Dealing with Boards
While serving on the board of a community association is a volunteer position, board members can get very invested in it. It’s not uncommon to hear about board members who overstep boundaries. That’s why it’s important to be able to gently—or in some cases, more firmly—remind a member who’s taking over duties that aren’t part of her position about the board members’ official duties and why it’s important for everyone to play his or her role.
When a board member gives up her position, your association will have the sometimes difficult task of replacing the outgoing member. But the challenging part of replacing a member comes after the new member is found and elected to the board. That’s because, depending upon the new member’s experience with your association, or associations generally, there may be a lot of information for him to quickly get up to speed on—especially if big decisions are in the process of being made.
Managing a condominium building or planned community is undeniably challenging; balancing the needs of members, the board of directors, your own staff, and contractors or third-party vendors can be like a juggling routine. You might feel as though each day you’re interviewing for your own job. A great opportunity to both shine as a manager and execute one of the most important events of the year is the annual member meeting.
Ideally, your association’s board would act efficiently regarding every request, activity, and issue it’s faced with in the process of serving the best interest of the community you manage. Sometimes, this isn’t the case. Board members could be overwhelmed, disorganized, or—unfortunately—acting in their own interests instead of members’ interests, leading to disputes with members. There doesn’t need to be a sense of urgency for the board to make decisions immediately on all matters; some things can wait.
Sometimes, to comply with the law, association boards must be restructured. If you find yourself in the position of having to deliver the news and help with the restructure, you could be faced with accusations by board members that you’re improperly trying to oust them for your own motives. For example, if you’ve had difficulty working with the current board members, they could assume that you’d like to replace them with members who will be more accommodating. The laws that apply to condo association and HOA board term limits vary from state to state.
Association boards are filled with people from all walks of life. And although the volunteer position offers no financial compensation, board members have considerable responsibilities. They are basically in charge of running a “business” with all the same attention paid to revenues, expenses, and assets. On top of carrying out the association's administrative duties, board members have to be concerned with exposing themselves to one of the perils of their position—the potential for conflicts of interest.