Mistakes Both Presidential and Association Candidates Make When Trying to Get Your Vote!
Many of you probably share my disappointment at some of the dialogue occurring in the presidential debates. It makes you wonder why candidates feel that attacking an opponent is a better path than extolling one's own virtues and clearly outlining a leadership path.
There are certain parallels between what we see occurring on the national stage and what we see each year when our shared ownership communities must elect a board of directors. In Florida, condominium and cooperative candidates are entitled to submit a one-page 8 1/2 x 11" candidate information sheet about themselves. HOAs in Florida which have adopted "condo style" elections follow the same protocol. The association is not responsible for the contents of these information sheets, but the hope is that the candidates will spend their allotted space limitations talking about what makes them the best choice for the board rather than why the incumbents or fellow candidates deserve to lose or worse, why they are horrible people.
Some communities host a "Candidates Night" where candidates can introduce themselves to the members. However, some candidates take it upon themselves to hold their own informational gatherings, post notices, send emails and generally behave badly.
The U.S. presidential candidates do provide a cautionary tale for association board members to heed. Here are the things you should do if you want to increase your chances of being elected to your board of directors:
Have a firm grasp of the facts. If you believe your community has overspent on certain services or has failed to maintain the common areas properly, be prepared to back those assertions up with real data and not just reckless accusations.
Don't make the annual meeting where you are running for the board be the first association meeting you have ever attended. If you plan on joining the Board you should have attended at least some of the board meetings in the preceding year.
Be courteous and polite. A Board candidate's response to questions, challenges and debate is typically a good indication of how he or she will handle membership participation at meetings, document inspection requests and more should he or she be elected.
Run for the right reasons; namely, to serve your community and not for ego, inside information or as a tool to pursue a personal agenda.
Lastly, when deciding what kind of candidate you wish to be, ask yourself how persuaded you would be by the kinds of campaign tactics you plan on using. Members need to cast their votes for someone or something and not simply against someone or something. The same holds true come November.