Conference lasted 51 minutes (23,5 MB)

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

Published August 4, 2009


Last year Governor Charlie Crist initiated a program entitled Accelerate Florida to reduce or eliminate unnecessary regulation and to streamline licensing processes.


It looks like the Department of Business and Professional Regulation [DBPR] may have received the program, but forgot to read it!


According to the agenda, the telephone conference was supposed to help collect input from the council members.


Anthony Spivey, Executive Director for the Regulatory Council of the Community Association Managers, explained that they were looking for proposals to increase efficiency and/ or generate some kinds of savings.


After listening to the tape of the meeting, it was my impression that the DBPR folks were not really serious about collecting input from the council members or audience members, since they cut off any discussion after the initial proposal by the members.  (See transcript of discussion below!)  


In my opinion two questions were especially important and showed the attitude of the DBPR employees.


Here is the transcript of the first issue that piqued my interest:

[21:49 MAGGIE ROGERS] ... it would be nice if we could see that people were guided to the right place to report that. Which might be the States Attorneys office, but whatever it is I think that it would be nice -- Do you know of anything, Tony, that helps people like that now?

[22:12 TONY SPIVEY] To report individuals that do not have a CAM license?

[22:15 MAGGIE ROGERS] Yeah, that are functioning as CAM people who said they had a CAM license.

[22:20 TONY SPIVEY] We have that mechanism in the Department for our unlicensed activity division.

[22:25 MAGGIE ROGERS] But what can be done about it? What is done about it?

[22:31 CHRIS BROWN] They actually research it, they make the manager become licensed, they can take a lot of action against them, so I mean they -

[22:40 MAGGIE ROGERS] You would actually license the person who fraudulently told somebody, told an association that they had a CAM license -- you would actually do that?

[22:49 CHRIS BROWN] They would review on a case by case basis to see whether or not the circumstances would require they take additional action or if getting the person licensed is in the best interest of the community and the State.

[22:05 MAGGIE ROGERS] How could licensing a person who fraudulently put themselves out as a CAM person be anything but participating in an illegal action?

[23:19 TONY SPIVEY] This is Anthony Spivey. First of all as Chris just said, you can't just blanket everyone as being fraudulently. It has to be alleged and that's why we do the investigation. Then everything is taken on a case-by-case basis.

[23:34 TIM VACCARO] And this is Tim Vaccaro, and I say this very respectfully, that please remember that the purpose of the teleconference is to talk about legislative suggestions.

[23:46 MAGGIE ROGERS] Well that's why I'm talking about it, because I think there has to be some additional thing. And I think that the people who make a complaint should be notified of what's happening, what's going on, if there's ever any action taken on it because they make the complaint, they stick their necks out, and then there's never anything heard again. Nobody ever reports back to them. And I know of a case where a man said he had his CAM license, told the whole board that, proceeded to come in and rob the association of its money and disappeared. And he actually has an application to become a CAM person, CAM manager, but it hasn't gone forward apparently. But still that's the kind of thing that shouldn't be happening, he should NEVER be licensed. A person like that should never be licensed. And I want to be sure that the legislature does something to protect people in the State of Florida. That seems to be outside of the realm of what we do. And of course that is why if were privatized or we were a board we could do more.

After this exchange, my suggestion for efficiency:  Follow the wording of the statutes, which are pretty clear: 

FS 468.433 Licensure by examination.-- 
(b) The department may refuse to certify an applicant only if: 
3. The applicant is found to have provided management services requiring licensure without the requisite license. 


This specific provision was enacted in 2008 as part of State Representative Julio Robaina's bill H 995. The explanation given to this provision was simple as well: Prohibits licensure of persons found to be doing CAM functions prior to licensure.


Honestly, anybody who is stupid enough not to know that community association manager is a licensed profession is too stupid to get licensed. Period!
Why make a big fuss over it?


My second issue: Why is the Department so secretive about the "report" and the proposals they are working on? Here is the transcript of the discussion that developed in regards to a further discussion and the request for a written copy of the proposal and/or report:


[36:16 CHRIS BROWN] I'm going to ask Tony and Tim where we actually go from this point in today's meeting as far as, I don't believe the Department actually wanted motions. We were told we weren't going to really do any motions. They wanted this to be more - (background noise) - I'm getting -

[36:37 TERENCE BRENNAN] Mr Chair, this is Terence Brennan?

[36:40 CHRIS BROWN] Yes.

[36:41 TONY SPIVEY] Uh, just a minute, Mr Brown, let me comment on that proffer. This is Tony Spivey. Chris that is correct, we are not taking any motions from the Council members today. I just wanted to get your suggestions as I have already done for my other boards. And we're just taking this information and submitting it directly to the Secretary's office in our Legislative Affairs office for review. So there are no motions required today.

[37:06 CHRIS BROWN] OK. And so then I am assuming that the Council members don't need to debate each suggestion then or anything, just the fact that it was made is sufficient for you all then to review it.

[37:18 TONY SPIVEY] That is correct.

[37:19 CHRIS BROWN] OK, very good.

[37:20 MAGGIE ROGERS] This is Maggie Rogers. Will we get a copy of your review?

[37:27 TIM VACCARO] Ms Rogers, this is Tim Vaccaro from the Department. I don't know at this point whether or not there is going to be any formal sort of written suggestions. We'll just bring those suggestions to the Secretary's office, in the Office of Legislative Affairs.

[37:47 MAGGIE ROGERS] Can we get a copy of it? Could you send a copy to the regular Commission members please? Or post it?

[37:56 TIM VACCARO] When you say a copy, do you mean a copy of the final proposal?

[38:00 MAGGIE ROGERS] Yes, a copy of your final report.

Could we see that?

[38:06 TIM VACCARO] I will check on that for you. We will be happy to get back to you on that.

[38:10 MAGGIE ROGERS] Thank you Tim.

Let's face it: The final proposal should be based upon the input of the council members and the interested public. It shouldn't be up to the DBPR employees to make the proposals. They have proven over and over again that they have a hard time reading and following the enacted statutes.

My suggestion to the DBPR for more efficiency: Follow the statutes as enacted by the legislature! Stop finding all kinds of weird interpretations that prolong the process. 

Florida's citizens need community association managers that are properly licensed -- and punished if they violate the laws. And this process shouldn't take years!