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Subject: How much physical work are board members expected to do?
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BrettH3
(South Carolina)

Posts:6


06/09/2018 10:06 AM  
Our association of homeowners has a board of five with one position open right now because the person resigned. One person has missed most of the meetings so far this year, rarely casts an email vote, and is not available for texting responses. I got on the board because in the five years we lived here, nothing got done except the annual meeting. I got on and pushed homeowners complaints: poor signage in front, shabby landscaping, rotten fencing, and overgrown common areas. The President works full time, I don’t, so I got contractor quotes, met with contractors, and in one year have gotten more done than in the previous five years. Homeowners are delighted! Unfortunately, some board members feel the management company should be doing all I’ve been doing...and I don’t think that’s possible since she has other associations besides ours. I believe board members should be willing to put in a few hours of hand-on physical work. Imagine if we all did a little bit, what we could accomplish. My question is, how much should be expected of board members or are they just in position to vote and show up at an occasional monthly meeting? This morning I spent an hour power-washing the pool deck because someone had it disgusting with spilled food. If it were up to the management company it would look filthy for weeks. I’d like to make the open position available to people willing to work. Thoughts?
AugustinD


Posts:1082


06/09/2018 10:13 AM  
I would fully support any director willing to do what you are doing. Unfortunately, sometimes board majorities interject their egos and make it difficult even to offer one's volunteer labor. Some directors stupidly think it is unprofessional for an on-site director to (a) check on contractors; (b) help with common element clean up; (c) report, as one director, to the site of emergencies such as a fire or gaggle of police cars arrive on the grounds; and so on. You probably need to get a new board majority voted in, though this could be a losing battle.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15889


06/09/2018 10:26 AM  
The MC should be doing what they were contracted to do.
If they are not, renegotiate the contract or find a new company.

That said, being self manged, we have always requested bids from contractors ourselves. It takes a little bit of time to write up the request for proposal, but once that is done, emailing and meeting with contractors when it's convenient for you isn't that hard to do.

The buck stops with the Board.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:525


06/09/2018 2:08 PM  
We are self managed and we have five committees which are chaired by directors. All of the committees require extra work, some more than others. As for general maintenance of the park and things like power washing the pool area, we use volunteers.

As someone said, the manager should do what they are contracted to do which could include anything. I doubt many actually do the physical labor. I think their job would typically be to find a vendor to do the work.
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:440


06/09/2018 3:40 PM  
Sadly, what is described will simply create an expectation of you to do more work ...if you enjoy this, great. If you don’t, then simply contract it out for others to do - and for those so happy with you working for free, to pay for.
GenoS
(Florida)

Posts:2288


06/09/2018 7:59 PM  
Posted By GeorgeS21 on 06/09/2018 3:40 PM
Sadly, what is described will simply create an expectation of you to do more work ...if you enjoy this, great. If you don’t, then simply contract it out for others to do - and for those so happy with you working for free, to pay for.

Well said.
JaredC
(Texas)

Posts:97


06/11/2018 10:06 AM  
I did a lot of work for my HOA when I was President. Even now after I quit the board and became a regular homeowner I do an awful lot to solicit bids for various projects, trim bushes, etc. Your heart and mind are in the right place! IMHO the relationship between a management company and board should be that of a team. If you want the MC to do everything for you then, as you already know, you will be disappointed. At the end of the day it's really just a personal decision how much you want to volunteer for your community. In a perfect world other board members would chip in from time to time to spearhead various project but try not to judge them if they can't. The other side of this which someone already mentioned is some homeowners will hate and abuse you for doing what you do. Get used to it. Heck I helped two of our board members trim a bunch of trees and shrubs that were blocking a main sidewalk and two douchebag homeowners complained! One of them was even the 3rd board member who REFUSED to vote on a landscaping company!!! Some people are just flat out insane.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:291


06/11/2018 1:09 PM  
The job of the Board is not to do things, but to see that things do get done.

That means organizing volunteers to be on committees or a good management company. The board needs to find the best of both worlds.

If you are physically able to power wash the pool area, then do it. But some day, that might require it to be a paid job, so the board needs to budget as if there are no volunteers available.

MarkM19
(California)

Posts:79


06/11/2018 4:05 PM  
Brett,
Jared said most of what I was thinking earlier. I have a few additional comments as an one of the worker type board members. I have retired and moved from Ca. and not am in the great State of Texas and don't have the energy to run for any board seats.

When I ran for the board it was out of frustration that many bad things were happening and it appeared like nobody cared. I jumped in with both feet and took on many projects and worked way too hard and was shunned by fellow board members (the old corrupt ones) for doing too much. It took me 4 years to get them all out and for me to become president. I looked to the community to see what possible candidates to recruit. I noticed pretty quickly that most people run for a seat because they have 1 or 2 things they want to change. Very few care enough about the whole HOA. I decided that if I got a diverse group we could accomplish my goal of making our community the best it can be. When I found members that had special interests I gave them the power to become the liaison of that area of the HOA and they would meet vendors and handle the daily issues that came up. Each person would speak at the monthly meeting and report back with issues and any type of requests they had for the board as a whole. This seemed to work for us but not all were as active as I would hope. If you can do this and have people doing what they are passionate about it may make them get more involved.
.
If you try to do it all you will become a disgruntled ex board member and they are the worst kind. Do what makes you happy and know that you are probably not going to get much praise and will be sure to get blamed for every minor mistake along the way.


Good luck,
Mark
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5535


06/11/2018 6:04 PM  
MarkM gives very good advice. I'm the worker type too but more in the realm of policy and ideas for improvements and projects that other directors don't want. Well, let's face it, most at least in my experience of 7 member boards for 11 years has been few have wanted to do much work of any kind except, as MarkM mentioned, their special passions.

