Summary of Board Member Duties:
HOA Legal Liability:
The Oregon Condominium Act, the Oregon Planned Communities Act and association bylaws imbue the Board of Directors with all authority necessary to administer association affairs. Although the board may delegate many duties to committees or professional community managers, the fact that ultimate responsibility for these duties remains with the board is something we, as a professional management company, take very seriously. We therefore consider it a key professional obligation to regularly consult with the board in order to ensure responsible exercise of its powers and performance of its duties to minimize, if not eliminate, association exposure to attendant legal liability.
The association, a business, is in many cases a multi-million dollar one. In light of this, it is essential the board understand their fiduciary responsibility to the association, just as it is essential the management company understand their own fiduciary responsibility to both. The Board of Directors bears ultimate responsibility for business operations on behalf of the association, including: collections, bill payments, efficient community operation and rule enforcement. Additionally, board responsibilities include association bank statement review, budget preparation and distribution of same to association members prior to the new fiscal year. Preparation and distribution of financial statements must be made prior to the new fiscal year, as well.
Regular meetings are essential in order for the Board of Directors to not only create, but maintain policies that ensure the smooth functioning of the community as a whole. After every effort is made to attend, each member should come prepared and ready to cooperate for the sake of all community owners. Preparation should include advance review of the Board Packet, as well as prior formulation of whatever questions each board member might have. A professional demeanor is always appreciated, with special emphasis on courtesy and respect. While personal agendas should be avoided, “Open Forum” portions provide an opportunity for appropriate participation in the meeting, adding value to the operation of the community. Once adopted at the Board of Directors meeting, policies must be implemented by the community manager through effective communication with all parties involved, as well as application of metrics designed to monitor their ongoing effectiveness.
Guiding the Process:
Put a group of successful people in a room, then ask them to reach a consensus. Is it any wonder the community manager’s job is one of the toughest? Managing a community association board meeting often seems akin to managing a battle zone. The key is consensus among the Board of Directors, meaning the majority understands, agrees, supports and will implement decisions with the minority, although perhaps disappointed, willing to cooperate.