Fiduciary Duty - Board members are bound under state law - usually a general nonprofit corporation or a specific condominium/community association statute--to act within their authority, to exercise due care and to act in good faith, taking into account the association's best interest. Under the fiduciary model, board members do not have individual power or authority. Rather, decision-making ability rests with the full board.
The law imposes fiduciary responsibilities to ensure that power is exercised conscientiously. Thus, the fiduciary standard demands that board members possess good communication skills, plan carefully in advance, delegate work to qualified committees or advisers, exercise initiative and independent thinking, work well together, and always act in the best interest of the community as a whole.
Preparing for a Community Association Meeting - Volunteers demonstrate their leadership in community association meetings.
In order to prepare for meetings you need to know four types of community association meetings:
The Bylaws typically outline the preparation steps for different types of community association meetings and what meeting requirements a community association must fulfill.
Parliamentary Procedure - Some meetings run so smoothly that they are boring, while others are doomed from the outset to be a donnybrook between opposing factions. On balance, most people would prefer the boredom over the stress, although nothing enlivens a community and ensures a quorum better than a brewing controversy.
The chair must maintain control, whether the meeting is quiet or chaotic. There are times, of course, when no amount of planning, foresight, and strength of personality on the part of the char will avert disaster. Nonetheless, all of these elements can affect the meeting. Conversely, the lack of these elements will almost always result in a meeting that is out of control.
Most association documents require the board to use parliamentary procedure at annual and special meetings. Though the structure of parliamentary procedure often aids a meeting, it isn't necessary for association meetings to be as formal as the House of Lords. As with many good things, parliamentary procedure can be overdone. Here is a link to some ABCs of parliamentary procedure.
Prepare Minutes for a Board Meeting - The minutes should reflect all matters brought before the board, whether adopted, dismissed without discussion or vote, rejected, deferred, tabled, or simply presented as information.
Much of the discussion at a meeting will not be pertinent to decisions and will not need to be part of the record. The only items that need to be written down word-for-word are motions (actions) and resolutions.
Much of the wording for the minutes will be the same for each meeting. Once this wording is established and approved by an attorney, the association secretary can use it for every set of minutes.
Meeting minutes stand as a record which can be reviewed by members, officers, board members, and outside parties to determine the official acts that have, or have not, been taken by elected representatives of the association. Once approved, the minutes should be signed and dated by the presiding officer and the secretary. Once approved, the minutes should be placed in the minute book in front of the agenda and committee reports for that meeting. An experienced association attorney can quickly review a set of minutes and determine if there are issues of legal significance.
Prepare an Action Item List - A list of actions to be accomplished as a result of discussion or decisions at a meeting. This is a supplement to the official minutes and serves as:
Calendar of Events and a Management Plan - A calendar if significant events and dates is the foundation for an effective planning process and efficient operations. It serves as a tickler file or planner and is a deterrent to crisis management. It should be accurate, comprehensive, an easy to read.
Additionally developing a management plan is important to serve as a list of the annual cycle of managerial tasks to be performed each month for the purpose of operating the community association as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Managing Committees - Some committees are mandated for a community association such as elections, nominations, and architectural committees. (See the community association's applicable state statutes and governing documents.) Other standing committees can be useful as well.
Additionally special (ad hoc) committees are established as needed to accomplish a particular task and dissolved after the task is completed. The benefits of special (or ad hoc) committees include:
Strategies for Resolving Problem Situations - As American society becomes more litigious, the individuals who govern and manage community associations face increased risk of personal liability for improperly performing their duties. While attorneys and accountants have professional code of ethics that govern their conduct, few state or private regulations exist to help directors and managers of community associations perform their duties properly.
Reviewing Mission Statements - A mission statement is a short statement that describes the purpose for your association's existence. Its function is to guide you and your staff in making critical and strategic decisions that affect the direction of your association. It is short and memorable, coherent and concise, broad and continuing, and distinctive.
Develop Short and Long Range Goals - Short term goals can be achieved in the near future within a few months, a year, or within 3 years. Long term goals can be achieved over a long period of time such as 3-5 years or more.
Develop a Strategic Plan - The purpose of strategic planning is to set your overall goals for you association and to develop a plan to achieve them.
Key Steps in Developing a Strategic Plan:
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