By: Tom Skweres, CMCA, CAM – ACM Community Management
Getting elected to serve on an Association Board can be a challenge for homeowners who are not used to making administrative and operational decisions and enforcing rules and regulations for a community of residents. Fitting into this role takes time, patience, learning and a willingness to be flexible.
A lot of what a Board member does just takes common sense. But, there are a few things new Board members should be aware of.
First of all, the Board is a TEAM of elected people who have no power as individuals. The majority always rules. Unilateral decision-making by one Board member to do something can invalidate the action taken.
Secondly, all Board members need to be prepared for the Board’s meetings. Opening and reading the Board packet at the Board meeting does not allow the Board member time to absorb and understand the issues at hand. It also does not give the Board member the ability to question the information presented in the Board packet, ahead of the meeting, with any concerns they have. It is also not fair to the Board members who are prepared to move the agenda forward. Remember, everyone’s time is valuable. Being a board member is a volunteer position.
Thirdly, new Board members must realize that the decisions they make must be in the best interest of the entire community. Personal agendas and interests have no place on a Board of Directors. There should be no self-serving items in a Board members role as a Director.
Forth, being on a Board of Directors of a community association is like being on a corporate Board of Directors. A Board member must remember their fiduciary responsibility to the people that elected them to their position. All decisions should be done in a business-minded manner. Emotions need to be put aside for the welfare of the whole community.
Lastly, in your role as a Board member, the responsibility that has been given to you takes education and sometimes learning as you go. The time commitment to do this will be invaluable as your term progresses. Learn the roles of each Board member and the responsibility that goes with those roles. It is very important to read your Declaration and By-laws, and the Rules & Regulations. Understanding how a community is organized and the lifestyle of the community is essential for an enjoyable and successful living experience. It is important to have a familiarity with the Illinois Condominium Property Act, the Common Interest Community Association Act and the General Not-For-Profit Corporation Act. The interpretation of technical questions can be left to your attorney, but there are some areas that are easy to find and relate to your current issue, if you know where to look.
Being a Board member can be a challenging and interesting experience. Making a positive impact and leaving your mark on your community and its lifestyle can be very gratifying and a worthwhile endeavor.