Treasurers do not have unlimited authority over the association's monies. Unless the governing documents provide otherwise, a treasurer's duties are as follows:
Non-Director Treasurer. There was a time when boards could appoint non-board members to be the treasurer. That changed when the Governor signed into law Civil Code § 5500 and § 5501. Beginning January 1, 2019, boards of directors must review their association's financial records on a monthly basis. (Civ. Code § 5500.) Boards can delegate the task to the treasurer and one other board member but the statute is clear that the treasurer must be a member of the board:
The review requirements of Section 5500 may be met when every individual member of the board, or a subcommittee of the board consisting of the treasurer and at least one other board member, reviews the documents and statements described in Section 5500 independent of a board meeting, so long as the review is ratified at the board meeting subsequent to the review and that ratification is reflected in the minutes of that meeting. (Civ. Code § 5501.)
That means that, despite anything to the contrary in an association's governing documents, treasurers must now be board members.
Assistant Treasurer. If the treasurer needs assistance with his/her duties, the board can appoint someone, such as a homeowner with experience with budgets and accounting, to be "Assistant Treasurer." This should be done be a motion in the minutes.
Delegating Authority. When it comes to paying bills, the board can empower the treasurer to pay routine, recurring expenses such as utility bills and insurance premiums. As a safeguard, the board can set a dollar limit on the treasurer's payment authority. However, the board is still responsible for overseeing the treasurer's actions. Accordingly, the board should establish internal controls and regularly review the treasurer's activities and the association's finances. Otherwise, the association will be vulnerable to the improper handling of association finances up to and including embezzlement and the board could be held in breach of its fiduciary duties.
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