement program for the students who complete and pass the certification process. We’ll be reaching out to management companies after the holiday to let them know about this benefit.

Legislative Work Continues: So many Bills to pay attention to this year! We are in regular contact with lawmakers in the state to address the insurance problem. There are a lot of bills trying to address the state’s FAIR Plan. The California Department of Insurance has oversight over it, and in June, Commissioner Lara released details of his plan to increase writing of homeowners’ and commercial insurance policies in areas of the state with high wildfire risk. You can find all updates about this on our website.

We’re also keeping close tabs and providing recommendations on other important bills that affect you. Check out our full report on pages 20 and 21 from our legislative advocate Jennifer Wada, Esq.

We have a few other initiatives in the works, like our new Learning Management System (LMS) that will improve our educational offerings and course tracking. We are also giving back to our local communities through regional efforts in Northern and Southern California. Turn to page 45 to read about how you can get involved in philanthropy in your own backyard.

Like you, we have many pots on the stove as we look for innovative ways to elevate our industry, help you grow professionally, and make a positive change in our communities. I hope you continue joining us on this journey!

Until I get to see you again, I’m wishing you all a Happy Summer!

members in the news

gVision Editorial Committee Member Welcomes New Baby Girl

Congratulations to Justin Sacoolas, CCAM, who recently welcomed a new daughter. Lowen weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces upon arrival but was growing fast. Her reported weight was up to 11 pounds in mid-April. Dad said the best memories so far have been watching her and big sister Eleni instantly bond. “They love to be around each other. It is sweet to see,” he said, adding that he pulls the dad shift from 7:30 pm to midnight or 1 am to allow mom a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. To read about how he’s balancing home and work life with a young family, turn to page 30 for his article.

Happy Sweet 16 to Smartwebs

Smartwebs marked a significant milestone, celebrating 16 years of offering software solutions that promote innovation, growth, and service in the HOA community management industry. They celebrated this special anniversary with cake, balloons, and a toast in which leadership expressed gratitude to the team and clients who made it all possible.

GB Group Merges with Valcourt Group

To expand its footprint beyond California, GB Group has merged with The Valcourt Group. The strategic merger also allows them to expand the services offered to include large-scale waterproofing and exterior maintenance. GB Group owners Russell and Ryan Brown reassured the communities they work with that they will still be handling daily operations and the general GB Group customer experience.

Baby Lowen

Todd Greisen Learns Firsthand Why You Don’t Feed the Bears

Todd Greisen, CCAM, and General Manager of the Pine Mountain Club Property Owners Association, was recently on NBC News due to a drastic increase in bear incidents within the community. The large but rural community in the San Emigdio mountains north of Los Angeles is no stranger to seeing black bears in the neighborhood. However, the situation has escalated with

an almost 100% increase in incidents due to some residents misunderstanding the dangers of feeding bears. Rest assured, the Property Owners Association is taking proactive measures to ensure resident safety. Watch the news story and see Greisen explain these actions here. Read the full story on page 46.

RSI Promotes Dianiss Gonzalez and Tara Padilla

Congratulations are in order as Reserve Studies Inc. (RSI) recently announced two promotions. As the new Director of Operations, Diannis Gonzalez is responsible for scheduling projects, allocating resources, communicating with clients, and managing the day-to-day workflow. Additionally, Tara Padilla is now RSI’s Vice President after working her way up the ranks from her early days as an administrative assistant.

Pilot Painting & Construction Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Pilot Painting & Construction opened its doors in 1974, meaning this year is its 50th anniversary of serving community associations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Inland Empire, Orange County, and Coachella Valley. Southern California managers might wonder how many of those 50 years they have been handing out tiny paint cans filled with jelly beans (IYKYK). CACM looks forward to many more years of eating jelly beans and seeing Pilot’s creative booths and costumes at the SoCal Law Seminar and Expo.

Dianiss Gonzalez
Tara Padilla
Todd Greisen

members in the news

Kelly Zibell Takes on a New Role at Communitas

Kelly Zibell, CCAM, and Founder of Divergent Consulting Group, has taken on a new role as Senior Vice President of Community Management at Communitas. Communitas is a group of industry insiders committed to fostering growth and success within the management community sector. Together with their member companies, they form a community of like-minded professionals dedicated to innovation, collaboration, and collective success. Zibell also serves on CACM’s Vision Magazine editorial committee. You can read her latest article on essential leadership skills for community managers on page 24.

Walters Management, ACMC Announces Leadership Changes

RealManage, Inc. recently promoted Rachel Garrett, CCAM, to President of Walters Management, ACMC . Garrett first joined Walters in 2016. Over the last eight years, she maintained a 96% client retention rate. Her dedication to exceptional customer service and caring for the needs of each community contributed to earning her this prestigious promotion. Soon after, Deena Arvizu, CCAM, was promoted to take over Garrett’s previous role as Regional Vice President.

Dan Fernandez Joins Action Asphalt Paving & Maintenance

Many NorCal managers and industry partners know Dan Fernandez from his years at TARC Construction. Fernandez recently announced that he has pivoted and is now Director of Business Development & Marketing at Action Asphalt Paving & Maintenance. He began his construction journey immediately after high school as a commercial metal stud framer and home builder. Then, in the 1990s, he transitioned to the asphalt and paving world as an estimator and project manager. When we reached out to him to congratulate him on this new role, he said, “I love what I do and feel blessed to be a resource and partner of the HOA industry.”

New Face Representing PrimeCo Painting in San Diego

Becky Larson is not new to the industry but is new to PrimeCo. Larson excitedly announced on LinkedIn that she has joined PrimeCo as a Business Development Manager for the San Diego region. She has served HOAs in various roles for several years. She has a wealth of industry knowledge, connections, and experience, which will benefit the San Diego area communities that partner with PrimeCo for their painting and repair needs.

Dan Fernandez
Kelly Zibell
Rachel Garrett

members in the news

MB Jessee Painting Hires Ernesto Diaz

Ernesto Diaz recently joined MB Jessee Painting as a Business Development Representative. He comes to the company with 10 years of experience as a Regional Sales Manager for an ambulance company. Diaz has been actively applying the skills learned in emergency services to his role with MB Jessee. Outside of work, he enjoys teaching CPR and First Aid, spending time with family, and giving back to at-risk youth interested in becoming EMTs.

Action Property Management Opens New Office

Catie Contreras, CCAM, of Action Property Management broadcast two exciting developments on LinkedIn: The company is opening a new regional office in beautiful Carlsbad, and Contreras was appointed Regional Manager overseeing this office. She said, “My focus will be on business development in North County. With over 14 years of HOA experience, this is an exciting new challenge, and I am thrilled to do it with a company I love.”

Berg Insurance Makes a Big Change

Berg Insurance recently announced a significant change. Due to the California insurance market fluctuations and recent decisions by Farmers Insurance to drastically reduce its offerings in the state, Berg has ended their long-standing relationship with the carrier. They are now partnered with LaBarre Oksnee Insurance. This was a strategic move to increase the insurance options they can offer the community associations they serve. You can still reach Michael Berg, Terri Guest, and Kimberly Lilley at their Berg Insurance email addresses and see their smiling faces at CACM trade shows and events.

The Management Trust Grows Through Acquisition

The Management Trust announced its recent acquisition of Regency Management Group in Monterey, California. Regency was formed in 2005 to provide quality management services to Monterey County and surrounding areas. “When I made the decision to sell my business, I searched for a company that would continue the culture and values I had established in my own business. I’m very grateful to have

found The Management Trust, as they demonstrate the same care for their clients and employees as I had over the years. Thank you to everyone at The Management Trust for welcoming all of us to your family,” said Carolyn Donaway, President and General Manager of Regency Management Group in a LinkedIn post. The Management Trust said it plans to continue adding to its team as it “forges ahead in our growth mode.”

Ernesto Diaz
Catie Contreras

ProTec Building Services Opens New Office

ProTec Building Services recently announced the consolidation of their three Orange County offices. This consolidation will help enhance their teamwork and improve their ability to serve and get the job done, the company said. “By bringing our teams under one roof, we’ve streamlined our operations to provide you with superior, hassle-free customer service!” Protec’s new facility is located in Irvine, California.

CINC System Launches GenAI Solution

CINC Systems has launched Cephai, a generative artificial intelligence platform. Cephai can answer common homeowner questions such as architectural requests, payment- related questions and more. The company said that “Cephai enables community managers to save hours each week,” and that immediately following its soft launch the AI platform answered as many as 45 questions a week for one association. Cephai is now accessible through the homeowner and board app.

New Arrival at SwedelsonGottlieb

There is a new member in the SwedelsonGottlieb family. On May 23, Alessia Enci Chiang was welcomed into the world at 5:28 pm, the day of the Flower Moon to parents, Adrian Chiang, Esq., associate attorney at the firm, and his wife Stephanie. The company said, “We are all over the moon with our sweet little bundle of joy!” Congratulations!

Enumerate Offers Automated AP Program

Enumerate launched Automate AP, a fully native and comprehensive accounts payable offering that automates invoice ingestion, approval workflows and payment delivery. Enumerate’s CEO, Vijay Ramnathan, states that “Automate AP was purpose-built to solve these challenges [inefficient and inaccurate payable processes, fraudulent activity, etc.] for community associations, and we’re excited to bring these cost and time savings to our customers.” With this launch, Enumerate provides an end-to-end community management platform.

Varsity Painting Expands Operations

Varsity Painting has expanded its service area to include Sacramento. Mandi Newton, VP of Marketing and Business Development, recently announced that Sacramento associations, apartments, commercial buildings, and retail centers now have another option for wood repair, painting, and custom color services. Headquartered in Walnut Creek, they now serve most of Northern California thanks to the expansion.

Don’t see your news listed? Update us at

Baby Alessia

from the roundtable


This summer edition of Vision Magazine has a theme focused on Human Resources.

Change is happening all around us, consistently, within our industry. Whether it be legislative, process, systems, company ownership, leadership, culture, team members, or remote work, it is not about stopping change. Change is not something you can stop. It is about how you choose to deal with change itself.

David Garvin, Professor, Harvard Business School, stated:

“Despite realizing that change is necessary, employees are often afraid of big changes in the organization, preferring the dissatisfaction of the status quo to the risks of a new reality. Often, the most important thing a manager can do is not identify the need for change but provoke the momentum to begin and maintain the change.”

One of the most useful processes that I learned as a leader was how to lead through change and understand the change curve. Knowing this process helped me to be successful. The change curve model has four stages that your team will need to be led through for success.

The first stage, or stage one, is the team’s initial response, which is shock or denial as they react to the news being shared regarding the proposed change. Once they realize that it is now their reality, they begin to move into stage two of the change curve. This is usually when they fear the impact, feel angry, and sometimes protest the change itself. The fear may be the threat to their current positions within the company or the perceived negative consequences of change. If not carefully managed stage two, in my experience, can quickly spiral into organizational chaos. It is vital not to allow the team to stay in stage two for long.

