Manager of Excellence - Keith Lamb?

An Opinion By Jan Bergemann 
President, Cyber Citizens For Justice, Inc.

Published October 11, 2011


Last week I nearly fell from my chair laughing when I read the headline of the latest issue of the " Florida Community Association Journal."  The headline said in big letters: "Manager of Excellence - Keith Lamb - The Great Outdoors Premier RV and Golf Resort." That by itself surely wouldn't be a reason to laugh -- if I hadn’t just a few minutes earlier received an e-mail from Tim Vaccaro, Deputy Secretary of Professional Regulation of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.  Vaccaro’s e-mail explained to me the charges for public record requests in regard to Community Association Manager (CAM) complaint history. [See: DBPR CLAIMS: HIDDEN RECORDS ARE PUBLIC]


Here is Vaccaro's explanation in regard to invoices that owners received after making these record requests: "... in most instances staff can assemble a list of complaints in less than 30 minutes and email the information to the person making the request. There is no charge, and the information provided is essentially what the person making the request would have found on our website prior to our recent changes.  If the person making the request requires more in-depth research, there may be a research fee; however, the fee should be nominal in most cases."


The connection between the headline and Vaccaro's e-mail? The reason for my inquiry that triggered this response were complaints I received from board members and owners about the invoices for public record requests -- for fees that can't be considered "nominal." One of these complaints was over an invoice for $30.62 -- for none other than CAM Keith Lamb -- the same Keith Lamb who was lauded as the "MANAGER OF EXCELLENCE" in the latest issue of the "Florida Community Association Journal."

It's very obvious that in-depth research is only needed for CAMs that accumulated a long list of complaints -- complaints that made it beyond the investigative step into "legal." No complaints -- no research needed, wouldn't you say?

To me, it looks like this EXCELLENCE AWARD was given to Keith Lamb as consolation prize -- since the community, he pushed so hard for, failed to meet the standards. [See: COMMUNITY OF EXCELLENCE]. At the bottom of this article you can see as well the complaints -- and results -- filed against CAM Keith Lamb -- until the day the DBPR in its infinite wisdom decided to remove these complaint histories from their website, much to the delight of the CAMs who had a lengthy history before. An AWARD for the Bad Guys?


I always wonder what research is done by the people writing these articles and awarding these "titles"? From Communities of Excellence to Managers of Excellence -- we are being bombarded with all this EXCELLENCE -- despite the fact that many of our community associations have serious problems.  Many of them are even fighting for survival. Funny enough -- when I compare the names of these "EXCELLENCE AWARD WINNERS" with the notes and documents in my computer, I really have to wonder what criteria are used to hand out these awards. 


Normally you would think that issues like well-run community with happy owners, no big lawsuits, communities with neighbors not fighting neighbors and CAMs that received no complaints that triggered DBPR action would be the criteria used by the judges to hand out these "EXCELLENCE AWARDS."


But when you look at recent award winners, that doesn't seem to be the case. It looks like communities are judged by the number of lawsuits involved in -- the more the better -- and CAMs need to accumulate a certain number of complaints filed with Professional Regulation before being considered worthy of an "EXCELLENCE AWARD."


It looks like the service providers behind these AWARD CEREMONIES use very different criteria than would owners living in these communities, having to deal with CAMs who often don't follow simple rules.