The common complaint about a Board member is that of the typical “condo commando” who is more or less a drill sergeant, and who tries to run the place like an army barracks, inspecting every nook and cranny and looking to pick a fight with any willing participant. While that may be the stereotypical portrayal of association Board members, there is another type of Board member that may be even more common than the “commando.” That is the “anti commando” or the man or woman who does the opposite of the “commando” and in effect, does nothing.
Every board member who works hard at being a board member knows exactly who I’m talking about. The one that abstains from voting on any issue because someone’s feelings may be hurt. The one that looks the other way when other owners or renters commit violations of the governing documents. The one that wants 35 bids in hand before deciding to fix a $200.00 problem. The one that votes against raising the budget even though the association’s bills can’t possibly get paid if the budget remains the same. The one who refuses to pass any kind of special assessment even to make mandatory or even emergency repairs.
I can certainly make the argument that the “anti commando” is more dangerous to the association than the “commando.” Failing to vote on issues can result in deadlocks causing problems to linger. Looking away when owners violate the governing documents puts the association in a potential “waiver” situation that would prevent these violations from now ever being corrected. Over analyzing bids and unreasonably holding on for a cheaper price sometimes causes damages to compound and repair costs to increase during the delay. Failing to increase the assessments causes bills to go unpaid or ultimately results in special assessments.
Why get on the Board if your approach is always “hands off?” Better to stay on the side lines and get out of the way of those members who aren’t afraid to tackle the problem, even if their decisions may piss a few people off. Experienced Board members know that no matter what decisions they make, they will always wind up angering a segment of the community. They know that it’s better to have made a gallant effort to solve the problem rather than to pretend the problem never existed in the first place.
Being a Board member is not easy. It doesn’t get easier when your co-directors simply occupy a seat at the Board but act deaf, dumb, blind and mute.
P.S. The Condo Craze Board Member Certification Course is up and rolling again. To sign up for our free seminars around the state and get certified as a condominium Board member, go to www.condocrazeandhoas.com. We have now certified over 2,500 Floridians. This year we added even more topics to our seminar including competitive bidding, emotional support animals, material alterations and more. And finally……today is August 6th so it must be my birthday. I won’t tell you my age, but suffice to say, that I find myself thinking lately that there’s a lot of lawyers at the courthouse who look to young to be practicing.