How Boards (Should) Operate

WestGate PropertiesConsider the following situation: A committee in a condominium association made a recommendation to the board to raise dues 5%.

A committee member felt strongly that the dues should have been raised more and circulated a letter to all unit owners titled “Reality Check” that recommended a 10% increase and that anyone who can’t afford this should consider selling their unit and moving elsewhere. He felt strongly about his position, argued it forcefully in the committee but when he lost the debate he brought his argument “to the people” hoping to shape the final board decision.

The board terminated his committee membership and established a set of Rules for Service that all future committee and board members must agree to prior to serving. Among other things it requires members to support the decision of the group once a decision is made.

Community associations exercise democracy at its most fundamental level and it’s important that board and committee members understand how to work together as a decision making body. The need to leave your self interest out of it is obvious to most. The more common problem is how to reconcile competing views of what it means to serve in the best interest of the whole community.

Consolidating different points of view into a final decision is the essence of leadership and the reason that a decision making process exists using rules of order and specialized board roles.

Future columns will address how these responsibilities are allocated, how the members work together to serve the best interests of the community and how a board works with a management company to implement its decisions.

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