Many co-op and condo owners want to get involved in their community but they soon find out that being on the board is no picnic. Soon neighbors are pestering them asking for feuds to be settled, decisions that affect all resident’s lives have to be made, and then there are the books...financial matters that have to be addressed with little or no room for error. Knowing all of this, why do so many people decide to serve on a board—some for years at a time? Responsibilities, stress and pressure may build but believe it or not, there are benefits to being on a board.
Getting Blamed for Everything
Being a board member is tough. There are little thanks, if any. If anything isn't going the way someone thinks it should, it's easy to blame the people who are perceived to be in charge, even if that isn't really the case.
“Things go wrong, things break, maintenance needs to be done, neighbors get into disputes and when something goes wrong they complain to you. Besides being a board member you're also a resident and neighbor and as such, you're accessible and that makes you the perfect target for criticism and complaints,” explains James Aiello, board president of The Grist Mill Condominiums in Haledon.
"Nobody really appreciates the work you do," says Eleanor Mauro, a board member at Garrett Heights in Paterson. "You work so hard, you sacrifice your personal time and in the end the residents only see the problems, they don't see the fact that you keep the development humming along."
In fact, many residents forget that the people who are on the board also live there and are subject to all of the same decisions that are made on behalf of the building. Mark Bogert, a board member at The Atrium in West Orange says, “The residents blame us every time we raise their monthly maintenance. I hate voting to increase maintenance, but sometimes we have no choice. I remind anyone that complains that I pay the maintenance too and why on Earth would I raise my own monthly bills? I tell them we had no choice. Someone's got to be responsible for the building's expenses.”