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Subject: Why be President?
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Author Messages
GregM14
(Washington)

Posts:73


09/08/2021 12:21 PM  
After the dust from faux pas is finally starting to settle, I decided to take a day off and give myself a day to think in solitude.

After having been president of the board for 6 months now, I'm finding it to be a high pressure position. You either have someone bending your ear on the left or bending your ear on the right. I have had our landscaper, our county, our homeowners, property manager, current board members, and former board members all chew on me for different things about what is going on in our HOA. And this is after I have spent 2 years trying to reform it and make it work well.

So it brings me pause. I have greatly enjoyed contributing to the community and helping do contract administration / vendor management for the various projects we have going on. With the size of our operating budget, we have plenty of projects and things that need to be done, and every one of them takes time. It's fun to see our community become a nicer place.

But when times are rough, the president takes a beating.

And I have to ask. What is the reason someone would want to be an HOA president? Are there people out there (like enough people that there is one in every neighborhood) that enjoy the taking the beating from all directions and getting chewed out from all perspectives?

I'm ready to throw in the towel. Maybe I should just be a community volunteer, one that attends the board meetings to find out what projects are going on and how I can help with them, but not necessarily to try to run the show.

I'm just wondering if you can describe the type of person that would enjoy being the HOA president?
AugustinD


Posts:1585


09/08/2021 12:38 PM  
My opinion: Forget about enjoyment. I think serving effectively as President-Director requires minimizing pain. I suggest mailing to owners and directors guidance as follows:

-- Inform owners that you will only take their input at Board meetings, during a ten-minute open forum session at the beginning and a ten-minute open forum at the end. Explain to them that otherwise, the Board and you will burn out.

-- Inform directors that (1) the need for transparency requires that they bring their concerns to board meetings, where all owners have the option of hearing the board's deliberations; (2) you must have topics a director wants on the meeting agenda in writing, and including possible motions that might go along with the topic, at least two weeks before the board meeting. Check state statute for the requirements for notice to owners and directors and make sure two weeks works.

-- Criticism that does not offer solutions and/or people willing to pitch in and help with the work is not welcome.

-- Anyone arguing for xyz needs to state exactly where the governing documents support xyz. Period. No exceptions. All must understand that the governing documents are literally a contract. The Board and you have zero authority to go outside the contract. The Board and you will not expend precious time on issues that are outside the contract.

-- Else the only discussions you are willing to have between board meetings are for emergency situations.

-- A well written agenda will help support well-written Minutes. Minutes should include pretty much only motions and the Board's vote on motions.
MaxB4


Posts:1211


09/08/2021 1:04 PM  
I enjoyed being president, and I had the skill set to run an association. Prior to becoming a board member, I got a certification from CAI called CMCA (Certified Manager of Community Association. Since then, I have a few others.

An important lesson to be learned is that the management company nor the attorney work for the Board, they work for the Association. Too may try to interject themselves into the internal politics of a community, which eventually bites them in the butt.

My wife and I both served our community as Board presidents and after that experience, vowed never to live in another HOA again. Unfortunately, for an HOA to work properly, all the moons have to be aligned.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:197


09/08/2021 1:15 PM  
The type of person that wants to be the President for all the wrong reasons.

I've been President for 7 years and the only director that lives on property. Gaining credibility was very difficult at first. Had so much to learn about HOA's. And still do, there's always something new to research.

At first I was eager to engage in conversations with everyone. Wanted so many great things for the community. Then I realized how many of our owners thought we were run like an apartment complex. Quickly decided to try them educate at every opportunity. Everyone always thinks they know how things work.

I shut down beatings by asking them to contact the MC. Then I can respond on my time frame. If I'm being chewed out I thank them for volunteering their time and send them on a path to research their concerns and bring their suggestions to the Board for review. I don't engage in conversations while walking my dog. I don't use the pool. All questions are requested to be by email to avoid "but you said".

I don't answer my phone unless I know who is calling. My front door has a sign that says basically "no not ring my bell". I try to be pleasant, but always act like I have somewhere to be.

This may sound harsh, but after 7 years our Board has gained trust and integrity. I'd much rather solve a complex maintenance problem than deal with the 144 different personalities. I've walked away from someone yelling at me because someone threw a box in the dumpster.

Not a week goes by when I don't think about quitting. But no one else wants this job. I do get a tremendous amount of satisfaction with all we've done even if no one says "thank you".

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

Posts:631


09/08/2021 8:07 PM  
Posted By GregM14 on 09/08/2021 12:21 PM
After the dust from faux pas is finally starting to settle . . .




Wait . . . so GregM14(Washington) = HenryS6(Arizona)?!?! How many others ya got?
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1775


09/08/2021 8:12 PM  
Greg,

Pat's advice is sound.

1. If you're constantly barraged, you may be too active in the role...slow down and slow the churn, if you will.

2. You do not have accept negative conversation. In fact, push them to email. You do not have an obligation to discuss HOA problems at the whim of residents. Worst case - push them to the next board meeting.

By spending two years on a campaign of reforming the HOA, you're no longer a "reformer" and now reflect the Establishment.