During stage three, the team members stop focusing on what they perceived they have lost and start exploring what the change means to them. Some will accept the changes and begin learning how they will need to adapt – for better or worse. Stage four is when the team members start to accept and embrace the change. This is when they find ways to incorporate the change into their daily work, and the company starts to feel the rewards of the changes that were made.

Understanding this process will help leaders effectively lead their teams through the change curve. The actual shortening and flattening of the change curve process aids in leveraging the benefits of the change sooner and lessens the negative impact.

And as always, remember to embrace the journey, trust the process, and never stop learning!

“First year of CACM’s “Meet California’s Certified Managers!” It was a great turnout and wonderful to be able to help educate our managers on the services Saarman Construction, Ltd. provides.

I also want to give a quick shout out to LaCreasha Johnson CCAM for her first (of many to come) speaking opportunities. You are truly an inspiration to the industry with all of the time and effort you continuously put into your growth and education! So proud of you!”

— Megan Wright, Business Development Manager, Saarman Construction, LTD

“Really Great CACM (California Association of Community Managers) events this week in Costa Mesa & San Diego all about the ins & outs of IDR’s & ADR’s. Special shout out to Melissa Hurtado for putting on these fantastic Spring Forums.”

— Mike Davie, V.P Association Services Advisor SoCal Valley Bank

“Citadel Roofing & Solar was proud to sponsor the California Association of Community Managers - CACM Meet the Managers event in San Ramon this morning. It was so fun networking with managers from various companies.”

— Dan Young, HOA Business Development, Citadel Roofing & Solar

“Our sales team had an enriching experience at the CACM luncheon today! Continued education and skilled management are the cornerstones of our success. It was wonderful to connect and learn from industry peers. Excited for what the future holds at the next event!”

— Earthco Commercial Landscape

“Team Powerstone had an amazing time at the recent CACM Coachella Valley Spring Forum! It was a fantastic opportunity to connect, learn and grow within our community management industry. Huge thanks to CACM for hosting such a valuable event!”

— Powerstone Property Management, ACMC

“What makes Palm Desert (and the entire Coachella Valley) exceptional is our shared passion for this region! Coming together for robust conversations demonstrates that, and last Thursday, I had the honor of representing the City of Palm Desert at a California Association of Community Managers (CACM) meeting. Essential topics such as AB 1572 (non-essential turf), City projects, and landscaping best practices were discussed, and many great questions were asked.

These important conversations build a sense of care and trust within our community, and I am truly honored to contribute on behalf of the City of Palm Desert. Thank you to CACM (particularly Alia Saouli) for coordinating this event. It was a pleasure speaking alongside Scott Burritt from the Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD) and Jim Galen of O’Connell Landscape Maintenance.

— Ryland Penta, Community Relations Supervisor, City of Palm Desert

“CAM Property Services had a wonderful time supporting CACM bowling night at Bowlero Lanes in #Tustin.Thank you to the other #sponsors and Alia Saouli from #CACM for putting on a fun filled event.”

— Esteban Gonzalez, Business Development Specialist, CAM Property Services

Are You Ready For Your MCAM?

Be at the pinnacle of success by earning the Master of Community Association Management (MCAM) certification.

“The MCAM has fortified my self-confidence and my credibility with our board members. I believe it is also a source of satisfaction for our management company’s owners, who generously underwrote more than half of my investment in coursework, applications, travel to classes, etc. They believe strongly in supporting education. This is embedded in our company culture.”

Becoming an MCAM sends a powerful and prestigious message not only about your depth of experience, but also your commitment to higher education and your career. Individuals who undergo its rigorous requirements are taking responsibility to advance their own qualifications and elevate the broader community management profession.

What’s involved?

Successfully complete the following courses within three years of applying*:

• Fundamentals of Effective Governance

• Human Resource Management

• Ethics Mastery

• Advanced Insurance Principles

• Risk Management

• Strategic Financial Planning

Submit the MCAM application and successfully complete a comprehensive assessment comprised of a 100-question multiple-choice exam, written paper and oral presentation.

*You must have held your CCAM for five years before applying.

achieving professional excellence

Congratulations Managers & Industry Partners

It is with great pride that we recognize managers, and now industry partners, who have taken the next step in their professional career by pursuing advanced educational opportunities. Congratulations to our newest Certified Community Association Managers (CCAM), Certified Community Association Financial Manager (CAFM), California Certified Industry Partner (CCIP) and Specialty Certificate recipients for the period of February 16th, 2024 through May 17th, 2024.


Chris Lucas, CCAM, CCIP

Daniela Cruz, CCIP

Mark Guithues, Esq., CCIP

Anna Dizon, CCIP

Lyla Hall, CCIP

Sean Madigan, CCIP


Aaron Button, CCAM

Alla Tsymbal, CCAM

Alycia Carmiol, CCAM

Angela Alonzo, CCAM

Barbra Johnson, CCAM

Briana Kessler, CCAM

Cesar Chavez, CCAM

Christina LaScala, CCAM

Clarisa Bratcher, CCAM

Collin Harwell, CCAM

Daniel Cornwell II, CCAM

Darren Zetena, CCAM

Gabriela Barraza, CCAM

Jeffrey Hayward, CCAM

Jeffrey Matheson, CCAM

Jeri Mupo, CCAM

Joe Wagner, CCAM

Kaisy Sirel, CCAM

Karla Alarcon, CCAM

Katrina Leiva, CCAM

Kelsey Jessen, CCAM

Leslie Ambriz, CCAM

Matthew Sutter, CCAM

Micelia Vega, CCAM

Michael Langolf, CCAM

Michael Goldberg, CCAM

Michelle Smith, CCAM

Michelle Lambert, CCAM

Mirissa DeLuna, CCAM

Nimdiki Miranda, CCAM

Nora Kessler, CCAM

Patricia Waibel, CCAM

Philip Bower, CCAM

Robert Byars, CCAM

Sean Collier, CCAM

Shawn Pinkney, CCAM

Suzanna Stein, CCAM

Tania Oregel, CCAM

Tracy Young, CCAM

Vicky Rudisill, CCAM

Victor Volovnikov, CCAM


Kellee Bryan, CCAM, CAFM

Andrea Pulizzi, CCAM, CAFM


Tyler Matheis, CAMEx, CCAM-PM


Devin Langley, CCAM-PM.ND.CI

Brent Uridge, CCAM-LS.HR.AA.CI, CAFM

Wendy Cross, CCAM-LS.PM.AA.CI


Cody House, CCAM-ND

Devin Langley, CCAM-PM.ND.CI


Heather Killian, CCAM-LS.PM.AA

Tyler Matheis, CAMEx, CCAM-PM

Sajid Shabber, CCAM-HR.LS.ND.PM

spotlight on spotlighteducation education


“It is important to give back to the industry and participate in the professional growth of my colleagues.”

Instructor for:

Conflict Resolution for Community Managers; The Basics of Association Management; California Law Series; HOA Core Principles for Industry Partners

Join CACM’s Talented Instructor Roster

Are you a manager member who has been certified for five years? Are you an industry partner member with a specialized area of expertise? Do you want to serve our industry?

Then apply to teach one of our courses. We’re looking for volunteers!

Our courses cover a wide range of topics, including legal compliance, financial management, effective communication, and leadership development. We are looking for members who can provide practical tips and strategies that HOA managers can apply to their work immediately.

Instructor candidates have been managing communities for some time, or have expertise in a particular field, such as accounting, HOA law or insurance.

own. The CACM Education team also helps facilitate class, processes attendance and supports the instructor and students during each class. All of CACM courses are taught live online.

Why Teach for CACM?

· Give back to the industry

· Learn a new skill

· Help educate managers

· Learn from other managers and attorneys

· Share your experience

· Connect with the CACM community

· Add “instructor” to your resume

· Earn Continued Education Units (CEUs) toward recertification

Who Should Apply to Teach?

·Certified manager members with 5 years of certification

·Industry partner members with specialized expertise: attorneys, accountants, insurance agents, reserve analysts

Never taught before? No problem. CACM provides all teaching materials, and prospective instructors audit the class and then co-teach it before teaching on their APPLY NOW

NEW LMS Coming Soon!

CACM is working on incorporating a new learning management system. Access course materials, Zoom links, status reports, and more all in one place. Get notifications for classes, know the next step in your program, submit forms and applications online.

Stay tuned for more details as the rollout will happen later this year!

Summer Is In Session

You can still sign up to take these courses this summer:

Foundational Ethics for Community Managers

July 31

Integrity is the number one quality employers and clients value. During this interactive course, a variety of scenarios that demonstrate the official rules of conduct for community managers will be discussed. Participants will review CACMs Code of Professional Ethics and Standards of Practice and gain an understanding of ethics complaints, disciplinary actions, and the appeals procedures. Upon completion of session 2, students are required to successfully complete a course exam.

Explaining Financial Statements

August 1, 8 and 15

If explaining the financials to your board is not your strong suit, gain the knowledge and credibility you should be projecting as the agent of a multi-million-dollar corporation. This course will remove the “boring” or “intimidation” factor associated with learning about numbers and involve you in real-life examples and hands-on activities that provide a solid understanding of community association financial record-keeping and reporting. You will leave this course prepared to better explain the activities that drive the numbers and assist board members in understanding financial statements.

Basics of Association Management

August 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27 and 28

This eight-session series provides a broad overview of the CID industry and addresses specific requirements to you as a community manager. Upon completion of sessions 1-4 and sessions 5-8, students are required to successfully complete both course exams.

For a full list of courses available through the end of September, turn to page 58 for our course calendar.

Electronic Voting, Insurance and Maintenance Bills Await Hearings or Approvals

The deadline is approaching for the legislature to move all bills out of their house of origin. The next step is for bills to go through the second house policy and fiscal committees before heading to the Governor’s desk. The bills CACM is tracking have undergone many changes and some new bills are now on the list.

AB 2114

Irwin: Balcony Inspections

Current law requires the board of a condominium project to conduct a visual inspection, by January 1, 2025, and at least every nine years thereafter, of the exterior elevated elements for which the association has maintenance or repair responsibility. Current law requires a licensed structural engineer or architect to conduct the inspection. This bill would additionally authorize a licensed civil engineer to conduct the inspection. CAI-CLAC is sponsoring the bill. It flew through the Assembly unanimously and is now awaiting hearings in the Senate.

AB 2159

Maienschein: Electronic Voting

This bill would authorize an association to conduct an election by electronic secret ballot unless the association’s governing documents provide otherwise, under certain conditions. Several changes were made to the bill since the last update. As it stands now, the bill provides that the association, should it choose to allow electronic voting, may do so through operating rules provided they comply with the bill’s requirements. The policy committees requested additional privacy safeguards, including that the online voting system can authenticate the member’s identity, authenticate the validity of each electronic vote, and transmit a

receipt to the member after voting. Amendments also tighten up notice requirements to ensure that members are given notice of an election being conducted by electronic means. They also exclude special and regular assessments matters from electronic voting. CAI-CLAC is sponsoring the bill and CACM has been working with them on amendments to address implementation.

