Monday, August 8, 2011

Is it the right time to require mandatory board service?

What are some of the most common complaints we hear about community associations and the manner in which their board members are elected?

● The election process is rigged;

● The HOA board collects proxies and votes itself in year after year;

● No one cares enough to run;

● The ballots and the entire election process is manipulated; and,

● The same folks have been "in power" for years.

Whether or not these complaints are actually true in every case in which the accusations are made is a topic for another blog. In today's blog, let's discuss how the concept of a mandatory association board draft would do away with these issues.

Imagine if elections were no longer necessary because every member of the community would have to serve on the board when his or her "number" was randomly selected for such service? Most of the angst of running for the board would be removed because every association member would eventually receive his or her term. Of course, there would be new angst for those who don't really want to serve but would rather complain. For those folks, I envision a system not dissimilar to our current jury service system where the expectation is that it is your civic duty to serve unless you have a compelling reason (financial, health, personal situation, etc.) not to do so. Moreover, folks who would otherwise be ineligible to serve (due to a delinquency, felony background, etc.) would simply not be put in the pool.

Mandatory board service might result in the following:

● A greater appreciation for the time and energy it takes to run a private residential community on a volunteer basis;

● An assurance that there will be a board in place despite general apathy;

● An inability to argue that mandatory education for directors is not advisable lest there be a chilling impact on folks willing to run for the board; and

● A reduction in the often signifcant costs associated with board elections.

Is it unreasonable to expect otherwise able-bodied folks to contribute to the success of their communities by serving one term on the association board? Most folks grumble when they get that jury summons in the mail and the reason is clear; most people just don't like to serve others. That is why jury service is mandatory and not voluntary lest we wind up with the same jurors time and again. Has the time come to treat association board service in the same manner?


  1. Mandatory Board membership is 180 degrees away from proven formulas for sucess. Nomimating committees for our finest corporations choose candidates based on their skills, experience and capability. Our assocoations are frequently multi million dollar opeations rquireing knowledge of law, accounting, Hr, etc. Term limits reduces "contro; groups".But, an association in the control of "the nices guy " or you "next door neighbor" is the same as giving the keys to your new car to your 12 year old and say,"go drive!". Expeince and skills count!

  2. I would like to see some form of board service. This sure would eliminate some of the complaining and it would keep the board operating according to their documents. The real problem is, the members of the community do not read their documents to know what is correct procedures or not.

  3. I lived thru the military draft. Even there potential
    Conscripts were initially qualified by the draft
    Board. When called there were numerous medical
    Tests to see if qualified. Total universal board
    Service is simplistic. Many of our residents are
    Unqualified to serve for various reasons, IMHO.
    What about snow birds and a board randomly selected
    With all members gone for the summer. Let's leave
    Well enough alone and even bring back the three
    Year term to allow a degree of continuity and
    Chemistry for the board. In my case we have
    A board of nine. One third changes every year
    Which worked well.