Board Members for Life Pros and Cons of Long-Term Service

 It is one of life’s eternal questions: is it possible to have too much of a good thing? That  question certainly can apply to the matter of long-serving board members, those  individuals who get elected and re-elected term after term. And like most big  questions, there is no easy answer. Every community is different and every  board is different. There are, however, a few pros and cons that tend to crop  up in nearly every situation where a board has one or two long-term members.  

 Accentuating the Positive

 Perhaps the biggest benefit of having a cadre of seasoned board members  overseeing one’s condo or co-op community is the fact that they have unparalleled institutional  memory. “In addition to understanding association operations, veteran board members also  bring a historical continuity to the board which is critical as boards  transition from time to time,” explains Denville-based attorney Judith A. Fallat. “A board with a complete historical perspective can avoid wasting time and money  revisiting issues or questions which may have been addressed in the past.”  

 Audrey Wisotsky, an attorney at Pepper Hamilton LLP in Princeton, agrees saying  not only does the veteran board member possess a broad knowledge of the ins and  outs of the association, they can recall the minute details. “The board member will have historic and institutional knowledge but also know  right off the top of their head if there are amendments to certain documents  that address certain issues.” This quick recollection can help expedite meetings and legislative processes.  

 Wisotsky continues to say that from a consistency point, veteran board members  know how certain issues were handled in the past and can provide valuable  information in how to deal with similar, present situations, in other words,  they know how things work.  

 Multi-term board members also are important because they can hold down the  metaphorical fort when new members join the board. In today’s world, running a co-op or condo community can be like running a small  multi-national corporation—the stakes are high with hundreds of units and millions of dollars in play.  Having longer serving board members can make the process of running an  association smoother and more fluid.  

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