Being an Effective Board President Leader of the Pack

Every co-op and condo association has a board— and by extension, a board president. Presidents and CEOs of major corporations are usually compensated handsomely for the time and effort they're expected to devote to their job, but a building's board president is essentially a person who volunteered to be considered for the position and was subsequently elected or appointed to it. With such a position come many extra responsibilities and duties, which require that an effective president be a team player and an effective communicator.

The Right Stuff

A truly effective board president should have either a solid business/management background or be an exceptionally skilled communicator. In addition, says Diane Dangler, manager of community associations for Alderbrook Condo Association in Little Silver, a board president "should be someone with enough time and the dedication, and should probably be someone with a business or very practical background—someone with a knowledge of accounting and good business practices."

Above all, Dangler says, the president is "someone who can represent everyone unilaterally, doesn't have a specific personal agenda, can lead people and be nonjudgmental, and has the ability to work knowing that there may be some neighbors who maybe don't agree with or appreciate them."

Although relations with association residents might not always be easy, Gary Rothberg, president of the Brittany Townhomes Homeowners Association in Plainsboro says the head of the board, "must have an interest in the community, good communication skills and a diverse background." The person must also be well-connected in the community, Rothberg adds.

Norman Levine, president of the Cambridge Heights Condo Association in Ramsey says that personality also plays a large role. Levine says that an [effective president] "has patience, and is willing to listen. There are proactive people, and there are more passive people."

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4 Comments

  • I found your site VERY informative and helpful somewhat. However, I am only a homeowner (condo) and not on the board. We have MANY SERIOUS problems that are not being taken care of by our president and his board(which were self-elected by him as was he) . Whom can we contact to get this man off our board? He will not give us his phone number for emergencies as he does not live on the premises nor do the other board members. We are not being informed about where our assessments go on a monthly basis. We don't even have our quarterly meetings that we voted on! If you can help or direct me as to what we can do I would GREATLY appriciate it! We have been to lawyers (complimentary visits) as we homeowners live on fixed incomes. Why should we have to pay for this man and his board to correct these matters that he is supposed to act on via his position? Help! Thank you for your time!
  • let it be known that board members can be in conflict of interest and malice.
  • Another unnamed owner on Sunday, October 21, 2012 4:25 PM
    How about micro management of a board by the contracted management company? What if the board is allowing a contracted manager to run everything? (Creating a monopoly with many situations of bias and conflicts of interest.) He collects and spends all assessment money ran the board in the red for many years. Keeps special assessing for additional money. He hires all of the subcontractors changing them all to his choice of accountant, attorney, and insurance people. The board refuses to recognize a quorum of owners who want new management. They take his advice as if he is the one and only board member. He advises them not to speak to the owners and they generally do not answer any questions without his presents and prior notice of the questions. In open board meeting we ask specific board members questions and only he answers many of the questions as indirectly as he can get away with. Many of the board members lie or state facts that turn out to be wrong or otherwise untrue. The contracted manager has also been caught in lies. He does allot of squirming out of answering questions directly. He refuses to providing financial reports and other documents according to the by laws. Never allows the owners to see ACTUAL expenses only a budget that doesn’t ad up. Any sugestions other than privat attourys and civil litigation?
  • My husband and I have acquired a managing job at a condo in Seattle. Very lovely, so far, mainly elderly foke. We have nof completed the contract process yet, but so far there seems to be going on so much with the managing company they have hired. If only the board got rid of the guy who allowed the manager before get hired after a long criminal record and trashed the place, people would be happier. Especially people who should not have to worry in their old age about where their dues are going. Something is wrong and I wish to step in, though I don't have a business degree. I think we all wish to step into easy shoes and walk, but there is more to it.