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Subject: Whole board approval vs going rogue
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JackJ9
(Oregon)

Posts:98


07/18/2021 7:55 PM  
Question for those there, since none of you are on my board:

When do you go rogue versus when do you go to the whole board for approval on stuff?

By going rogue, I'm referring to making a decision on your own without the having voted upon by the whole board.

I'm finding, as the HOA President, a lot of stuff happens and takes place that I need to make decisions on. I don't wish to e-mail the whole board 5x a week with every little detail, asking them to vote by e-mail 5x times per week. I also can't wait until the next board meeting as we meeting on a quarterly basis.

Thus, I am in a position where I need to make snap decisions. I'm comfortable with up to $200 of spending authority, that is, I can submit up to $200 receipts without having reviewed every expenditure past the board. Our property manager is authorized to approve up to $500 of expenses without board approval, so I think I'm fine with up to $200. Beyond that, I check with the board as a whole.

If we're approving a big expense, say $5,000, that definitely goes to the board as a whole.

Curious how it works for other associations. What types of things do board members work on solo versus what do they seek consensus from the board before moving forward on?
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:701


07/18/2021 7:58 PM  
When you are making decisions on your own.
JackJ9
(Oregon)

Posts:98


07/18/2021 8:03 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 07/18/2021 7:58 PM
When you are making decisions on your own.




I assume you mean "when are you making decisions on your own".

My answer would be - we were invited to participate in National Night Out with another homeowners association, and I made the decision, without consulting with others, that we would participate. I didn't feel it was worth a vote or an e-mail, since I was the one that would be doing the work and the expenditures are minimal for this activity.

Another example - $75 of flowers to homeowners that did something nice. Do I really need to send that out to a vote amongst board members, or can I just make the decision? Clearly making the decision is easier on everyone's time.
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:701


07/18/2021 8:28 PM  
As far as I am concerned, the president is the CEO of the corporation. If they say I spent $75.00 on flower for these so and so's, give me a receipt and I will reimburse as a manager. The check is sent out and the expenditure is itemized in the financials. The board should be reviewing the financials I send them on a monthly and everything is in the open. IF the board, as a whole, has an issue, they can set policy as a group.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:2154


07/19/2021 5:44 AM  
"Going rogue" is a sign of a dysfunctional board.

No single board member has the authority to do anything unless the board as a whole has designated that person to make certain decisions and has defined the scope and limits of that decision-making authority.

A board president in not a CEO, although many of them consider themselves to be. All board members have equal authority, and officer positions are more or less job descriptions. (Look at various for profit corporations - they will have a board of directors who are separate from the CEO and who can hire and fire the CEO. Having a CEO in a board position would also suggest a certain level of dysfunction and self-dealing, and as a stock holder it would get my attention.)
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:129


07/19/2021 5:50 AM  
Our MC also has a $500.00 limit and that's the amount I go by. We have a BOD of 3 out of 5 and have operated that way for 6 years. I am the only Board member that lives on property. I also handle 99% of all maintenance issues. I found out a long time ago that it takes forever to get anything done through the MC.

I have a debit card linked to an HOA petty cash account with limited funds. I use it to order items and services as needed. Poop bags, signs, first aid kit for the pool, extra pool keys, etc.

We once had an impaled deer die at the stairway entrance to one of our buildings on a Sunday over a holiday weekend. No one could enter the building. Found someone to remove the deer for cash. Debit card came in handy that day!


Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
AugustinD


Posts:961


07/19/2021 8:18 AM  
JackJ9, the two options appear to be:


-- You continue spending the membership's money as you and the PM see fit, and wait to see if any of the other directors say anything about this. (I believe many president-directors feel that, unless the membership mutinies and gives signs of throwing the president-director off the board through a recall, who cares what the members may say?)


-- You ask the board for a dollar limit that you can spend on, say, landscaping items (and no other items) without board approval.


I would say a large percentage of HOA presidents act without the board's authority (if there even is a full board) and do not even bother to check with the HOA attorney on the point. Frequently no one else wants the President's job, so no one says anything. The covenants and state statutes be darned, you are a volunteer giving your otherwise valuable time to doing what no one else will do, right? Get away with what you can to make your H.O.A. toil easier, right? What's the worst that can happen? The Board fires you as President? The membership recalls you? These could both be blessings for your personal life.

You're doing a fi-ne job, JackJ9. More than anything else, it's about the grounds looking good, isn't it?
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:500


07/19/2021 8:45 AM  
When one board member emails me wanting something done without the approval of the board as a whole, I copy the rest of the board in my reply.

