Residents who are entrusted with the opportunity to serve as newly elected Board Members by constituents of their community have an obligation and responsibility more challenging than the early days of associations.
This fiduciary obligation is not only one of “trust”; which involves protecting the assets of the community, but also protects the overall interest of the association as an entity. The most important way to achieve this success is through knowledge and education!
Due to the many financial challenges of the current economy, newly elected Board members must balance their roles as mediators, financial planners, protectors, and at times, even counselors to the uneducated resident. Board members of associations may be governed by laws and statutes of their municipalities. In many cases, they will have to rely on the association’s documents as their daily Bible. The Board members are not expected to be legal analysts, but they must have a comprehensive understanding of the tools that govern their Association.
Many affiliations, such as the Community Association’s Institute (CAI), local vendors who perform contractual work on behalf of the associations, Attorneys, and other entities can be significant assets to the newly elected Board member. This knowledge can ensure that even the least tenured Board member has the means to stay abreast of the latest trends in the industry. The Internet contains vast amounts of information to assist the new Board member in understanding the laws of his or her state. It is also an excellent reference for those members who may be looking for other additional resources.
Property Managers carry out the day-to-day tasks that inevitably reflect back into the realm of responsibilities of the Board member. Although their knowledge is instrumental for the new Board member, he or she must still have a genuine understanding of tasks assigned to ensure completion; understanding association expenses; efficiently and effectively guiding the manager with managing those tasks. This “hands” on approach is crucial and gives a positive reflection to the members.
The newly elected Board member must always remember that he or she serves the residents as a collective group and never themselves as an individual. One’s personal interest can never be the agenda when making important decisions that will impact the investments of other members. The Board member must ethically uphold the highest standards for this position by establishing protocols, ensuring compliance, minimizing selective enforcement, and maintaining consistency within the community. As a result, the newly elected Board member will inevitably provide a foundation of trust with the residents who recently elected him or her to serve on their behalf.