Most residents of a condo, co-op or HOA know at least a few of their board members—or at least know their names. Often, the same people serve on the board year after year. But what makes them want to serve? And why don't new people constantly volunteer for the board? Is there any real way of evaluating their performance as board members, and how they conduct themselves?
Fresh Faces, New Ideas
To begin with, how does an association attract or recruit new board members? According to Ronald Perl, an attorney with the firm of Hill Wallack in Princeton and national president-elect of the Community Associations Institute (CAI), the best way is to bring them in is basically from the ranks of committees.
"A healthy community association has a committee system which serves to develop new leaders. Encouraging committee involvement not only foster a sense of community, it helps to educate members as to the workings of the association as well as the roles and responsibilities of owners and volunteer leaders," says Perl.
Indeed, the great majority of board members serve on committees first, then run in elections for the board. "Committees are a good resource as one moves up the ladder," says Jack McGrath, president of CAI-NJ, that organization's New Jersey chapter.
In addition, during meetings, current board members often encourage association members to get more involved, and describe to them what the board does. That's what Shaun Witten, board member of The Palisades development in Fort Lee, reports.