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  • Writer's pictureMichael Shifrin

Should I Run For My Condo Association Board?

Article Highlights

1. Serving on a Board of Directors Requires a Sacrifice of Personal Time and Energy

2. Serving Your Community Can Provide Personal Satisfaction and a Sense of Unity as a Productive Team Member

3. Personality Traits of Successful Board Members Include Emotional Intelligence, Integrity and a Collaborative Mindset

November 4, 2020

Board Members: What Do They Do and Should I Run For the Board?

Serving as a board member of a condominium or community association can be personally rewarding and provide an excellent opportunity to make a meaningful impact on your community. However, the job itself requires more than meets the eye and should be given thoughtful consideration by potential candidates before deciding to run to serve on a board. Such thoughtful consideration requires one to understand the job responsibilities and sacrifices associated with serving on a board and the types of impact one can make on a community for which they serve.

Most boards consist of three to five individuals. Boards are elected by the members of their association at an annual meeting held for the specific purpose of conducting an election. Terms typically last two years in length and board members are eligible to run for re-election upon the conclusion of their term. Most condo and community associations elect officers to serve in specific capacities on their boards. This election is made by votes cast by the individual members of the board and not the general membership. Generally speaking most association boards have a president, treasurer and secretary. In addition, some boards have a vice-president or two. Any additional board members tend to serve as directors at large without a specific officer title.

The general tasks and responsibilities of a community or condominium association board include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Preparing the association annual budget

2. Reviewing and updating association rules, regulations & covenants

3. Reviewing alleged violations and conducting hearings as needed

4. Overseeing the work and services performed by various association contractors and vendors

5. Preparing for, attending and running at least four open board meetings per year as required by law

6. Overseeing the association’s financial wellbeing

7. Participating in discussions and decisions about delinquent owners

8. Working directly with association vendors to ensure the community is adequately protected and represented (e.g. property manager, lawyer)

9. Making difficult and unpopular decisions on occasion for the betterment of the community (e.g. levying special assessments)

10. Researching alternate vendors and collaborating with fellow board members to identify creative solutions to overcome association challenges

Most individuals serve on their community board in a volunteer capacity unless their bylaws provide otherwise. As a volunteer position, potential candidates should consider the personal sacrifice that is required to effectively serve on their community board. Board members invest a reasonable amount of personal time throughout the year collaborating with fellow board members to complete their job responsibilities. Board members often face personal scrutiny from association members concerning community developments and decisions of the board. Board members must, from time to time, make difficult and unpopular decisions in public and before the membership for the benefit of the community at large. Such difficult decisions may cause board members personal turmoil and aggravation resulting from disapproval in the court of public opinion (i.e. membership’s vocal opposition). Serving on a community or condominium association board is not for the faint of heart. It can, however, provide board members with personal fulfillment and satisfaction when boards operate as a cohesive unit and bring about positive change to their community.

So…..Should you run for and serve on your Board? While that decision is personal in nature and should only be made by the individual contemplating his or her candidacy, there are basic character traits and attributes that lend themselves to a strong board member. A person with energy and one who has passion about his or her community usually translates into an effective and productive board member. An individual who is reliable and delivers on his or her word or promise typically excels in a board position. Someone with high emotional intelligence, integrity and a collaborative worker usually enhances the effectiveness of his/her board. Importantly, a person with self-esteem who is comfortable in their own skin and capable of withstanding public scrutiny and judgment often makes a strong candidate for the board.

On the other hand, if you cherish your personal time away from work and the notion of spending it with neighbors - and to some degree strangers - makes you recoil, then you may wish to reconsider running for the board. If having to make unpopular decisions in public in front of your community causes your palms to clam up and your heart rate to increase, your free time may be better spent with family and friends engaging in activities of your choosing. Finally, if you have a strong opinion about one isolated topic (e.g. pets) and could not care less about all other association issues, you should not serve on your board. You will regret serving on your board to accomplish a singular objective of keeping your community pet-friendly. A better approach would be to undertake a grassroots effort to garner membership support to ensure the permissibility of pets in your community. This will take considerably less time than serving a two-year term on your board.

Ultimately only you can decide whether you should run for your board. But at least now you have a deeper understanding of what the position requires and the type of qualities that make for a strong and effective board member. Good luck!

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