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Posted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:01 pm Post subject: CE Consulting, Manuel and Anna
Hi all. Hope everyone is well.
It has been a while since I last posted due to the fact on most accounts apart from on-going builder issues Salinas has been looking pretty good on my frequent visits.
Since CE Consulting took charge of the management of the community under the guidance of Jose we have seen a vast improvement to the previous regime. Their staff of Manuel and Anna both do first class jobs and work very hard. Their praises have been sung by many owners that I meet when visiting. I have always thought how fortunate we are to have such good people who put in a real shift for the community. I feel with these individuals and CE we have a really good foundation to constantly improve Salinas and mould the development into what we all hoped it would be, well managed, well presented and financially secure.
I have been horrified to hear that there is to be a proposal to get rid of CE, Manuel and Anna. This is absolute stupidity! Whoever is behind this needs to be taking to task and provide clear justification for even considering a move. from CE, Manuel and Anna.
I would hope that all who know the work these people do will support me and them by ensuring we do not loose their services.
Joined: Jan 02, 2007 Posts: 95 Location: Salinas De Vera - (UK, Wales)
Posted: Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:16 pm Post subject: Manuel & Anna
Nice to hear from you, Martin and I have returned from Salinas this week and must say its all looking really good.
The flowers are just coming out in the gardens and for anyone thats going to be out there over Easter it should be in full bloom. The ground plants have spread and Manuel has trimmed the palm trees that are starting to look established. If we had been aware of this information we would have taken some phots to show how well maintained everything is.
We were saying to each other when we were there that apart from the wall situation the place has never been looked so good. We are now mortified to hear this news regarding Manuel & Anna, do you know what its based on?
They are two very hard working individuals, I was aware that there was a time over the previous months that Manuel had a few personal problems when his young chils was ill but when we were at Salinas he was working all hours to make up for the time.
The indoor pool was in great condition and well maintained - we now have benches in there.
Martin and I are in agreement with you Murray, its not just the gardens and cleaning they do its the personal things like translating for us, fixing the odd thing etc.
If there is anymore news can you please keep us all posted
Who ever is feeding you this information is wrong i have no intention of getting rid of ce or anna and manuel,obviously this is another dig at me ,what i am saying as a community we had no money at the end of last quarter we had 22 euros ,what i am saying we need to cut back on wages as we are paying 22000 euro per year for anna if we can just reduce her days for a few months then it reduces our costs ,yes the gardens are looking good now but at a time they was very run down ,and there were days when we never had a cleaner but we still had to pay the same fees every month,obviously that doesnt seem to bother a few people but there are people out there struggling,as we speak the debters list gets bigger,thats why we need to cut costs if only for a while,if it wasnt for me there would be no benches in the indoor pool as i had to badger ce constantly as there was no seats ,but no matter what i say or do you will still have your dig i know its only the odd few of you that dont live in the real world tina
Firstly the information is not some idle chit chat. Why does the President think it's a dig at her? I am merely voicing my opinion on information received which as a fully paid community owner I am entitled to do. Don't understand why it struck such a cord considering the President herself upon my last visit voiced her dissatisfaction with CE and Manuel. I thought this very strange as feedback from other owners was always very positive with no negatives. Can I then take it by the Presidents comments that there will be no proposal to replace CE, Manual and Anna at the April meeting? If there is a proposal can the President please provide details of the companies proposed, their track record, employees and if they are an IVA registered company with full legal employment legislation and insurances in place. This would allow owners to consider any proposals put forward.
Regards living in the "real world" believe me I'm living in the "real world". I know about hard times and am not immune to the credit crunch and problems related to the weaker sterling. However when I and others purchased in Spain whether for a holiday home, permanent residence or investment, we did so believing a level of services would be provided on a consistent basis and enjoy the benefits that being part of a community would bring. Included in these community benefits are the likes of 24 hour security, managed finances, administration and legal support, well maintained community areas and buildings supported by proper and adequate lighting all of which was to be provided in return for a monthly community fee.
Whist I fully appreciate and have empathy for the financial difficulty of some owners, those who pay their community fees on time every time should not have to accept substandard services because of those who default on payment of community fees. Whether it be because of lack of community finances due to non payers or a reduction in community fees (which in turn leads to a reduction in services) to help those struggling to pay, the burden for this should not rest with those who are meeting their commitment and expect the services to be provided at the desired standard for which they are paying and which they were sold. We did not purchase on the basis of low community fees in acceptance of poor quality.
