In a previous article we talked about the duties and responsibilities of the Recording Secretary, so now let’s discuss what the Board as a whole should expect and how to address some common occurrences while serving their Homeowner and/or Condominium Association.
First and foremost, you are serving and making decisions for a business; your community. While you are making these decisions on one of the biggest investments you and your fellow homeowners have ever made, your homes, which is very personal, you want to remain in a business mindset to ensure that the inclusion of personal or political biases are not present.
One of the factors that may disrupt that business mindset include the fact that you have friends and acquaintances in your community. And on the opposing point, you may also know some neighbors that you simply don’t like or don’t see eye-to-eye with. Both of these ends of the spectrum may interfere with your ability to remain unbiased in making a decision that is clearly in the best interest of the community. Hence, treat and make decisions for Glenda-The-Good-Neighbor as you would if the same matter to be decided upon was for Vinnie-The-Violator. Using your inner voice to role play the issue, inserting Glenda for Vinnie and/or vice versa prior to voting, is a good technique to check your alliances and biases for a clear decision.
Another disruption may be the unprofessionalism of community members or worse yet your fellow Board Members. While we have no control over the demeanor of others, we can control how we react to them and their behavior as well as how we conduct ourselves in this business setting. When listening to Randy-The-Ranter discussing his issue with the Board, make a concerted effort to hear his message and not the manner in which he is delivering it. Many people are not comfortable or accustomed to speaking in a front of a group and may become “unglued” in such a situation, which ultimately adversely effects their approach to the Board. On the other hand, some people are just adverse. Conversely, we also need to remain professional in the presence of our community members. A good technique to self-evaluate your own conduct and presence during a meeting is to consider that your current or former boss, employer, or supervisor is sitting in the back of the room; how would s/he rate your performance?
Understand that disagreements among Board Members will happen. This is actually a good thing and positive for the community. A couple things to keep in mind when disagreements occur:
- Sounds simple enough, but many of us are just waiting for our turn to talk while the other person is talking. It’s a difficult habit to break, I still make a concerted and conscious effort to curb this, but to best understand someone’s point of view is to truly hear what they are saying.
- If we all agreed, all the time, on every topic, we would learn nothing from each other and never grow past our own opinions.
- Appreciate the opportunities to discuss opposing viewpoints. There may be something you have missed, a viewpoint that you had not previously considered, and/or things have changed since the last time you broached this topic.
- Lastly, remain professional.
Opposing viewpoints provide us with an excellent platform to learn and grow and should be cherished for the opportunities they provide us to better serve our communities.
The Board of Directors should be regarded as a united decision-making body to the community membership. Many of us recognize that some Homeowner and Condominium Associations may become quite political at times. Yet, while serving on the Board it is best to put all politics aside. I know, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Talking with neighbors and other community members about how the Board voted [who yea’d and who nay’d] on a particular topic provides no benefit to the Board or the community. Such comments like, “I can’t believe Peter-The-President voted that way on the monthly dues.”, only creates division with not only the Board, but the community as well. Keeping the discussion focused on how the Board, as a whole, decided on a particular topic is always best and builds trust within the community for the Board.
The ultimate responsibility of the Board of Directors is to maintain and/or enhance the market value for each unit within the community. Think of the market value as the umbrella of the Board’s responsibilities as everything else lies below it yet supports it at the same time. The community’s market value is maintained and/or enhanced through:
- Properly maintaining the buildings, roads, sidewalks, etc.
- Addressing the community’s landscaping in a manner that keeps it not only attractive but controlled throughout the years.
- Appropriately insuring the Association’s assets from a natural or other disaster.
- Accurately foreseeing the future replacement needs of the community’s infrastructure and funding reserves accordingly.
- Establish the means to successfully administer the above with the appropriate management and supervisory levels.
Saving any macro-economics, properly supporting these fields will ensure that your Homeowner and/or Condominium Association’s market values will remain strong for many years to come.
Although we have touched on a few key areas of what it takes to successfully serve on your community’s Board of Directors, there is much, much more … much more! We will continue to touch on similar topics in future articles.