Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Point of Contact

It’s always a good idea to have a single point of contact between various groups and businesses.  Having too many hands in the cookie jar can lead to confusion and misunderstanding.  Important issues and resolutions are almost always missed. 

This is especially true with committees, boards and vendors.  Committees are frequently made up of three or more homeowners - and when there are a lot of volunteers, there tends to also be a lot of opinions.  So it is important to designate a committee chairperson who reports the wants and needs of the entire committee to the board and/or management. 

Having a member of the board acting as a liaison for each committee is equally important.  That way each committee chairperson can report to one member of the board instead of all five or more members.  Around budget season each committee should have met and discussed their proposed budget amongst themselves for the upcoming year.  They then send this proposed budget to the Treasurer for review and to be included in the Association’s budget.  If you had three or more committee members trying to convey their budget needs to each board member, something inevitably will get marginalized. 

The same system applies to management and board members.  The board should assign each board member a specific committee to oversee (i.e. landscaping, pool, finance, etc.).  For example, the landscape committee discovers that a major irrigation leak has occurred and, after receiving three bids, they determine they would like XYZ Irrigation Company hired to conduct repairs.  The landscape chairperson reports the findings to management.  The manager then adds this to the manager’s report and notifies the board liaison for landscaping.  The liaison reports his findings to the rest of the board so they can quickly decide as a group on the request.  This also helps everyone to be more organized and efficient during the month and more productive at the board meetings. 

Along those same lines, it is always a good idea to have one point of contact with your contractors/ vendors -both to deal with on a regular basis and to report issues to.  With more than one point of contact you waste time navigating through the vendor’s organization to report specific issues, and may not have successfully followed through afterward.  Also, you risk the vendor misunderstanding the specific needs and conditions of the community, if he/she does not regularly interact with a particular person. 

A single point of contact creates accountability, pinpointing errors and decreasing communication snafus and lost time in working through your community’s challenges. 

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