Not like a politician’s “service”. No glory, no power, no money, just taking care of business for the community.
When speaking of association board members, I thought, the word “serve” is really appropriate. It takes a lot of service, it seems to me, to be on the board.
Five other owners sat in Joe’s living room too, first as participants, in the open forum section of the meeting, which lasted more than a half hour. Then during the business portion of the meeting, which started with a Q & A for the property manager.
The property manager left after his portion was done, but the board members stayed for almost two hours.
Phil, the president, is an active professional with a wife and a young child. The amount of business items he ends up saying he will take care of seems to me huge, after each of these meetings. He’s got his laptop out and he’s pulling up documents right and left with the information relevant to what people are discussing—contractor proposals, dealings with the tax appeal attorneys, emails from the property manager, and so on. At the tip of his fingers as he runs the meeting.
Fred from the second floor and Alice across from him are both retired or semi-retired, and both have been on the board many times before, during their decades living here. He’s now the Secretary and she the Treasurer.
And then Joe, hosting the gathering that completely fills his tidy and elegant living room—eleven people. He has a pitcher of iced water and several lovely ceramic glasses to keep us refreshed.
Let’s not forget new board member William, a young IT professional who had come to every board meeting as soon as he and his wife moved in last year. I think they're fortunate to have him on the board.
Main topics of discussion this evening:
a) Talk with Frank, the manager who works for the large condo and apartment management company in the neighborhood; nobody on the board is sure whether the association will decide to renew this company’s contract, which expires soon. Big decision.
b) Open forum session—the five owners who are not on the board bring up issues and participate in a rather lively discussion about cockroaches and back gate locks
c) Business session—the agenda items
a. Roofing repairs for the main buildings and three bids for a new roof for the coach house; the roof should have been replaced a long time ago; oh well, another six thousand dollars
b. Finances—how much do they actually have in the bank and how well are they transferring money from the general account into the reserve accounts, mainly the general reserve; they have not been too scrupulous about doing this in the past. Alice the treasurer for the last six months has only just now obtained access to the bank records.
c. The bill from the legal firm for the tax appeal work they did--—Phil the president has poured over the numbers and is going to dispute the total bill; a discussion ensues on how the board is going to collect enough money from each unit owner to be able to pay this bill; there is fear that some of the owners will find it hard to come up with the money
After attending such a meeting, one marvels at these five people. They’re holding it together for the rest of the community, and for themselves and their families too. And for future owners and residents of this Association who will be impacted by what these people do and don’t do right now.