"You're Fired" Cutting Ties to a Manager is Sometimes Necessary, But It's Costly

Although rare, there are instances where a community association has to dismiss its manager — like a recent case in Florida where the manager admitted to writing himself checks from his condominium to the tune of over $40,000.

Condo board members cringe at such news, and may consider this the worst possible behavior from a manager. But is it? How bad should a manager’s performance get before the directors or trustees fire the person?While an employment contract with an association’s manager may dictate how termination is handled, what about a manager who’s working without a contract? [see sidebar, page 20.]

Most management experts stress that firing a manager, or a management company, is costly and counter-productive to the efficient flow of operations within a community. A better strategy, they agree, is to avoid the problems that—when they get so bad—make termination inevitable.

Pay Attention to ‘Scope of Work’

Marj Peterson is president of Creative Transitions & Consulting of California, and is a consultant to homeowner associations. “Never burn a bridge — there’s always two sides [to the story] when a manager fails. Nobody is guiltless in this process.”

“Too often, a board of directors think they stand alone [but],” she warns, word gets out. “There’s one association I know of that has changed [managers] seven times in the last five years… They don’t have a clue. No one[in the industry] is going to want to get anywhere near that community.”

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