Reducing community fees (with the subsequent reduction in services) will not make those who blatantly refuse to pay, pay! That's fact. All it will lead to is the same number of non payers, a further reduction in services and even worse bank balance. If we allow this non payment to continue and fester things will only get worse. Driving down community fees and services will only lead to a run down community that will resemble the worst of housing estates and devalue all our investments.This type of management process has already seen the eradication of 24 hour security, the ability to spend on maintenance, cosmetics and improvement to the community, car park lights being turned off amongst others and now the President is talking about reduced cleaning. It is not the fault of the majority who pay on time that a few cannot or will not pay their community fees and wrong that those who pay should suffer and be asked to accept less because of these individuals. These individuals need to shape up or shape out. It is the responsibility of the President to tackle these bad debtors and unfair to burden those abiding by community rules under the Spanish Horizontal Law.
In fact with inflation and increases in energy prices since completion of the development in the summer of 2006 the community fees if anything should be increased to keep pace with costs and retain the same standard of service. I for one would be happy to pay higher community fees if the communities finances/legals were managed properly, the frequency and quality of maintenance services provided were as agreed and deliverable and a contingency fund was created for extraordinary purchases. At the end of the day it is about having a place we can enjoy, take pride in and protect our investments. Lets pay the right community fees for the right services and get our community into the condition that we who pay expect and demand.
The property market may be tough at the moment but a downward spiral of services and a deterioration in the complex will lead to the situation when the market improves sadly our investments at Salinas will not.
Makes interesting reading all of this..
There seems to be two issues here..
The important one as far as I am concerned is the " NON PAYERS ",
What is happening about these NON PAYERS?
Should they be entitled to use the swimming pools ? Should their gardens be maintained?
How far down the road is CE with court action ?
We cannot allow these parasites to leach off the Community for too much longer.
With regards to the Community fees.. I am happy with what I am paying for now.. and see no reason to increase it further.. as I said if CE gets these NON PAYERS to pay their dues.. the community should have a healthy balance sheet.
Our two gardeners and caretakers Manuel and Anna, are a refreshing change.. they are extremely hard working and diligent. But does that equate to value for money ? if they are only working a few hours a week in the winter months what are we paying for ?
We are lucky we have Tina on site 24/7 .. to observe things.. something we should be all grateful for..
Lets have good sensible debate.. but not forget that we are all in this together, to make Salinas one of the nicest places in the sun.
A lively debate unfolding here, and perhaps it would be useful for all Community members (including the non-payers) if we could communicate more openly and honestly on an ongoing basis, rather than reacting to hearsay or rumour, when you here something you don't like.
I for one would like to hear from the non-paying Brits, what have they taken issue over and why are they not paying their way? Clearly it's unlikely that we will reach any of the Spanish via this forum.
As an owner of a Duplex we have been faced with year on year increases to our Community Charge, to reflect the cost of living rises in Spain, apart from the one-off reduction we had when we changed from MarinaStall to CE. This has not been an issue to us as we have seen the development improve. However I do object to the more recent increase following the last AGM, because it was voted to hold the charges at current levels and actively go after the debtors. This was carried at the meeting but clearly not honoured by CE.
Take Bruce's point regarding exclusion of non-payers, but this would be impossible to police, and if you left gardens unkept and drives/stairways not cleaned the development would start to look awful. Legal action is the only solution, although a timely one to sort.
I had a chat with Tina when last down, and there was no mention of dispensing with Anna or Manual services, but the options around a redistribution of time. The amount of time spent mopping the driveways of the duplex's could be better utilised helping with the gardens. We have a lovely clean driveway, which has a car sat on it most of the time, but seem to wait for ever to have our back garden mowed. Likewise weeding of the flower beds around the complex preferable to mopping!
