Sun City Anthem Director
Initiation of Unit Owner Legal Services Committee
I move the Board approve the creation of a study group, including interested owners and Board members, to be charged with investigation into the possible establishment of a Legal Services Support Committee under the authority provided in Article V of our bylaws.
A committee similar to the concept proposed herein has been in place for a long while at Sun City Summerlin, which has been self-managed for 30 years.
Sun City Summerlin’s Master Bylaws section 8.8 describes its purpose, composition, and general scope of functions:
Legal Services Committee – Sun City Summerlin Model
The Legal Services Committee shall review and oversee the Association's Governing Documents, hearings, and related affairs.
The Committee shall be comprised of members with legal or general business oversight skills that may include a working familiarity with managing updates to Governing Documents and knowledge of dispute resolution, mediation, and arbitration processes.
Neither the Committee nor its members shall render legal advice to the Association or render any services constituting the practice of law.
The Committee may review and provide recommendations to the President, the Board or Executive Director regarding SCSCAI involvement in Ombudsman intervention, mediation or arbitration cases or on issues where an independent review is requested.
The Committee's functions may include, but are not restricted to the following:
a. Review of Governing Documents and recommending updates or revisions to the Board.
b. Review of pending or adopted state and federal legislation.
c. Determine the impact upon the Association and make recommendations to the Board.
d. Provide recommendations regarding the Complaint and Hearing Protocol and serve as the hearing panel when necessary.
Members may be appointed by the Chairperson to serve as Hearing Officers.
e. Review and provide recommendations on strategies to keep legal costs at a minimum.
f. Upon request of the Board of Directors or Association management, provide training and seminar services in areas where they have expertise.
g.Upon request of the Board of Directors, develop, review, and recommend selection criteria for new legal counsel.
Establishment of the committee would be with the goal of saving the association money by reducing the amount of work that is related to legal issues, but does not need to be performed by an attorney.
It is my understanding that Summerlin has saved substantially, and this savings could be verified by the task force investigating it.
Possible activities/services for inclusion in the charter of a Legal Services Committee:
The legal services committee could help the board with various matters involving legal issues as desired by the board.
The committee would not give legal advice but can save considerable costs by performing many paralegal or administrative tasks currently done by our attorney’s staff or CAM, e.g.
a. review of potential amendments to our governing documents.
b. review of the impact of adopted or pending state and federal legislation impact on SCA.
c. review and provide recommendations on strategies to keep legal costs at a minimum.
d. upon request of the board develop, review and recommend selection criteria for association legal counsel, etc.
The legal services committee could be made up of owners who are experienced (active or retired) attorneys not necessarily ever licensed in Nevada.
Other owners with relevant expertise and interest should also be included as they would not be doing anything which would be construed as the practice of law.
States Director Tobin:
"I'm not just asking for feedback. This time I am trying to get a sense of interest by asking for volunteers."
"Who among you would like to be on the group to study the issue?"
"Would you like to serve on a Legal Services Support Committee at some time?"
"This motion is intended to address what I consider to be an excessive use of attorneys which is not only costly, but it creates an adversarial context for issues that can better be resolved internally with more of a neighbor helping neighbor approach.
Right now, if someone has a dispute with the Board or the staff, they are forced to get an attorney."
"Common sense and reasonableness are missing from our current model, and I think it is because attorneys are used now in areas far outside their expertise for issues which would be avoided if proper management systems and internal controls were in place."
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