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Subject: Question on dealing with a less active board member
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05/18/2006 6:29 AM  
I belong to a 5 member board (just recently appointed a new 5th member because one quit in March). Due to the age of our condo building and the neglect in operations and building maintenance in the past few years (past poor management company one of the problems)there is a lot for this board to do. At this time,we need to go beyond the average board tasks.

We have one board member who is serving her 2nd consective year on the board. Since we were all in elected in January, she has not worked as hard as the other three members. She says she will not be forced to work as hard as the other board members and that she thinks we should all do less. Realistically working less is not an option at this time due to the amount of work that needs to be done. We have a new property manager but she works only 30 hours and can only do so much in those hours. One board member is compiling the task list of items that need to be done. Now that we have a full board again, two of the board members want to equally distribute the task list to all 5 board members so we can complete the work that needs to be done (there no waste on the task list). One member is new and says she will contribute the other 5th member has contributed a lot of time and work but has been silent on what we should do going forward.

What have other communities done in this situation? Should the rest of the board members scale back in the amount of work we each do and risk expensive problems to our community in the near future? The less active board member does not want to relinquish her seat on the board. What can we do to help us at this point?


05/18/2006 6:35 AM  
A board is comprised of volunteers and each person on the board has other commitments in their lives. Plain fact. Regardless of what the reasons are for why someone can or cannot do the tasks at hand. My suggestion is for the board to meet with a well-thought out task schedule and timeline and see what you have and how each of you can commit. Do this with an eye to limiting your burnout level so there is some longevity and continuity to your board. Your association needs action but it also needs people who will be willing to stick around.
My immediate suggestion is go outside your board membership and get some committees together to help with these tasks.


05/18/2006 6:59 AM  
SwanB- Thanks for the reply. You have a good points about board longevity and the commitments we all have outside of the board.
We do have several committees lead by committee heads and a board liaison (rules & regs, building, landscaping, communication) unfortunately the members want to just attend meetings but most members will not stand up and volunteer for any work that needs to be done. Sadly, there a lot of inertia and complaining by a majority of the committee folks. I guess a second question would be - How can we inspire the majority of volunteers on the committees to work?
We do always post a thank you and or acknowledge at a board meeting all contributions whether time, money,
telephone calls placed etc. We are very good at making sure any and all volunteer work performed is appreciated.


05/18/2006 7:19 AM  
Kelly, the job of the Board is to govern. Get a MC to accoumplish the daily tasks. Delegate and utilize the MC more otherwise your Board members will burn out. The managing Agent should be a professional. They should have knowledge of competent low cost contractors whereas volunteer Board members may not. This can result in a significant savings for your HOA and free Board members to accomplish their more important duties and responsibilities.


05/20/2006 7:31 AM  
MCs are good for some things but are not always the answer (my opinon).

Try a group discussion identifiying the tasks and ordering them in prioity. Then go around the table and see who is interested in owning which task. Sometimes that gets help.


05/20/2006 9:30 PM  
Roger wrote: "They (MCs)should have knowledge of competent low cost contractors whereas volunteer Board members may not.">>> That is a crock! Our MC charges us more in annual fees because we DON'T use their contractors. But it is still cheaper to find our own than use theirs. Maybe you, Roger, actually scouts for low cost contractors, but many large MCs, if they don't outright own those contractors as subsidiaries, are in bed with the ones they do "recommend" - and believe me they are not "low cost." And now you're patronizing volunteer board members as being incapable of calling for bids and reviewing proposals? They are actually shirking their fiduciary duty if they allow the MC to do that for them. Harold


05/21/2006 9:09 AM  
Harold, isn't your board reviewing RFPs, competative sealed bids, approving contractors, and establishing contracts? I agree with you that the Board is shirking their duty if they allow a MC to do these Board responsibilities. Meanwhile, a good MC will have a list of qualified low cost contractors which can be used as a starting point.

So why is your Association still using that MC? Is it possible your Board isn't doing a very good job either?

I do not mean to imply that volunteer Board members are not qualified. Board members are to be commended for stepping forth and serving their community. I served for 15 years on 4 HOA Boards, plus our church council, and 3 professional societies. As long as there is a sufficient pool of COMPETENT volunteers I am in favor of not using a Managing Agent. However, based on my experience I have a concern that many HOA Directors are not knowledgeable about their fiduciary duty and their legal and financial exposure.


05/21/2006 1:55 PM  
Posted By HaroldS on 05/20/2006 9:30 PM

... That is a crock! ...

Harold, We appreciate friendly disagreement here, but saying that Roger's advice " a crock..." is neither friendly nor helpful, as our posting rules ask for.

You have contributed many helpful comments to this board and so has Roger, with over 500 posts to his credit. His advice has been open, honest, balanced and helpful.

Please consider his point....Good MCs work with many contrators on many jobs over many years. They naturally will have a better feel for good local companies than a Board member, just due to volume of exposure.

If you have found a bad MC that limits your access and truly has a conflict of interest in regards to your contracts, then seek to move on and find a better one.

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05/24/2006 10:35 AM  
We have the same type of situation on our Board.

We have 5 Board members in our self-managed community, but only three of make any substantial contribution (I perform all 'business' functions).

Of the remaining two, we have one who does nothing but show up at an occasional meeting, and one who is Mr. 'you should'. He fails to realize he is part of 'you'....and takes no initative even when it is his idea he wants implemented.

We have tried to address the problems, and run into a brick wall. we got the 'I am a volunteer' speech as an excuse as to how much the latter two are willing to do. My feeling is that if you volunteer, you should accept the responsibility for doing your job well.

So in the end, since the three of us who work hard are generally of like mind (or at least respectful of each others opinions and able to compromise), everything gets done promptly by the majority vote. But we recorgnize we are lucky...and that it may change with every election.

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