Take Stress Out of Change in Management
Although it sometimes seems like an on-site association manager is part of the community because she’s on the property continually, this is a job and, at some point, the manager or the management company will inevitably leave. The question that concerns owners and the board of directors at that point is whether the transition to a new manager and company will be smooth and productive.
Because managers and management companies are professionals, transitions largely are not as rife with issues as owners and board members sometimes fear. If the current manager and management company have acted responsibly and fulfilled their duties as part of the contract during their tenure, a transition to new management will be easier than if they are leaving on bad terms because of unprofessional or even illegal behavior.
One of two scenarios in a management transition that the board should be aware of is the departure of the on-site manager. Even during periods of time when it seems like things are going smoothly, boards should make sure at least one other person knows what’s going on in the office. This could be the board’s treasurer, secretary, or president, or a reliable office staff member. It’s critical that more than one person knows the general status of operations and how to access records. You can keep track of what’s going on in the office by holding a quick weekly meeting to touch base with the manager.
Under amicable circumstances, boards can give the on-site manager sufficient notice and severance pay as an incentive to train an incoming manager and prepare reports with the full information that the board and new manager will need. But what about a departure under negative circumstances? If you’ve been proactive enough as things have gone along, it won’t be an issue, but in the real world that doesn’t always happen. Try to get at least the following items before the manager leaves:
- Meeting notes;
- A current list of all aspects of operations;
- Financial information; and
- The location of the information and documents that formed the substance of the last board meeting, as well the material that went into creating the annual budget.
For additional factors that associations, boards, owners or members, and incoming or outgoing managers should take into account to ensure the drama-free continuity of operations and minimize an interruption in services, see “Get Association Ready for Management Transition,” available to subscribers here.