November 2012
Volume 100 No. 110                                                    Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  Find us on Yelp 
Developing an RFP (Request for Proposal)

Here's How:

Do Your Homework
Before you start to write an RFP, figure out what you really need, what you want, and what is possible.

Distinguish Between Needs and Wants
Things that are needed are identified in the RFP by using words like "will", "shall", and "must". These are the "requirements". Those things that are merely "wants" are identified by words like "may", "can", and "optional".

Decide What the Winner Will Look Like
You should decide the weight or importance of each criteria you have listed. What matters most: cost, fastest delivery, reputation, or proven track record on a similar project?

Organize the Document
Anything you write for business should be thought through and organized. An outline is a good place to start. You will need sections, at least, for introduction, requirements, selection criteria, timelines, and process.

This is where you explain to potential bidders why you are publishing the RFP and what you hope to achieve by doing so. The introduction may also include a summary of the key points from the other sections, including due date.

This section is one of the most important and it usually takes the most time. It is where you describe in minute detail the quantities and type of services or products you want to buy. This section also discusses the hours service providers are allowed to work on-site, parking arrangements and equipment storage and even how potential damage in work areas will be handled.

Selection Criteria
In this section you tell the bidders as much as you choose about how the winning bidder will be selected. It is a good idea to include a sentence like "The winning bidder, if any, will be selected solely by the judgment of XYZ Company."

This section tells companies who want to bid on your RFP how quickly they must act and how long the process may take. Be reasonable when you set your deadlines. Don't ask for proposals for complex systems and only give the bidders a few days to respond.

In this section you explain how the process will work - from sending out the RFP to awarding the contract and starting the work.

Decide How to Send Out The RFP
Most RFPs are mailed, but they do not have to be. You can send the RFP by email or post it on your company web site. Be sure to specify the name or number bidders should use to identify which RFP they are answering.

Decide Who to Send the RFP
You may already know who the suppliers are for what you want to purchase. Your company may even have a list of acceptable vendors.

Who to Involve
Developing a Request for Proposal requires the input of the community association board, designated board committees and your Property Manager. Your Cagan Property Manager is ready to guide you in this process.

Courtesy of F. John Rey
A published author, most recently as a contributing author to Business: The Ultimate Resource, John has set aside time throughout his career to mentor newer managers.
Secretary - Leadership Position of the Month

This job has three elements. Here they are:
  • Recording and keeping the minutes of all association meetings (Look for future detailed articles).
  • Maintain all correspondence and related documents.
  • Responsible for storage and retrieval of all association documents.
Documents should be available for review by members, prospective buyers and new directors. This can be difficult if your community does not have an office or central storage location.  Keep in mind, a community association can delegate this responsibility to an outside source but the legal responsibility for maintaining documents and making them available is still the responsibility of the association. Community association portals or websites are becoming popular as a resource for creating centralized document storage and providing a way to communicate with the community. As a Cagan client, you have a portal available for your community through the Cagan website. After appointing a volunteer in your community to serve as your (Property Representative webmaster), contact Vlad Dulu 847-324-8947 who will support you in launching and using your web portal. 
Nominations and Elections

Nominations and Elections
There are many ways nominations and elections can be conducted within a community association. The important thing is to know what is required and allowed by a community's governing documents. Some community by-laws have a very structured and detail procedure. Others have little to say on the subject. If the latter is the case, the board should establish a written procedure and process for elections and amend and add it to the governing documents.

The election process starts with nominations. Nominations can be done through a nominating committee, by write-ins on ballots and proxies and from the floor at the meeting when the elections take place. Using a nominating committee can help organize the process. This is especially true in larger communities. When there are more candidates running than offices available, a nominating committee can add clarity and dispel confusion. Some candidates may only be interested in a specific office while others may be willing to serve in any capacity if elected. The nominating committee can confirm that all candidates nominated are ready, willing and able to serve. The nominating committee can collect candidate platforms and biographies and put a package together that is then presented to the board. This information can be used to create the slate of candidates, ballots and proxies. Information about the candidates can be circulated to all owners prior to the election or presented at a special candidates meeting where all candidates are given the same amount of time to present their platform and qualifications to the community. The important thing is that the work of the nominating committee be very transparent and open to the community as a whole.

Written ballots for everyone is the best practice. This provides protection in case the election is challenged. It can also be difficult to count a show of hands during a meeting. Ballots are private and allow people to exercise their judgment without consequence. A consistency is created in that all voters, whether they use an absentee ballot, proxy or submit their ballot at the election will have a written ballot. Absentee ballots and directed proxies both allow someone to vote and not be present at the election. However, case law currently supports the use of directed proxies to count towards a quorum for the election meeting but not so for absentee ballots. Most statues say that the meeting quorum must be a certain percentage of the total votes represented at the meeting in person or by proxy.

Voting structure varies from community to community. Generally, the voting and assessment structure follow one another. If every owner pays the same amount in assessments, then every owner gets one vote. If assessments are based on the percentage of interest in the common elements, then so is the voting. Occasionally, governing documents will base assessments on percentage of interest but still give each owner one vote. In Illinois, cumulative voting is not allowed. Normally, if there were three board positions open you would vote for three different candidates, one for each position. Cumulative voting allows you to vote for one candidate three times. This can be viewed as a form of ballot stuffing.

Again, based on your governing documents, planning your election process in advance will assure a smooth process that will enhance the credibility of the board and community. 
The Chicagoland Cooperator Condo Expo on Navy Pier  

Thanks for visiting our booth. It was great to see so many of our building community board leaders at the Cooperator Exposition at Navy Pier. This event was specially designed for community association board leaders. It provided educational seminars and the opportunity to learn from a broad variety of service providers in one place. Running and managing a residential building and its community association can be a complex and overwhelming task without the proper support.  That is what we love about our work. By guiding the good will and work of volunteer leaders, we enhance the quality of living for entire communities. Our responsive, proactive, experienced strategies really work. Thanks for giving us the opportunity to serve you!  
Cagan Winter Leadership Seminar 
Cagan welcomes Thomas Engblom - An evening dedicated to "Basics for Boards".

It may be wise for you to reserve your place early. You can do so by sending an email to  that includes your name, the name of your association and your volunteer position. This is a tremendous opportunity and needs to be on your calendar. Thomas Engblom, one of the key educators for the Community Association Institute is going to provide an intense compact presentation titled, "Basics for Boards". This is a compact version of a regular class he teaches at CAI. Put it on your calendar NOW - January 29, 2013, 6:30PM in the Cagan training room at our office. 

Thomas Engblom, CMCA, AMS, PCAM, ARM, CPM
Vice President Regional Account Executive Midwest
Community Association Banking & Condo Certs
Former CAI National Business Council Board Member 
Hope You Had a Good Thanksgiving!
In This Issue
Developing an RFP
Secretary of the Board
New Way to Communicate
Cooperator Condo Expo on Navy Pier
Cagan Leadership Seminar
How Can we help you?

-Contact us at our Offices- 

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3856 Oakton Street

Skokie, IL 60076

(847) 679-5512

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