It usually only takes two or three times before they realize I don't play that game.

All directors have equal authority; officer positions only relate to the performance of certain tasks. As president, you are supposed to preside over meetings, prepare the agenda, and sign contracts, not take decision making authority away from the rest of your board because you don't find it convenient to get their input.

But your past history on this forum suggests you want only validation, not actual advice.
JohnT38
(South Carolina)

Posts:646


07/19/2021 9:07 AM  
Our Board voted to authorize me, as president, to approve any expenditure under $1,500. I can only thing of two occasions when I did this. Once was when the AC needed an emergency repair on the weekend and the other was for unclogging a drain pipe that was causes water to back up through the front door. This was also on the weekend.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1735


07/19/2021 10:13 AM  
You aren't "going rogue" if your board trusts you, as president, to ensure minor repairs and maintenance are efficiently carried out. An HVAC repair (not a whole replacement) or the unclogging pipes to prevent water damage fall under this category. It's board culture, familiarity and trust issue that separates "nefarious" unilateral management actions from getting things done efficiently.

There are many HOA board directors and boards that need to make team decisions on every matter. That is most transparent and results in deferred maintenance. It can also lead to paralysis in times of maintenance emergency but it's the safest course and you generally can't go wrong calling everything for a vote.
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:701


07/19/2021 10:31 AM  
I was president of a rather large HOA in California, larger than Jack's. We had a $1M annual budget, 80 plus acres, had to do our own water billing to residents. I am at a lost of how many decisions have to be made on a daily basis in a community such as what Jack describes. We had a management company. If I found we had a broken sprinkler, I emailed my manager. If one of our 10 gates went down, I emailed our manager. If another director found something similar, they would email the manager, BUT, all board members were copied and were in the loop. If a homeowner called the manager to report a gate stuck, the board was copied and in the loop.

We had a budget that was board approved and mailed to all homeowners. There are line items to cover pretty much anything that could go wrong. By passage of the budget, monies have already been authorized.
JackJ9
(Oregon)

Posts:98


07/19/2021 10:52 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 07/19/2021 10:31 AM
I was president of a rather large HOA in California, larger than Jack's. We had a $1M annual budget, 80 plus acres, had to do our own water billing to residents. I am at a lost of how many decisions have to be made on a daily basis in a community such as what Jack describes. We had a management company. If I found we had a broken sprinkler, I emailed my manager. If one of our 10 gates went down, I emailed our manager. If another director found something similar, they would email the manager, BUT, all board members were copied and were in the loop. If a homeowner called the manager to report a gate stuck, the board was copied and in the loop.

We had a budget that was board approved and mailed to all homeowners. There are line items to cover pretty much anything that could go wrong. By passage of the budget, monies have already been authorized.




It sounds like your manager, uh, managed the association. Ours does not. Our PM does homeowner communication, compliance, deliquent letters, and other homeowner related stuff. We as board perform all vendor monitoring, contract administration, and on site coordination. We've tried handing these tasks to our PM, but our PM is not skilled to handle them offsite and the work gets done if we do it ourselves.

For your examples:

Gate broken --> gets reported to board member. The board member then gets proposals from one or more companies (gate company, electrical company, card security company, etc) to diagnose the problem, and these proposals are then circulated to the board. Then when the company comes out, they figure out the problem, and create a cost to repair. These then get circulated to the board. Then the repair is done, and perhaps they find another thing that should be fixed too at higher cost, so this is then circulated to the board for approval. So we are talking 3+ proposals being circulated for every repair, plus two or three visits with the board focal and the company performing the repair.

This is all too much. I am looking to have the authority to make the decision to hire the vendor, make the decision on the cost of the repair, and make the decision on the extra items that need to be fixed without going to the board 3x for approvals on all of this.

Essentially, I am stepping into the role of being the onsite property manager rather than a board member. Unpaid of course.
BenA2
(Texas)

Posts:921


07/19/2021 10:58 AM  
There is an easy solution. Draft a policy that allows you to authorize small purchases when necessary. You can set limits. If the board votes on the policy then you are not doing anything on your own, the board has given it's approval.

In my opinion if you spend money or authorize a purchase on your own, whether $1 or $10,000, then it comes out of your pocket. Also, you could be opening up yourself to criminal prosecution by making unauthorized purchases. As president you have no authority to do anything without board approval unless it is written into your governing documents.
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:701


07/19/2021 11:12 AM  
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/19/2021 10:52 AM
Posted By MaxB4 on 07/19/2021 10:31 AM
I was president of a rather large HOA in California, larger than Jack's. We had a $1M annual budget, 80 plus acres, had to do our own water billing to residents. I am at a lost of how many decisions have to be made on a daily basis in a community such as what Jack describes. We had a management company. If I found we had a broken sprinkler, I emailed my manager. If one of our 10 gates went down, I emailed our manager. If another director found something similar, they would email the manager, BUT, all board members were copied and were in the loop. If a homeowner called the manager to report a gate stuck, the board was copied and in the loop.

