Board Resource Guide: How Are Board Members Trained? Getting the Facts

Congratulations. You have been chosen to help lead your community on a small governing council that will determine the major policy decisions affecting everyone who lives in your community. From finances to rules enforcement to selection of personnel and services, your voice will be a major factor in the way things are done. Although an unpaid office, being on the board of a community association can be a position of esteem, responsibility and leadership. Are you ready for this?

Step One

If you are feeling a bit unprepared for what lies ahead, you have just stepped into a pool that includes a vast majority of people who have never served on a community association board. Co-op/Condo Board Fundamentals (along with How to Avoid Internet Scams and The Athlete's Physique: How to Get Yours) was left out of the curriculum at most high schools.

Although the three "R's" do not include "Rules," as in community association governing documents, there are ways to get up to speed on your new responsibilities - including what they are and what they aren't.

The first step is to return to the governing documents themselves. You should have received them upon buying into the community, and even if you gave them the once-over back then, it is imperative that you read them again.

Bruce Anglin, on the board in his community association in Old Bridge, New Jersey, says that trying to find training can be a difficult process. "We put something together, called the 'Q&A' and we have someone on the board to introduce the new member and give them the packet of information. The original unit owners were supposed to have a book of bylaws and regulations, and sometimes the book is not passed on by the original owners, but that's why we have the packet to pass along."

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