AB 2460

Ta: Quorum Bill Cleanup

Last year, AB 1458 was enacted allowing for a 20% quorum in the event an association failed to get quorum upon its first attempt. However, it wasn’t clear whether governing documents with a lower quorum requirement were still valid. AB 2460 would amend the statutory notice provisions to clarify that upon failure to achieve quorum on the first attempt, the association may reconvene a subsequent meeting at which time the quorum will be 20%, unless the governing documents of the association provide for a lower quorum. CAI-CLAC is sponsoring the bill, which awaits approval on the Assembly floor.

AB 2996

Alvarez: FAIR Plan and CIDs

The California FAIR Plan Association is a joint reinsurance association in which all insurers licensed to write basic property insurance participate in administering basic property insurance for persons unable to obtain coverage through normal channels. This bill originally contained provisions that required the FAIR plan to develop, maintain, and offer to sell common interest development policies with limits of up to $20 million per structure. CACM worked closely with the California Building Industry Association and was in strong support of the bill. Unfortunately, the bill was amended to simply authorize the FAIR Plan Association to request the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank issue bonds and authorize the bank to issue those bonds. While the bill no longer has CID-specific provisions, it does have language to ensure that the FAIR plan remains solvent in the event of a

catastrophic event. CACM continues to support the bill since the FAIR plan is the only insurance many can get, and CACM supports efforts to alleviate the current crisis. This bill is awaiting approval on the Assembly floor.

SB 900 Umberg: CID Repair and Maintenance

This bill was a “gut and amend” and responds to a situation in the senator’s district. According to the senator’s office, the La Veta Monterey condominium complex in Orange, CA, notified SoCalGas of a possible natural gas leak. The company sent technicians to conduct an inspection, which resulted in an emergency shut-off of gas service at the master meter over health and safety concerns. It was eventually determined that the complex’s entire 51-year-old gas pipeline needed to be replaced at an estimated cost of more than $1 million. Because there was confusion over who was responsible for repairing and replacing the gas line, and there were no reserves to fund it, the shutoff of gas service left more than 600 residents without gas for four months.

The bill provides that, unless otherwise stated in the declaration, the association is responsible for repairs and replacements for matters relating to the interruption of utility services (i.e., gas, heat, water or electrical) that begin in the common area, even if the matter extends into a separate interest. The bill originally required associations to make repairs and replacements within 30 days. CACM strongly opposed the bill, arguing against any strict liability imposed on associations and explaining that repairs or replacement of major items like gas lines could not practically be done within 30 days. Getting emergency approval alone would require 30 days, not to mention the time it would take to assess the extent of the damage and make appropriate repairs.

After extensive discussions with the author, CACM was able to obtain amendments that now only require an association to commence the process

of making repairs within 10 days. If a vote does not take place within this period, and there aren’t sufficient reserves, the association may obtain financing without a membership vote. The amendments also require that a utility worker address the association in person to present a description of the problem and suggest solutions and timelines. Finally, the bill expands emergency assessments to include situations where there is a threat to “personal health” in addition to safety. The bill is in the Senate awaiting policy committee hearings.

SB 1470 Glazer: Construction Defects

This bill would have turned existing construction defect law on its head, as it would have removed the strict liability imposed on builders and shifted the burden to associations and their members. The builder would have only been liable if “habitability” was impacted and would have provided them with numerous defenses. CACM strongly opposed the bill, and after numerous negotiations, the author agreed to pull it. An early success in the session!

Heading into the last three months of the legislative session, CACM will continue its advocacy on bills affecting community managers and management companies. The session adjourns on August 31st and then the focus will shift to the Governor.

Jennifer Wada, Esq., is an attorney, CACM’s legislative advocate and principal of Wada Government Relations in Sacramento.

maintaining high standards

New Individual Manager & Management Company Members

CACM members further their success in the industry and benefit by partnering with colleagues to share new ideas and best practices. Please join us in welcoming these new members from the first quarter of 2024 (January 1 – March 31.)


Angela Alonzo, CCAM

Sara Borek

Jodi Hopkins

Craig Pittman

Jamie Shima

Cheyenne Thornton

Kirstie Wright


Yadira Aguirre

Jereemy Aldana

Griselda Alfaro

Paradise Anderson, CCAM

Lyndsey Ardeshna

Jared Avis

Brad Bacome

Ariadna Barajas

Maria Barrios

Rigoberto Bazan

Lori Bentwood

Bettie Berdugo

Alicia Bernardi

Nathaly Borges

Clarisa Bratcher, CCAM

Tim Brilla

Patricia Burton

Perla Bustamante Pecos

Tiffany Capdeville

Alycia Carmiol, CCAM

Robin Choppe’

Erick Corcuera

Caroline Cormier

Brei Davis

Paige Dougherty

Sarah Earring

Stephanie Espinosa

Lizvette Espiritu

Pamela Ford

Jean Fredericks

Shaun Freitas-McClain

Drake Freymond

Maria Gallardo

Alan Garcia

Jonathan Garcia

John Gonzalez

Rosie Gonzalez

Paige Gregory

Linda Griffin

Stephen Griswold

Michele Haines

Collin Harwell, CCAM

Beth Hatch

Terri Henley

Huy Ho

Nescel Ilagan

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Kelsey Jessen, CCAM

Tiffany Kaldenbach

Wendy Karapet

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RowCal Property Management

Champlin I (805) 475-8866

Standpoint DBA Communitas

Dallas I (916) 479-4066


The Bohan Company, Inc. San Francisco I (415) 418-0226

HOA Organizers, Inc.

Winnetka I (833) 446-2674

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Indian Wells, CA

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Keys to Success as a Community Manager

The most successful community association managers have high emotional intelligence and possess four crucial leadership traits including confidence, commitment, courage, and connection.

Being a community manager can be tough work. Managers are faced with frequent changes in legislation, and recent advances in technology have drastically changed the way managers work over the last 10 years. These changes do not appear to be slowing down and instead appear to be increasing in frequency. We’re also experiencing a shift in the makeup of the workforce as millennials and younger generations are starting to take over the bulk of leadership positions within the management industry. What is not changing are some of the most crucial leadership skills necessary to be successful in the industry, especially the need for high emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle emotions. It encompasses being able to understand and manage your own emotions as well as recognize and influence the emotions of those around you. Being emotionally intelligent has five main parts, according to Daniel Goleman, a noted psychologist:


Being aware of your own reactions and emotions and those of others around you.


Being able to control your reactions to the situation you’re in.


The ability to recognize what motivates you and what motivates others around you.


The ability to understand and share the feelings of another person.


The ability to find common ground and build relationships and rapport with others.

Developing your emotional intelligence is essential because managers with the highest levels of EI are often the most successful managers. However, emotional intelligence skills are not the only skills that need to be developed.

Skills for Leading in Challenging Times Managers often must lead their communities and teams through challenging situations. At the recent CACM Law Seminars held earlier this year, managers had the chance to hear noted author Adam Markel speak on resilience. He also has defined four key traits necessary to be a good leader. Throughout my 20-year career in this industry, I’ve observed that managers displaying the four key leadership traits described below are the best our industry has to offer. We’ll review the four traits described by Markel, and I’ll add clarification as to how you can apply them to your work as a manager.


Markel defines this as the foundation of successful leadership and calls it the ability to inspire trust and a sense of security. To project confidence as a manager, you must master communication skills, in addition to continuing to pursue educational opportunities to further your knowledge. Practice changing your tone of voice and rate of speaking and reviewing what your body language is adding to the conversation. Prepare for questions you may be asked, and maintain your composure even when the other party doesn’t. The ability to communicate effectively during stressful situations will inspire confidence in you and your skills in the long run.

,,At the core of successful management lies the ability to understand, empathize, and connect with others.


Markel says this is having a clear sense of purpose beyond your personal aspirations. As a manager, helping your community put together a strategic plan or vision can keep board members and residents on track and working together. It will help you focus on what’s important in the long term for the community, rather than getting distracted by the day-to-day minutiae. At a minimum, work on setting annual goals with your communities.


There are three parts to courage according to Markel – challenging the status quo by embracing innovation and pushing boundaries, having the willingness to make the tough decisions even in the face of adversity, and leading with humility. Managers advise clients on the best course of action for the community or what’s required for compliance, rather than what would be easiest or most acceptable to the residents. Throughout your career, you’ll be asked to step up and help in difficult situations, and it’s often your courage you’ll need to rely on to help your community get through those times.


Markel discusses the importance of building strong connections with others by investing the time and effort to get to know people, listening attentively, and getting diverse opinions. This is the value in attending industry events and networking with others inside and outside your company. Getting advice and support from other colleagues can help you hone your skills and solve difficult problems for your community. The relationships I’ve made in this industry have carried me through 20 years and counting, including some difficult situations during the pandemic when uncertainty was the norm.

Community Management Is an EverEvolving Industry

In the ever-evolving landscape of community management, one thing remains steadfast: the importance of emotional intelligence and essential leadership traits. As we navigate through legislative shifts and technological advancements, it’s clear that adaptability is crucial. However, at the core of successful management lies the ability to understand, empathize, and connect with others. To excel as a community manager, it’s imperative to cultivate these traits. From mastering communication skills to fostering meaningful connections, each aspect contributes to building resilient communities and teams.

As we embrace the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow, let us remember that true leadership transcends mere task management—it’s about inspiring trust, navigating change, and fostering growth. In the face of uncertainty, let emotional intelligence be our compass, and the key leadership traits guiding stars, illuminating the path toward successful community management.

I would like to acknowledge Tad Black, President of CM Squared, and Doreen Tejeda, Senior Vice President of Gordian Staffing, who recently presented on the topic covered in this article and were the inspiration for the content.

Kelly Zibell, CCAM, is the Senior Vice President of Community Management at Communitas. She is an experienced leader who’s held executive roles in prominent multinational HOA corporations.

serving your communities

New Industry Partner Members

CACM members further their success in the industry and benefit by partnering with colleagues to share new ideas and best practices. Please join us in welcoming these new members from the first quarter of 2024 (January 1 – March 31.)


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With the constant shift in modern workplaces, the significance of employee engagement becomes greater each day. Employee engagement isn’t just about having a satisfied workforce. Instead, it’s about cultivating a culture where employees are deeply invested in their work, committed to the organization’s goals, and motivated to contribute their best efforts. Amidst this pursuit, organizations increasingly turn to surveys and software as valuable tools to gauge, enhance, and sustain employee engagement levels. These tools are the conduit for nurturing a positive work environment and driving company success.


Employee engagement surveys are structured assessments designed to measure employee’s emotional commitment to their work, team, and the organization. These surveys typically encompass a range of factors, including job satisfaction, communication effectiveness, leadership quality, career development opportunities, and alignment with organizational values.

One of the primary values of conducting regular engagement surveys is their ability to provide actionable insights into the company’s pulse. By collecting anonymous employee feedback, organizations gain

valuable data on areas of strength and areas for improvement. This data serves as a foundation for informed decision-making, enabling leaders to tailor strategies and initiatives that resonate with their workforce’s needs and aspirations.