We had a budget that was board approved and mailed to all homeowners. There are line items to cover pretty much anything that could go wrong. By passage of the budget, monies have already been authorized.




It sounds like your manager, uh, managed the association. Ours does not. Our PM does homeowner communication, compliance, deliquent letters, and other homeowner related stuff. We as board perform all vendor monitoring, contract administration, and on site coordination. We've tried handing these tasks to our PM, but our PM is not skilled to handle them offsite and the work gets done if we do it ourselves.

For your examples:

Gate broken --> gets reported to board member. The board member then gets proposals from one or more companies (gate company, electrical company, card security company, etc) to diagnose the problem, and these proposals are then circulated to the board. Then when the company comes out, they figure out the problem, and create a cost to repair. These then get circulated to the board. Then the repair is done, and perhaps they find another thing that should be fixed too at higher cost, so this is then circulated to the board for approval. So we are talking 3+ proposals being circulated for every repair, plus two or three visits with the board focal and the company performing the repair.

This is all too much. I am looking to have the authority to make the decision to hire the vendor, make the decision on the cost of the repair, and make the decision on the extra items that need to be fixed without going to the board 3x for approvals on all of this.

Essentially, I am stepping into the role of being the onsite property manager rather than a board member. Unpaid of course.



You are actually working for the wrong organization. You should be living in an apartment complex and being the property manager there, where the only authorization you need is from the owner of the building.
JackJ9
(Oregon)

Posts:98


07/19/2021 11:16 AM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 07/19/2021 11:12 AM
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/19/2021 10:52 AM
Posted By MaxB4 on 07/19/2021 10:31 AM
I was president of a rather large HOA in California, larger than Jack's. We had a $1M annual budget, 80 plus acres, had to do our own water billing to residents. I am at a lost of how many decisions have to be made on a daily basis in a community such as what Jack describes. We had a management company. If I found we had a broken sprinkler, I emailed my manager. If one of our 10 gates went down, I emailed our manager. If another director found something similar, they would email the manager, BUT, all board members were copied and were in the loop. If a homeowner called the manager to report a gate stuck, the board was copied and in the loop.

We had a budget that was board approved and mailed to all homeowners. There are line items to cover pretty much anything that could go wrong. By passage of the budget, monies have already been authorized.




It sounds like your manager, uh, managed the association. Ours does not. Our PM does homeowner communication, compliance, deliquent letters, and other homeowner related stuff. We as board perform all vendor monitoring, contract administration, and on site coordination. We've tried handing these tasks to our PM, but our PM is not skilled to handle them offsite and the work gets done if we do it ourselves.

For your examples:

Gate broken --> gets reported to board member. The board member then gets proposals from one or more companies (gate company, electrical company, card security company, etc) to diagnose the problem, and these proposals are then circulated to the board. Then when the company comes out, they figure out the problem, and create a cost to repair. These then get circulated to the board. Then the repair is done, and perhaps they find another thing that should be fixed too at higher cost, so this is then circulated to the board for approval. So we are talking 3+ proposals being circulated for every repair, plus two or three visits with the board focal and the company performing the repair.

This is all too much. I am looking to have the authority to make the decision to hire the vendor, make the decision on the cost of the repair, and make the decision on the extra items that need to be fixed without going to the board 3x for approvals on all of this.

Essentially, I am stepping into the role of being the onsite property manager rather than a board member. Unpaid of course.



You are actually working for the wrong organization. You should be living in an apartment complex and being the property manager there, where the only authorization you need is from the owner of the building.




Sigh. I recently found out that our county commissioner gets paid approximately $140,000 per year and does essentially the same work that I do for my association. City councilmembers get paid $6,000. Water board members for the local water company get like $600. I get $0 per year for the work that I do.

Yes, I agree. I'm working for the wrong organization.
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:701


07/19/2021 11:17 AM  
NO, this is what YOU agreed to.
CarissaM
(Florida)

Posts:26


07/19/2021 11:43 AM  
Being a board member on an HOA is sometimes like being a parent, long hours, no pay, and the expectation to be transparent in all your decision making. HA!

This seems to be more about spending. With regard to spending, the President doesn't make any decisions without the approval of at least one other board member in our community. It means more communication than we want to do in order to do the things that need to be done.

