As you are aware, boards consist of volunteer members serving to make the association a better place to live. As volunteers, we have noticed common mistakes made by board members in fulfilling their responsibilities.
The following is a list of the top five mistakes made by board members in administering the affairs of an association:
Failure to send proper notice of meetings. On countless occasions, I have attended meetings where the board is adopting a special assessment or engaging in a vote on another issue that has significant impact on an association. Proper notice of the meetings is essential for the board’s action to be binding on the homeowners. If the wrong notice is sent, any action taken by the board at the meeting is ineffective. Based on this, all boards must be certain that proper notice is sent prior to the meeting.
Failure to communicate. As you may be aware, there is a famous movie in which there is the following quote: “We have a failure to communicate.” Communication is the key to effectively administering the association. Very rarely have I seen an instance where the board is not acting in what they believe to be the best interest of the association. However, failure to properly communicate the issues and the reasons for the board’s actions leads to animosity and suspicion as to the board’s intent. With proper communication, the owners understand the purpose of the board’s decision.
Board meeting – Too long and too many. I have written a number of columns suggesting that all board members should strive for a one hour meeting. This requires the board members to be prepared and have all necessary documentation ahead of time. In addition, it requires the president of the association to keep control of the meeting. Board meetings which run on too long lead to apathetic members and make it difficult for boards to find good qualified people to serve. In addition, some boards tend to meet too often. Illinois law for condominiums require four meetings per year. Boards should not feel the necessity to meet unless there are issues that need to be voted upon.
Failure to consult with experts. We are all familiar with the old saying “Pound wise and penny foolish”. On a number of occasions, we have seen boards that attempt to save money by not consulting the appropriate experts prior to rendering a decision. For instance, your association may be involved in a large construction project. In our opinion, the budget for this project should include a qualified expert.
Originally published in the Pioneer Press (May 2005).
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