We have one now -- a retired attorney--who's all about getting more signage, which is junky looking. We're a nice high rise urban condo building and if she had her way, our grounds & pool area would look like a Motel 6.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:5535


06/11/2018 6:04 PM  
MarkM gives very good advice. I'm the worker type too but more in the realm of policy and ideas for improvements and projects that other directors don't want. Well, let's face it, most at least in my experience of 7 member boards for 11 years has been few have wanted to do much work of any kind except, as MarkM mentioned, their special passions.

We have one now -- a retired attorney--who's all about getting more signage, which is junky looking. We're a nice high rise urban condo building and if she had her way, our grounds & pool area would look like a Motel 6.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:15889


06/11/2018 9:36 PM  
If a Director, the minimum required/expected would be to attend meetings, review proposals and cast a vote the way they think would be best for the community.

If an Officer, the minimum required/expected would be to ensure the duties outlined (typically) in the Bylaws are done. This may be done by themselves or delegated to a contractor or other volunteer.


Anything else is up to the individual.
Sometimes the work done will be appreciated.
Sometimes the work done will not be appreciated.

What you do above and beyond the minimum, should be done for your own satisfaction and knowledge that you are making things better for everyone (regardless if they realize it or not).
TimM11


Posts:181


06/12/2018 6:38 AM  
In my HOA, directors don't do anything beyond their required duties (meetings, etc), and even coordinating that can be a challenge, as we all work full-time. The day-to-day operations are all delegated to the MC. I wouldn't be a director if I was expected to take care of those too. It might be different in communities with more retirees or people who don't work full-time.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:227


06/12/2018 8:44 AM  
If a Director or Officer chooses to take on the responsibility for physically performing maintenance in support of the Association, fine. However, there may be issues should the person be injured while performing a task. Before doing anything else, the insurance carrier for the association should be consulted.

Beyond that, much of the work described in the original post should be the responsibility of the management company--in most situations. We have seen contracts which provide financial services only but they are not as common as full service contracts.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1175


06/12/2018 9:46 AM  
We're self managed, and there is certainly no requirement that board members or officers do physical work. Some do, one current members is seen around the neighborhood with shovels and other tools, doing all manner of work to save a few $$. We've had one or two others in the past that were the same. I've done a bit myself, including during times when I've been just a homeowner and not on the board.

On the other hand, most board members see it more as an office job, which can include things like getting bids and such. I'm happy with these members too, the ones I'm not thrilled with are those that just show up at meetings and are not willing to spend any other time on association stuff. With three directors stepping down at the last election, we had just enough candidates to fill the board, so beggars can't be choosers.


Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:7634


06/12/2018 12:18 PM  
Brett

I assure you I would not be putting in my time doing manual labor such as pool deck power washing. I would also say unless you are licensed, bonded, and insured, you placed the association in a liability position.

As VP and Treasurer of a 112 owner, single family homes HOA, I put in about 4 to 6 hours a week on computer, phone, reviewing reports, talking to vendors and owners and the MC, etc. As I am retired it is not a burden but work I actually enjoy. Out of 5 BOD Members we have one do nothing and one idea person but who does no work. The remaining 3 of us do the work but no labor work.
JoyceR2
(Virginia)

Posts:127


06/13/2018 10:35 AM  
The truth.... To many "board members" have tunnel vision based on their personal preference not the entire community. That in itself is a HUGE issue. Members that reach beyond should know that if injured it is their issue unless the board approved them to perform work. If they damage the property somehow or create a cost this could turn on them unless the board has specifically approved them to perform any work paid or not. Governing documents do not to my knowledge state anything requiring or allowing board members to perform work. Seems it requires (x) amount of bids for review & board approval.
JanetB2
(Colorado)

Posts:4151


06/13/2018 8:15 PM  
Posted By TimB4 on 06/09/2018 10:26 AM

The buck stops with the Board.



Tim hit the nail on the head ... the buck STOPS with the Board. The HOA Board is the ultimate entity who is responsible for the HOA and does not matter if you have a Management Company or not. The BOD is responsible for overseeing any entity the HIRE ... including the Management Company.

JenniferG11
(Texas)

Posts:381


06/13/2018 10:47 PM  
Posted By BrettH3 on 06/09/2018 10:06 AM
Our association of homeowners has a board of five with one position open right now because the person resigned. One person has missed most of the meetings so far this year, rarely casts an email vote, and is not available for texting responses. I got on the board because in the five years we lived here, nothing got done except the annual meeting. I got on and pushed homeowners complaints: poor signage in front, shabby landscaping, rotten fencing, and overgrown common areas. The President works full time, I don’t, so I got contractor quotes, met with contractors, and in one year have gotten more done than in the previous five years. Homeowners are delighted! Unfortunately, some board members feel the management company should be doing all I’ve been doing...and I don’t think that’s possible since she has other associations besides ours. I believe board members should be willing to put in a few hours of hand-on physical work. Imagine if we all did a little bit, what we could accomplish. My question is, how much should be expected of board members or are they just in position to vote and show up at an occasional monthly meeting? This morning I spent an hour power-washing the pool deck because someone had it disgusting with spilled food. If it were up to the management company it would look filthy for weeks. I’d like to make the open position available to people willing to work. Thoughts?




In our association, that board member who is missing so many meetings and such could be removed by a vote of the other board members, or I think there is also a provision that missing so many meetings in a row is automatic.

To your other question, I don't think you can expect other board members to do the work you are wanting. Our prior President felt like you and did a lot himself, which was his choice, but he couldn't require anyone else to, and it caused a lot of complaints. Many people wanted that done by staff at least, if not an outside contractor.

Our property management company provides us with a community manager and (usually) at least two staff members.

I say 'provide', but we pay them.



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