Joined: Jan 22, 2004 Posts: 2151 Location: near Albox
Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:36 pm Post subject:
As he seems to be having problems posting his 'main post' on here, I have offered him the opportunity of posting it on Forum Help and then I'll move it for him. So far I haven't heard from him, but I guess you'll all get GM's post eventually _________________ Ahana - Moderator
Joined: Jan 22, 2004 Posts: 2151 Location: near Albox
Posted: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:52 pm Post subject: MESSAGE FROM GMSALINAS
I am including below the message GMSALINAS has been trying to send and which, for some reason, he has been unable to post direct.
Hello to the Community of Owners in Salinas de Vera.
Before you make assumptions based upon rumour please acquaint yourselves with the facts.
a) Tina is not trying to oust Manuel or Anna.
She merely challenged the reasons why our community areas were allowed to deteriorate whilst Manuel continued to collect his money for work not done.
I was out there in January 2009 and I know how tatty it all looked. Weeds abounded in the communal garden areas; hedges were not trimmed and hung over fences; weeds had taken hold on the paved walkways & roads; grass was uncut, the small gates ( front & rear of the community) were not closing and anyone who wanted could come in; the communal stairways were not being swept or washed down; last but not least the lighting was coming on an hour before dusk wasting our electricity, which is one of the most expensive out goings we have to pay out on.
b) We, democratically,elected Tina as President because she lives there all the time whereas most of us dip in and out on holidays/breaks.
She is not paid to put herself out on our behalf but still she does. It's a thankless enough task without her having to put up with unwarranted criticism from those who should be supporting her.
Which of her critics wants to do this job?
c) Manuel is a contractor. A business man. Employed, via CE, to carry out specific tasks/chores within the community. & for this he is handsomely remunerated. [Perhaps too handsomely some might say??]
Anna is employed by Manuel. She works a 40 hour week and Manuel pays her wages.
Initially the work Manuel's company carried was faultless and good value for money.
More recently he has experienced situations for which he had not planned any continguency and that is not good business.
1: Anna took her annual vacation time and her annual sickness leave altogether so she could have a planned surgical procedure and sufficient recovery time. Everyone, including Manuel, knew this was going to happen & when.
What Manuel failed to do was put another worker in Anna's place at Salinas de Vera and the general areas rapidly suffered by her absense.
2: The next event was a personal crisis in Manuels family and he had to take time off to attend to that. No-one suggests that he should not have done so.
Unfortunately Manuel, despite running a business, had no back-up plan to cover his absense either.
The net result was as I described above & it was against this background that Tina asked tough questions on our behalf.
Some may object to her asking why Manuel was still being paid, for himself and his staff, while no work was being done. I do not object to this sort of questioning. The increases in his charges were also, rightly, under scrutiny and he was asked to look at them again and see if there were areas that could be reduced. This he flatly refused and he even entered into some emotional blackmail saying Anna would lose her job if cuts were insisted upon. This was done with Anna actually present and acting as his interpreter. I, for one, do not succumb to blackmail.
Which of us will employ say a gardener, roofer, painter/decorator or any other maintenance person and simply hand over our hard earned cash without question? I feel sure the reply is 'nobody'! Rightly so too. Yet here we are debating whether or not to question the amount being paid at Salinas de Vera and some even seem to want to retain a contractor simply because he is a nice guy. He is but he is not so nice that when our coffers are empty he'll will work for free! We would not expect that from him but some feel we need to operate a charity towards the people we, as a community, employ under contract.
For those who might be interested, I have submitted my ideas in writing, for the April EGM, and I have asked that my letter be made available to all the Community of Owners. I have also asked that it be properly translated into Spanish so it really is freely available.
Some will find it controversial but that is not my intent. It is time for realism to come to the fore. Those who are paying their community fees
cannot be expected to subsidise the non-payers. Many non-payers are renting their properites & these tenants feel they have rights to the full facilities. On the face of it one cannot blame them but it cannot be allowed to continue. There are ways and means and my ideas are contained in the letter I have submitted for the April EGM.
In the meantime I want to put on record the support of GWEN & MAGGIE for Tina as she strives to get us what we are paying for. She will have this support for as long as she remains President and works for the good of the Community of Owners at Salinas de Vera.
I would like to pick up on a few points mentioned which I will detail below. Also if anyone has any comments to direct to me and would like to discuss them please PM me your telephone number and happily call you.
1. As far as making assumptions are concerned, when the President tells you personally that she will have to replace CE and Manuel then that's fact not assumption.