Moreover, employee engagement surveys foster transparency and trust within the organization. When employees see that their voices are heard and that leadership is genuinely interested in their well-being, it cultivates a sense of belonging and empowerment. This, in turn, strengthens the employer-employee relationship and fosters a culture of open communication and collaboration.


Employee engagement software provides the most efficient, scalable, and insightful method for measuring employee feedback. Current software solutions offer various features designed to streamline the survey administration process, analyze data in real time, and facilitate targeted interventions. One of the key advantages of employee engagement software is its ability to automate survey distribution and data collection, saving valuable time and resources for already overloaded HR departments and company leaders. With just a few clicks, companies can disseminate surveys to employees across various departments, locations, and even remote teams. This ensures broader participation and higher response rates while also enhancing the validity and reliability of the data collected.

Most employee engagement software offers advanced analytics capabilities, allowing companies to derive actionable insights from survey data. Through customizable dashboards, interactive reports, and trend analysis tools, leaders can identify patterns, correlations, and areas of concern. Armed with this knowledge, they can devise targeted interventions and initiatives to address underlying issues and bolster employee engagement levels.

Additionally, employee engagement software facilitates continuous feedback loops, enabling organizations to monitor progress over time and track the effectiveness of their interventions. By regularly measuring and benchmarking engagement metrics, organizations can identify trends, celebrate successes, and course-correct as needed, thereby fostering a culture of continuous improvement.


The truest impact of employee engagement initiatives lies in how organizations leverage the insights gained to drive meaningful change. Merely collecting data is not enough; it’s essential to act upon it purposefully and systematically. Similarly, for employees, simply giving generic answers, saying what you think the executives want to hear, or responding only periodically does not provide enough meaningful data to effect change.

First and foremost, organizations must prioritize communication throughout the entire engagement process. From survey administration to sharing results and implementing action plans, employees should be informed and involved every step of the way. This not only demonstrates a commitment to accountability but also encourages buy-in and ownership from employees at all levels, from receptionists to senior managers.

Moreover, organizations should view employee engagement as a holistic endeavor that extends beyond survey responses. While survey data provides valuable insights, if you fail to create a work environment that fosters engagement the data becomes stale and irrelevant. Ways to foster engagement include:

• investing in leadership development,

• promoting a culture of recognition and appreciation,

• providing opportunities for growth and advancement,

• and fostering strong interpersonal relationships among team members.


Companies must be willing to adapt and evolve their engagement strategies in response to changing needs and circumstances. What works today may not necessarily work tomorrow, and as such, it’s essential to remain agile and responsive to emerging trends and challenges.

Employee engagement surveys and software represent valuable tools for organizations seeking to cultivate a culture of engagement, empowerment, and excellence. By harnessing the power of data-driven insights, companies can identify areas for improvement, implement targeted interventions, and foster a workplace environment where employees thrive and contribute their best efforts. However, the true value of these tools lies not in their implementation alone but in the commitment of organizations to act upon the insights gained and continuously nurture a culture of engagement and collaboration as well as the employees’ willingness to participate. As the adage goes, “engaged employees are the driving force behind organizational success, and investing in their engagement is an investment in the future prosperity of the company.”

Andrew Hay, CAMEx, CCAM-ND.PM, is a CACM board of directors member and has ascended the ranks to serve as CEO of The Helsing Group, Inc.

What Work-Life Balance Looks like for a Community Manager




Community management as a career choice offers a unique work-life balance. A traditional job often comes with a “9-5” schedule. Sometimes, this schedule feels like a dream. As someone who has been in the industry for 12 years, I have often found myself envious of people who can pack it up at 5:00 pm on a Friday and not have any work to do or think about until Monday morning. Even the idea of being done for the day at 5:00 pm on a random Tuesday sounds pretty nice.

The Job That Never Ends

A fact of life is that if you truly care about your clients and your work product, stress and anxiety comes with that. I find my brain doing meeting prep during dinner or thinking about an email I may have missed while I’m brushing my teeth. I’ve been at the gym and left to make calls about one thing or another more than once. Sometimes, this makes me feel that my career intrudes on my life. There is not a clear line drawn showing that I am “at” work or “off ” work. Community managers do not clock in and out. For those of us who prioritize excellent client care and the well-being of those living in the communities we manage, this is certainly more than a full-time job.

I’ve thought of this dichotomy many times. I’ve asked myself if I would be happier or more balanced in a field that offers very clear lines of what is expected of me and what work hours are. I have felt overwhelmed at times. I remember one Christmas Eve, I got a call from a board member at a prominent account about an irrigation leak. About two hours later, I got a call from another board member asking if a car could be towed because an owner was in visitor parking. These two phone calls on Christmas Eve were sobering. What am I doing with my life?

In the past three years, my life has changed a lot. I now have two daughters. My priority is their happiness and well-being. A notable part of that is financial security. However, quality of life is far more complex than money. There are nights when managers are in meetings until 11:00 pm after working all day. There are days when our phone won’t stop ringing, and our inbox seems to overflow.

Is the Manager Life Right for You?

It is crucial for every manager to ask themselves, “Is this career for me?” Without knowingly confronting the possibility that maybe this career path is not for you, I

Not everyone is naturally self-motivated and accountable. Many people prioritize having tasks done over having tasks done right.

don’t believe it can ever be truly chosen or appreciated. Below are two important areas of self-inquiry that I considered to help me choose and appreciate community management.

Quality of Life

It’s easy to spot the negative. Humans are excellent at this. It is much harder for us to be grateful. Negativity bias makes it very easy to spot what is wrong, and quite hard to step back and experience gratitude for what you have. If you ask most managers what they don’t like about their job, you’d likely hear complaints about stress, late nights, being overworked, verbally abusive homeowners, and a list of other injustices community managers face. All these complaints are true and valid. It is the choice of the individual to instead focus on the benefits and advantages of this career.

With young children, time at home is precious. I was uncomfortable with attending evening meetings when my first daughter was born. I felt like I was abandoning her and our evening routine of singing her songs and tucking her in when I had a meeting. While considering this, I also thought about all the times I could come home for lunch and play with her for a minute. Or the afternoons that I could work from home and play with her for

five minutes in between appointments. That is a pretty amazing thing.

With support and understanding from my wife, we can plan for nights I’m working, and I can take advantage of slower days. Somedays, when all my ducks are in a row, I will walk away from the computer and play with her or walk to the park for an hour. I’m able to keep an eye on my email and take any calls that come in, but I am also present with her at a time that is traditionally considered “work hours.” When my wife was pregnant, I could plan my week around knowing there was a doctor’s appointment 2:00 pm on Tuesday and actually be there for it. These are not small quality-of-life matters.

“With Great Freedom Comes Great Responsibility”

This career path is not for those who want to do what must be done and walk away. A good manager is always planning ahead, seeing potential issues and conflicts, and staying ahead of them for their clients. In many ways, you are your own boss. I’ve managed teams of association managers and can quickly spot those who will succeed and those who will flounder. Not everyone is naturally selfmotivated and accountable. Many people prioritize having tasks done over having tasks done right.

Those who conduct themselves as craftsmen can find great freedom in it. When all of your accounts and boards are well taken care of, there is a level of peace that is added to interactions and even problems that arise. Having some credit built up with boards and members can go a long way. Each person is responsible for their own reputation. If someone truly strives to serve and displays the competency to make others’ lives better, they will be someone others are grateful to work with and have on their team. This fosters a relationship of trust and even love. If you have served a client well, they will want you to be happy and stay a part of the team.

Boundaries Set You Up for Success

People have the capacity to be pretty amazing. For example, I recently started swimming laps. I find it peaceful and a way to unplug. Just last week, I was on a call with a client and we compiled a pretty long task list. I told them, “I’m going to go swimming for about an hour, and then I’ll get back to you all on this.” I was hesitant to make such a statement early in my career. These days, I respectfully set boundaries to protect my well-being.

Living authentically and owning my own schedule is freeing. I may have to work some nights, but I can also take a midday break to go swimming. I may have some rough conversations with people who are upset, but I can also help a lot of people who need and appreciate my assistance. There are some 14-hour days, but there are also some six-hour days. I have grown to appreciate that my schedule is not “9-5.” I prefer being in charge of my own days and my own time on this planet, even if that means working a little harder.

Justin Sacoolas, CCAM, is the Monterey Regional Manager for Compass Management Group, Inc.

DON’T LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE the executive corner


The key to remaining profitable in this next era of community management is maximizing the revenue that you make outside of your base management fee.


At CAM Leadership Institute we now have over 100 member companies, giving us a large enough sample size to start doing our own industry benchmarking. In one of our initial benchmark reports, our members submitted their 2022 total revenue broken out by base management fee, schedule A, and ancillary/other revenue streams (those that fall outside of schedule A and base management fees).

The data painted a clear picture: companies that diversify their income streams and find additional ways to monetize their portfolio are more profitable.

• Companies generating less than $10,000,000 in gross annual revenue saw around 67% of their revenue directly attributable to their base management fee.

• Companies generating over $10,000,000 in gross annual revenue saw only 55% of that revenue coming from their base management fee. Some were as low as 40%!

The data showed that as companies grow, they find more and more ways to monetize their portfolio outside of base management fees. Don’t leave money on the table.

The first place to start in growing this extra revenue is with your Schedule A revenue.

Having a well-defined Schedule A brings clarity to both the community manager and the community.


FOCUS ON HIGH-MARGIN ITEMS FIRST Companies that are thriving in this new era of community management are those moving away from “all-inclusive pricing.” They are drawing a line in the sand clearly defining what is included in their base management fee and what is not. Anything not included in the base management fee falls on their schedule A. Things that are consistently predictable should be in your contracted scope of work and base management fee. This means getting clear on the number of meetings, site visits, and time spent managing the communities’ finances.

Unpredictable tasks, such as additional board meetings, supplementary site visits, special assessments, managing large capital projects, and coordinating insurance claims, should have fees clearly outlined in your Schedule A. Having a well-defined Schedule A brings clarity to both the community manager and the community.



Be careful not to make your Schedule A too long or complicated. Your competitors will use this against you. It is best to keep your Schedule A to one page and pick out the highest revenue items that your managers will feel empowered to bill for.

The most common high-margin Schedule A items we see are:

• Project Coordination Fees

• Insurance Claims Management

• Loan Administration Fees

• Lease and Short-term Rental Tracking


It doesn’t matter how strong your Schedule A is if your managers are not empowered to actually bill the boards for the items on it. The companies that are most successful at billing for Schedule A items have these three things in place:


Empower managers by educating them on your Schedule A through an internal “contract college”

seminar or lunch and learn. This will help your managers understand the contract, including what is included in the base management fee and what isn’t. It also gives them the space to ask questions and get clear on how to respond if faced with pushback or questions from their boards.


