Introducing The WSCAI Business Partners’ Code Of Ethics: Raising The Bar

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Introducing The WSCAI Business Partners’ Code Of Ethics: Raising The Bar

Last year, the WSCAI Business Partners Committee took up the subject of a Business Partners’ Code of Ethics. The subject was complex and the discussion spirited. The Committee’s engagement on the topic was prompted by the experiences of several committee members that raised ethical issues—in particular, concern that possible “pay-to-play” arrangements by some companies were preventing business partners from being fairly considered for projects. As part of its process, the Committee reviewed ethical rules applicable to CAI designations (e.g., PCAM, RS, CIRMS), practices in other CAI Chapters, and laws across the country regulating association managers and other service providers.

At the conclusion of the process, which spanned six months, the Committee unanimously concluded that a Business Partners’ Code of Ethics for the Washington State Chapter would be beneficial, and developed a Code that the Committee unanimously endorsed. The Code was later presented to the Chapter’s Board of Directors, which approved it.

Code of Ethics Features

Several features of the Code deserve mention. First, the Code is entirely voluntary. While the Committee and the Board of Directors urge business partners to adhere to it, there is no sanction for violations, and no disciplinary authority is created. Discipline for violations of ethical standards is left to the professional organizations (such as CAI National) and licensing authorities that govern particular trades and professions of CAI Business Partners.

Second, the Code applies to all types of WSCAI Business Partners and does not single out any particular service provider groups. It articulates standards which the Committee and the Board consider universal in application, based on concepts of fair competition.

The Business Partners Committee and the Board believe that the Code will serve the interests of the Chapter by providing guidance and standards for Business Partners seeking to do business with community associations. It is also hoped that the Code may provide a marketing tool, allowing WSCAI Business Partners who have pledged to follow it to distinguish themselves from non-WSCAI competitors. Most importantly, coupled with educational components, the Code is intended to help Chapter members understand what they can expect from their Business Partners and assist them in making informed choices among vendors

WSCAI Business Partners’ Code of Ethics

Preamble 

The WSCAI Business Partners’ Code of Ethics (“Code”) was adopted by WSCAI’s Business Partners Committee to provide guidance and standards for Business Partners in conducting business with community associations. The Code is intended to help WSCAI’s Business Partners distinguish themselves from non-WSCAI competitors by virtue of their high ethical standards and assist association members by providing standards that they may expect from WSCAI Business Partners with whom they deal. The Code is not mandatory. Rather, it is entirely voluntary for those Business Partners who agree to subscribe to its tenets. Nor are there any penalties for failure to adhere to the Code

Tenets 
  1. A business partner shall at all times conduct him/her/itself in a professional and competent manner, acting truthfully, fairly, diligently, promptly, and for a fair price.
  2. A business partner shall only take on as much business as he/she/it can reasonably expect to perform with professional competence and diligence.
  3. A business partner shall refrain from criticizing competitors or their business practices and shall refrain from making any untrue statements about the goods or services provided by competitors.
  4. A business partner shall not engage in any form of price-fixing, anti-trust, or anticompetitive behavior. This includes “pay-to-play” arrangements whereby a Business Partner provides valuable consideration of any kind to obtain business or a favorable position as against another Business Partner. Client or prospective client requests for such consideration shall be politely declined with reference to this Code.
  5. A business partner may accept from or give de minimus gifts to a client so long as such gifts are not given or accepted for the primary purpose of influencing that client’s decision to renew a contract with a Business Partner, to do business with the Business Partner, or to win business over a competing Business Partner. Business Partners should honor any limits on gift giving set by their employer or by clients to whom any gifts are given. Money should never be accepted or given as a gift.
  6. A business partner may pay or accept a referral fee so long as the referral fee is ethical under the standards applicable to that Business Partner’s business or profession and is disclosed to the client and the client does not object.
  7. A business partner shall timely disclose all actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest to prospective clients.
  8. A business partner shall not use the use the work of competitors that is considered proprietary without the express, written permission of the owner.

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September President’s Message

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September President’s Message

Welcome Back! I hope everyone had an enjoyable summer and is ready to start preparing for the end of this year and making plans for 2014.

