Serving On A Board

Serving On A Board

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The single most essential people in any shared space community—HOA or Condo—are the people willing to serve on the Executive Board. Without them, there is no functioning community. Despite their obviously essential nature, board members are volunteers. They don’t get paid. That last point is critical to understanding what board members do and don’t do—or, at least, should and should not do.

Board members are managers. They a legally responsible to manage the community according to state law and the governing documents. They shouldn’t do much (remember they’re volunteers), but should manage a lot. More on this in a minute. First, let’s get straight what board members are not.

Board members are not scapegoats, whipping boys, complaint hotlines, psychological therapists, your buddies, social directors, nor are they dictators, emperors, royalty (of some sort) or Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey. Sometimes board members have been known to fall into any number of these categories.

Board members are the executives in charge of running a multi-million dollar real estate asset. They need to have a vision of what the community should become in the future, create a strategic plan to achieve that vision, and manage the tactical execution of that plan with a combination of hired help and volunteers. IREM Board Check List

They need to hire a great management company and work closely with it. Depending on the size and type of the community, they need to develop good working relationships with a legal firm and an independent auditor that specializes in community work. Most communities will also need to develop a rolodex (I’m showing my age here) of engineering, landscape, plumbing, roofing, electrical, mechanical and other service providers. The management company is primarily responsible for this, but a good board will be actively involved in not only hiring these experts, but guiding them to deliver the services the board expects.

Board members aren’t “know it alls” but they need to hire a bunch of “know it alls” and manage them effectively. Management is an art, and good board members are artists. If you can rise to that challenge, then you should consider serving on your community’s board.