You have to make it easy for your managers to submit Schedule A items. The leading software platforms in our industry now have modules that can make this billing automatic. If your software does not do this, you can set up a DIY solution while you look for a platform that does. Try setting up a Google form or similar shared document that has all of your communities listed and your Schedule A items listed in a selectable drop-down. From here, all your manager has to do is select the community, select the schedule A items, add some notes, and then press submit. Important Note: Don’t fall into the trap of regularly declining manager submissions to bill for Schedule A services. Doing so sets an unhealthy precedent for the customer, weakens the strength of your contracted billing terms, and makes managers feel that submitting requests is a waste of time.


More and more companies are incentivizing managers to submit Schedule A items by offering them a percentage of the total amount billed. This additional income can be substantial depending on the Schedule A items billed. Your company will earn additional income, and your managers will be rewarded for their extra effort, that’s a win-win.

Boards do not want to feel they are getting nickel-and-dimed by extra fees and tangled in red tape every time they reach out to their manager. You have to be smart in what you put on your Schedule A. If you build it out right, train and empower your managers, are consistent in billing according to it, and make it easy for all involved parties, this can be a quick way to drive up your revenue and embrace the future of our industry.


This is a new column for Vision Magazine that will be included in every issue. It is written by staff at CAM Leadership Institute, an organization that focuses on community management company owner and executive leadership development. CAM Leadership Institute hosts mastermind groups attended by almost 100 management companies from across the country every month, which gives them unique insight into the industry. In each edition, the staff at CAM Leadership Institute will provide a column specific to management company owners and executive leadership teams.

Adam Balkcom is the lead facilitator for CAM Leadership Institute.

How Your Behavior Shapes Company Culture

Company culture, the backbone of any organization, is not solely the executives’ responsibility. It’s a complex system influenced by various factors, including your behavior. Yes, your actions and attitude directly impact your company’s culture. This realization empowers you to be mindful of your behavior, knowing that it can significantly shape the work environment, either positively or negatively.

Avoid These TOXIC Workplace Habits

Some behaviors, if left unchecked, can erode trust, lower morale, and reduce productivity for you and your coworkers. They create a hostile environment that affects individual wellbeing and hampers team cohesion and collaboration. The consequences of such a toxic culture are far-reaching, leading to high turnover rates, a tarnished company reputation, and, ultimately, a detrimental effect on the bottom line. This underscores the urgency to address these habits.

A non-exhaustive list of these toxic workplace habits follows:

• Exclusion

• Bullying

• Blaming others

• Throwing coworkers “under the

• Not completing your portion of the work timely

• Failing to respond to requests from teammates

• Making fun of coworkers

• Favoritism

• Excessive ‘water cooler talk’ or speaking badly about one coworker to another

For instance, consider the toxic effects of one or two individuals on the culture of a management company that I once worked for. These individuals, without naming names or destroying reputations, caused multiple people to resign rather than deal with their negativity and wreaked havoc on the productivity and even mental health of those who stayed. While their clients loved them, their coworkers did not, and the effects were evident. This is a real-life scenario that underscores the importance of individual behavior in shaping company culture.

Foster These HAPPY Workplace Habits

On the other hand, fostering a positive company culture among coworkers can lead to a thriving workplace. Yes, the executive team should be working to build a healthy company culture, but you do not have to rely solely on their efforts. As we saw in the case of recent Vision award winner Marta Weisler, CCAM, of Associa Northern California, one individual can make or break company culture despite the executive’s efforts. When you make your teammates feel valued and included, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated and offer you assistance when needed. This should inspire you to take action.

Here are some positive habits that you can bring to the workplace to make everyone happier:

• Include all your coworkers

• Accept responsibility when things go wrong

• Inject some fun into the workday

• Complete tasks promptly and save work so everyone who needs to can access it

• Quickly respond to requests from coworkers

• Offer sincere compliments and kudos

• Only speak positively about others

• Treat everyone kindly and with respect

What Impact Are You Making?

The impact of your behavior on the company’s culture and the happiness and productivity levels of fellow employees cannot be overstated. A cheerful workplace is a collective effort that requires commitment from all levels of the organization—including you. By doing your part to create a culture of respect, support, and collaboration, you can improve employee satisfaction and retention, boost productivity, and drive success and growth.

Take a moment to self-assess your current ripple effect on the company’s culture. Are you happy with it? Or is

there room for improvement? Doing so can improve your chances of getting pay raises and promotions and make you and everyone around you happier during the workday. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by making sure that your impact on the company’s culture is motivating, even if you are not an executive.

Remember that the workplace is a community, and you are solely responsible for your impact on that community. Make your impact positive, and watch your coworkers, career, and company flourish.

Whether you acknowledge it or not, you play a pivotal role in shaping and maintaining a positive culture. Set a good example and promote behaviors that support the well-being of others. Always act ethically, be open to feedback from your coworkers on how you can improve, and speak up when others engage in toxic behaviors in your presence. Remember, your behavior matters and can significantly impact the company’s culture.

Every employee has a responsibility to contribute to a positive work environment. Company culture is not solely the responsibility of HR or the executives. It starts with self-awarenessunderstanding how your behavior and actions affect others-and extends to how you interact with your colleagues. Encouraging teamwork, showing empathy, and celebrating diversity are habits you can start to enhance the company culture.

Dee Rowe, CACM, was a portfolio community manager for 12 years at various San Diego management companies. She now writes newsletters and notices for HOA managers and industry partners.



Did you know that the fax first found traction in the 1860s? Yes, the fax – that marvel of technology that takes a printed page, stuffs it into a tiny phone line, and then magically prints it on another piece of paper as it is pushed out of a machine half a world away - first emerged in the 1800s. The technology slowly gained momentum until the 1930s when AT&T found viable commercial uses for the technology. In World War II the US military began investing heavily in faxes for transmitting maps and other images. By the 1980s the fax machine was ubiquitous in offices around the world.

And then there were none.

Like boy bands and dinosaurs, the only remnants of the fax machine today are curious artifacts. Back in the early 2000s, when I was just a kid learning the HOA reconstruction ropes, a wizened old manager sternly admonished me that email was far too unreliable. He would only send me work orders via fax. I thought him wise and invested in a fax machine.

Technological Marvels Become Relics

That manager has moved on, and the fax machine has moved aside. Email has become arguably the most reliable communication medium we use. Change, the only constant, is still plaguing the stalwart among us. If you remember the 1990s heyday of the fax machine, you might recall it was hard to imagine a more concrete mode of transmitting documents. Digital transmission just felt too squishy and unreliable.

What go-to technology is now about to become a relic? What standards are fossilizing before our eyes and against our will? What systems will no longer seem quite so clever or logical in just a couple of years?

And frankly, the more poignant question is how will you and I respond to those changes as they come? How will that person you are about to hire respond when you roll out a new corporate program? How will you respond to the feedback?

Accepting Change

Change is as inevitable as it is cliché. We change, we adapt, and then we do it again and again. Yet, each time we face change – it’s a new challenge to accept it. Each time we introduce new systems to team members, we tense in anticipation of the

The greatest social experiment, colloquially known as the ‘HOA,’ is one of great change and opportunity.

blowback. Each time you suggest changes to a supervisor…yep, the same tense anticipation.

The CID industry is in transition like never before. There has never been so much demanded from owners and managers. Training new managers is getting harder. Life as a manager is more challenging. The insurance carrier just dropped your building, the decks were fine yesterday, but now, evidently, they’re dangerous, and oh yeah, the attorney just let you know that you’ve been misapplying CC&Rs for the last 30 years, and your homeowners are now personally responsible to repair, well …you fill in the blank.

There’s a lot of change in the industry, and not everyone is responding well. Some managers are packing up and moving on, leaving a mentorship vacuum. Homeowners are panicking and refusing to spend or raise money. The old familiar paths to repairs, insurance renewals, assessments, and certifications are getting treacherous with all the red tape and legal landmines. Tempers flare at unusually wellattended board meetings. Change is in the air, and sometimes it smells like the smoke from a dozen torches.

Responding to Change

How will you respond to the changes? Following are some tools I suggest for responding to change:

1. Stop saying, “I wish it weren’t so.” Living in the past is like walking backward. You’ll never see opportunity when it pops up, trample it flat when it does, then scoff at the wreckage as proof that there was never any hope of its success. Face the next treacherous board meeting with an eye to opportunity. Some very frustrated owners may just have the solution the community is looking for.

2. Keep learning! Henry Ford is quoted as saying, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Get credentials that count. Study the laws for yourself. Be an expert.

3. Don’t expect stability. Nick Tasler, in this article published on The Harvard Business Review on September 21, 2016, commented that “ In the late 1970s, a researcher at the University of Chicago named Salvatore Maddi began studying employees at Illinois Bell. Soon after, the phone industry was deregulated, and the company had to undergo a lot of changes. Some managers had trouble coping. Others thrived. What separated the two groups?

The adaptive leaders chose to view all changes, whether wanted or unwanted, as an expected part of the human experience rather than as a tragic anomaly that victimizes unlucky people. Instead of feeling personally attacked by ignorant leaders, evil lawmakers, or an unfair universe, they remained engaged in their work and spotted opportunities to fix longstanding problems…”

No matter how you face change, one thing is clear: you’re going to face change. This epoch of the greatest social experiment, colloquially known as the ‘HOA,’ is one of great change and opportunity.

Will you perceive changes as tragic anomalies that trip you up and frustrate your progress, or will you hit the books, face challenges with aplomb, and expect success? Your career may depend on your answer.

Scott Swinton, CCIP, is the General Contractor and Certified Construction Manager at Unlimited Property Services, Inc. He has many years of lessons learned under his belt in the CID industry.

Are Employee Handbooks Still Relevant?

I recently received feedback from an employee regarding a process outlined in our company’s employee handbook. Despite the handbook being periodically revised and distributed over the past 33 years, this was the first instance I knew of where an employee had referenced it. Upon investigation, it was discovered that a recent revision to the handbook, made approximately 10 months ago, contained a well-defined process regarding calculating paid time off (PTO), which our payroll company was not adhering. Rectifying this oversight incurred costs for legal consultation and extensive communication with our payroll vendor to adjust PTO calculations for all hourly employees retroactively. Without the employee’s diligence in flagging this issue, our company could have been exposed to significant compliance risks and a misrepresentation of our commitment to employee welfare, potentially leading to legal consequences.

What are some reasons why employee handbooks are not only relevant but also critical to a management company’s success? Let’s explore:

Lack of HR and Legal Resources

Many organizations, particularly those in common interest management, may lack the resources for dedicated human resources teams or legal oversight of employment practices. Even larger companies often face challenges prioritizing such expenses over more immediate needs. Nevertheless, maintaining an up-to-date employee handbook is not just a necessity but a strategic move that can bring significant benefits. It serves as a valuable reference tool during challenging situations, helping to prevent potential violations of fair employment practices, and fostering a positive work environment.

California’s employment laws are complex and evolving, underscoring the necessity of a comprehensive handbook that aligns with state-specific regulations, such as wage and hour laws, anti-discrimination policies, anti-harassment policies, and leave entitlements. Beyond being a resource for employees, supervisors, and company owners, regular legal review of the handbook ensures compliance and protection for the entire organization.

