THE FINE LINE OF BEING A GOOD BOARD MEMBER

I have always said that there is nothing worse than a Board member simply taking up a chair at Board meetings and refusing to participate or take a position on anything.  They volunteered for the title but refuse to do much more than come to the occasional meeting.  They won’t get bids, meet with contractors, draft a letter, or get involved.  They are almost entirely hands off.

I was wrong.  There is something worse…The Board member who won’t listen to the experts they are supposed to be relying on.

If I had a nickel for every time a Board member second guessed my legal opinion, I guess I would be retired by now.  I’ve been asked a million times, “what’s the best way to get a delinquent owner to pay up?”  “Why should we go to court and spend money?”  “Why should we let the owners vote on that issue?”  “Why should we do the election over?”  I proceed to give my answer, only to be ignored.

I can give examples until I’m blue in the face believe me.  I have also had countless telephone calls with managers asking me for advice when the board or a particular board member won’t listen to the manager, regardless of the fact that the manager gave them sound competent advice completely in accord with Florida law.  When a Board member or entire Board won’t listen, the only thing you can do is document your answer or advice in writing and let the Board or Board member know what the potential consequences are.  You can lead a horse to water………

Some board members have been very successful in life.  They have operated businesses that have made them wealthy.  They managed that business in a certain way and believe that same management style can be used in their condo or HOA.  Then, they learn that they are no longer a CEO or CFO and they only get one out of five votes and they don’t get to control everything.  They hate that and are frustrated.  The smart ones learn fast and cooperate and try to get their fellow board members to see things their way through intelligent persuasion.  The arrogant ones continue to ignore advice from the manager or attorney and let the chips fall where they may.

I know it’s not easy being a board member.  But if you’re going to ask the advice of the professionals who work for your association, you may want to take it once in a while.

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