Understanding The Role and Responsibility of an HOA Board Member
Written By: John McLauglin, Senior Vice President, RealManage Dallas/Forth Worth
Volunteer work is often praised as one of the noblest and rewarding undertakings one can experience. Surrendering time, our most valuable resource, in the contribution to a greater cause without the promise of monetary compensation is admirable, to say the least. In my experience as a volunteer, I have always chosen matters in which I was emotionally invested.It wasn’t until I became a member of the association management industry; however, that I realized some of the most meaningful volunteer opportunities were matters of not only capitalizing on emotional investments but also protecting the most significant financial investment many of us will ever make: our homes.
In the increasingly complex world of community associations, it is vital to the overall fitness of a community that its volunteer board of directors pursues their respective positions with complete awareness of the magnitude of the responsibilities they will most certainly inherit.
Your community’s Board of Directors receives its authority from homeowners. Owners elect a Board of Directors to make business and governance decisions on their behalves. Let’s take a moment to identify the positions on your community’s Board of Directors and the fundamentals of the role each play in fulfilling the fiduciary duty they have to their community:
President - Leads the board; defines association goals; leads board meetings; prepare agendas; acts as a liaison to the community manager.
Vice President - Substitute for the president in his/her absence; conducts meetings and presides over the board when the president chooses to stand down; prioritize programs, agenda items, and projects.
Treasurer - The chief financial officer of the association; manages budget operations and reserve funding; maintains association bank accounts; consults with other board members to ensure the association goals are financially feasible.
Secretary - Official recorder of association’s activities; responsible for taking board meeting minutes; creating and reviewing a schedule of tasks with the president; files and maintains documents, as necessary.
**refer to your association’s bylaws for additional roles and responsibilities of each member**
It is important to note that your community's bylaws will typically specify a minimum and a maximum number of members that could be elected to serve on the board, their titles, and a more detailed job description.
Throughout the course of my experience in leading RealManage’s Dallas/Fort Worth Market, it has become evident that the skepticism many homeowners have towards their HOA. Specifically, it is directed towards either the board of directors or the management company and is a symptom of their lack of awareness of the formal structure of the entity to which they belong. It is vital to the success of your board and community as a whole that each member fully comprehends the focus of their respective contributions to the business and governance of the association they have chosen to serve.
In conclusion, your management company is an invaluable resource for the continued education and training of board and committee members. At RealManage, we take this responsibility seriously, offering comprehensive board member training upon commencing new relationships. We appreciate the dynamic nature of homeowner association legislation and provide semi-annual legislative “lunch-and-learns” to augment the awareness and capabilities of our client communities.