The handbook serves as a valuable reference tool during challenging situations, helping to prevent potential violations of fair employment practices, and fostering a positive work environment.

The Rise of Remote Work

The rise of remote work further necessitates handbook revisions to clarify job duties, workplace definitions, telecommuting benefits, and associated risks. Failure to define boundaries may lead to frustration and unintended legal exposure. A well-crafted handbook establishes policies and procedures and reflects organizational values, fostering a positive workplace culture and hopefully reducing grievances. The Department of Labor encourages employers with hybridremote work options to use electronic postings for their remote workers. If 100% of your employees work remotely, electronic postings are required so that employees can be aware of their rights. This may be done using scheduled email blasts or hosting upto-date disclosures on an intranet site like Microsoft’s SharePoint or Delve.

California’s employment laws are complex and evolving, underscoring the necessity of a comprehensive handbook that aligns with statespecific regulations, such as wage and hour laws, anti-discrimination policies, anti-harassment policies, and leave entitlements. Beyond being a resource for employees, supervisors, and company owners, regular legal review of the handbook ensures compliance and protection for the entire organization.

Third-Party Exposure

Another layer to consider is third-party exposure. As community managers, we are responsible for educating our clients on their role as an employer and the importance of maintaining employee handbooks if they employ staff members. Failure to provide adequate protections and benefits to employees, such as sick time, can result in legal repercussions for both the association and its management company. Simply by assisting our boards with managing their payroll services, the managing agent may be perceived as a secondary employer and unknowingly exposed to increased risk. Many of our boards do not realize they are responsible for posting mandatory labor law posters on-site where their employees can reasonably access this information. Most associations do not enlist the services of an attorney who specializes in employment law. As budget season approaches, these are great conversations to have with your clients who have employees. By ensuring clear communication and legal compliance, we mitigate risks and support a positive work environment for all parties involved.

The Manager’s Role

As managers, we have a crucial role in supporting our boards in fulfilling their HR responsibilities and promoting work-life balance through clear guidelines and policies. By prioritizing the creation and maintenance of employee handbooks, we uphold legal compliance and foster a positive work environment. Now more than ever, having an employee handbook is a crucial part of running a successful business, and common interest developments are no exception. Our active involvement in this process is key to its success.

Jeff Farnsworth, CAMEx, CCAM-PM. ND, is the CEO of Steward Property Services, Inc., and has more than 15 years of experience providing management services in Northern California.

Embracing Tech for Remote Work

Remote work isn’t new. In the years since the Covid pandemic, however, companies have had to shift from all remote, to partially remote to hybrid models. For many, the remote option has expanded, while for others, perhaps they have cut down on remote days offered.

According to CACM’s most recent Compensation Benefits Study in 2022, members reported working remotely between 2 and 6 days a month. And when remote work was offered as a benefit, almost 90 percent of employees used it, according to the study.

Management company executives say that offering the option of working remotely has given them another tool to retain talented staff. With gas prices at an all-time high, it can save employees money to not have to commute into an office every day. Saving the hour or two spent commuting also provides additional work time or personal time.

However, there are challenges to providing this benefit. Key among them:

• Liability (injuries that happen off company grounds)

• Isolation

• Loss of water cooler talk or sharing of ideas

• Cybersecurity/data breach concerns

• Added expense for equipment and software

• Technology adoption

It should go without saying that companies that offer a remote work option need to have an established remote work policy, which should address among many things the hours and schedule for remote work, hardware and software requirements, technical support, worksite conditions and work expectations, and anything else you deem important.

In the work expectations section, be as specific and clear as possible about the frequency of communication, daily task management and reporting, and software or technology that must be used.

Communication and collaboration are one of the top challenges of working remotely, according to a Buffer survey. Unlike in an office where you can simply walk over to a colleague’s cubicle or talk shop during breaks or lunch, being remote means being more intentional about it.

Leadership must be specific about which communication tools to use and set regular meeting schedules or check-ins to keep everyone on the same page. Whether it’s a daily or weekly check-in on Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Facetime, setting aside a time and place to connect should be standard practice.

Establish a way to foster in-person interaction where everyone can come together such as a monthly or quarterly company meeting where lunch is served. This will help keep staff

Tools and tips to increase communication and collaboration with offsite employees.

connected to the company and colleagues not only on shared projects and company goals but on a personal level.

Technology is a must for hybrid or remote work

– it’s what makes remote work possible after all. This will require research, investment, and training to ensure that the systems chosen are widely used and adopted and that they are fulfilling the communication and productivity needs for the company as well as the employees.

Here are a few apps and systems that offer communication and productivity features. Some of these are used by CACM members. This is not an exhaustive list:

• Smartsheet or Podio for project and team management: Allows uploads of documents including RFPs, meeting minutes, etc. All projects and tasks can be entered into and shared with relevant stakeholders.

• Asana or Basecamp for project and task management.

• Slack for team chat and collaboration.

• Microsoft Sharepoint for file sharing and content management.

• Microsoft Teams for virtual chatting or video calling. (Alternative to Zoom, Google Meet or Skype.)

• TickTick for task and time management as well as collaboration.

• TimeCamp, Toggl, or Clockify for time tracking and employee monitoring.

In addition to these programs, there are companies offering industry-specific property management software that automates many tasks for community managers and association boards. A list of HOA management software providers can be found in CACM’s Resource Guide or Industry Partner directory

There’s literally a bevy of apps and programs out there, so it can be overwhelming to decide which to use. Survey your staff about software they have used or tried in the past and allow their feedback to inform your decisions on what to implement.

Whichever system or systems you choose, it’s important to get the full team on board. There’s no point investing time and money in programs nobody is willing to use. Part of ensuring adoption is providing training so staff know how to use it.

As with any technology, it’s not only about ease of use. If there are no guidelines as to how it should be used, it won’t be successful. It’s not enough to have a system in place if the staff isn’t aware of the purpose and its benefits.

Consider the program’s built-in security features in your selection to minimize potential cybersecurity breaches. Integration with other systems or programs you currently use should also be a consideration to minimize the number of technologies you have to pay for and learn.

Nothing is more rewarding for an onsite manager than growing a staff team of disparate individuals into a cohesive whole working together for the benefit of the association. At the same time, nothing is more challenging. The larger the team and the greater the disparities, the more difficult it is to achieve this cohesiveness. For example, how do you help a 65-year-old Nicaraguan native who grew up working the fields and a 32-year-old Brooklyn, New York native with widely different backgrounds work together as a team as they serve the residents? What steps can an onsite manager take to help achieve a highly effective onsite team that residents rave about?

The Secrets to a Highly Effective Onsite Team

“The glue that holds all relationships together–including the relationship between the leader and the led–is trust, and trust is based on integrity.”
– Brian Tracy

It Begins with Trust

As with everything related to management, it starts with trust. The individual team members need to trust the leader –without this trust, anything you do will be suspect at best. The following story illustrates this concept.

When I first arrived at the property I currently manage, they were still using an old-style punch time clock for keeping track of hours, and the manager had not been taking into account over-time laws when paying overtime, so if someone worked an extra shift, they were automatically paid 8 hours of overtime even if they had not worked 40 hours that week or had only worked 7 or less hours that shift. The manager did not want to bother with calculating actual overtime hours worked

and just paid the whole shift as overtime. When we started using a digital time clock that automatically kept track of when it was actually earned, the staff started noticing that they were no longer getting paid as much overtime as under the previous manager. Instead of letting this erode trust in their new manager, I took this as an opportunity to build trust and asked the board for permission to pay the staff overtime pay for any extra shifts worked even if it did not require overtime pay. The board unanimously approved, and trust was not only restored but even increased as the staff saw a tangible way in which I had taken steps to help ensure their well-being. Building trust is the first stepping-stone toward building a highly effective onsite team.

“Being forward-looking—envisioning exciting possibilities and enlisting others in a shared view of the future—is the attribute that most distinguishes leaders from non-leaders.”
– James M. Kouzes and Barry Posner

Promote a Shared Vision

Once trust is established and maintained, the next step is for the staff to share a vision of providing excellent service to the residents and guests. The key concept here is ‘shared.’ Unless you were able to hand-pick your onsite team and hire only those who valued excellence, you will need to work at developing a shared vision of excellence with the team that was handed to you. That 65-year-old Nicaraguan or 32-year-old Brooklyn native may or may not value excellence. So, how do you help instill that value?

· First and foremost, you must model the vision. Are staff meetings run with excellence? When you address propertywide issues do you model excellence, or is your work lackluster? Your staff are looking at how you behave much more closely than you might imagine.

· Second, you need to talk up this vision of excellence. During staff meetings share stories of this vision being carried out by staff members. Make it the standard that is highlighted and praised. Over time, you and the residents will begin to see the fruits of this shared vision of excellence.

“I’ve always believed that a lot of the troubles in the world would disappear if we were talking to each other instead of about each other.”
– Ronald Reagan

Navigating Conflict

After you have established trust and developed a shared vision of excellence, nothing can jeopardize that more than conflict between team members. Conflict between team members must, therefore, be addressed and not ignored. This can get messy. Set aside enough time for each side to express their frustration with the other. The first goal is to bring about clarity of the issue since so much of interpersonal conflict is borne out of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the other’s words, actions and even motives.

After the first goal is achieved, the second goal is to reconcile the parties involved. This sometimes happens at the same time as the first goal of bringing about clarity. In situations where clarity does not bring about a resolution or where it even makes things worse, you, as the leader, will need to bring about reconciliation by finding common ground between the individuals. Ultimately, the goal is for the individuals to see that they are working toward the common goal of serving the residents. A reminder of this common goal is often all that is needed to put aside differences.

Remember to Celebrate the Team

As you work towards maintaining the team’s trust in you, model and highlight excellence, and deal with conflict, don’t forget to continuously celebrate the team as a whole. This can be done formally at staff meetings by telling stories of when team members worked well together or came to the aid of one another or by rewarding excellent behavior. Whatever form your celebrations take, don’t forget to include food! After all, what team member does not enjoy a good meal?

Los Angeles.
Hamlet Vazquez, MCAM-HR, is the General Manager at Wilshire Terrace Co-Op in


Tijeras Creek Golf Club September 23, 2024 NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

Moraga Country Club October 21, 2024


Managers sign up to play for free. Fill out the form.

Whether you’re an experienced golfer or if you have never swung a golf club before, Swing and Swag is THE event to meet with peers and colleagues, network, pick up some swag and enjoy a day in the sun. Practice your putting, improve your range at the driving range station, and take part in this golf event focused on fun. Come join us for a day of fun on the golf course while dressed as characters from your favorite sitcom!

CACM Goes Local with Give Back Initiatives


While CACM is a statewide nonprofit, our philanthropic efforts have a local focus. Through the formation of our local committees, 13 throughout the state, not only is CACM developing educational and networking events quarterly for members and non-members, but these committees are also giving back through donations of items and time to nonprofits and charities that benefit the communities in their backyard.

CACM is proud to be a part of several charities and utilizes our local committees and events to give back to these organizations.


