HOW TO AVOID COMMON BOARD MEMBER MISTAKES
- by Alana Ashby
● Holding meetings incorrectly. All board meetings need to be documented and with notice given to all homeowners. It’s considered a board meeting any time a majority of the members get together and speak about association business. Talk with your Community Manager to help clarify what is okay to discuss with other board members when no official meeting is taking place.
● Not adhering to the governing documents. Sometimes boards don’t carefully read the community’s governing documents and then fail to abide by them. This can happen if a new board is elected and they neglect to review the declaration and bylaws of the association. Every board member should read the bylaws and all other association documents.
● Mismanaging association funds. A common mistake is to spend too much too quickly without leaving anything for emergency maintenance or repairs. Board members also should consider long-term finances. While a board may want to use funds on things that may seem important in the short term, it is imperative to think of the community’s future needs. It would be wise to go over prior-year budgets and learn from them. Community Managers can provide guidance and advice throughout the budget review process, and ensure work is done at a reasonable price.
● Becoming overzealous. Board members can often make big decisions too quickly. It’s always best to weigh any major policy changes carefully. Take time to speak to your Community Manager before switching vendors, they can give you advice about better vendor contracts as well as how to make changes within the community.
● Not seeking legal advice. If you’re dealing with a situation with a homeowner that could possibly turn into a lawsuit, it may be best to work with the association’s attorney for advice and procedure. The expense of the attorney may well be far cheaper than the potential legal liabilities.
Alana Ashby, CMCA and owner of AMI, helped to establish and served as a Board Member for Community Associations Institute (CAI) Idaho Chapter. Alana has extensive experience in all aspects of financial management, real estate development and management, as well as negotiation.
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