And you're right this is not a glam job and lots of people make money doing this exact same job in other fields (not HOA boards). I spend hours working on newsletters, printing them, making labels, and then delivering them to residents, at my cost. I spend time reading and understanding our CC&R's at my cost. I join anonymous forums to learn about other communities and the keep up to date to changes to our state statutes, at my cost. I am working on creative ways to maintain a sense of community within our gates...all in the interest of being the best board and being transparent for our homeowners. I'm a creative director, problem solver, and legal assistant for FREE! And I volunteered for this for 12 months.

For your gate example, the Pres gets a quote, circulates to the board and we make a decision. $125 or $12,500. If the gate tech finds more repairs, he still provides a quote that we circulate to the board. In this email/text/electronic communication world which we live, this is relatively easy. More than we want? Certainly.

Have you considered a weekly communication? You can determine the NOW versus WAIT discussions.
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:701


07/19/2021 11:58 AM  
Posted By CarissaM on 07/19/2021 11:43 AM
Being a board member on an HOA is sometimes like being a parent, long hours, no pay, and the expectation to be transparent in all your decision making. HA!

This seems to be more about spending. With regard to spending, the President doesn't make any decisions without the approval of at least one other board member in our community. It means more communication than we want to do in order to do the things that need to be done.

And you're right this is not a glam job and lots of people make money doing this exact same job in other fields (not HOA boards). I spend hours working on newsletters, printing them, making labels, and then delivering them to residents, at my cost. I spend time reading and understanding our CC&R's at my cost. I join anonymous forums to learn about other communities and the keep up to date to changes to our state statutes, at my cost. I am working on creative ways to maintain a sense of community within our gates...all in the interest of being the best board and being transparent for our homeowners. I'm a creative director, problem solver, and legal assistant for FREE! And I volunteered for this for 12 months.

For your gate example, the Pres gets a quote, circulates to the board and we make a decision. $125 or $12,500. If the gate tech finds more repairs, he still provides a quote that we circulate to the board. In this email/text/electronic communication world which we live, this is relatively easy. More than we want? Certainly.

Have you considered a weekly communication? You can determine the NOW versus WAIT discussions.



Carissa,

Why not then summit a bill, at cost for your service to your community.

1. Newsletter....$125.00 an hours
2. Delivery Service....$75.00 hour
3. reading your CCRs...let's say at an attorney's rate....$350.00 an hours...make sure you read real slow...building those billabe hours.
4. Joining anonymous forum...hell..what's that worth?...$250.00 an hour
5. Being a creative director...say another $200.00 an hour

Some of you need to know how to delegate. You hire a gate vendor, if you have gates, to perform maintenance and repairs, why in hell are you bidding when the gate gets stuck. If you have gates and don't have a gate vendor, why not? If you have a community pool, are you bidding three times a week who is the cheapest to clean on Tuesdays?
AugustinD


Posts:961


07/19/2021 12:06 PM  
Posted By JackJ9 on 07/19/2021 11:16 AM
I recently found out that our county commissioner gets paid approximately $140,000 per year and does essentially the same work that I do for my association. City councilmembers get paid $6,000. Water board members for the local water company get like $600. I get $0 per year for the work that I do.
Yeahbut these folks are watched like hawks by the public and their bosses. Getting things fixed in these jobs is slow as the proverbial molasses. The folks above do not get away with blowing off city, state and federal laws the way you do when you ignore the covenants and state statutes.
JackJ9
(Oregon)

Posts:98


07/19/2021 12:27 PM  
Posted By CarissaM on 07/19/2021 11:43 AM
Being a board member on an HOA is sometimes like being a parent, long hours, no pay, and the expectation to be transparent in all your decision making. HA!

This seems to be more about spending. With regard to spending, the President doesn't make any decisions without the approval of at least one other board member in our community. It means more communication than we want to do in order to do the things that need to be done.

And you're right this is not a glam job and lots of people make money doing this exact same job in other fields (not HOA boards). I spend hours working on newsletters, printing them, making labels, and then delivering them to residents, at my cost. I spend time reading and understanding our CC&R's at my cost. I join anonymous forums to learn about other communities and the keep up to date to changes to our state statutes, at my cost. I am working on creative ways to maintain a sense of community within our gates...all in the interest of being the best board and being transparent for our homeowners. I'm a creative director, problem solver, and legal assistant for FREE! And I volunteered for this for 12 months.

For your gate example, the Pres gets a quote, circulates to the board and we make a decision. $125 or $12,500. If the gate tech finds more repairs, he still provides a quote that we circulate to the board. In this email/text/electronic communication world which we live, this is relatively easy. More than we want? Certainly.