2. Regards weeds and gardening. Winter is a time when activity is low, growth is slow and there is less of a need for gardening. The greater input of hours is required during the fast growing months from May - October. Keeping on top of things at this time of year is more demanding. More visitors are present and the need for presentation of greater importance. This is not to say that it shouldn't be tidy over winter. I presume from May - October is when Manuals "hours worked" are at there highest. The important thing is, the total number of hours worked over the year. Do we manage and monitor this? Perhaps someone can provide this info. The thing about weeding is, the weeds need to grow and be visible before you can weed. Perhaps this was the situation in January. However It's very pleasing to hear our President quote above that "the gardens are looking good".
3. When it comes to spending time and money on behalf of the community, few will know, but I have probably spent more on both accounts than any other owner. I have spent hundreds of hours producing documents and conducting meetings with Keymare and Building Consultants and spent hundreds of pounds on Spanish translation services preparing documents in Spanish, commissioning a Building Consultant to survey all the community areas, consulting lawyers and producing a pictorial Snagging List in 2006 to mention but a few, all for the benefit of the community. So I don't need reminded about giving time and money to help the community. On this subject who is paying for the Spanish translation of GM's document sent to CE?
4. Anna was replaced during her absence. A girl worked to cover for Anna. Perhaps she was not as conscientious as Anna (which would be difficult) but a replacement non the less. Manuel had a very unfortunate family situation which meant his absence for a while. However if our contract is with CE and in turn they sub-contract to Manuel as stated above (employed via CE) then it would be the responsibility of the main contractor CE to organise a replacement for Manuel during his absence. This is how I read it but I may be wrong.
5. I think it a good and valid point GM makes regards non- payers being denied sub letting or short term rental of the property. In fact I think after several written warnings and non compliance these non- payers should be denied use of communal areas and buildings and be made to park their vehicle outside the complex. Also a surcharge or interest charge could be levied against late payers/non-payers. It may not make them pay quicker but when they do pay they will be paying more and if they don't like spending money this may encourage them to pay less by paying on time - just a suggestion.
Can I suggest that sensitive information such as community finances should be left off an open forum where all can see.
Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2009 3:54 pm Post subject: Salinas de Vera CE & Manuel
I am trying to directly post a reply so hope I makes it this time or it's back to AHANA for help!
Let me begin by assuring anybody who reads this that I am grinding no axe against anyone.
I have posted my thoughts and now I will reply to the one response they elicited. This was from Murray but does not imply any annoyance with or against this person.
I shall reply to the points as raised.
1: Tina may have expressed herself badly to Murray but I also know, for a fact, that it is not her objective to "replace CE & Manuel". What she is attempting to do is get us, The Community of Owners, value for money.
Does anone really believe that Anna is being paid 22,000 euros a year for her 40 hour working week? This would give her a weekly wage of 423.76 euros. I am a non-believer on that score but am happy to be proven wrong.
2: Weeds. When these are 2-3 inches high in gardens & walkways they are very hard to miss -- at any time of the year. This was the case back in January 2009 and they hadn't just sprung up during the few weeks I was there! Action to eradicate them, do the hedges, grass & general cleaning was only embarked upon after our elected reps. met with CE & Manuel. Our gardens & communal areas should be "looking good" at all times. Is that not what we pay for?
3:I am going to ignore this point as it seems to be a litany of personal 'achievements' and not really relevant to this debate. I suggest that this particular owner summit relevant receipts to CE for monies spent on behalf of the Community of Owners and that this can then be put forward to the next AGM for a decision. I do not believe that any owner should be out of pocket on the Community of Owners behalf. If on the other hand they choose to do something off their own bat then that is their personal choice.
If the letter I have submitted to the EGM is deemed good enough to be used for the community then it is up to the Community of Owners whether or not it be translated into Spanish. I simply feel that ALL the property owners should be kept informed and not just the chosen few. The English speakers were quick to complain when they could not understand the Spanish AGM Minutes. What is good for the goose etc.!
4: Anna's replacement only appeared after Tina & other reps. met with CE & Manuel and challenged them about the poor state of the communal areas at Salinas de Vera.
If Murray's reading of contractural law is correct then yes, maybe we do need to take CE to task over the people they are paying our money out to and what their reason/s are for awarding that person the contract?
