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Subject: Do most all of your homeowner volunteers get penalized for doing HOA work?
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JimR24
(Texas)

Posts:352


08/26/2016 6:57 PM  
Just wondering what all of you think about this. Do most all of your homeowner volunteers get penalized for doing HOA work?

Seems like i hear this a lot. If so, what are the reasons for this? What do you think?

oljim. in texas

Lovin' life with my honey!
and, Treasurer of Condo Association
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:680


08/26/2016 7:59 PM  
What do you mean by penalized?
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16306


08/27/2016 2:45 AM  
Jim,

Like LetA, I'm not sure what you are asking. Penalized how?


Am I penalized for spending time on HOA business vs. spending time with the family? Depends on your perspective.
Am I penalized by the Association if I am in violation of the Covenants? Yes, just like any other member.
JimR24
(Texas)

Posts:352


08/27/2016 3:19 AM  
Posted By LetA on 08/26/2016 7:59 PM
What do you mean by penalized?




Ummm, maybe it's just me seeing something that isn't there, but i see some of our homeowner volunteers being criticized and worked over (uh, penalized) for doing the best job they can for our Association. In our Association, we've had some mighty good President's, Board members and Committee Chairs who, after serving for a while - appear to give up, withdraw and don't attend any of the meetings anymore. I am guessing burn-out can have something to do with it; however, it seems to be happening over and over. I am wondering if the same thing is happening in other places. What do you think?

oljim, in texas

Lovin' life with my honey!
and, Treasurer of Condo Association
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16306


08/27/2016 4:09 AM  
Part of the job is dealing with complaints.
Just as in life, you tend to get more criticism then compliments.

I counter the criticism by offering to appoint the individual to the vacant seat on the Board. They tend to run away.

I appreciate the thank you's I receive but I don't expect them.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2470


08/27/2016 6:27 AM  
I was on our board for 10 years until 2014 - over that time, we heard less and less from homeowners, probably because many live off site and rent out their homes (another issue for another day!) Back in the day, people were a wee more talkative - not about the board, but about the neighbors, parking, etc. That's a good thing - the board would respond as best it could and I think most people understood we did the best with what we had and didn't make things more difficult by nitpicking.

Burnout IS an issue, though - it's why I left my board! I had taken on a number of tasks because they needed to be done and no one did it. Looking back, I really should have stopped and let things take their course, but standing by and letting things go to shit when there's something I can do isn't my style. I'd also come to this website and read about some truly crappy HOAs, decide I didn't want that in my community and shoulder on. Sometimes you just have to do what's right, not because you'll get a cookie, but because the work is necessary and someone has to do it, otherwise your home and quality of life suffers.

That said, there are other things in life besides the HOA which should take priority, and that could be what's happened with your volunteers. Board members should also be wiling to share in some tasks - if everyone did a little, no one would feel they're overwhelmed. Do the best you can and after that, go home and relax - the sun will rise again tomorrow and you can try again (Annie was right!) If other people want to criticize, invite them to help out because until they do, it won't get done (that'll shut up most of them!) In the meantime a little disconnect from HOA mess is sometimes needed - give your volunteers their space and make sure they know that YOU appreciated their efforts!
AugustinD


Posts:1591


08/27/2016 6:41 AM  
Posted By JimR24 on 08/27/2016 3:19 AM
Posted By LetA on 08/26/2016 7:59 PM
What do you mean by penalized?


Ummm, maybe it's just me seeing something that isn't there, but i see some of our homeowner volunteers being criticized and worked over (uh, penalized) for doing the best job they can for our Association. In our Association, we've had some mighty good President's, Board members and Committee Chairs who, after serving for a while - appear to give up, withdraw and don't attend any of the meetings anymore. I am guessing burn-out can have something to do with it; however, it seems to be happening over and over. I am wondering if the same thing is happening in other places. What do you think?



I think it's important for a volunteer for a director's position to understand that there will be no thanks, none of the rewards that non-volunteers reep, and much criticism. Then to survive psychologically, I think the volunteer for the greater part has to be mechanical in the application of the governing documents and law. For me, when I was on a board, I wanted to be able to say five years hence: Did I get this right as far as the governing docs, state law, and case law require? Same for members of architectural review committees/boards (ARCs and ARBs).