Have you considered a weekly communication? You can determine the NOW versus WAIT discussions.




Thanks for your reply. What you are implying is what I have felt - we are a board and we make decisions as a group. While I don't want to waste time and quibble over small expenses, anything that we do that represents our association to homeowners needs to be approved by the board as a whole. Thus, small expenses like $15 for mailing envelopes I just turn in receipts without seeking board approval, but sending flowers to 2 homeowners I seek board approval because that is representing ourselves to the homeowners, and we should all be in agreement how to do that.

Yup, it's a lot of e-mail traffic. I feel bad, but I do about 80% of the work on the board, so of course a lot of e-mails will come from me. It's really not that hard to read e-mails.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8290


07/19/2021 12:40 PM  
Sorry, Jack, I only skimmed all of this. I'm in the camp that anything that the prez does should be approved by the Board. And the Board at a real meeting should accept bids, not the prez alone. The prez then signs the approved agreement or contract.

Sure let the Board determine, as others suggest, an appropriate amount you can spend.

I've asked previously in posts why your HOA doesn't hire a MC that offers more hours & services. I think you said yours only works for your HOA a few hours a week and is solely off-site. I believe you said there's no office space for a PM at your HOA. But with 600 homes and several parks, you need more paid help.

Also with all of those responsibilities why in the world does your board meet only 4 times a year? Why not monthly? Do you Bylaws or OR statutes permit associations like yours to do so may Board decisions online without meeting in person in front of Owners?

It's easy to see that you work very hard, Jack and you have expressed concern about burn-out, which in your case seems like a very real possibility
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:701


07/19/2021 1:07 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/19/2021 12:40 PM
Sorry, Jack, I only skimmed all of this. I'm in the camp that anything that the prez does should be approved by the Board. And the Board at a real meeting should accept bids, not the prez alone. The prez then signs the approved agreement or contract.

Sure let the Board determine, as others suggest, an appropriate amount you can spend.

I've asked previously in posts why your HOA doesn't hire a MC that offers more hours & services. I think you said yours only works for your HOA a few hours a week and is solely off-site. I believe you said there's no office space for a PM at your HOA. But with 600 homes and several parks, you need more paid help.

Also with all of those responsibilities why in the world does your board meet only 4 times a year? Why not monthly? Do you Bylaws or OR statutes permit associations like yours to do so may Board decisions online without meeting in person in front of Owners?

It's easy to see that you work very hard, Jack and you have expressed concern about burn-out, which in your case seems like a very real possibility



There is only between 250-300 (he's not sure) homes with an annual budget of around $250K. Not large enough for an onsite manager.

On the other hand, BillD lives in an HOA with 600 homes.
KerryL1
(California)

Posts:8290


07/19/2021 2:16 PM  
Ah, thanks for the correction, Max. Still 250-300 home seems to need more han a few hours a week of a PM. Six parks suggest a level of complexity that might be higher than 250-300 homes with an entrance monument.


MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:701


07/19/2021 2:25 PM  
Posted By KerryL1 on 07/19/2021 2:16 PM
Ah, thanks for the correction, Max. Still 250-300 home seems to need more han a few hours a week of a PM. Six parks suggest a level of complexity that might be higher than 250-300 homes with an entrance monument.





Ok, so you're the manager, what would you suggest?
BarbaraT1
(Texas)

Posts:500


07/19/2021 2:38 PM  
Posted By MaxB4 on 07/19/2021 10:31 AM
I was president of a rather large HOA in California, larger than Jack's. We had a $1M annual budget, 80 plus acres, had to do our own water billing to residents. I am at a lost of how many decisions have to be made on a daily basis in a community such as what Jack describes. We had a management company. If I found we had a broken sprinkler, I emailed my manager. If one of our 10 gates went down, I emailed our manager. If another director found something similar, they would email the manager, BUT, all board members were copied and were in the loop. If a homeowner called the manager to report a gate stuck, the board was copied and in the loop.

We had a budget that was board approved and mailed to all homeowners. There are line items to cover pretty much anything that could go wrong. By passage of the budget, monies have already been authorized.




I am also baffled at the amount of work that seems to need constant doing on Jack's property. I manage a community of 1245 homes with 1.5 million square feet of landscaping, a fishing pond and pier, two pools, two playgrounds, a large park and smaller parklets, and walking trail as well as perimeter fences, retaining walls and entrance monuments and while there is indeed always something that needs doing, there aren't daily out-of-budget maintenance expenses.

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