In Southern California, most of our local events are an opportunity to meet with members and connect but also bring donations to The Priority Center. The Priority Center is a nonprofit in Orange County that supports kids and families in the area in a multitude of ways. Primarily, they focus on resources and support for all ages in the county that have had previous trauma, abuse, neglect and supporting them to get mental health resources.


Up north, we have several different regions that each support different organizations.

In Sacramento, we support Compassion Planet Compassion Planet is an organization that works to empower aged-out foster youth and youth from at-risk backgrounds to achieve independence, overcome obstacles and reach their fullest potential.

South Bay supports the Bill Wilson Center. This center has programs that focus on housing, education, counseling and advocacy for youth. The Bill Wilson Center reaches more than 100,000 clients through street outreach and their crisis line programs.


With these charities, our goal is to utilize our platform and events to give back to our communities. We work directly with these organizations and support them through collection of donations at our local events in each region.

They have a donation warehouse available so that therapists and social workers (for kids and families in need) can bring donations to their home on their next visit. They also offer a kidfriendly office, providing multiple rooms with multiple themes to comfort kids of all ages when they need to be interviewed for serious meetings involving the police, social workers, etc. The Priority Center is an additional resource to support people in need in our backyard and in our members’ backyards.

In North Bay, we support Redwood Empire Food Bank. This organization has been working to feed neighbors in need and leading their community to end hunger since 1987. Redwood Empire Food Bank serves through three different initiatives, Every Child, Every Day; Senior Security and Neighborhood Hunger Network.

In San Francisco we support One Warm Coat, an organization that aims to provide free coats to children and adults in need. They work to create awareness of the basic human right and the vital need for protection against the cold.

We as a company are still continuously learning and improving, which means we are trying to come up with new ways to continue supporting these organizations. As a member, these local events are available to you and so is getting involved and giving back. We hope that we can work together to learn, improve and do more for our neighborhoods and communities.

Interested in learning more, contact our NorCal and SoCal regional directors, Natasha Fierro at and Alia Saouli at, respectively, to find out how you can get involved.




Howonecommunitymanagerandhis associationaredealingwithwildlifechallenges inacommunityjustnorthofLosAngeles.

Recently, a California association received national media attention – not for attacks from its difficult residents, board members fighting with each other, or any other controversy an HOA might experience. This attention came because of the neighborhood - specifically the surrounding wildlife.


Built within the Los Padres National Forest over 50 years ago, Pine Mountain Club POA is under increased attacks from black bears. The recent media attention began from a front-page article posted in the LA Times about the small community and its roughly 3,000 residents living under constant threat of bears breaking into homes and cars. This article began a storm of news outlets contacting residents and the general manager, Todd Greisen, CCAM, for interviews and ride-a-longs with patrol staff. NBC Nightly News, CBS Inside Edition, and even France TV spread the news of this rather unique challenge facing the association.


Estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years, significant repair costs within the community resulted from damage caused by bear break-ins. Resident victims are understandably upset and frustrated at the growing problem of bears in search of food. The commercial village businesses have also been victims. Among them, the local pizza restaurant has been broken into eight times while closed in recent years. Apparently, bears really like pizza, too!

The association has also been a victim. Unmanned at night, its maintenance facility’s staff breakroom refrigerator has been a repeat target. Bears broke through doors, windows, and even a wall. The building is collocated with the community’s transfer site, where residents bring their trash and garbage, requiring the association to harden trash bins to protect that food source. Additional damage impacts the community golf course, where greens’ pins become toys, sometimes broken by playful bear cubs!


The cause of the bear problem, and how to deal with it are this community’s controversies. In a recent town hall meeting on the subject, Greisen, his patrol staff manager, and representatives from California Fish & Wildlife were panelists. The goal was to educate residents on home protection methods and actions being taken to mitigate the growing bear problem. Both Fish & Wildlife and the POA came under attack from some residents expressing their frustration that not enough is being done to deal with the increasing problem.

Since July of 2023, there have been over 600 reported wildlife incidents, up from just over 300 in the prior fiscal year. Depending on who you ask, the growth can be attributed to multiple reasons. Long-time residents claim bears were rarely seen prior to the nearby Day Fire years ago, which pushed the bear population closer to the community.

With its increased population, the community has become an easy source of food, versus natural sources found in the neighboring forest. As a beautiful weekend getaway only 90 minutes north of LA, city-dwelling visitors staying in short-term rentals are often uneducated on how to live among the wildlife of Pine Mountain Club. Sometimes, their trash bags are left on the driveway as they might do in the city. Or worse, food and trash are left exposed inside the guest’s home. With their superior sense of smell, even through exteriors, bears can easily find food – and will. Owners of parked cars learn that just a single fallen French fry between the seats or crumbs in a child seat can be the cause of a break-in.

Fish & Wildlife reports that when there’s plenty of food, the bear population naturally grows, making it a generational problem.

Additionaldamageimpactsthecommunity golfcourse,wheregreens’pinsbecometoys, sometimesbrokenbyplayfulbearcubs!

Even unoccupied homes, perfectly cleaned of food sources, can be the location of a repeat break-in. For example, if the mama bear had a successful break-in at a location, she may teach it to her three little cubs. Now the home is a likely target. As yearlings or adults, those bears will break into that home again in the future. Euthanasia, and even relocation of troublemaker bears, are not options for the agency to deal with it. Relocation will only move the problem elsewhere, or the bear will simply find its way right back to Pine Mountain Club.

Another source of the problem is a few full-time residents who have taken it upon themselves to feed the bears, calling it their God-given duty, despite it being against state law and association rules. They and their neighbors have had multiple home break-ins as the area became known to the bears as a source of food. As described in the LA Times article, one of the bear feeders is among the only known bear attack on a human when he attempted to defend his food, the bear had assumed was for them. Only in rare cases are they after humans. Most of the time they only want our food.


In addition to state law making feeding wildlife a criminal act, the POA has similar rules to take civil action through resident fines. Residents shooting weapons of any kind within its boundaries is also against association rules. Regardless of the enforcement method, the challenge is getting solid evidence to support Kern County’s district attorney to prosecute or the association to fine.

Greisen says a livable solution must be collaborative. “Observing bears almost daily during the warmer months, POA patrol officers haze bears with non-lethal weapons. Thankfully, our patrol vehicles have become recognizable by the bears as a threat – running away as soon as they spot our white patrol vehicles. “But,” he says, “we can’t always catch them ahead of the crime.” He points out that residents must protect their homes from bears following recommendations given in association town halls and on the POA’s website. Community residents must also help Fish & Wildlife mitigate the problem by reporting break-ins to the agency, allowing them to track and tag repeat offenders and take further action.


How to keep your association’s lakes and ponds healthy during the summer months. The key: dissolved oxygen.

Dissolved oxygen is one of the most vital components of any aquatic ecosystem and is largely defined by the water temperature at the time. As temperature increases, dissolved oxygen decreases in the water. For instance, in a small lake, the water at the surface is going to be the warmest in the lake, so it will also have the least amount of oxygen. Descending, water starts to get much colder, and accordingly, this is where the highest amount of available oxygen is found. This difference in oxygen content is due to the solubility of water, which increases as temperature decreases, allowing more oxygen to be dissolved into a form that aquatic life can utilize.

During the summer surface water is at its hottest, so fish will move to deeper sections of their system to access higher levels of oxygen. In a well-balanced environment, fish can make this move without harm, staying deeper until temperatures start to cool off and oxygen levels return to a more favorable distribution. Unfortunately, this balance can be easily disrupted, and the consequences can be severe for aquatic organisms.


One of the most common problems lakes and ponds have during the summer is algae blooms. Many algae species react quickly to raised temperatures and will bloom in huge numbers if they have sufficient nutrients to do so. Algae are photosynthetic, meaning during the day, oxygen is produced, just like with terrestrial plants. However, at night, algae does not photosynthesize but instead switches around and pulls oxygen from the water. If a bloom is large enough, this oxygen demand can be much more than the water can actually provide. In this case, not only do other aquatic organisms die off, but so do all of the algae.


Another major factor that affects oxygen levels is organic matter decomposition. Organic matter can be leaf clippings, dead algae, or even bird droppings. Whatever it is, when it gets in the water, it sinks to the bottom and decomposes. Decomposition also uses up a large amount of oxygen and can make life for aquatic organisms even more challenging when the weather is hot and oxygen levels are already low.


If there is too much of any process with high oxygen demand, creatures like fish can end up in a situation where there is simply nowhere to breathe. In the summer, when the surface water is already low in oxygen, and excesses of algae or organic decomposition are taking the oxygen from the bottom, fish dying is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. Fish and other aquatic organisms need available oxygen, and this can only be maintained year-round through healthy circulation, keeping waste out of the water, and monitoring algae populations. Freshwater systems can support incredible ecosystems, but they need balance, and sometimes, it can take just one bad day for a beautiful ecosystem to collapse.


One of the best long-term ways to lower the chances of experiencing those bad days is to introduce aeration. Aeration is a great way to introduce oxygen into the water column, increasing the amount available and areas where aquatic creatures can easily breathe. There are multiple ways to introduce oxygen into water, but two of the standards are diffusers and fountains.

Diffusers are one of the most beneficial additions to ponds and lakes because they efficiently oxygenate water. Diffusers take oxygen-infused water, forcing it to mix with the rest of the system. By doing this, highoxygen water gets dispersed throughout the system bringing up the average level of oxygen available for breathing. Once the diffuser is established in the ecosystem, the

water should be much more livable for many aquatic organisms year-round, as they are better equipped to handle seasonal changes and other pressures.

Fountains are another great addition because they are not only aesthetically pleasing but also help aerate water in their way. They are not dedicated aerators like diffusers since they mostly pull water from the upper few feet of water, but they can still help. While they likely won’t affect oxygen content in a deeper system, in shallower bodies of water like ponds, fountains can make a serious difference in the introduction of oxygen to water.


There are many different factors affecting dissolved oxygen in water, and there are many ways to maintain and increase it. Proper aeration is generally an effective way to address this problem, but it does require some thought. Before installation, it is best to be familiar with the physical aspects of the water and surrounding landscape as well as to know the water quality. Having this knowledge makes it easier to choose the approach that that most effectively addresses ecological issues, cuts down on labor time, and saves money.

Founder and President of DWI, Patrick Simmsgieger, is a Licensed Aquatic Pesticide Applicator, Landscape Contractor and Certified Lake Manager with over four decades of experience.

Dissolved Oxygen


The Reserve Study Standards published by the Community Associations Institute were updated in 2023. Before then, the standards hadn’t been updated since 1998. Changes were long overdue to reflect current practices and several statutory requirements in the U.S.

Other motivating factors were the 2021 Champlain Towers tragedy in Surfside, Florida, and the 2015 balcony collapse in Berkeley, California.

Community managers, reserve analysts and politicians across the country embraced the need to place a greater emphasis on reserve funding and ongoing maintenance of community associations.

In this article we will highlight the most significant changes impacting the community management industry.

