(Please read my follow-up post, explaining certain references)
When I read that our maintenance would be raised 1% I didn’t think much about it. 1% seemed very little but then neighbors and I discussed it. Any increase in addition to sub-metering without insulation – going into another year w/o necessary repairs being made is disheartening. (although I happily report that the new board allowed desperately needed repairs to the 6 skylights this winter). It was a huge breakthrough after the years of stonewalling.
Then I looked at the budget. OMG. I believe we could cut that budget, LOWER our maintenance (What a concept!) and PAY DOWN the mortgage. Even 10% for a start could lower the maintenance.
It seems to me we hire entirely too many people who are unskilled, hence little is properly done. I don’t think we need as many porters as we have. We don’t need 2-3 maintenance people on most jobs (how many WVH maintenance guys does it take to screw in a light bulb?). Why in God’s name are we spending $300,000 a year (more than on repairs) for the security guys who spend their time hanging out in front of the all-night deli or in the gardens (or on my roof, smoking and talking on the cell phone, I kid you not). Surely we don’t need to spend $30,000 a year on the third party electric meter/billing guys (which figure I guess is hidden in that budget), do we?? If someone knows a good reason why, please advise. If I am wrong, please let me know.
It would be good to know why $32,705 in budgeted repairs for 2011 didn’t get made. And the 2012 budget for repairs is further cut? Does this estimated, cut figure include new windows in the coming year?
In our gardens and around trees, we could have perennials instead of paying to constantly pull out, replace and throw away plants that never had a chance to flourish.
If we need to hire anyone at all, it’s an efficiency expert, pronto, And someone who’s got “green” knowledge. It wouldn’t take long to find out how much is featherbedding and how much is just waste through management choosing schlock, toxic materials and always just patching the worst problems rather than utilizing an organized, timely, program of maintenance/repair of infrastructure, etc. which would increase the value of our investment and beautify our environment. Everything here could be done beautifully and solidly.
I can assure you the long existing, systemic communications problems cost us a fortune in time and money. I have worked as a communications coordinator several times in my life – I find dealing with our management office since the conversion is, at best, like playing a game of telephone with a group of small children. It’s maddening.
In terms of incompetence and slacking off on the part of staff, I really don’t want to hear again about how strong anyone’s union is as an excuse. We can check into union job descriptions, limits, etc.; but, coming from a union family, in my experience, no union doesn’t expect their members to work for a living. I have witnessed/experienced abuses for which personnel should have been fired and no union would/could protest. And I find it frustrating how often staff sits idly around. But I also notice that our staff in general doesn’t look happy. How often do you see a smile? Perhaps nothing has been relegated and staff would/could do more. And I’m not saying there should be no forgiveness or allowances made. Everyone should be cut a little slack. But, for instance, it seems to me that over the years, some of the most skilled maintenance guys have been cut and then, not long after, we hire young, unskilled relatives of an employee. That’s nepotism.
And yet, we shareholders . . . what? Are not family? Many of us have invested everything we have into our homes; our money is being wasted; our property deteriorating; and our kids can’t have our apts. when we pass on. How is this okay?
If we absolutely can’t find skilled labor, although I can’t imagine why not, we’d do better to partially pay for training for our guys rather than let them go along, messing up the jobs; never knowing how to do things correctly. Isn’t that really how Barrett got himself electrocuted on the job, never to be okay again? Isn’t that why we have so many sick shareholders and insurance claims around mold improperly handled, etc.? (If I’m wrong, let me know. I’d love to be informed.)
Everyone these days (at least in the 99%) is tightening belts and that means we have to cut back on squandering shareholders’ money. Communications must be streamlined; duties relegated. More of our staff must be skilled, efficient, fluent in English so they don’t need to be accompanied by a second worker to translate; and expected to put in a day’s work for a day’s pay; not just be related to someone who already works here.
And we require a site manager who is knowledgeable, efficient and understands that he/she works for us and we are not to be abused, ignored, threatened or punished.
I know the newly run board is overwhelmed, playing catch up. But let us not proceed through another year with our money leaking though the sieve of mismanagement and maladministration.
Let’s share ideas how we might proactively proceed on our own behalf. I’m sure the new board is open to sensible help. Perhaps we could include staff – encourage a dialog: “What more would/could you do if you were allowed to?” “What would you like to see changed?” “How would you here in the office, on the job, change the procedure?”