As for non-director volunteers, I find Boards generally publicly thank them.

I try to thank any HOA volunteer as long as it appears they are truly trying to 'get it right.' Those who mostly are not trying to get it right; whose serving is not necessary to avoid receivership; and who are not at least maintaining the grounds; have only my constructive criticism (typically straight from the governing docs) and my offer to serve in her or his place.

The same thing is happening nationwide all the time. For that matter, the sort of dissent many-to-most HOA boards face has been happening with government since time immemorial. Hence any negativity any individual (be they HOA member or HOA director) is facing is also happening right now at other HOAs. This forum helps one in not taking these matters too personally and finding some validation when one feels one has been wronged. For now, I thank all the volunteers who post here.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:491


08/27/2016 6:49 AM  
Boards should make sure that things get done. NOT that they personally have to do everything.

This causes burn-out.

"Super volunteers" make it hard on their successors. They do too much, give too much and micro manage. They also discount committee work. The board becomes isolated and pretty soon, there are no volunteers to replace the burnt out ones.

TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16306


08/27/2016 7:03 AM  
Posted By SueW6 on 08/27/2016 6:49 AM

"Super volunteers" make it hard on their successors.




Fair Statement


Posted By SueW6 on 08/27/2016 6:49 AM

They do too much, give too much and micro manage.




That would depend on the the individual and really shouldn't be a broad statement on all "super volunteers"


Posted By SueW6 on 08/27/2016 6:49 AM

They also discount committee work.




Again, depends on the volunteer.

I would probably fit your category of "Super Volunteer" (and I expect many on this site would), and encouraged the forming of a committee to do work regarding our storm water management. It took two years of explaining that the Board simply doesn't have time to look into this issue and if volunteers are not forthcoming, the issue won't be looked into before there were volunteers. The committee did great work but I wish they had done more. They met with contractors and provided proposals for the Board to award a contract. However, once awarded, the work fell to me to coordinate the work, get notices out to members, ensure vehicles were moved when needed, etc. In this instance, the committee added to my workload vs. reducing it.


Posted By SueW6 on 08/27/2016 6:49 AM

The board becomes isolated and pretty soon, there are no volunteers to replace the burnt out ones.




Again, that may be the reason for lack of volunteers within your Association.
I don't believe that that is the reason in ours.



MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8087


08/27/2016 7:42 AM  
It is all in the way you look at it. I always told people that it was a "ThankFULL" position than a "ThankLESS" one. I was thankful that people thought of me well enough to elect me to the board. Never the less to be President. Yes, there are plenty of moments of "WTF was I thinking???". It comes with the job I volunteered for. At that point it's put up, get up, or get out...

My advice to people who want to be on their HOA board or President, is that don't fight it. Let it be part of you but not take over you. When you walk out that door your no longer just a neighbor. Your now a part of the HOA. You represent. If you can't make this adjustment into your life, then don't do it. No is asking you to make this your life. They are just looking at you as part of their representative.

I can't tell you that being involved in your HOA in the board or officer position is worth it. You have to make your own worth out of it...

Former HOA President
JonD1


Posts:0


08/27/2016 7:49 AM  
Well having served now 29 years, the last 13 as president, guess that might place me in the super group.

My theory easier to keep the car from running into the ditch rather than pulling it out of the ditch after the fact.

As far as making things tough on those that follow well sadly that makes little difference. Much of the progress made will be lost with my departure simply because there are few that will do what needs to be done. The vast majority look to do as little as possible it anything at all.

Micro-managing. Well here again if you want to get something done right someone needs to be on top of things. Nobody, not the MC or the state will look after your investments and homes as well as you SHOULD. Here we had less than $30,000 in total assets when I became president. After 2 decades of existence. No reserve fund at all. Today we have over $500,000.00 in assets. Have spend another $600,000 on propert improvements over my time as president. A little micro-managing seems to go a long way. Money was pouring out to a crooked MC, his contractors, board members were given favors,
And the MC overcharged and rigged bidding for every project. Have to wonder just how much was skimmed off for the 20+ years while everyone sat back and did nothing.

