Read any of the major business publications or websites and you’re bound to find articles on the importance of delegating. It’s one of the most fundamental skills for a successful business owner to have. A simple Internet search finds scores of tips for CEOs and smaller entrepreneurs alike on how to delegate more effectively. Running an association isn’t quite like running a Fortune 500 company, but the concept of delegating tasks works just as well with a board of directors for a homeowners association as it does for a titan of industry or finance.
A Committed Effort
Boards of directors are small teams of volunteers with a lot of work to do. They often need help and that’s where delegating to a committee comes in. A committee is a group of volunteers that focus on a particular issue at hand. They are run as a mini-board, where a chair is elected, topics are discussed and minutes are reported. They take those minutes to the board. How many committees an association has and their responsibilities will vary from property to property, as will the committee size. Most commonly, the larger the association, the more the amount of committees the board will create. Ultimately, it’s the board’s responsibility to create the number and type of committees and help to define their purpose.
According to David Heit, an operations manager at Affinity Management in South Beach, committee chairs are appointed by the president of the association. Committee chairs have the authority to seek out volunteers to serve on their committee. In most cases, the vice president of the board will act as an ex-officio member of all of the committees.
Strong, well-organized committees are a boon to a busy board and community association manager and offer residents an opportunity to get involved in their community. “The committee structure takes a big burden off the board of directors,” Heit says. “Once the committee has done its due diligence and given thorough consideration to an issue or matter at hand, then it's up to the board to either approve, reject or to maybe make minor modifications to the work the committee has done. The board doesn't have to start from scratch to collect all the background investigation and research. All that work can be done at a committee level, thereby saving time at a board meeting for important decisions to be made. ”
Aside from the usual suspects—budget, landscape and maintenance committees—committees can also include a communications committee that shares news and events with residents, a nominating committee that interviews prospective residents and a neighborhood watch committee that makes sure the property stays safe and protected. According to Heit, one of the most important committees an association can have is a community standards committee.