For those of you who follow this blog, you know that each Labor
Day, I write a parody talking about a day in the life of a Board
member, at a particularly annoying condominium. This year
however, in light of the Champlain Towers tragedy, I just donít
think itís right to start cracking condominium jokes just yet.
In time, but just not now.
On the other hand, my Labor Day column always concludes with
honoring those board members who choose to serve on their board
and help their community. That will not change. In fact, if
there ever was a year that all Board members should be thanked
and honored, this is that year.
The Covid crisis has effected each and every community in
Florida in so many ways. Many of you, including those that
serve on boards and continued to serve on boards, have seen your
neighbors pass away. Many of you came down with the virus and
survived a horrific health experience. Many of you were
hospitalized for days or weeks without having any visitors.
Many of you have lost jobs, your family businesses and your
income. It has been a long and difficult road that
unfortunately continues to twist and turn. We just cannot get
to the finish line and we donít know the other bumps in the road
that lie ahead.
Every board member over the last year and a half was faced with
monumental tasks. In spite of the fact that money was tight for
so many owners, the condominiumís bills had to get paid. All
boards were faced with endless decisions on whether to close the
pool, close the clubhouse, allow visitors, allow deliveries,
require masks, allow realtors. In addition, provisions had to
be made to hire extra hands to disinfect and clean the common
areas so that the residents donít get sick. Boards had to stay
abreast of the Governorís orders to determine if The State of
Florida was or wasnít in a State of Emergency and know whether
they were or were not allowed the emergency powers granted to
them by statute. And no matter what decisions were made by
these board members, somebody was going to be unhappy. But you
hung in there and made the decisions you thought were right and
in the best interests of your community.
And then came that tragic day when the Champlain Towers
Condominium came crashing down in Surfside killing over 100
people. I certainly canít recall a sadder day in the history of
our state; at least not in my life time. Besides being
absolutely shocking, that day clearly was a wake-up call to all
board members to ensure the condition of the property. I think
all Board members realized on that day and the ensuing days that
whether my friends and fellow unit owners like it or not, the
condominium is going to have at least some form of reserve
accounts going forward and whether we have to beg, borrow or
steal we are going to fix and maintain all parts of the common
elements that may also come crashing down if we continue to
Despite the incredible difficulties and new challenges board
members across our state were now dealing with, they hung in
there. They didnít resign.
They held on, took a deep breath and faced these challenges head
on with vigor and determination. They didnít fold up their tent
and quit when the going got real tough. In fact, thousands
continued to attend on-line educational classes from their home
so that they could learn more about what they should and should
not be doing during this terrible time in our history.
Many put the interests of their
community ahead of even their own families.
So, on this Labor Day I tip my hat to those that continue to
volunteer in our communities as board members despite knowing
that the job is harder than ever and I honor those who perished
in Surfside and promise the victims and their families that as a
result of their catastrophe, Florida law will forever change and
lead to greater safety for all current and future Florida