And yes burn out does exist. Lack of appreciation, thanks, and any willingness to help all adds to that. What stops me from walking away is that DITCH I mentioned. With little effort I am sure we would find ourselves upside down, broke, and run down under the guidance of some who claim to have all the answers. Some already sitting on our board.

So serving is a thankless job. Do nothing get attacked. Do something, get complaints you should be doing more. Do amazingly well and that is simply expected from now on. If it is a pat on the back you require board service will not be for you.

There are those that do and those that do nothing. Sadly, most people today prefer to do nothing other than flap their gums and tell you all they know.
When in fact they "know" very little.

For those that now serve in what has been described as some "super" capacity. Just where will things go once you depart? How long before your property ends up in the ditch? My guess after a short time much of what you accomplished will be gone. Much of what you set in motion will stop. Much of what you did will be forgotten.

That is simply reality in today's world....

LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:680


08/27/2016 8:10 AM  
There are some that call the volunteers clipboard nazis... those are the ones that always complain and the ones that fail to live by the the terms of the
agreement i.e. the CC&R's they agreed to abide by....
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6350


08/27/2016 5:10 PM  
Couldn't disagree with you more, sue, when you wrote: '"Super volunteers' make it hard on their successors. They do too much, give too much and micro manage. They also discount committee work. The board becomes isolated and pretty soon, there are no volunteers to replace the burnt out ones."

I'm probably one. I don't believe I try to micro manage. I strongly support and praise committees. They get a lot done and some are the pipeline to further board members. The keep the Board from being isolated.

have served almost 10 hers and can't decide whether to run again next month. Not burnt out as I really like new challenges and we've had plenty. I've had and still had 2-3 who don't like my efforts, but that's just a tiny number of 200+ condo units. When someone is so active in identifying issues and coming up with solutions as I, they, unlike the benchwarmers or single-issue directors who can fly under the radar-- are bound to make some enemies. I don't get a lot of praise, but I do get some--nice, if not needed.

As with Jon, I worry all of the achievements in the last 10 years will go in the ditch if I stop serving. I've had fine support this year from two new directors, BUT neither are very interested in learning our docs or even our rules & regs; the others aren't very useful at all. One new director will be a newer owner & retired courtroom attorney.Tlaks lawsuits too much!! worries me.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6350


08/27/2016 5:12 PM  
Couldn't disagree with you more, sue, when you wrote: '"Super volunteers' make it hard on their successors. They do too much, give too much and micro manage. They also discount committee work. The board becomes isolated and pretty soon, there are no volunteers to replace the burnt out ones."

I'm probably one. I don't believe I try to micro manage. I strongly support and praise committees. They get a lot done and some are the pipeline to further board members. The keep the Board from being isolated.

have served almost 10 hers and can't decide whether to run again next month. Not burnt out as I really like new challenges and we've had plenty. I've had and still had 2-3 who don't like my efforts, but that's just a tiny number of 200+ condo units. When someone is so active in identifying issues and coming up with solutions as I, they, unlike the benchwarmers or single-issue directors who can fly under the radar-- are bound to make some enemies. I don't get a lot of praise, but I do get some--nice, if not needed.

As with Jon, I worry all of the achievements in the last 10 years will go in the ditch if I stop serving. I've had fine support this year from two new directors, BUT neither are very interested in learning our docs or even our rules & regs; the others aren't very useful at all. One new director will be a newer owner & retired courtroom attorney.Talks lawsuits too much!! Worries me.
ChesterB


Posts:0


08/27/2016 5:57 PM  
I have the perception that there is a distinct division between the Board and the homeowners. It could be just my perception but board meetings are closed to the members and getting minutes of those meetings can be a difficult task. I think the board is offended when I ask for minutes. When a board closes itself off as mine does, it creates a division between the Board and the nonboard owners. I suppose that could lead to the Board feeling unappreciated and burned out but if their behavior was more member inclusive and encoraged participation my feelings might change. I think the board hangs tight with each other because there is no lack of praise from board member to board member.
DavidW5
(North Carolina)

Posts:563


08/28/2016 7:05 AM  
As a volunteer Board member (Treasurer) I try to remind myself of the sign that used to hand in my office:

"Doing a good job around here is like wetting your pants in a dark suit, it gives you a nice warm feeling but nobody else notices".