Slow the pace of your HOA duties and it will slow the gossip and angst to always be solving problems. You'll find the sun will still rise if you're not always on High Alert as president, but this will take some getting used to.
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:17710


09/09/2021 6:06 AM  
Greg/Henry (note, there are others on here that have used different names in the past for various reasons),


I became president because I was the last one in line when officer positions were being assigned.

What I found out was that as president you have an opportunity to steer the board in the directions you believe are needed.

Yes, you are perceived as the point of contact for the board. My response was always, to 1) ask that it be put in writing so facts aren't forgotten. 2) Asked that they come to the meeting so they can better present the issue to the board.


The increase in newsletters to let the membership know what was going on helped minimize being approached. We would publish every other month.


After some time (a few years), I chose to step into other positions but stayed on the board.
ND
(PA)

Posts:631


09/09/2021 6:24 AM  
First off . . . what is the result of the whole "faux pas" discussion and the bike trail, trailhead, etc. You say the dust is starting to settle. Just the other day, there was a viral campaign to thwart the decision you planned to make. Now the dust is settling. Quick turn of events. Me and many others provided thoughts and advice in that thread. Curious as to what the outcome was and what advice you may have found useful. If you want to share, suggest adding to that thread.

- - - - -

In regard to this thread . . .

I think that if you as president have become the "HOA punching bag" and you alone, then there are a number of things going wrong to cause that. If anything, the Board and MC should collectively be the punching bag, and no one individual in particular. Here are my observations and constructive criticism based on this and other posts. I'm not trying to beat up on you and pile on, just an outsider's perspective on what I think some of the issues are, so you can consider, reflect and possibly adjust:

1) You take on way too much. You have too many irons in the fire, and because of that, you have difficulty prioritizing and are unable to efficiently and effectively get stuff done as an individual and Board. (And you are going crazy trying to do it all yourself.)

2) There is an improper perception in your HOA and even worse, within your Board/Officers, that the President has some greater role, responsibility, power, etc. than the rest of the Board Members. "Power" is equal among all Board Members and each carries a single vote when it comes to decision-making. Each Officer position should have specific responsibilities that they carry out, so workload is more balanced.

3) Your expectations of other Board Members/Officers to do the same as you (or even close to what you do) is unfortunately unrealistic. You either need to be happy with them barely contributing and you doing it all; somehow get them to help more; or a multi-pronged approach where you lessen the amount of stuff that has to get done while simultaneously getting them to contribute more. I think they may be more willing to help if the amount of activity were lessened and things prioritized.

4) You make yourself too open . . . to input, criticism, conversation; homeowner Q&As and RFIs; interaction w/ the MC; vendor interaction, contract discussion, and monitoring; dealings w/ lawyers and the county; etc. By focusing and also limiting how, when, and for what purposes you may be contacted, then opportunities to get beat up will be fewer. You should not be the point of contact for everything. MC needs to do their part and so do other Board Members/Officers.

5) What everyone else said already.


I think your heart is in the right place and you're doing what you think needs to be done for the betterment of your HOA, but to the detriment of you personally. Unfortunately I've found that being on an HOA Board is mostly a thankless job. When something goes wrong, there are plenty of folks to point out the issues, poor decisions, and other negatives. And when you do great things, people rarely notice or are appreciative of teh efforts that went into the accomplishment. You have to be ok with that and take pride in doing your best in the time you contribute. BUT you certainly don't have to sit back and take a beating. You're an unpaid volunteer and when/if it becomes too much, then maybe it's time to give it up. Perhaps someone else is better at being President than you are and you could be better as some sort of volunteer for specific, focused, important duties. But definitely think all things through before making an irreversible decision. I wish you luck.
MiaR1
(Illinois)

Posts:31


09/12/2021 6:29 PM  
Agree with all advices given.

Just to add that There’s a perception side to the President’s position that’s not mentioned here. At least in my association, President is perceived as the head honcho..Even after informing owners that President is equal to other Board members, but the title President is the impressive trigger word for our owners new and old. Sometimes the President ha# to taken on a lot more responsibilities of even other officers because for one reason or another( not because of lack of time), other officers rather withhold themselves from doing their duties, which adds more frustration to the person occupying the president’s position because if things fall apart within the association management due to other Board members acting as complete a**, then, President would be to blame for failing. And if President alone does all the work even after repeatedly requesting more involvement from Board members but getting none, no one recognizes the efforts put in by that one person. If the President will seek re-election, he/she is bound to keep things running smoothly with or without other Board members help. Perception of unit owners makes or breaks a person on the Board who is on it for the right reasons but is a,ways at the mercy of other owners to stay on the Board.

In my case, a renter turned first time homeowner last year cheated his way to becoming the Board President. That’s all I have to say about that. Some question why be President because those do so much for the association while taking a beating left and right. But this guy in our Association cheated the past President to plant himself in that position. President equals head honcho, perhaps
BillD16
(Texas)

Posts:21


09/16/2021 1:58 PM  
Posted By AugustinD on 09/08/2021 12:38 PM

-- Criticism that does not offer solutions and/or people willing to pitch in and help with the work is not welcome.



I just love this soooo much!

BillD
MichaelS56
(Minnesota)

Posts:254


09/16/2021 3:17 PM  
ND you explained it well.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:11422


09/17/2021 10:07 AM  
I stay on my BOD so some other Ahole does not get elected.
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