Your Community Needs You! A Call to Service

Over the many years I have been practicing in the community association law field I have seen and dealt with many boards of directors.  In doing so I have seen considerable variation in the level of interest and commitment of community members to serve on the board of directors. Some communities have the assistance of professional management companies and others are self-managed.  While a community may have professional management, it is the board of directors that is given the power and responsibility in the governing documents to operate the community.  Regardless of the type of management, a group of homeowners actively participating on the board and on committees is essential for the successful functioning of the association. 

A professional manager cannot make significant decisions for the community; rather, the manager serves as a knowledgeable guide who can provide experience and resources which most board members do not have. In addition to providing this support for the board a manager provides continuity as board membership turns over from year to year. 

Many community members are likely involved in some type of community service – perhaps as volunteers for charity fund raising events, serving in the PTA at your children’s school or serving on a committee or board of a local charity.  If you do, you know that is a rewarding experience. In our society there is a need for volunteers of all sorts in order to maintain a quality of life for the community in which we live – your association is no different.  Serving on your association board can provide that same reward, perhaps to a greater degree, and your community needs you to volunteer to be on the ballot for election to the board of directors. You may wish to take a lesser role first by volunteering for service on one of the association’s committees.  Most communities are well run and are able to transition easily from one board to the next.   This is especially true where the bylaws call for staggered terms so that there are always one or two members with experience during the past year or more.    

Occasionally there are communities that have difficulty filling all the seats on the board and in some it is an ongoing problem.  This happens because there is a perception by a community member that the commitment will be too time consuming, will require knowledge they do not have, or that it will in some way not be a rewarding experience.   While one or more of these issues may be present it is my observation that by and large they are not, and service on the board is found to be rewarding and appreciated by other community members.  In fact, service on the board can provide benefits that are unanticipated – you get to know other owners who share your concern for and interest in the successful governance of the community and you have an opportunity to assist in group decision-making and leadership. Keep in mind that you are not committing to serve more than one term. For those who are concerned about lack of knowledge there is a wealth of resources and education opportunities provided to members of the Community Associations Institute and SEVA CAI. There are many excellent publications provided by the national organization. 

Finally, where there is a significant history of lack of members on the ballot you can reach out to one of the CAI business partners serving your community or other CAI members to come and speak at your annual meeting about the need, importance and benefits of board service.


Michael A. Inman, Esq.

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