Being an HOA volunteer, you need to have a thick skin and seek satisfaction in knowing you are serving the interests of your neighbors, even it they are not aware of it.
PitA


Posts:0


08/28/2016 3:46 PM  
The typical HOA seems just like my old workplace.

My workplace's motto:

No job well done shall be allowed to pass without its just and rightful punishment.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2470


08/28/2016 7:58 PM  
I’m with you Kerry – I don’t know how many times I asked other board members for help and all I got was a mumbled “I’m too busy…” when it was simple stuff like hand out 20 or so newsletters to a block of homes!!

And micromanaging annoys me too – the stuff I did were things the board should have done, but they figured they did enough by showing up for a meeting once a month (and some of them didn’t even do that very well!)
As for committees, forget it – we barely made quorum for our annual meeting to hold meetings, let alone get other homeowners to volunteer. Once again, another effect of having lots of off-site owners – too often they don’t care if it’s not in their face every day.

Chester, I’m sorry your board seems to be annoyed when you ask for minutes – ignore them and keep on asking. You are an association member and entitled to get information on how your community is being managed. At the same time, the community needs to do its part – maybe your board acts the way it does because they’ve reached out in the past and were annoyed or rebuffed. Why not surprise them and offer your assistance – they may not take you seriously at first, but keep at it (they may get you involved just to shut you up – and then find you really do know what you’re talking about!)

David, you’re right as rain! In the end, all you can do is your best and be satisfied that you, at least, tried to make the community better than what you found.
LindaK5
(California)

Posts:242


09/03/2016 12:38 PM  
Interesting post with good feedback.

I consider myself a super volunteer and always have. Like Kerry, I'm not sure if I micromanage or not. Probably, but with what I've got to work with here, it's probably a necessity. I put well over 100% into everything I do. With that being said, I'll be 60 this year and being on the Board of this Homeowner's Association is the most thankless volunteer job I've ever had. This community is mostly elderly. Lots of widows who move here and want to be taken care of. The other four members on the board are over 80. Now, I'm not saying that if you're elderly or over 80, you're not good for anything, but the folks on our Board basically keep a seat warm. Same folks year after year for the most part. Can't get them to read up on civil code, Davis Stirling, nothing. They complain, but don't want to take the steps to correct what's going wrong in the community. When we have a meeting, if it lasts over 30 minutes, they start to get antsy and loudly sigh because they want to get back home to turn the tv on to watch the ballgame. Can hardly do anything to motivate anyone in the community. Pretty frustrating. Only reason I stay is because we own three townhomes here and have a vested interest. But, that will be changing, as just this past week, we've decided we're looking elsewhere and they will be going on the market soon. I don't want to be doing all of this work and feel it's time for me to do something fun and for myself for a change. Too much of my life has been sucked up in this sort of thing. Okay, vent over. Sorry. As you can see, it's taken its toll.

Thank yous? In the years I've been doing this I can count them on one hand and the majority were thank yous from the Board president and his wife. That's it.

LOTS of armchair quarterbacks in the community. When they complain, I volunteer to step down so they can take over and that quiets them for awhile.

Been trying to get property management in here, but unfortunately, the prior President kept preaching to all of the scared old ladies that it will break the bank having property management and well ... that has managed to keep everyone scared. No matter how many times I say we will still retain control and have a Board, they don't even want to consider property management. So, here I am running the show with my husband. We are benefitting every other homeowner in the community at our expense! And, we still both work full-time and have other volunteer opportunities we are committed to!

Personally, I can't wait until I'm off the Board, as this place will absolutely fall apart. Sounds harsh, but this is what burnout is all about, folks.

KerryL1
(California)

Posts:6350


09/04/2016 5:15 PM  
Well, I have decided to seek reelection a (Ann. mtg. is Oct. 25). Seeing the positive changes that I've definitely had a major hand in initiating really is quite a reward for me. And two who have been solid support for me keep getting looser & looser in upholding your documents & civil code, which concerns me. I do think there'll be cometiiton for the 3 seats--probably 4-5 candidates.

Sorry for your plight, Linda. It does sound best that you & your husband sell & GET OUTTA THERE.
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