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HOA Homefront: Managers’ New Year’s resolutions

Previous columns proposed resolutions for directors and HOA members, so today I share my ideas for managers. Next week, I’ll dig into resolutions for service providers.

As a community association manager, I resolve to:

NUMBER ONE:

1.    Follow the Golden Rule. (“Treat others as you would like to be treated.”)

ATTITUDE CHECK:

2.    Remember I am a professional. I will give the board the best advice I can. I am not employed to be silent.

3.    Strive to give the board the answers and recommendations it needs to hear, not just the input the board hopes for.

4.    Avoid reacting defensively to upset homeowners. I will try to provide the “why,” and not only the “what” regarding HOA rules.

Try my best to please all, while knowing that I can’t.

BE KNOWLEDGEABLE:

6.    Pursue professional designations with CAI and/or CACM and attend seminars to keep me up to date.

7.    Be prepared at any board meeting to explain significant deviations from budget or unbudgeted expenses.

Confirm in writing my advice to the board if it disregards my advice.Avoid giving specialized advice and will refer the board to the appropriate specialized professional service provider.10. Help the Board follow the Business Judgment Rule, providing the board sufficient information to make each decision.

11. Encourage directors to join the local Community Associations Institute Chapter, knowing educated boards are better boards.

BETTER BOARD MEETINGS:

Protect the board from overly long or disorganized meetings.

Create agendas with consent calendars to quickly handle non-controversial items.

Alert the board when a proposed agenda becomes too ambitious.

Become comfortable with parliamentary procedure fundamentals.

Help the board stay on agenda and on topic.

Alert the board if it is handling matters in closed session that should be discussed in open session.

Bring the HOA governing documents to every meeting.

Be prepared to provide a recommended action or recommend hiring the appropriate specialized expertise on each agenda item.

Listen respectfully when homeowners in open forum criticize my work.

COMMUNITY BUILDING

21. Strive toward increasing meaningful and frequent membership communication.

22. Focus on the association’s community needs as well as its financial, maintenance, and legal concerns while I advise the board and execute its instructions and policies.

ETHICS

Treat all members the same, regardless of how they treat me.

Communicate to the entire board when answering a director’s question or giving a report.

Remember my client is the HOA, not its board or president.

Not take sides in board elections or recalls, and not assist or advocate for or against any candidate. My personal opinions on those matters will remain secret.

27. Reject vendor offers of kickbacks, gratuities, or commissions and promptly disclose such offers to the board.

28. Not give my employer (or its related company) any advantage in bidding on HOA contracts.

VENDORS

29. Advise the board when specialized expertise is needed on specific issues or projects.

Provide the board with two or three candidate service providers to consider, not only one favorite vendor.

Suggest the appropriate consultant before the board evaluates major or complicated bids to help them select the best and most complete proposal.

Recommend the best bid, not simply the cheapest.

LAST:

33. Follow the Golden Rule.

Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. is a Fellow of the College of Community Association Lawyers and Partner of Richardson Ober LLP, a California law firm known for community association expertise. Submit column questions to Kelly@roattorneys.com.

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