What Makes a Director Outstanding [Part 3] – Understanding How The Role Is DIFFERENT

What Makes a Director Outstanding [Part 3] – Understanding How The Role Is DIFFERENT

All the knowledge and experience from the working world (“day job”) can actually hinder a volunteer’s effectiveness in the world of HOA governance if the differences between the two worlds are not understood. Outstanding directors have learned that much of what worked for them in their day job will likely work poorly in the context of board governance. The chain of command is completely different in a community association. In the workplace, there is usually a person who is the “big boss”, somebody who is your immediate supervisor, and someone who you supervise. In the association, no single person is in charge. Decisions are made by the board, so the chain of command is horizontal and not hierarchical. The president in a common interest development is not the “big boss.” The president has far less power in most nonprofit corporations since all important decisions are made by the board, and so the president’s vote is no more important than any other. In this very different paradigm, the individual director typically has no personal power. Once directors embrace the framework of the board as decision-maker, they understand that they cannot make individual promises. This restraint can be very freeing since no individual is responsible for the association and its actions, as all decisions is made by board vote. So, when confronted at the pool or parking garage by homeowners demanding action, the director can truly say they can’t individually do anything and suggest the homeowner bring their concern to management or to a board meeting. Directors failing to adapt to the group decision-making process will often stray outside of corporate...
13 Surefire Steps to Guarantee Board Meetings Will Be Longer [Satire]

13 Surefire Steps to Guarantee Board Meetings Will Be Longer [Satire]

If board service is not difficult enough, you can crank it up a notch by making board meetings much longer. If people aren’t dozing by meeting’s end and if you’re done after 90 minutes you haven’t tried hard enough. Follow these steps to increase your chances: 1. Do not plan ahead Include everything you can think of on the agenda. Make sure you pack multiple major issues in simultaneously – don’t wait for the next meeting. 2. Avoid reading the board packet (if ever) until you arrive at the meeting Ask lots of questions about things that are in the packet or in reports attached to the packets – that way you can prove that you did not prepare and make the whole board wait while you catch up. 3. Open forum remarks should be unlimited Some HOAs have 3 minutes per speaker limits. Let people talk as much as they want (that will give you time to read your board packet). 4. Never use consent calendars Everything must be a separate motion and discussed, no matter how minor, routine, or non-controversial. 5. If other directors disagree with you, keep talking – you might wear them down Sometimes if you drone on long enough, people will occasionally back off their positions and you can delay a board vote… again and again. 6. Repetition is great Repetitious arguments or revisiting previous decisions lengthens meetings. If it’s worth saying once, it might be worth saying many times. If it’s worth saying once, it might be worth saying many times. It it’s worth saying once… 7. Push for unanimous votes and complete...

Ten Tips For Shorter Meetings

Board meetings require balance. While nobody appreciates a meeting in which brevity is the only value, unduly lengthy meetings discourage and exhaust everybody – directors, audience and manager. After about 3 hours, good concentration and judgment is hard to come by. A length of 60-90 minutes is a very reasonable and achievable goal for most board meetings. Try these tips to get there. 1. Come prepared Good managers provide boards with “board packets” in advance, helping directors come to the meeting prepared, avoiding time wasted as directors “get up to speed” about items set forth in the packet. Prepared directors are more efficient – read your packet. 2. Avoid overly ambitious agendas Watch out for the overly loaded agenda. Some issues can dominate a meeting, requiring thirty minutes or more. Try to handle only one such issue per meeting, if you can. Sometimes a board needs to meet more frequently, as there is too much to be done in one meeting. 3. Set the room up for a board meeting (not a town hall meeting) A board which sits facing the audience (and not each other) invites audience participation, but the audience was not elected to serve. The semicircle is the best shape, so the audience can hear as the directors talk – to the other directors. 4. Use open forum properly Many meetings are too long because both board and audience fail to respect open forum. During open forum the board should not interrupt, and during the rest of the meeting the audience should not interrupt. 5. Use consent calendars Most routine decisions should be handled via consent...

Adding More Directors: Fees at Time of Sale

Dear Mr. Richardson, At our HOA meeting last night – it was announced by the board that they are adding a 6th member, a 2nd member at large! I’m perplexed! Can they do that? Can you please shed some light on this! D.B., Reseda Dear D.B., The number of authorized directors normally is found in the bylaws. The most common number of directors is five, but what is important is what your bylaws say, not what most associations do. If the bylaws only authorize five directors, the sixth is not a director. What the bylaws say is more important than what the board says. The board normally may appoint to fill a vacancy caused by resignation or disqualification, but the members vote on vacancies caused by a term expiring or because of recall. So, I would need to look at your bylaws to be sure, but the sixth person is most likely not a director, and not entitled to vote or attend closed sessions meetings. If your board needs more help, rather than create a new “director” position, perhaps create a committee. Committees can help the board, and also help to discover potential future directors. Committees should have a defined scope, noted in the motion creating the committee, and recommend actions to the board within the committee’s scope of responsibility. Perhaps this sixth person would be a great committee chair. Have people serve on the committee and advise the board on topics within the scope of the committee. Regards,Kelly Kelly, I am in a large scale HOA. In the beginning, the developer charged a [significant] transfer fee to all...