Records Request Revisited

From: Barry Stiger

A month ago I sent the following email to Tom Hart, the attorney for the Board of Pelican Landing Homeowner’s Association (I would say “our attorney” but I’m sure the members would disown him):

Mr. Hart:  I practiced law in New Jersey for about 35 years and I am now retired.  I’ve never sought a Florida license.  I’ve read with interest various communications to and from you regarding PLCA employee compensation records sought by various homeowners in Pelican Landing.

I’ve also read a Florida statute as amended in 2011 that seems to provide that while personnel records are still protected from owner inspection, actual compensation information regarding any particular employee, as well as any employee’s written employment agreement, are part of the official records that must be made available for inspection by homeowners.

By its plain meaning, the law seems to require that PLCA management turn over the compensation information demanded by various homeowners. However, you have repeatedly stated that this information need not be turned over.  

I’m willing to be instructed about the niceties of interpreting this Florida law.   Therefore I am asking you what I’m missing when I read the statute to require that the data demanded about the compensation of various Pelican Landing employees be provided to homeowners.  Is our association covered by the law?  Is this information about PLCA employees covered by the law?

I’d like to know if and where I’m going wrong before I try to solicit and assemble a group of homeowners to bring a civil action against PLCA and its board of directors seeking the production of this information, as well as any other relief provided by law.

I look forward to your response.

Not having received any answer or acknowledgement of my inquiry, I looked with anticipation at the new Board policies regarding document requests.  At its meeting last week Mr. Duder said the newly adopted policies would bring our policies in line with statutory changes and that Mr. Hart had either produced them or reviewed these new policies.  Naturally I thought this would be a great opportunity for the Board and its attorney finally to swallow their pride and comply with Florida law.  Alas, no such luck.  They are still refusing to provide compensation information regarding employees that is clearly required under Florida law.  How can we evaluate PLCA budget information without having access to the major budget item – employee compensation?

Where did we find these Board members?

Is anyone interested in bringing an action to enforce Florida law?  Either Hart is advising the Board not to provide the requested information, in which case there is probably legal malpractice, or the Board is ignoring his advice, in which case there is director malfeasance.

If only 100 homeowners put up $500 apiece, we’d have a legal fund that should be enough for this issue with some left over to go to the next one (beach, roads, director recall, etc.).

4 thoughts on “Records Request Revisited

  1. Count us in as well; providing we get 100 residents to band together on this.

  2. COUNT ME IN.
    BELOW ARE THE WORDS IN THE STATUTE THAT THE BOARD PURPOSELY OMITTED FROM TO POLICY TO MISLEAD THE RESIDENTS ABOUT WHAT THE LAW IS.

    For purposes of this subparagraph, the term “personnel records” does not include written employment agreements with an association employee or budgetary or financial records that indicate the compensation paid to an association employee.

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