I came across this interesting article stating there is currently a bill in the New York State Senate proposing the creation of an Ombudsman for co-ops and condos in the state.
The office would be funded through a new tax of $6 added to the fees paid by each co-op and condo unit.
The ombuds office would oversee board elections, use ADR services such as mediation for disputes, have the authority to subpoena and hold hearings, give public talks, host meetings as well as raise awareness of rights and responsibilities.
From the NYS Senate website [here], it shows the sponsor of the bill is State Senator Liz Kruger of Manhattan. Currently, I am unaware if there is a similar Bill in the Assembly.
Some important facts from the Bill:
-"The bill creates the Office of the Cooperative and Condominium Ombudsman within the Department of Law to serve as a neutral, informative, and accessible resource available to cooperative and condominium residents, prospective shareholders and unit owners, boards of directors and managers, and other affected parties. "
-OMBUDSMAN SHALL BE AN ATTORNEY WITH EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN REAL ESTATE, COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM LAW AND IN CONFLICT AND ALTER NATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
-OMBUDSMAN AND OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE SHALL ADHERE TO A CODE OF ETHICS... (it does not state which ethics, such as the IOA)
-THE HEAD OF THE OFFICE SHALL BE THE COOPERATIVE AND CONDOMINIUM OMBUDSMAN WHO SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. THE OMBUDSMAN SHALL HOLD OFFICE UNTIL THE END OF THE TERM OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY WHOM HE OR SHE WAS APPOINTED (really? Not for a fixed year term but rather the same as the serving AG??) AND UNTIL HIS OR HER SUCCESSOR IS APPOINTED AND HAS QUALIFIED. A VACANCY SHALL BE FILLED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT
Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.
Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.
He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.
(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)
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