DBPR RULEMAKING USURPS FLORIDA STATUTES
An Opinion By Jan Bergemann
December 30, 2005
The DBPR in its infinite wisdom -- most likely because of pressure by the special interest attorneys -- wants to eliminate the right of the condo ombudsman and his election monitors to conduct elections. That has so far only been done in emergencies. In these cases the actual parties responsible to conduct the elections -- like boards, management companies and attorneys -- proved they were unable to do so. In one case the election was postponed three times -- at the expense of the unit-owners -- and it was the first obligation of the newly-elected board to send out the invitations for the next annual meeting with election.
This change would render the monitor more or less useless, condemned to sit in the corner and watch board members and attorneys playing their old game of "fixing" the elections and harass unit-owners trying to volunteer for the good of the community!
With this proposed rule change they are factually changing the law if enacted. They are clearly overstepping their boundaries and our legislators should finally take a stand! Who are these DBPR people who feel they can ignore Florida Statutes and plainly wipe them out with a simple rule change, only because some special interest attorneys are telling them to do it?
This is the exact wording of the Florida Statutes 718.5012 (9):
Fifteen percent of the total voting interests in a condominium association, or six unit owners, whichever is greater, may petition the ombudsman to appoint an election monitor to attend the annual meeting of the unit owners and conduct the election of directors.
The DBPR plainly ignores the wording of the statutes as enacted by our legislators -- and make up their own rules. They clearly usurp the Florida Statutes and treat them as if non existing.
Why are Secretary Marstiller and her staff willing to totally disregard the Florida Statutes?
If this rule passes the legislative intent created by Senate Bill 1184 in 2004 has been effectively killed and certain power-hungry boards, supported by "their" attorneys and managers can continue with business as usual.
Is that's what our Governor and our Florida legislators intended when they enacted this bill? I was always under the impression that only legislators can change the laws.
Who is running the show in Florida? Our Governor and the Florida Legislators -- or the special interest attorneys and the DBPR, who seems to run when certain law firms whistle?
WE WILL KNOW THE ANSWER SOON ENOUGH!