The Reserve Study Explained

A reserve study is a budget-planning tool that determines an association’s current financial status (percent funded) and provides a stable and equitable funding plan to offset the anticipated future major common area expenditures. It consists of two parts:

1) Physical analysis

This includes a visual inspection of the common area components, via an on-site visit, which determines the component inventory and details the assessed condition.

2) Financial analysis

This determines the contributions necessary to meet the financial obligations over a 30-year period based on the current fund balance, future anticipated expenditures, inflation, and interest earned.

The reserve study is not an engineering report, architectural review, pest control report, or home inspection, and is not intended to be technically exhaustive.

Consequences of Underfunding Reserves

Underfunded reserves can lead to catastrophic failures, such as was the case at Champlain Towers. There are many reasons to avoid underfunding reserves, including the potential for significant special assessments or higher than market-rate regular assessments, which may reduce resale value or result in higher insurance premiums. Deferred maintenance can result in poor curb appeal and dissatisfaction among the membership. Coupled with the Federal Housing Association (FHA) and other mortgage providers placing more requirements and scrutiny on the financial stability of associations, it is critical for associations to demonstrate they are acting in a fiscally responsible manner.

Significant Changes

1) The definition of a component was revised to include a 3-part test, versus the old 4-part test, which combined the “need and schedule for a project” into a single item versus each individually.

2) Emphasis was placed on supplemental reports, such as engineering evaluations, preventative maintenance schedules, and ongoing reviews of major structural components (such as elevated elements inspections per California Civil Code §5551).

3) A new level of service was added: Level IV, preliminary, community not yet constructed. It calls for the creation of a funding plan for new communities, which is not addressed in the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) initial funding estimates, specifically the DRE623 form.

4) A funding adequacy definition entails reliable and timely execution of major repair and replacement projects without reliance on additional supplemental funding (e.g., loans or special assessments), versus the long-established “pay as you go” principle. This eliminates the incurrence of the entire cost of a component that deteriorates over an extended period simply because ownership existed when the expenditure occurred.

Funds Not Limited to Physical Items

Reserve funds can be used for these purposes:

1) Professional inspections, evaluations, or related building services qualify for the use of reserve funds if they meet the definition of a component (e.g., the previously mentioned exterior elevated elements inspections).

2) Important services and documentation of the properties’ needs, such as creating a maintenance matrix that identifies the items to be maintained and the responsible party: the HOA or the individual unit owner.

3) Creating or updating a community maintenance manual that identifies the common area components and the regular schedule of services needed to properly maintain the property.

4) Updating or revising the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), which are important to identify or clarify the responsible parties for the repair, restoration, replacement, or maintenance of the components within the community.

Long-life Components

The updated standards recognize the need to include components with an anticipated service life beyond 30 years (i.e., infrastructure), provided it is reasonably predictable. This may include such items as potable plumbing supply (copper piping), waterproofing elements, electrical service panels, and exterior cladding. For example, if the potable water copper piping servicing a property has an expected service life of 40 years, the recommended reporting would include a useful life (UL) of 40 and a remaining life (RL) of 39 for a new property.

If the component has an indeterminate life expectancy at the time of reporting, such as natural gas piping, the recommendation is to include the component in the inventory and note the useful remaining life as 30+, without funding, to serve as a placeholder for the eventual inclusion. This also discloses the fact that the component exists, but is not included in the funding calculations, as the remaining life exceeds the 30-year requirement for inclusion. It is still at the discretion of the preparer as to the inclusion or omission of such items, but this change places a greater emphasis on inclusion.

Tips for Managers Facing Resistance to Proper Funding

1) Document discussions in the minutes and note opinions and/or objections.

2) Provide detailed information on the process involved in producing the recommendations.

3) Encourage members to review the information and consult with service providers and other experts.

4) Invite industry partners to address the membership directly, including the reserve analyst, CPA, legal counsel, engineers, and others with knowledge of the circumstances.

Bottom Line

The new reserve study standards will significantly impact homeowners’ associations and the community management industry. It would be prudent for managers to help their associations implement them sooner versus later.

Scott Clements is the Chief

and Les Weinberg is the Chief Financial Officer of Reserve Studies Inc.

Course Calendar



Session 1 of 6

July 9

9:00 - 11:30 AM

Session 2 of 6

July 10

9:00 - 11:30 AM

Session 3 of 6

July 16

9:00 - 11:30 AM




Session 1 of 2

July 11

9:00 - 11:00 AM


Session 4 of 6


July 17

9:00 - 11:30 AM

Session 5 of 6

July 23

9:00 - 11:30 AM

Session 6 of 6

July 24

9:00 - 11:30 AM



Session 1 of 3

August 1

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session 2 of 3

August 8

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM



Session 3 of 3

August 15 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM



Session 1 of 2

August 6

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM


Session 2 of 2

July 11 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM



Session 1 of 3

July 18

9:00 - 11:30 AM

Session 2 of 3

July 25

9:00 - 11:30 AM



Session 3 of 3

August 1

9:00 - 11:30 AM



Session 1 of 2

July 31

9:00 - 11:00 AM




Session 2 of 2

August 13

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM



Session 1 of 6

August 6

9:00 - 11:30 AM

Session 2 of 6

August 7

9:00 - 11:30 AM

Session 3 of 6

August 13

9:00 - 11:30 AM


Session 4 of 6


August 14

9:00 - 11:30 AM

Session 5 of 6

August 20 9:00 - 11:30 AM

Session 6 of 6

August 21

9:00 - 11:30 AM


Session 2 of 2

July 31 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

All educational courses through the end of the year are held on Zoom. Please contact a member of the Education Department for further details and schedule. Click on courses below to register



Session 1 of 8 CMM101

August 6

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session 2 of 8 CMM101

August 7

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session 3 of 8 CMM101

August 13

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session 4 of 8 CMM101

August 14

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM


Session 5 of 8 CMM102

August 20 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session 6 of 8 CMM102

August 21

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session 7 of 8 CMM102

August 27 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session 8 of 8 CMM102

August 28 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM


Zoom CIP300

Session 1 of 2

August 20

8:00 AM - 10:00 AM


Session 2 of 2

August 27 8:00 AM - 10:0 AM


One session only

August 22

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM



Zoom LDR500

Session 1 of 2

August 29

9:00 - 11:00 AM




Session 1 of 2

September 3

1:00 - 3:00 PM



Session 2 of 2

September 4 1:00 - 3:00 PM



Session 1 of 2

September 16 1:00 - 3:00 PM



Session 2 of 2

September 17 1:00 - 3:00 PM



Session 1 of 2

September 19

9:00 - 11:00 AM



Session 2 of 2

September 19 1:00 - 3:00 PM



Session 1 of 8 CMM121

September 24

9:00 - 11:00 AM

Session 2 of 8 CMM121

September 25

9:00 - 11:00 AM

Session 3 of 8 CMM122

October 1

9:00 - 11:00 AM

Session 4 of 8 CMM122

Session 5 of 8 CMM123

October 8

9:00 - 11:00 AM

Session 6 of 8 CMM123

October 9 9:00 - 11:00 AM

Session 7 of 8 CMM124

October 16

9:00 - 11:00 AM

Session 8 of 8 CMM124



Session 1 of 8 CMM101

September 24

1:00 - 3:00 PM

Session 2 of 8 CMM101

September 25

1:00 - 3:00 PM

Session 3 of 8 CMM101

October 1 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Session 4 of 8 CMM101

October 2

1:00 - 3:00 PM




Session 1 of 2

September 26

9:00 - 11:00 AM


Session 5 of 8 CMM102

October 7

1:00 - 3:00 PM

Session 6 of 8 CMM102

October 8

1:00 - 3:00 PM

Session 7 of 8 CMM102

October 15 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Session 8 of 8 CMM102

October 16 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Session 2 of 2


September 26

1:00 - 3:00 PM



One session only

September 30

1:00 PM - 4:30 PM



Session 2 of 2

August 29 1:00 - 3:00 PM

October 2

9:00 - 11:00 AM


October 17

9:00 - 11:00 AM

Thanks to our sponsors for the first quarter of 2024 (January 1-March 31) for their generous contributions. The next time you encounter a CACM Sponsor, please join us in acknowledging the work and generosity of these supportive members.

ABC Builders Group

Accurate Termite & Pest Control

Adams I Stirling PLC

Advance Construction Technology, Inc.

Affinity Painting Company, Inc.

Alerus Commercial Banking

Alliance Environmental Group, LLC

Allied Trustee Services

Angelo Termite & Construction

Association Reserves


AWT Construction Group Inc.

Axis Construction

Beach Cities Roofing

Beaumont Tashjian

Behr Paint

Bellwether Election Solutions

Ben’s Roofing, Inc.

BluSky Restoration Contractors

BTC Bob Tedrick Construction, Inc.

California Sub-Meters

Calvac Paving, Inc.

Capital CS Group

Casillas Clark Perez (CCP) Painting, Inc.

CID Insurance Programs, Inc.

CINC Systems

CM Squared, Inc.

Customized Guard Security Services & Systems (CGSS)

Danmeier Waldorf Architects

Dedicated Transportation Services (DTS)

Delphi Law Group, LLP

Diamond Roofing

DKI Services

DLC Construction Management


Edenred Pay

EmpireWorks Reconstruction

Enterprise Bank & Trust

Executive Coatings & Contracting

Gale Force Property Maintenance, Inc.

Giuliani Construction & Restoration, Inc.

Gothic Landscape

Heritage Bank of Commerce

Hughes Gill Cochrane Tinetti, PC

IQV Construction & Roofing

J.J. Commercial Water Heaters

James Hardie Building Products

Job Masters Construction, Inc.

JPA Landscape & Construction, Inc.

The Judge Law Firm

Kriger Law Firm

Lara Accountancy Group, Inc.

Leading Edge Construction Services, Inc.

Liberty HOA Election Services, LLC

Life Specialty Coatings (Mfr. Of Life Deck Specialty Coatings)

Marsh McLennan Agency

McGuire Schubert Sohal LLP

McKowski’s Maintenance Systems, Inc.

The Miller Law Firm

Mission Landscape Companies, Inc.

The Naumann Law Firm, PC

North Coastal Maintenance Group

Optimal Outsource an OSG Company

O’Toole Rogers, LLP

PJ Concrete, Inc.

Precision Construction and Painting

Pro Elections, LLC

Pro Star Mechanical Services

ProTec Building Services

R & L Plumbing, Inc.

R & S Overhead Garage Door, Inc.

Recon360, LLC

River City Reconstruction & Painting



Signature Services

SmartStreet Powered by Banc of California

Socher Insurance Agency

Splash Plumbing

SPS Condominium Remodeling Contractor

Storm Water Innovative Solutions

Sunwest Bank


Trace Restoration and Construction

Trip Hazard

United Trustee Services

Unlimited Property Services, Inc.

Valley National Bank

Westlake Royal Building Products Siding and Trim Solutions

Westlake Royal Roofing Solutions

Whitestone Industries

Whit’s Painting, Inc.

Yardi Breeze

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