Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Best Practices

Boards usually consist of people of diverse professional backgrounds.  And like the professions that they come from, effective Association management has best practices and principles that should be adhered to. Your Association Manager is a great resource in this area - and responsible Board members will actively implement these best practices in the daily operations of their community.

A great way to illustrate best practices is to review these in action.  The real life examples below provide a glimpse:
  • Adam, Board President, adheres to Roberts Rules of Order. He officially calls the meeting to order. If an agenda topic needs to be reviewed he makes a motion and the other Board members  do the same. He asks angry owners to “please hold their concerns for open session” or he informs them that the forum to address their matter would be in a private hearing with the Board. If people become disruptive or extremely disrespectful, then he advises the audience that “unfortunately this business meeting may have to be adjourned if we are unable to conduct business.”
  • Jamie is a Board Treasurer. She has actively led the Budget Committee meetings the last two years. She has created a spreadsheet that identifies all of the Capital Projects for the following year. She utilizes the Reserve Study and the committee member’s feedback in order to prioritize the projects.
  • Tom is a Board Secretary who attends all of the Board meetings. He has a busy schedule but attending the Board meeting is a priority. He understands that lack of quorum would hinder the Boards ability to conduct business at Board meetings.
  • John is a Board Secretary who takes concise meeting minutes and he distributes them to the Board at least one week prior to the Board meeting.
  • Jackie has served on the Board for over three years. She often consults the Governing Documents before voting on a matter.
  • Jason has served on the Board for almost 10 years. Early in his tenure he had some fixed ideas on how the community should be run:  He did not want to raise dues and thought a lot of services should be brought in-house. He has since discovered that small annual increases to keep up with inflation and to fund the reserves are necessary.  He has also learned that hiring a third party often provides the benefits of quality work and a buffer from constant time demands on Board members.
  • Peter is a contractor who has served on his Board over the last six years.  When the Board is doing vendor selection he announces if he has a relationship with a contractor and abstains from voting.

It’s refreshing to serve on a Board in which the members are committed to injecting professionalism in all aspects of their duties.  The best Board member is an informed Board member.  Your challenge is to read and refer to your Governing Documents more often. You would be surprised at the increased depth of knowledge that is gained about your community! 

Identify the areas that your community is struggling in.  Perhaps it is high delinquency, numerous ACC violations, contentious Board meetings, aging amenities, etc.  Learn the best practices for addressing these areas in Homeowner Associations by tapping into resources such as your Property Manager, Community Associations Institute and similar organizations.  Your community is not the first to tackle these issues and certainly will not be the last. Those Boards that heed lessons from others ultimately enjoy smoother operations, and higher home values.

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