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.