Remember your first day at a new school? Most likely, you didn’t know a soul, had no idea what the students were learning and you probably felt nervous, intimidated or maybe even afraid. In most cases, this is what it’s like to be a new board member. A newcomer walks into a meeting for the first time, may or may not know a fellow neighbor volunteer, has no idea what is or has been discussed, and is clueless about ongoing disputes, group politics, or alliances. Getting elected to an association’s board is a big job, and new members can often find themselves unsure of what they've gotten themselves into.
The Buddy System
To help a new student calm their jitters and get them up to speed of the others, a teacher will often appoint a current student to show the newbie around, share books, introduce him or her to other students and give them the lay of the land. It’s a great concept to follow when new members come on board.
“Newcomers should really take the time to speak to the existing board members because they are welcome knowledge,” says Kevin Carroll, president of Lang Management in Boca Raton. “They will gain a history of the property and the association, including current projects and decisions made relating to the association so they know where things stand. They’ll also learn about what challenges are.”
An incoming new board member should also be given a copy of all essential documents and resolutions to review, including bylaws, house rules, policies the board has adopted, subletting policies, etc.
As of July 1, 2010, newly-elected or appointed directors must complete an educational course certified by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) or sign a statement that they have read Florida Statutes Chapter 718 and all of their community's governing documents within 90 days of being elected or appointed to the board.