Condo Media - August 2009 - (Page 40)

OPERATIONS Founding Father A Chat with Thomas Jefferson ot long ago, virtual reality landed Community Manager — inexplicably — in a chat room with Thomas Jefferson. We took the opportunity to ask “The Sage of Monticello” his views on common interest communities — they being an interesting reprise of his original experiment in democracy. It was surprising how relevant his views were for today’s community associations. Here’s what we talked about: Community Manager: Did you ever expect that the republic you formed would be emulated more than a century later at the neighborhood level? Thomas Jefferson: Why not? “That, on the principle of a communion of property, small societies may exist … I can readily conceive. …” Particularly since, “We … believe … that the … American people must for ages yet be substantially republican.” Besides, as I predicted, “Those who will come after us will be as wise as we are, and as able to take care of themselves as we have been.” CM: In community associations, each member pays assessments for shared expenses. Collecting fees can become stressful for boards. What is your take on the matter? TJ: “Every [person] is under the natural duty of contributing to the necessities of the society. …” Yet, “[t]axation is, in fact, the most difficult function of government and that against which … citizens are most apt to be refractory.” CM: What can boards do about this? TJ: “Preserve the faith of the [community] by an exact discharge of its debts and contracts, expend the public money with the same care and economy we would practice with our own, and impose on our citizens no unnecessary burden. …” I’d also recommend that, “The public [fees] should be as uniform as practicable from year to year. …” CM: A big challenge for boards is enforcing rules. They understand they must enforce rules uniformly, and they also understand they must be reasonable. What advice do you have for boards trying to maintain this delicate balance? TJ: “When one undertakes to administer justice, it must be with an even hand, and by rule; what is done for one, must be done for everyone in equal degree.” In general, “A government of reason is better than one of force. … I am, myself, generally disposed to indulge and to follow reason.” N 40 CONDO MEDIA • AUGUST 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - August 2009

Condo Media - August 2009
From the CED’s Desk
Editorial Board
CAI New England Chapter Partners
CAI News
CAI Regional News
Asked & Answered
Homeowner’s Corner
Cover Story: Call to Order
Vendor Spotlight
Classified Service Directory
Advertisers Index

Condo Media - August 2009