Being on a board of a condo or co-op is no picnic. There are tons of decisions to be made, disputes to settle, finances to keep track of and a chance of being sued for a slip-up. So why do so many people decide to serve on a board—some for years at a time? Even though it's easy to lose sight of them under the pressure and responsibility, there are benefits to being on a board.
Even long-serving board members—those individuals who get elected and re-elected term after term and have been in office since the Truman administration—enjoy giving back to their community and protecting their most important investment. There are, however, pros and cons for boards that have several long-term members on board.
Accentuating the Positive
According to real estate experts the biggest benefit of having a cadre of seasoned board members overseeing one’s condo or co-op community is the fact that they have unparalleled institutional memory. Knowledge of past successes and failures, familiarity of the various professionals along with the various roles of board members and professions and continuity of policies and procedures are the top three reasons why veteran board members are such a vital component to a successful board.
“Most veteran board members have gained hands—on experience over the years of holding a board position,” says William B. Campbell III, vice president of sales and marketing at Campbell Property Management in Deerfield Beach. “These members know the basics, their duties, what is going on in their community and the goals they are striving to accomplish. This gives the association continuity. It is a lot to expect one person to stay on long term, but overlap with good board members is also valuable for the same reason. Veteran board members also know how much time their duties typically take and what’s expected of them.”
Multi-term board members also are important because they can hold down the metaphorical fort when new members join the board. In today’s world, running a co-op or condo community can be like running a small multi-national corporation—the stakes are high with hundreds of units and millions of dollars in play. It can take up to a full term for new board members to learn the ins-and-outs of procedures, bylaws, meeting rules and other details.