Summer Recap

To report on the Chapter’s summer activities, several educational seminars and social gatherings were held. The rumors are that the Annual Golf Tournament was a huge success (I missed it due to travel plans with my daughter). CA Day, our biggest event of the year, is just around the corner and is scheduled for Saturday, October 19 at the Washington Convention Center in downtown Seattle. Nearly 1,000 Business Partners, Managers, and Community Association Volunteer Leaders (board members and homeowners) will attend to exchange ideas, hear about new trends, and promote their businesses. Exhibit booths always sell out well in advance of the event and we maintain a waiting list however it is never too late to register for those looking to expand their knowledge of our ever-changing industry.

An equally important event that you do not want to miss is our Annual Meeting and Awards Gala, planned for Friday, November 8th, 2013 at Herban Feast Sodo Park. The Community Association Manager of the Year, Individual Business Partner of the Year, and Homeowner / Board Member of the Year will each be recognized and receive an award for going above and beyond and exceeding everyone’s expectations.

Chapter’s Code Of Ethics

The topic of ethics appears to come up on occasion in various settings. At the end of last year, the Business Partners Committee developed and the Board of Directors adopted, a code of ethics “…to provide guidance and standards for business partners in conducting business with community associations”. You will find a copy of this code of ethics incorporated in this issue of the Journal. The code is voluntary and “…is intended to help WSCAI’s Business Partners distinguish themselves from non-WSCAI competitors by virtue of their high ethical standards and assist association members by providing standards that they may expect from WSCAI Business Partners with whom they deal…” Since the code is not mandatory, adherence to the code is not tracked, although we believe many Business Partners have now adopted and incorporated the code into their operations.

One of the discussions regarding ethics involves “kickbacks” and/or “gifts” that a vendor may offer to influence a decision to renew a contract or to win business over a competing Business Partner. While rare, the discussions also appear to involve the alleged acceptance of those “gifts” by some management professionals. It is important to note that CAMICB (the organization which issues the CMCA certification, formerly known as NBC-CAM) and CAI National have strict guidelines that apply to our professional designations. CMCA, AMS, and PCAM designations have their own codes of ethics that regulate the gifts a manager may accept and place a monetary value on such gifts (the Professional Manager Code of Ethics can be viewed online at nbccam. Org and caionline.org). While the majority of our industry professionals act ethically and in the best interest of their client at all times, both organizations (CAMICB and CAI) have processes in place for investigating ethics complaints and taking disciplinary action, where appropriate. If you observe or are aware of unethical behavior that may violate the code of ethics, please report it to either National CAI or CAMICB so it can be investigated and proper action can be taken, if warranted.

Again, welcome back from the summer activities and I am looking forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events!

Yours truly,

Sergey A. Petrov, PCAM

By Sergey A. Petrov, PCAM

Article first appeared in the September 2013 issue of WSCAI Community Associations Journal.
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  • Porter Construction Inc - Building With Integrity - www.porterci.com
  • HUB International NW - HOA And Condo Solutions - Web Ad
  • Barker Martin
  • Condominium Law Group, PLLC - General Counsel & Collection Services - Partners Ken Harer & Valerie Oman - Phone: (206) 633-1520 Website: www.condolaw.net
  • Newman HOA CPA - Banner Ad

Search WSCAI


Search Business Partners Directory


Diamond Sponsors

  • CIT - Community Association Banking - Logo
  • Association Reserves WA - Logo
  • Newman HOA CPA - Audit & Tax - Logo
  • Columbia Bank - Logo
  • SageWater - Logo
  • Superior Cleaning & Restoration - A COIT Service Company - Logo
  • Transblue - Logo
  • ServPro Of Seattle NW - Logo
  • Rafel Law Group PLLC - Logo
  • RW Anderson Services - Logo
  • Agynbyte - Logo
  • HUB International NW - Logo
  • CAU - Community Association Underwriters - Logo

Chapter Magazine

Journal July-August 2022

Jul/Aug 2022 Issue

Journal Advertising Partners:

  • Newman HOA CPA Audit & Tax
  • CIT Group Inc. - Logo
  • Rafel Law Group PLLC - Logo
  • The Copeland Group - Logo
  • Bell-Anderson & Associates - Logo
  • Community Association Underwriters - Logo
  • Ruff Construction - logo
  • Charter Construction - Logo
  • Popular Association Banking
  • SSI Construction
  • Sagewater
  • RW Anderson Services - Logo
  • Pacific Engineering Technologies, Inc - Logo

  • Association Reserves of Washington - Ad
  • Pacific Western Bank - Small Ad