Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Apathetic Board Members Need Not Apply

For many people, their home is their largest investment. If that home is located in a mandatory community association it makes sense for them to consider running for the board in order to play a role in the decisions that can impact that investment. Sadly, sometimes the people who are least likely to have a positive influence on the community are the ones serving on the board.

It is a good idea for owners to ask themselves some hard questions before throwing their hats in the ring for board membership.

If you cannot answer "yes" to the following questions perhaps you should reconsider your decision to run for and serve on your community's board of directors:

1. Do I have the time to attend board meetings and contribute to them? "Serving" on a board means just that-you have to be willing to be a public servant of sorts and it is often a thankless job.

2. Have I read the association's governing documents and rules and regulations? This is a statutory requirement to serve on a condominium board not for an HOA board but it is really something every director should do.

3. Do I know what it means when someone says a director has a fiduciary duty to the membership?

4. Am I current in the payment of all assessments owed to the association?

5. Do I comply with the association's governing documents and rules and regulations?

6. Am I able to stand up to a board member or officer who might be acting unilaterally to the detriment of the association?

7. Am I able to admit when I do not have the answer to a problem and committed to seeking help from the proper authority?

8. Do I have the temperament to deal with difficult people and difficult situations?

9. Am I free of conflicts of interest that might impair my ability to make impartial decisions?

10. Am I agreeing to serve as a way to give rather than to take?

11. Does the association have a Directors & Officers insurance policy to cover me as a member of the board?

I realize it is hard enough to find people willing to serve on a community association board but if an owner cannot answer yes to these questions, agreeing to serve on a board might not only be a waste of time but could be disastrous in certain circumstances. If you run for a seat or agree to fill a vacancy, you should do so with the understanding that you will actually be a full participant in board decisions. While board service should not bring monetary rewards to a director it should hopefully bring a sense of community service and accomplishment.

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