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October 01, 2012

Condo Concepts - Troubled boards

Do you have a dysfunctional condo board?

Maria Bartolotti

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Just like any family, condo boards can be dysfunctional. But unlike families, there is an easy cure for dysfunctional boards: education.
Dysfunctional boards are described by the inability or unwillingness of directors to work together for the benefit of the corporation.

Picture this: board meetings are not held as required, decisions are delayed or not made, minutes are not taken, meetings are confirmed but quorum is not had, board members holding unofficial meetings without all board members present, owners upset and complaining because common areas are not being maintained or fixed.

Let’s not forget the frustration the condo manager feels from the board’s lack of inability to make a decision to better the corporation.

Sound familiar? In my experience and what I’ve learned when taking on a new board is that boards are generally dysfunctional because they have a lack of understanding of what it means to be a board member and how a board should properly function.

When condo managers take on new condos and work with a board (old or new) it is important to ensure that the board is given the educational tools and knowledge that they require to be effective board members.

It takes 40 to 60 minutes to review the basic roles and responsibilities of board members when they are charged with the task of managing their corporation, as a condo manager it is important that you review the roles with them.

I like to give every board member a written description of their roles and responsibility, this way, there is no question about what they have committed to doing.

When you don’t educate your board it impedes on the effectiveness of the board and can make your job unpleasant. Prior to a properly convened board meeting ensure that your board is equipped with enough information that they need before and during the meeting to be able to make decisions and pass motions.

The agenda, is a great tool for your president to hand out at a meeting or prior to the meeting, as it outlines the topics and the order that the topics will be followed.

Take a look at your board’s committees and sub-committees. Do they meet regularly? If they don’t, are you encouraging them to meet? Are their meetings conducted efficiently? If not, why is this? Are committee members committed to their roles? Are they led by an effective committee chair? If not, is everyone aware of their responsibilities? Ensure that tasks are assigned and that minutes record to whom all tasks have been assigned.

Have the chair follow up on the progress of assigned tasks during every regular meeting. As managers, it’s important that we assist our boards in their roles.

Where directors are not working well together, it is important for the board to ensure that the decisions are made in a manner that minimizes the risk of legal challenges.

These are just a few helpful hints to improve your board’s function. Until next time …

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