I don't think I am alone in wanting to get the best value for money, all year round.
5: This is most important to me because it suggests things I have not said.
Firstly, I have not suggested that owners can or should be prevented from renting or sub-letting their properties. I do not believe that would be either legally possible or desirable.
Secondly, I have not suggested that these owners can or should be denied access to their allotted parking space. I doubt that would be legally possible either.
What I do Suggest is this:
Use of Pools and all Communal areas should be restricted to those who pay their fees regularly on time.
Parking, on site, should be restricted to one vechicle per habitation.
Ways and means for such action would have to be presented to the AGM, debated, agreed upon and carried by democratic majority vote.
We need to look at ways of policing any action/s agreed upon.
It is suggested that sensitive information not be discussed/debated on this open forum. Unfortunately it is too late to close the stable door now as finances are the very reason that this debate is operating.
I'd like to ask all who are of the Salinas de Vera Community of Owners to give their support to those we elected to represent us. If we disagree with them that is fine and should be openly stated but, our words must be carefully weighed so as not to give personal slight.
Ask yourself who, actually fully resident at Salinas de Vera, will step into the breach if Tina etc opt out? This is not a job that can be done long distance.
We laud those who make hard decisions we agree with (eg Jose getting rid of Marinasol) yet when these same hard decisions are made and we feel aggrieved we get all too personal about it.
I shall probably make this my final submission to this forum as I have neither intention or desire to uselessly 'flap my mouth' about it all. My thoughts will continue to be put, in writing, through the elected representatives of our community.
I shall only return to this forum if something appears which I believe to be inaccurate and/or unfair.
Once more, Tina you have our support for as long as you are the elected President & conducting business to the advantage of all the fully paid up members of Salinas de Vera Community of Owners.
I cannot remember saying to you murry that i was going to replace c.e or manuel or anna,as i have not spoken to you in months may be a hello and that is it,i have not at anytime recently spoken to you or have any desire to ,so you need to get your facts right not me, also your happy with the arrangement i take it ,that no cleaner was in today ,or the fact on mon and tues the cleaner was only here for approx 7 hrs over the 2 days ,even though we are paying for a person to be here 5 days a week from 8 until 4 ,this week alone we have had someone for 23 hrs but we are paying for 40.also manuel is not under contract to c.e,it is his own buisness ,and that is why when he is unable to work because of family problems there is no one to replace him as he is a 1 man band,like i have told you before i have no problem with anna or manuel but want value for money and at times we are not getting that,also the debters list is getting bigger at this rate we will not be able to pay them ,and dont get saying you need to chase those up who dont pay ,i have recently signed 17 for the courts which might i say will take ages,and also if you was a regular visitor to the area as you say you are then you would be able to whats going on.
Hello Tina, perhaps you can't remember that you spoke with me in January during my visit - this I can accept. I have never said that I am happy to pay people for hours that they have not worked, and to suggest that I am is wrong. My comment earlier regards monitoring the hours worked reflects my concern that we get value for money and get the hours out of people that we pay for. What I did say and as Bruce described as refreshing was that since our present maintenance team took over, the complex has been presented in a better condition than previous - would you agree with this? I would be delighted if we can improve further! Your posting earlier this week was the first that I was aware that there were discrepancies between payment and actual time spent at the complex by the maintenance people. However as I said it does need to be calculated over a longer period perhaps when there are busier months of the year when more hours may be spent working. If this can be analyzed then this would provide a clearer picture. That's good news that we are proceeding with legal action against the non-payers - well done. Are these 17 the first that we have taken legal action against? Let's hope it has the desired effect.The sooner we bring legal action against non-payers the better. Don't know if there should be a timescale for this as I see that some non-payers are quite new while others appear to have been be due for many months. Maybe we need to trigger in legal action after say three missed months - what do you think? Perhaps CE can advise on this?
Sadly like most owners I am a only a frequent visitor and due to work commitments and other issues I am unable to visit as often as I would like. However there had been talk about creating a communication link with owners via a dedicated website or forum - has there been any development on this front? Perhaps early communication with all owners (I'm sure all or most have access to a computer and email facilities) would help things be more transparent and owners could be kept informed of any issues. What are your thoughts on this?
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